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Sizzler in the Sun sees Westoe Progress to Play-Offs

7 months ago By dave barnes

Eleven Try Thriller in all-or-nothing match.

A large crowd were treated to a spectacular thrilling match between two sides determined to progress to the promotion play-off next Saturday.

Playing up the hill and against a gentle breeze, Lookers-sponsored Westoe initially looked composed and in control of the ball; playing the phases and keeping things tight.

With Westoe attacking, Barnie's scrum-half Chris McTurk showed his skills yet again, pouncing on loose ball, kicking through and chasing downfield a full 80m, only being denied the score by solid defence from Luke Moffett.

Westoe opened the scoring with a penalty on 12 minutes and were then shocked by two quick tries from the home side.

Speedy inter-passing and deft footwork saw Barnie's centre touch down under the posts, followed straight from the restart when Barnie's No. 8 bowled down the hill to put the winger into the corner. 12-3

Barnie went further ahead after 25 mins, when Westoe unusually failed to halt a driving maul from 5m out. 19-3 to the home side.

Any further progress for the home side was slowed by some ferocious tackling, Jamie Preston almost cutting his opposite number in half on one occasion.

With the half coming to a close, Westoe were back in control, methodically eating the ground with their big pack punishing the home side's scrum and driving relentlessly up the considerable slope.

Three minutes to play, Westoe opted for a scrum-down and danced in from 10m; Sam Gaff touching down. 19-10

The final play of the half saw Westoe attack again; this time from a line-out. A clean take from Younghusband was driven towards the line, but a determined Barnie defence halted the maul on the line.

Westoe kept the ball close and drives from Raymie Elliott, Luke Moffett and Ryan Lamb sucked in the defence allowing the slightest of gaps for Andy Kirton to force his way over, ending the half 19-15, with everything to play for.

From the restart Westoe continued their forward dominance and with Barnie's defence becoming shallower, MIchael Booth unleashed his backs, where Derek Worthington snaked and barged his way through, handing off players on both sides for a spectacular try under the posts, giving Westoe the lead. 19-22

Westoe continued with their forward drives, repeatably carrying the ball round the corner and tying in the defence.

On 18 minutes a series of close picks from Sean Ramsay, Dom Connolly and Sam Gaff were rewarded when Raymie Elliott took route one over the remaining defenders to increase the lead to 19-27

Barnie showed why they are such a force in the league when they upped the tempo and their rapid back-line strung together some slick passing putting their winger in the corner, keeping the game desperately close and entertaining for the large crowd. 24-27

Into the last quarter and yet another switch in momentum between these two determined teams. Westoe's Michael Potts, took another darting run through what appeared to be an impenetrable defence, breaking free and offloading to centre Ben Roberts whose pace outstripped his opponents to score, taking the lead to 24-32

It was Barnie's turn again to pressurise, throwing everything at Westoe, who dug in to prevent any comeback. Westoe having the best defence stats in the league stopped wave after wave of determined attackers.

Westoe conceded a penalty in front of the posts which Barnie chose to take quickly, giving up the easy three points, only to fumble the ball after being hit by several Westoe defenders.

Camped on their own line, the inevitable Yellow card appeared for not releasing the player. Followed quickly by a second for another offence at the ruck, Westoe were down to thirteen men with less than 10 mins on the clock.

Barnie's relentless attacks finally paid off with a well-spotted gap was exploited with a chip-kick, bringing the home side within one point. 31-32

The travelling support were stunned when a minute later Barnie retook the lead with a drop-goal and seemingly the win. 34-32

Bernie looked like capping it off after another great run from McTurk, only surpassed by a spectacular tackle in the corner preventing the score by full-back Luke Moffett.

With supporters from both sides thinking the game over, Westoe's young team showed how much they've developed this year with a last gasp attack.

Spreading the ball first from right to left, then back again, the Westoe side were now the team pounding the line with Barnie tackling anything in sight. With the clock against them it looked like it was too late, until Dom Connolly split the defence, creating a gap for Michael Booth who dove across the line to secure the win and the play-off spot next week against Yorkshire side West Leeds.

Any final twist was prevented when James Sant blocked off the outside pass to the wing, unfortunately not being able to hold on to the ball. The following scrum however saw the Westoe pack steamroller their opponents, forcing them to spill the ball, the ensuing maul killed by West to end the match.

Final score 34-37 to Westoe, in a thrilling end to end match between two deserving teams.

South Shields Westoe now face Yorkshire side West Leeds at home next Saturday.

Unfortunately South Shields Cricket second team have possession of Wood Terrace so the match will have to be transferred to Harton's 3G pitch.

The West Nautical Development Team made it an even better day when they won the 2nd Team Bowl Final against v West Hartlepool 24-19.

Updated 17:55 - 25 Apr 2017 by dave barnes

Where next?

Westoe Face Final Hurdle in Promotion Play-off Westoe v West Leeds - Saturday 29th - Harton Tech College - 3.00. NE34 6DL

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