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Thunderbolts and Lightning at Westoe v Stockton

11 months ago By dave barnes

Westoe still in the promotion hunt.

Lookers-sponsored Westoe took on Stockton in another must-win match.

Freak storms two hours before kick-off made the Wood Tce. pitch unplayable and the match was switched to Harton School's 3G surface.

By the opening whistle the sun had returned, but there were still stormy times ahead.

From the start, several of the Stockton pack tried to stamp their authority on the match and the game quickly became a feisty affair with the first big flair-up coming after only 5 minutes.

Westoe showed early promise with some impact running from centres Worthington and Potts that almost broke through early on and some big hits from the forwards, Andy Kirton and Raymie Elliott leading by example.

The first score came on 15 minutes, from a Sam Gaff line-out, palming the ball to Raymie Elliott who smashed into the defence. When stopped, Ryan Lamb took the next charge and the offload to Andrew Kirton was enough to power across the line. 7-0

Stockton found themselves down to 14 men after their number four was shown the inevitable red card after a barrage of punches on 22 minutes. Westoe upped the pressure, but a solid Stockton side kept the storm at bay with some frantic defence and attacking play.

Westoe were awarded their first yellow card for holding on the floor after a tackle.

With the first half coming to a close, Luke Moffett fielded a long kick and with lightening pace, sped 50 metres down-field to take the half-time score to 14-0

The visitors came out firing and only a superb display of organised defence prevented them crossing the line. They spoilt and disrupted many Westoe attacks, who were trying too hard at times with complex moves where simple hands may have been the better option.

Twelve minutes in Stockton's number 8 received a yellow card for foul play, followed soon after by Westoe's second yellow for pulling a player back.

Both sides showed some staunch defence throughout the second half in an aggressive, tetchy affair which was well policed by referee Foreman.

Less than a minute after returning to the field of play from his yellow card, the Stockton number 8 was red-carded for kneeing a player in the face and Stockton were down to 13 for the remainder fifteen minutes of the match.

The remaining Stockton players defended well against Westoe and looked a slicker side without their red-carded team-mates; however Westoe finished the day with a couple of sparkling scores.

With ten minutes to go, Jake Arnold spotted the gap out wide, splitting the defence and passing to Sam Gaff, who completed a good day's outing with an off-load to Michael Potts who took great delight in running under the sticks.

Fearing that the four-try bonus point was not coming, Westoe squandered several chances, missing some simple three on twos and failing to see the easy pass option; however with the last play of the game, Luke Moffett took the ball 30 metres out of his own 22 and passed outside to Reggie Fasa who completed the job with a 60 metre sprint up the touchline to seal the win and the five points needed for promotion hopes.

Final score, 24-0. Both Northern and Barnard Castle won their matches, so with just two games remaining and the top four teams facing each other in the final week, the league will not be decided until the final whistles.

If Westoe can win their final two games with bonus-point wins they will finish in the play-off spot at the very least and are still in contention for league champions if other results go their way.

Updated 11:09 - 2 Apr 2017 by dave barnes

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