Gaff-tastic Performance seals Westoe win
Sam Gaff crosses for five tries in forward dominant display.
Lookers sponsored South Shields Westoe entertained Medicals at Woods Terrace looking to continue their buoyant start to the season.
After four minutes West were awarded a penalty and elected to play the line. The resulting line-out was taken cleanly by Kirton and spun wide along the line and brought back for Elliott to suck in the defence and feed Sam Gaff for an easy run-in. 5-0
Following from previous weeks, Westoe continued to show their forward dominance after a second penalty. This time, they elected for a scrum. Picked at the base, Gaff offloaded to Booth who, stopped at the line, repaid the favour, for Gaff to cross again. 10-0
Seemingly deciding the win was theirs, Westoe lost concentration from the restart, loose ball picked up by Meds’ Fergus, who ran untouched under the post. Minutes later a Meds’ penalty equalled the score-line. 10-10
Westoe played a safe kicking game, gaining territory, despite a strong performance by Meds’ back three who fielded loose balls well, attacking from deep. The Westoe defence stayed firm, Captain Andy Kirton leading from the front, with Blenkinsop and Evans a consent nuisance to the visitors.
Westoe always looked in control; however their Achilles heel saw easy chances wasted by speculative ‘Hail Mary’ passes that went astray. Strong running from Derek Worthington and Jamie Preston continuously threatened Meds’ valiant defence, eventually leading to a scintillating break from Paul Evans setting up hooker James Sant who finished in the corner after 33 minutes. 15-10
Three minutes later, Worthington broke the defence again, with great support play from Gaff to Evans, and finally to Arnold who wove and forced his way through several defenders to bring the half-time score to 20-10 and the early bonus point.
Playing down the Westoe slope and with a slight breeze, the home side again looked to be in control; however continued to hamstring their efforts with wild looping passes rather than the safe option of quick hands and straight running.
It took sixteen minutes for the next score. Again, clean line-out was driven by the forwards, crossing the line for Gaff to score his hat-trick, converted by booth. 27-10
Westoe’s fifth and Gaff’s fourth came from another scrum. Meds received a yellow card for an infringement at the ruck and Westoe opted for the scrum, Gaff picking from the base and crossing with three defenders on him. 32-10
Never giving up, Meds attacked the restart, easily taking the ball from a complacent Westoe team and after some clever forward interplay, Rooney crossed for the visitors. 32-15
With the rain coming down and the clock ticking away, Westoe’s Gaff crossed for his fifth after another dominant line-out. 37-15
Meds’ threw everything into one last attack; however losing the ball, Westoe charged down the hill, Evans again splitting the defence and offloading to full-back, Burrows who out-paced the chasers for an eighth try, converted by Booth. 44-15
Westoe will be pleased with the result, but need to ensure they retain their composure and commitment throughout the full eighty minutes, and finish off chances with direct running and easy passing.
Next week they will have a tough test against fellow league toppers Consett.
The West Nautical sponsored Development team completed the double for the day, winning away to Meds, 29-19