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1st XV - Match centre

South Shields Westoe
Sat 20 Jan 14:15 - Northern Division - Durham & Northumberland 1 Full time

Westoe score seven to win 17-47

Solid defence holds off any upset.

Lookers-sponsored South Shields Westoe travelled to Medicals on a Sunny chilly afternoon. On a day where most games were postponed Medicals did a great job on clearing the pitch to allow the game to go ahead.

From the off the conditions took centre stage with neither side managing to string many phases together with the slippery cold ball. Westoe maintained the lion’s share of possession, but struggled at first to break down a sturdy Meds defence.

It took a spark of talent for the first score on 25 minutes. Winger Mark McMahon took a long clearance on his 22m line and proceeded to weave his way through the defence past the half-way line, offloading to Derek Worthington who continued the move into Meds 22. Quick recycled ball was fed to Worthington again, this time repaying the favour to McMahon, who touched down under the posts. 0-7

Seven minutes later and down to fourteen men after a Zach Clark yellow card, Westoe were awarded a penalty and opted for the scrum. After a huge drive to the line, Sam Gaff picked the ball and dove over the line for Westoe’s second. 0-14

Westoe continued to force the play with solid drives, Joe McKenzie and Derek Worthington standing out.

With the half coming to a close, Jamie Preston broke down the wing where a good cover tackle stopped him twenty metres short. Quick to his feet, he regained the ball and fed Luke Moffett, who quickly fed Zach Clark to cross for Westoe try number three. 0-21

The final play of the game saw the bizarre sight of second-row John Younghusband hoofing the ball 60m downfield to bounce into touch and end the half.

The second half started with a Meds resurgence and found Westoe complacent. Within three minutes they converted a penalty to gain their first points on the scoreboard. 3-21

Almost immediately, a poor clearance kick from Westoe was returned by a fired-up Meds side 50m down the wing, with Medicals speedy right-wing out-pacing the defence to score their first try of the day. 10-21

Medicals kept the pressure high and Westoe needed to ensure good line-speed and solid tackling to hold the home side at bay. This was Medical’s best period of attack; however the Westoe defence managed to hold firm.

A penalty to Westoe was kicked long and the line-out taken cleanly by Andrew Kirton, with the ensuing drive being expertly controlled by prop Rob Scorer, who forced his over and touched down for his first ever try for Westoe firsts, securing the four-try bonus point. 10-26

There was some confusion here, with the referee wrongly recording this as a score for Medicals.

Medicals did add to their tally immediately from the restart, when loose ball was gathered by their open-side flanker who sped towards the line. Brought down close, the ball was recycled and Medicals lively scrum-half finished the job for their second of the day. 17-26

With the game still in the balance, Westoe upped the tempo; Haydn Richards split the defence in two and charged thirty metres downfield, finding Derek Worthington who linked well with McMahon, putting him under the posts for Westoe’s fifth of the day. 17-33

The centre pairing of Worthington and Clark set up number six, after strong drives down the centre of the field leading to a series of pick and goes from the forwards, culminating in Ryan Lamb forcing his way over. 17-40

Westoe finished the match with one last score from a scrum near the halfway mark. Driving forward, Sam Gaff picked and attacked the space, finding Paul Evans in support who angled away from the pursuing defenders to score Westoe’s seventh of the day. 17-47

Hats off to both sides who managed some great rugby in terrible conditions and a special thank-you to Meds for the work getting the pitch playable.

Next week, Westoe face Consett at home in a must win match.

Quilter Kids First Champions winner – November: Hinckley RFC

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Consett 26 111
2. Durham City 26 111
3. South Shields Westoe 26 108
4. Barnard Castle 25 103
5. Horden and Peterlee 26 71
6. Gateshead 24 60
7. Hartlepool Rovers 26 57

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