Westoe continue Winning Streak
Unbeaten in twelve matches with three left to play
Lookers sponsored South Shields Westoe took another positive step in the tight battle for promotion. On a cold, misty evening Westoe entertained local friends Gateshead to Wood Terrace for one of the many catch-up games postponed due to the weather.
Availability issues saw a reshuffled pack with Liam Jackson and Adam Sneller being drafted in for Captain Andrew Kirton and lock Anthony Rumis. Richard Burrows came onto the wing and Joe MacKenzie left his usual spot on the flank to cover the midfield at centre.
From the start both sides looked a little tired and almost in training mode, a far cry from the explosive start we saw on Saturday against Castle.
Looking in control from the off, Westoe edged their way up the famous Wood Terrace slope, combining some strong forward drives with deft back-play; unfortunately though, small errors and knock-ons halted any real attacking chances.
The first score came after 16 minutes following a Gateshead penalty. Westoe kicked for touch and a clean take at the line-out was driven over the line for Raymie Elliott to touch down out wide. 7-0
The Westoe curse struck almost immediately after the re-start. Lapses in concentration and scrappy play allowed Gateshead to push forward and ball spun wide to centre, Tate, who accelerated on a 40m arcing run, through the home defence to score. 7-5
With Gateshead buoyant, they attacked again; however good Westoe line-speed made attacking out wide difficult and a good read by Richard Burrows saw him intercept the ball and speed 80m up the Westoe slope, offloading to Luke Moffett who finished off the last few metres to score. 14-5
Try number three came on 32 minutes, when Westoe’s back-line passed the ball wide right and after a couple of forward drives, recycled and showed simple hands back along the line for Luke Moffett to score his second. 19-5
With a fourteen point lead and now playing down the hill with the breeze on their backs, Westoe were able to cruise the second half. Dominating the scrum and turning over the visitors line-out, they never looked in any real danger of losing and barely got out of second gear.
There was an early blip, when Heelback intercepted a Westoe ball and in a carbon copy repeat ran the length of the pitch, offloading to Arthur who scored Gateshead’s second. 19-12
Westoe replied immediately with a solid scrum, the ball transferred to Derek Worthington, who took route one through the defence to crash over from 25m out, securing the bonus point and increasing the lead. 26-12
Westoe continued to push forward; but were met by some brave defending by a Gateshead side who never gave up. A long line clearance was fielded by Burrows who targeted the centre of the field and made good ground, quick recycled ball was spun along the line finding Luke Moffett who cut back against the grain, finding the perfect line to cross for his hat-trick and Westoe’s fifth of the day. 31-12
The visitors had the last shout on 28 minutes. Fast hands along the line and some good support play gave them the last try of the match. 31-17
With the light fading and the night cooling rapidly, neither side really threatened to score, Westoe received two yellow cards in quick succession; however the remaining 13 players were strong enough to contain any last attacks from the visitors.
A Barnard Castle victory against lead leaders Durham and a convincing win for Consett against Horden means that there’s no change in the top four and the tight run-in continues.
Westoe travel to Gosforth on Saturday, whilst Barnard Castle face Consett in a tough encounter. All Westoe can do now is to win their last three games and await the results around them. Still with a good chance of finishing second and gaining the promotion play-off spot the season promises to be a tight exiting finale.
The West Nautical sponsored Development side are also in action this weekend in the final of the CANDY league cup.
Westoe are the current holders of the cup and will be keen to retain the bragging rights for yet another season. They have seen off some impressive sides in this competition including Hartlepool Heughers who are now sat in 2nd place, and Barnard Castle 2nds who Westoe faced to reach the final.
Saturday sees Westoe Development side travel to Darlington Mowden Park in the Candy Cup final for 15:00 to face a team who should be very strong.
The season as a whole has been an impressive one for everyone involved within the 2nd team with the likes of Mikel Tate, Derek Tighe & Martin Flett having headache after headache for selection and availability issues. This weekend will be no easier as the compacted end to the season throws up many problems with match fatigue and injuries. The side are confident in ending the season on a high by bringing home the cup.
All players should attend the club. Selections will be announced when confirmed.