Westoe’s Wall of Defence sets up Victory
South Shields Westoe entertained Ponteland at Wood Terrace Saturday looking to return to winning ways after two consecutive losses.
On a sunny, breezy afternoon, Pont took an early lead, when after less than a minute, Westoe were penalised whilst catching the kick-off. 0-3
Playing up the slope, Westoe were soon in ascendancy with some exciting passages of play, defended well by the visitors who showed good line-speed and big hits. Ten minutes in and Westoe displayed some festival flowing rugby, starting on their own 10m line with both forwards and backs linking well to work their way up towards the visitors’ line. With big drives coming from Anthony Rumis, Ryan Lamb and Raymie Elliott, they set up the backs to dazzle their way over with a fine finish from Jordan Damms. 7-0
Westoe were immediately penalised again, for offside at the restart, giving Pont the opportunity to kick for goal and close the gap to one. 7-6
Working their way back up the pitch, Westoe dominated the scrum and Chris Judson threw the flat pass to Derek Worthington, who took a great line through the defence to score. 14-6
On 20mins, further pressure saw Luke Moffett putting in a well-placed kick, with wingers Paul Evans and Louis Hagan combining well to make the hit and hold the ball up, winning the scrum. Quick hands along the backs fed Jordan Damms out wide, only denied the score by strong tackling. The ball was quickly recycled and spun wide, where Ryan Lamb bulldozed his way to the line with superb support play from Sean Ramsay, who crossed near the posts. 21-6
The second period saw Westoe ease slightly and Ponteland had their best attacking period of the match; however despite some dangerous running the Westoe’s Iron Defence held firm and the visitors rarely looked like threatening the line.
Westoe’s Evans received a yellow card after 32 minutes and Ponteland pressed hard for the score; yet the fourteen man defence stepped up with some huge hits and well-organised patterns.
Now playing down the slope and with a fresh breeze on their backs, Westoe exploded into action, scoring three tries in ten minutes and pretty much sewed up the match.
The first came from scrum ball, Derek Worthington again breaking through tackles and offloading to Anthony Rumis who smashed his way under the posts for the bonus point score. 28-6
Try number five was set up by bludgeoning runs from Jamie Hughes and Raymie Elliott. Recycled ball again coming to Worthington who made yet another line-break to feed centre Sam Hughes to finish off the move, evading the last defenders to score. 35-6
Drives from Hayden Richards and Raymie Elliott set up the backs, and quick transfer of the ball gave Louis Hagan just enough space to arc around the defence and score. 40-5
Westoe continues to press; however the next twenty minutes found them frustratingly on the receiving end of every 50-50 decision, with good opportunities coming to nought.
With less than ten to play, Luke Moffett spotted the gap and chipped to the corner for Jordan Damms for his second and Westoe’s seventh of the day. 45-0
The final whistle came with a solo effort from Derek Worthington who broke through tackles to storm across under the posts rounding off a solid performance. Final score 52-6
Westoe should be extremely pleased with both the victory and the manner they earned it. A back-bone built on some punishing defence prevented Ponteland from ever getting a grip of the match and allowed front-foot ball when in attack.
Man-of-the-match was awarded to Louis Hagan who was a constant threat in attack and snubbed out any attack that came his way. There was also fine season debuts for Jack Blenkinsop and Jordan Damms, and new signing Adam Robinson showed some pace out wide, only narrowly missing out on a score in his first match for the club.
Westoe make the long journey to Whitby next week and will start as favourites, with their opponents currently sitting at the foot of the table, yet to win a match. Westoe will need to ensure they stick to their processes and not take their opponents for granted as Whitby may cause a few upsets at home.
Some of the older supporters may remember the year that Westoe lost out on promotion, having been the only side in the league to lose against Whitby, who caught Westoe off-guard. That and the six hour journey home following a snow-plough.
The Development team had a hard day at the office against Tynedale, losing to Tynedale 21-97. With this season’s promotion to CANDY League 1, they will face some stern opposition and will hopefully see great improvements as a result. Currently missing a number of players due to injury, they will only get better as they progress.