Westoe win after Acklam assault
South Shields Westoe travelled to face Acklam on a sunny Autumnal day in Teesside.
Playing up the slope, against the wind and with the sun in their faces, Westoe also needed to cope with a side who started with a lively determined attack.
Lacking the normal ferocity and patterns in defence, Westoe staggered their way through the first half, whilst the home side caused some concerns with several strike runners, too often allowed to break through the tackle.
Following a penalty kicked to touch, Westoe hit the scoreboard first with a well-taken catch and drive, with Sean Ramsay touching down after a 20m rolling maul. 0-7
Acklam came back quickly with a 30m break from fly-half, Sudron, cutting straight through Westoe’s midfield for the equaliser after 17 minutes. 7-7
Acklam continued to press, with Sudron and winger, Abrahams looking dangerous, as Westoe’s usual defensive line-speed was replaced with an almost laid back attitude giving the home side far too much space.
With ten minutes of the half to play, Acklam struck again; Sudron shrugging off the tackler with ease and passing wide to winger, Hughes to take the lead. 14-7
The half ended with a yellow card for Westoe’s Rumis, adjudged to have led with the head whilst entering a ruck.
Westoe looked comfortable at the half, despite falling short of their usual play. They edged the scrummage and controlled the line-outs, with John Younghusband and Sean Ramsay taking everything in the air. Debut scrum-half, Sam Seymour had a solid half, with some nifty snipes around the breakdown and quick distribution to the back-line.
Now playing with the conditions, Westoe looked to be in control of the match, working their way downfield with a series of tactical kicks from Luke Moffett and organised line-outs.
Opting for a scrum after an Acklam penalty, Westoe picked from the base and following several drives, Ramsay barged his way over for his second, tying the match. 14-14
Acklam received a yellow for killing the ball at the ruck, allowing Westoe to clear their lines. Another clean line-out was fed to Paul Evans to finish off the score with a 30m blistering run down the line. 14-21
Westoe never looked like losing this one; however Acklam were not about to make it easy and they harried their visitors at every opportunity, forcing mistakes and cutting out attacks. Westoe were guilty of too much lateral movement and struggled at times to make forward progress.
The bonus point score came on 57 minutes, with another clean take at the line, Ryan Lamb touching down to take the score. 14-26
With fifteen left to play, Westoe sealed the win with the first Raymie Elliott score. Line-out ball was spun wide right, then reversed to the opposite wing for Elliott to bounce off two tacklers and dive over. 14-31
With minutes left to play, Westoe ran a back-peel from the line-out, Elliott taking the ball and barging over for his second and Westoe’s sixth of the day. 14-36
The match ended with a score from Acklam’s winger, Abrahams, who caught Westoe napping at the restart, crossing in the corner for a consolation try. Final score 19-36
Certainly not the most impressive game for the spectators, with the conditions causing both sides issues with handling, Westoe will be pleased with the result.
Acklam fought hard throughout and caused the Westoe defence a few issues that will need to be rectified before next week’s match.
Lacking the normal ferocity and determination, Westoe still maintained control of the game and came away with the five-point victory. This bodes well for the season; however they will need to return to previous form before facing an unbeaten Durham City next week.
The Development team travelled to face a strong Alnwick side, losing by 86-0. This season has seen the side promoted to the CANDY League 1 – a huge jump in standard of play for the predominately social side. This reiterates the need for all players to attend training and work on structure of play, as they will face extremely organised teams throughout the year.