Westoe Strong in Attack and Defence
Westoe show their potential in all-round Performance.
South Shields Westoe were back in action this week against Novocastrians who sat one place below them in the league and have shown good recent form in both the league and cup runs.
Westoe started up the slope and looked to be in control from the off. Novos gathered well and attacked from within their own half, but the home defence pressed hard and slowly shunted them back up the hill.
Westoe had several scoring opportunities in the early minutes; however urgency and lack of patience led to missed overlaps and rushed decisions, allowing Novos to clear their lines.
The first score came after a frantic seven minutes, with some great running from Novos’ centre, Ward, who fielded a long clearance kick close to his own 22m and sped his way, untouched, under the posts. 0-7
Westoe poured on the pressure with strong running throughout, with Rumis, Younghusband and Worthington causing the initial impacts. Winning a penalty, Westoe kicked to the corner and took a clean line-out. With the maul being dropped just short of the line, Louis Kellett picked and barged his way over for Westoe’s first. 5-7
A further penalty found Westoe again taking clean line-out ball and driving towards the visitors’ line. Again, the maul was dragged down one metre out and scrum half, Sam Seymour, provided quick ball to Derek Worthington to crash through, stopped just short, Seymour was on hand to re-take the pass and thread his way through the slightest of gaps for the score and the lead. 12-7
Novos continued to press when in possession; however the home defence stood firm, forcing their opposition into errors or turnovers.
It took 23 minutes for the first scrum of the day and Westoe appeared to be comfortably in control. A period of strong attacks and determined running were met by a strong defence from the visitors, snubbing several Westoe opportunities.
With Novos still in the fight, Westoe turned over ball and runs from Luke Moffett and Joe McKenzie set up Worthington from twenty metres out, who surged his way through the traffic to score with ten left in the half. 19-7
Westoe were down to fourteen after Joe McKenzie received a yellow card for feet in the ruck; however upped the tempo and went all out for the bonus point try. This came from a scrum; Seymour providing quick ball to Moffett, on to Sam Hughes who broke through the defence and fed back to Moffett for the score. 26-7 HT
Westoe’s old demon reappeared immediately in the second half with a poor restart, the catcher being isolated and hit hard by the visitors. Novos turned on the pressure and several hard carries led to back-row, Ramsey, brushing off the final tackler to keep them in the game. 26-14
Novos came close to another when a brave break-out from their own 22m was almost rewarded; good support play brought them within a couple of metres of the score, a dropped pass denying them.
Further Westoe pressure found Novos clearing their lines and a 22m drop-out was fielded by wing Ross McCauley on the halfway line. Looking more akin to an American Football kick-return, McCauley wove his way through the defence for a fine solo try under the posts. 33-14
With Joe McKenzie back after his ten minute break, Westoe’s power started to tell and drives from Evans, Rumis and a delicate little side-step from Elliott led to McKenzie’s first score. 38-12
This was followed minutes later when a Moffett kick to touch was overthrown by Novos in the line, with McKenzie taking the ball at the tail for the easy run-in and his second. 43-12
Sam Seymour bagged his second of the day to cap off a fine performance with a touch-line sprint into the corner. 50-14
With ten minutes left to play, John Younghusband took his customary route one, over the ruck, after McCauley, Bengston and Seymour combined well in attack. 57 -14
Novos battled hard, looking for at least a bonus point, but with Westoe’s defence on top form their efforts went unrewarded.
Quick ball from the scrum was fed along the line for winger, Evans, to cross for Westoe’s tenth of the day. 62-14
The last play of the day came from a Booth quick tap, feeding to Moffett who found Sam Gaff on the half-way line for the long run-in to end the match with a convincing win for Westoe. 69-14
Despite returning issues at the restarts and some missed early scoring opportunities, Westoe displayed an all-round balanced performance, strong in attack and rock-solid in defence. They still have a couple of gears in the tank and if they can remain patient they are more than a match for anyone in the league.
They dominated both set-piece and open play and showed they have scoring threats throughout the team.
With Durham City beating league leaders Northern, Westoe remain in fourth position with only six points separating the top four. Next week the side travel south to Horden & Peterlee who are always a dangerous proposition and despite not yet firing on all cylinders cannot be taken lightly.
The Development team also came away with a great win against Novos II team, the final score 10-31