Development Team v Horden & Peterlee
A Game Of Fire & Ice
Match Report - Mikel Tate
On a day where very few sporting matches were played in the North-East, West Nautical sponsored South Shields Westoe moved their fixture against Horden & Peterlee to the all-weather pitch at Harton Technology College. The day was miserable, windy and extremely cold!
Westoe Development lined up against the travelling side who had beaten them in their previous two battles this season, but with the weather to play a part and a strong team, the development side seemed optimistic.
Straight from the kick off this was going to be an exciting game of rugby for the neutrals with the away side's outside centre evading tackles to run from the half way line to dive over the line and with the conversation missed this had taking the score to 0-5 within the opening minutes.
Immediately after the kick off, second row Louis Kellett went on one of his destroying runs knocking the opposition down like they were bowling pins only to be held up over the line. Kellett was not done there after a good solid scrum against the usual enormous Horden pack Kellett picked up the ball from the base of the ruck and charged over the line and with Graeme Tiffin returning to the squad the kick was never in doubt 7-5.
Westoe continued to battle against the weather and the opposition, with the weather seeming to get the better of both sides. Scrumhalf Tom Younghusband who has been away recently provided a steady platform for the team to pile the pressure on the away side with an excellent kick over the top to bounce nicely in to touch. From this line out Westoe won the front ball and it was quickly shipped out to winger Craig Olugbode who was just sort of the line. The ball was worked back to the centre of the park where prop Jon Gregg took the ball under one hand and barged his way over the line at the 15 minute mark, the conversation again was good from Tiffin, 14-5.
With the game pushing in to the home sides hands, Horden were never just going to roll over and accept defeat. Roughly the 30 minute mark Horden pounced on the development side's complacency to score another forward try, this time it was their prop who crashed over the line and with the conversation missed the score was 14-10 with half time within sight.
Straight after the kick off Horden recycled the ball very effectively stretching the home sides defence to leave a big enough gap for the outside centre to run through only to be met by the covering Liam Jackson who denied the away side what looked like a certain try. Westoe were penalised shortly after this awarding Horden the penalty where they quickly tapped and went sending their hooker over the line untouched, with this converted it took the score to 14-17 with only 2 minutes to half time.
With one last play of the dice for Westoe in the first half who kicked the ball short which was gathered back by Westoe. Westoe showed their composure with another clever kick from scrum half Younghusband who repeated his previous kick putting Horden back in to their 22. The ball was won and worked back well from the attacking maul where prop Jon Gregg settled the half with a great team try, converted by fly half Tiffin the score at half time was 21-17.
H/T – 21-17
The second half was underway and the weather started to take a turn for the worse. What can only be described as a small blizzard had started and the game was in the middle of it! As Westoe battled hard Jack Weddell (outside centre) gave a little show and go to burst through a gap from half way to be brought down just shy of the try line. The home side battled hard and a little pop to winger Morgan Lowrie who cut inside to put the ball over line it what has been his first game of rugby all season. With Tiffin to take the extras the score was now 28-17.
From this Horden would add a further two unanswered tries leaving Westoe hanging on with the score 28-31.
Yet again the away side were back knocking on Westoe’s door. It seemed like endless phases before Horden finally broke free of a challenge for their scrumhalf to fling himself from the base of the ruck over the whitewash and then converted his own try, 28-38. Westoe knew that the next score was crucial and would decide the outcome of the game.
The second half was a lot tighter affair then the first with a lot more errors by both sides taking the sting out of the game. Winger Cameron Hamilton who had been playing well, picked up from the base of the ruck and barrelled his way over and Tiffin taking the extras it brought the score to 35-38.
Westoe were into the finals minutes of the game when a penalty was awarded to them for not rolling away. Screams from the side line ordering Tiffin to take the points, which he did and had done all day, 38-38.
F/T – 38-38
Man of the Match – Louis Kellett
The result was a massive one for the development side who’s skill was tested against Hordens size and a game for the neutrals as long as they could brave the weather. This draw sees the development XV take 2nd spot in the league with few games remaining. It has been a positive season for everyone involved within the set up with a top 4 place now guaranteed and a place in the final of the candy cup (fixture yet to be played).
Westoe will take this positive step in to the final against Darlington Mowden Park and hopefully put the cherry on top of the cake with what has been a great season.