Weybridge Vandals 24pts Gosport and Fareham 17pts
After last week's defeat a fine effort gave Vandals a well-earned victory against a side who battled hard and went close to snatching a draw in the dying embers of the game. They perhaps should have won more convincingly particularly when Gosport lost 2 players to the sin bin. Failing to score in the second of these periods kept the visitors in the game , and their tenacious spirit and driving play had Vandals on the defensive for much of the last quarter, but they tackled superbly and their fourth and last try was just reward for their commitment.
Vandals did not start well, twice knocking on and conceding a penalty which Gosport converted to give them an early lead. A break by the Gosport centre looked dangerous but they were penalised for crossing and when they infringed again the referee produced the first yellow card. A great scrum by Vandals and defence splitting run by George Bolster saw the full back over for a try in the corner. From the restart Vandals ripped into the defence again but a forward pass gave Gosport some respite. It was short lived as vandals won a good line out ball and after phase ball, No 8 Joshua Carter burst through for the try which fly half Harry Wetherall converted to give vandals a 12-3 lead.
From the restart Gosport briefly threatened but a timely we turnover gave centre Ollie Day the opportunity to sprint down the touchline only to be held up by a desperate defence. The 12 - 3 score line remained the same until half time although both sides had chances to add to their score in the minutes leading up to the interval.
Vandals were first into their stride at the start of the second period with Bolster again, and flanker Darren Lockyer, linking well to take play deep into Gosport half. But their defence held firm and with close support play they drove well into vandals 22. |But the home side again tackled with gusto causing Gosport to lose their discipline. 2 penalties in quick succession saw Vandals moving the ball wide and forcing a scrum from which an angled run from captain and centre Harry Reed created the gap to score under the posts for a simple conversion. At 19-3, more try at this point in the match would have put the game firmly in Vandals pocket, but it was Gosport who bounced back winning phase after phase and this constant flow of possession eventually brought them 2 tries. First rolling over from a set scrum and the second again initially from a scrum but driving over for the score after moving the ball to midfield. Now only 2 points adrift at 19 -17 Gosport appeared to be in the ascendancy but Vandals aggressive defence winning several crucial turnovers and then an attacking 5m scrum from which full back Bolster powered over again in the corner. The conversion attempt could not add to the extras and Gosport piled on the pressure in the minutes remaining. Vandals dug deep to hang on to their precious 7-point lead, but with barely a minute remaining they conceded a penalty. The referee called the last play allowing Gosport to go for an attacking line out 5 metres out. A clean catch and drive would surely see them score. But they could not secure the clean ball and Vandals gleefully booted into touch to confirm their victory.
Written by John Farrow