Western Counties West

Wellington 53, Bideford 26

WELLINGTON remain in title contention after beating Bideford in their final home game of the season on Saturday.

In front of large crowd at the Athletic Ground, the team were determined to give the home faithful a performance to remember and they did not disappoint, producing some excellent rugby and running in some scintillating tries in the process.

Sandy Kiddle came in for the suspended Danny Lee, while George Hodgson was a late withdrawal due to illness, and was replaced in the starting XV by Ash Harney, with Alex Davey named on the bench.

Playing towards the clubhouse and with the wind at their backs, the Red & Blacks started strong and went onto dominate the half, both in terms territory and possession.

Centre Nev Pitman was the first to score, which was followed by tries from wingers Ash Harney and Tyler Hart, second row Martin Walker and a second by Pitman just before the half ended.

Full-back Rob Hooper converted two of the tries as the R&Bs went into the half-time break leading 29-12.

The second half mirrored the first in terms of possession and territory, the exception being Bideford started the stronger and were the first to score.

However, normal service soon resumed and the hosts ran in four more tries, via Pitman with his third, Hooper, replacement Davey and Pitman’s fellow centre Vinny Gordon.

Hooper converted two of these tries to make the final score 53-26 to the R&Bs.

It was a difficult afternoon for Bideford but fair play to them, they only really had six scoring chances during the game.

They exploited four of these chances to score four well-engineered tries, three of which were converted, to get a valuable try bonus point.

Wellington: J.Richards, J.Dyke, R.Marke, R.Walker, M.Walker, L.Phillips, C.Kitto, C.Venn, D.Goldstone, P.Jarman(c), T.Hart, V.Gordon, N.Pitman, R.Hooper, A.Harney, S.Kiddle, O.Price, A.Davey

The previous two weeks was a question of digging deep to get themselves back into the game, but this week was a step up on the form ladder for Wellington.

The forwards laid down a good platform for the three-quarter to work with – all of the squad can be proud of their contributions.

The front row boys of Jack Richards, Joe Dyke, Ryan Marke and Ollie Price, backed up by the Walker brothers in the second row gave their opposite numbers, a torrid time in the tight.

The back row quartet of Cam Venn, Chris Kitto, Liam Phillips and replacement Sandy Kiddle covered every blade of grass all afternoon.

The three-quarters always looked dangerous with ball in hand; captain Paddy Jarman caused problems all afternoon with some incisive breaks, Rob Hooper impressed on his first outing at fullback and Ash Harney looked sharp in his first start since returning from injury.

Next week sees the R&Bs make the short trip over the Blackdown Hills to Chard.

When the two sides met in the very first game of the season the R&Bs run out worthy winners in what was a highly entertaining encounter.

Chard are currently lying third from bottom and will be desperate to get the win to ensure their league position for next season.

The final away game of the season, as all the other away games were, will be difficult; the R&Bs will need to produce one of their best performances of the season if they are to get the result.