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RUGBY: Wellington fight back for victory
8:31am Monday 3rd September 2012 in Sport
Wellington had to battle all the way on Saturday to earn a 20-19 home victory over Devonport Services.
It was back down to earth with a bump for the home side following their dominant performance the week before as the Services side presented them with a far tougher proposition.
The match was preceded by a minutes silence for Vice presidents and members, Ken Lane, John Pincombe, Pete Langdon and Martin Leigh-Firbanks, who passed away during the summer.
Early play went the home side’s way but the first score in the tenth minute went to Devonport as Wellington conceded the first of perhaps too many penalties, to allow the steady Services fly half, Matt Anstis to convert.
The hosts responded five minutes later also with a three pointer landed by steady full back Mark Nichols.
They then scored the opening try of the season and the best of the match when one of the two debutants, wing Ben Gamlin - the other being scrum half Matt Ransom - caught a clearance kick and took off across the field where the ball quickly was quickly transferred to his wing partner Ali Taylor who made no mistake.
There followed a messy period of play with neither side getting on top until a break by Welly broke down as a slightly over-ambitious pass out behind was not gathered and the visitors pounced with centre Harrison Elliot reaching the fly hacked ball in the in-goal area first.
Anstis converted to regain the lead for the Plymothians and he also added a further penalty before the end of the half.
Things got worse in the second half with the away No10 adding a drop goal and another penalty to really put the pressure on at 19-8.
The Red and Blacks gave themselves hope and a real chance as they got the ball out in the Clubhouse corner and won the resulting lineout cleanly for the first time in the match.
The resulting drive could not be resisted by the visitors and ex colts captain Dan Moore got the ball down for the try.
The kick was missed but the momentum was gradually shifting back to the home side.
The expectation was not misplaced as they continued to press forward despite going down to fourteen men having used all their eight rolling substitutions when back row man Chris Kitto limped off with a thigh strain.
An attack on the left saw the ball recycled and spun right to the always dangerous wingman Taylor who repeated his earlier finish to reduce the deficit to just one point with the conversion to come.
The cool-headed Nichols showed no doubt as he calmly stroked the ball through the uprights for the lead and subsequently the win.