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RUGBY: Wellington 2nds so close to dramatic victory
6:30pm Monday 2nd December 2013 in Somerset Sport
WELLINGTON 2nds put in another gutsy performance in Tribute Somerset 1 on Saturday and were unlucky not to sneak the win with the last move of the match against a North Petherton 2nd XV who eventually prevailed 16-11.
It was a very young side that took to the field on a bright but chilly afternoon, and with little wind the conditions were perfect for running rugby.
The hosts started strongly, battering the Wellington line with their large forwards and it required every player in red and black to defend stoutly. Unfortunately Neville Pitman took a knock to the head following one try saving tackle and he was replaced with American Football convert John Myers on the wing.
After repelling numerous attacks Wellington gained some territory and were awarded a scrum on the Petherton 22m line. Captain Chris Hughes had the presence of mind to utilise what is normally a training ground defensive move to put centre Andrew Bellamy into enough space for him to score his fourth try of the season. Tom Sargent was unlucky to miss the conversion.
Petherton responded eight minutes later when they set up another one of their impressive driving mauls to force their way over the line. With the conversion also missed the teams changed ends with the scores level.
For the first ten minutes of the second half it seemed that Wellington were starting to tire and Petherton took full advantage scoring another try and a penalty in quick succession. However, as they have shown all season, this Wellington outfit will not simply lie down and they dug deep to get back into the game.
The second row partnership of Mike Steer and Oli Pepperill, who are just 19 and 18, seemed to be at every breakdown, causing all sorts of problems for the opposition or securing vital ball for the backs. Dan Hinton, playing out of position at scrum half, excelled in the open style of play and constantly found gaps in the defence and gained good ground.
With Wellington working their way back into the match Petherton started to infringe more often and following one misdemeanour Sargent reduced the points deficit with a well taken penalty. This was cancelled out almost immediately when Petherton gratefully accepted their own penalty chance directly in front of the Wellington posts. They could have also scored a match winning try two minutes later if it was not for the excellent defensive work of 17-year-old Liam Symons at full-back.
With the hosts leading 16-8 and with ten minutes to go it looked like Wellington would be leaving the Beggars Brook ground empty handed, however when the referee awarded another penalty one minute from full time, Hughes made the sensible decision to instruct Sargent to attempt the kick and gain a vital losing bonus point. Sargent made no mistake and was successful with the tricky 3 points.
There was still time for more drama however as Wellington fielded the Petherton restart and launched a final attack. The ball was kept alive beautifully and recycled at great pace. Finally it found its way to Myers on the wing who just had one man to beat to get to the line. Unfortunately as he stepped around the last defender his foot was adjudged to have been in touch and the fairy tale ending was denied.
Wellington: Tredwin, Dyke Westcott Steer, Pepperill, Harwood, Davey, Hughes, Hinton, Sargent, Pitman, Bellamy, Browne, Spurway, Symons, Perry, Page, Myers.