1XV see out thriller at WSM
Weston-super- Mare 27 Bracknell 38
Head of Rugby Dan Ap Dafydd was able to announce a starting XV with just one change from the team that defeated Newbury Blues last week. Guiseppe Salustri replacing Chris Hala'ufia at number 8. James Ingle returned to the match day squad having missed last weeks game. In the WSM starting line was ex-Bracknell player Jack Conway, making his 50th start for WSM.
After a perfectly observed minutes silence it would be WSM that would open the scoring, WSM captain Sam Coates scoring after early WSM pressure after just five minutes.
Bracknell's start would get worse two minutes later when Ross MacDougall was sent to the sin bin by Berkshire referree Andy Green. Capitalising on the man advantage WSM extended their lead with a try from back rower Jack Woodland. Bracknell were twelve points down with barely quarter of an hour gone.
Dan Ap Dafydd introduced Jonny Mirza and James Ingle from the replacement bench to shore Bracknell up. With Bracknell back to full strength a turn over and break by Guiseppe Salustri, some deft offloads between backs and forwards saw James Ingle open Bracknell’s scoring out wide in the corner.
Encouraged by the score Bracknell pressed. They were rewarded when Chris Laidler found a gap in the WSM defence and was able to score and convert his own try.
Just before the break a James Mackay penalty gave WSM the lead at half time.
Half time: Weston-super- Mare 15 Bracknell 12
Bracknell opened the scoring in the second half following a number of drives at the WSM try line Ross MacDougall was able to finally cross from close range.
With their tails up some, with a series of passes the ball found Jiute Tupua out wide for him to touch down for Bracknell’s bonus point try. Chris Laidler converting. 15-24.
Bracknell’s fifth try of the afternoon came from Michael Clarke siezing a loose ball in the Bracknell half. Making make ground the ball was fed to Ben Sanderson to continue the break before a final off load to Gabe Hills saw him finish the move. Chris Laidler converting. 15-31
The drama of the day was not over. With WSM attacking the Bracknell line, Bracknell received their second yellow card of the game. Harry Challenor deemed the offender. An injury to front row Jonny Mirza meant he was unable to re-take the field and the scrums had to be uncontested. As Bracknell could not form a contested scrum they were penalised a further player. As a result for ten minutes it would be WSM 15 players v Bracknell’s 13 players. WSM took full advantage of numbers and closed the gap with a try from winger Robbie Mackay. 20-31
If it had been Bracknell’s plan to wind down the clock until they could get back to full strength, then this message had not got through to Vic Hardwicke (now on for Chris Laidler), who mounting an attack virtually on his own found Peceli Nacamavutu to score under the WSM posts.
With Bracknell still reduced in numbers, WSM were able to claim their bonus point try. Back to full strength Bracknell conceded a further converted try. In the final moments of the game WSM pressed the Bracknell line but were unable to add to the score line.
Full time: Weston-super- Mare 27 Bracknell 38 (Points: Weston-super- Mare 1 Bracknell 5)
A smiling Dan Ap Dafydd said after the game “Highly delighted with today’s win, I think the team played the best we have played for two years.”
The result sees Bracknell jump to tenth in the league and only five points behind Ivybridge in seventh place. Next week they have their first home game of 2018 when they host eleventh placed Camborne. (KO 2.15pm). There is a VP’s lunch so get your placed booked with Sue Field (Clubhouse Manager).
Finally well done to the Stags and the 3XV who both recorded wins in their opening league games of 2018 and both remain top of their respective BBO leagues.
Bracknell: 1. Harry Challenor 2. Michael Clarke (c) 3. Ken Dowding 4. Leo Bailey 5. Liam Goodison 6. Tom Scott 7. Ben Sanderson 8. Guiseppe Salustri 9. Ross MacDougall 10. Chris Laidler 11. Simon Bayliss 12. Peceli Nacamavutu 13. Ian Burch 14. Jiute Tupua 15. Gabe Hills Replacement: 16. Jonny Mirza 17. James Ingle 18. Vic Hardwicke