West 24 Chester 20

By El Pedro - February 25 2012
West 24 Chester 20
Try A fine performance and probably our most impressive win of the season so far, given it came against a Chester side who had been sitting second in the table and had beat us so convincingly 32-0 back in October. 

The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty after 5 minutes for hands in the ruck and in the early stages showed signs that we could again be in for a tough afternoon. Their strong running backs saw plenty of the ball and looked threatening with every touch.

A penalty and yellow card for their number eight Will Bown for a stray boot helped us gain some field position and despite losing Chocky Davies to the sin-bin minutes later for a retaliatory shove after the whistle had gone we did begin to show signs of breaking down the visiting defence. Gareth Foreman had twice made half-breaks from fly-half but with a little over 20 minutes on the clock he was called in to action at scrum-half when brother Andrew was forced to leave the field when a heavy collision left him with a suspected broken jaw.

It looked like being a big blow to our chances but, in the short term, the positional change immediately produced a try as from the scrum restart after the injury Gareth broke from the base, beat the full-back and scored under the posts for a superb individual try. Stu Waites, now at fly-half, made no mistake with the conversion and we led 7-3.

Chester's response was immediate as they took only 2 minutes to retake the lead. It was all too easy as they worked the ball upfield through a series of phases eventually resulting in a try for Tom Blackwel, converted by Lloyd Hayes.

Waites tied the scores at 10 with a penalty on the half hour set up by a super break from Jon Boatman from inside our own half, followed up by a quick tap penalty and good support play from Adam Coates.

As time ran out in the half another tap penalty got us field position inside the 22 and Davies took the ball at pace from 5 metres out and couldn't be stopped, again touching down under the posts to make Waites job easy with the conversion. A high tackle and two sets of extra 10 metres for dissent did allow Hayes to peg 3 points back in injury time but we could be more than happy with a good first half performance against a side clearly full of good players.

Waites slid a penalty wide in the early stages of the second half and as both teams tightened up their defences scoring opportunities seemed much harder to come by than in the opening 40. Adam Coates' burst up the right touchline looked like producing a try but he was stopped just short and a professional foul from full-back Sean Green saw him despatched to the sin-bin but did prevent us coming away with any points.

We finally stretched our lead with a try from Liam Bailey on 63 minutes. Foreman and Jon Boatman were again involved, drawing the defence and allowing Bailey an easy run in on the right. Waites' conversion made it 24-13 but as they had in the first half Chester bounced straight back with a try from Will Bown just 3 minutes later, closing the gap to just 4 points again.

It left a nervy 10 minutes plus a lengthy period of injury time during which both sides had chances to score. Mistakes proved costly for the visitors as three times dropped passes resulted in knock-ons when they looked like building an attacking position. In the end a losing bonus point was definitely deserved as they had contributed to a fine afternoon of rugby. From a West point of view this was a terrific result and the start of what can hopefully be a run of victories at Brinkburn that will see us push towards the top end of the table.

West: Waites, C Cheslin, A Cheslin, Watson (Moss 50), Butcher, G Foreman, A Foreman (Edwards 22), Carr, Bailey, Coates, Davies, Lloyd (Hogan 65), D Boatmam, J Boatman, Taylor.

Tries: G Foreman, Davies, Bailey
Cons: Waites 3
Pen: Waites

YC: Davies [12]

Chester:  Sean Green, Pete Rees, Tom Blackwel, Noam Devey, Marcus Lyon, Lloyd Hayes, Josh Leach, Calin Tacu, Liam Gill, Nathan Sandland-Jones, Llion Jones, James Purdy, Aled Zachary, Brad Nicholson, Will Bown [capt]. Reps: Matt Thomas, Barry Holmes, Adrian Dakers

Tries: Blackwel, Bown
Cons: Hayes 2
Pens: Hayes 2

YC: Bown [11], Green [52]