Rovers 31 West 17

By Dave Picken - December 28 2019
Rovers 31 West 17 After fighting our way back to within two points of our hosts we looked the most likely to sneak a typical hard fought Boxing Day game. Unfortunately, it was Rovers who girded their loins and strong running earned them two late tries to deservedly take the game 31-17.

This was the first victory for the black, white and reds since 2008 and came after both clubs had sufferedas poor run in their respective leagues.

We had a much changed team and an experienced set of players in the bar before the game rather than doing the team run.

Once again Chris Atkins was immense and yet again unfortunate that when he did make a mistake it was punished.

He got us up and running after 12 minutes when he sent Lewis Scott in at the right corner for a decent finish.

Rovers responded with Liam Wood touching down and Daz Fawcett’s conversion making it 7-5.

Our first upo tackling let us down again when Stephen Railton sped from his own 22 d0ornw the right wing and he made it all the way to the line for a tremendous solo try.

We were still discussing that when Alex Rochester finished after Fawcett had raced clear.

There were plenty of handling errors by both sides which led to some entertaining scores and Matt Siddle – deputising for the injured Ryan Painter – collected a punt outside his 22earkly in tghe second half and nipped his way through the defence to reduce the arrears.

Captain Peter Youll finished off more West pressure with a strong run to the line from a line-out and at 19-17 it was game on.

We had had the majority of the territory in the second half but Rovers responded with some genuine heart and aggression - led by the mercurial Liam Wood - and our tiring troops failed to deal with the late surge.

Patrick O’Callaghan scored after Wood broke down the right after the unfortunate Atkins lost the ball in the tackle, and in the dying moments Liam Armstrong finished things off.

Rovers: Harrison, S Railton, S Barnfield, Gunn, Keers, Fawcett, Rochester, Pinchen, M Saunders, Lloyd, Langley, Charters, L Armstrong (sin bin 58), Wood, Whitehead (captain). Subs: Little, A Smith, D Smith, Dring, Bird, Vincent, O’Callaghan, Maguire.

West: Southern, Scott, Hilditch, Youll (captain), Tennant, Connolly, Siddle, Pennick, Jackson-Smith, Coates, Linighan, Tyers, B Armstrong, Brown, Atkins. Subs: Quinn, Borthwick, Johnston (sin bin 68), Mould, Jamieson, Hadwen, Morgan.

Referee: Mark Harrington.