Tribute South West 1 – West

North Petherton 15 – Newent 14

Saturday 3rd February 2018

Report By Simon Freeman

A highly physical match with two teams at different ends of the table produced an entertaining full-on battle. Petherton tackling for their lives for long periods had to withstand quick strong runners and a team who varied their tactics. The tackle count was again high but confidence from the previous week showed the trust between players.

The visitors started the stronger and playing down the slope took the game to Pethy. The first up tackling from the home team was strong and organised. Carl Jones, Sam Williams and Dan Morgan continued their form from last week with some gritty defending and offering themselves as a battering rams all afternoon. However, the physicality of the game had its pitfalls as within the space of ten minutes Petherton lost Jack Coles and Ben Freeman to injuries.

Pethy made their first telling moment when James Taylor made a midfield break supported by the returning Damian Griffin who jinxed around his man and found Olly Graham who ran an intelligent line in support. Pethy began to find some field position and moved the ball cross field with Lewis Allen coming off his wing but Newent had most bases covered.

The first score came from more good work from the forwards with Aiden Cotton prominent and the ball moving down the left side with numerous backs combining and an interchange of passes between Mike Stevens and Griffin saw the former speed over from 35m in the corner (5-0).

This only spurred the visitors into more action and Petherton having to work overtime in defence with Mac Taylor, Greg Charlton, Tom Hillman and Eryk Luczka putting in some vital work at crucial times. Newent continued to hold the upper hand with possession and after numerous phases of smashing it up decided to vary the game and a clever little grubber bought them their rewards with a converted try (5-7). The remainder of the half witnessed a sterling defensive display from Pethy particularly from the forwards who made life difficult at every breakdown. The half ended in the Pethy 22 with Nic Sestaret gathering the ball and wisely kicking it out.

The second half began with Pethy taking the game to the visitors, strong runs from Williams and Hillman putting Petherton in an attacking position but the Newent back row just did enough to spoil the opportunity.The Pethy forwards again pressurised the visitors in the lineout and the lively Jones saw his chance to make a charge down and his endeavour was rewarded with a try (10-7).

As previously, Newent bounced back with vigour and attacked with variety. When they kicked they sent two speedsters with it which made life difficult for the Pethy back three to attack. The game remained hard and on a couple of occasions the official had to speak to the two captains.

The visitors began to retain possession and force Pethy into conceding a couple of penalties, however, the defence was committed well led by Dominik Griffin. Newent liked to attack from the set-piece and use their big runners around the corner and with another bit of delicacy another grubber saw them go over for their second converted try (10-14).

As the game entered the final ten minutes the collisions seemed more intense as little niggles resurfaced. Pethy threw their big runners, Charlton, Williams, Jones, and Cotton at the visitors who defended superbly and nothing was getting through. Newent still attacked when they could and looked dangerous, only tackles from Adam Wright and Sestaret prevented the visitors from breaking out.

The last five minutes began in the Newent 22 with Pethy again throwing everything they could muster. Newent looked like they had relieved the pressure but Pethy had other ideas and after a series of brutal drives Charlton reached out bulldozed his way over (15-14).

Newent re-started and put immediate pressure on Pethy who continued to defend in typical fashion until the official awarded the visitors a kickable penalty, which to the relief of the home players and supporters drifted inches wide. The rest is history but what a game and the spirit of the Pethy players was just enough to beat a very good visiting team.

Team – Mike Stevens, Lewis Allen, Ben Freeman, James Taylor, Damian Griffin, Nic Sestaret, Dominik Griffin, Eryk Luczka, Mac Taylor, Aiden Cotton, Jack Coles, Greg Charlton, Carl Jones, Sam Williams, Dan Morgan

Replacements (All used): – Adam Wright, Olly Graham, Tom Hillman