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RUGBY: Wellington held to frustrating draw
5:10pm Sunday 22nd September 2013 in Sport
WELLINGTON drew 15-15 at home to Kingsbridge in the Tribute Western Counties West league yesterday.
The game developed into a dour and exceedingly frustrating encounter with neither side able to really get a grip on proceedings.
Wellington were hampered by conceding 16 penalties to the visitors' ten, saw three of their players sin-binned against one from Kingsbridge and had a penalty try awarded against them.
The home crowd were understandably unhappy at the final whistle although they nevertheless maintained impressive discipline.
It all looked rather different five minutes into the match when hooker and vice captain John Hendy received a pass from scrum half Matt Parsons following a tap free kick deep in the Kingsbridge 22 to score.
Fly half Paddy Dean slotted the conversion from wide out and matters looked set for a positive result for the Red and Blacks.
Matters deteriorated almost immediately when the first of many penalties was awarded against the home side and was converted by the visitors' fly half Ben Newman.
A further period of pressure followed from which lock Sean Woodland went over for an unconverted try for Kingsbridge to take the lead.
Parsons received a yellow card for what the referee saw as injudicious rucking on the half hour but this never daunted the home spirit with Dean desperately unlucky not to be awarded a try after he gave the visiting defence the slip following a charging run from prop Craig Shore.
Second row Mike Steer became the second home player to be invited to take a breather by the referee as he decided that he had seen enough of the home side handling the ball on the deck, however parity was partly restored with the re-introduction of Parsons soon after.
The visitors were ramping up the pressure though and several drives took them dangerously close to the home try-line.
With another penalty kick being put into touch in the corner the Devonians caught and again drove forward but this time the match official decided the move was illegally foiled and awarded a penalty try which was converted by full back George Banfield.
As a result another home player was despatched to the bin and the half ended with the visitors 15-7 in the lead. But with a two player advantage the Chiefs had performed magnificently to keep the deficit down.
Another player received a yellow two minutes into the second period, this time a Kingsbridge prop, for dragging a maul down as the Welly pack was marching forward in the opposition 22 but no penalty try was forthcoming on this occasion.
The home side reduced the arrears when Parsons again took another tap free kick from a scrum and just darted over but Dean was unable to add the extras.
Both sides worked commendably hard to land the knockout blow but chances went begging for both as the game became rather featureless.
With ten minutes left matters were put into balance as Kingsbridge conceded a penalty. Dean this time made no mistake to set up an intense final effort from both sides.
The visitors missed a difficult penalty and then declined to take another shot at goal shortly after.
Despite each team's best efforts there were to be no more scores and the points were shared at the end.
A couple of unusual features cropped up during the course of the match with numerous free kicks being awarded for crooked feeding as directed by the new law interpretations of the procedures at set scrums which have sadly given this aspect of the game the appearance of a slightly more vigorous form of uncontested scrum.
Hooker Hendy also managed to snaffle a couple of strikes against head but he was penalised for having a foot up before the ball was delivered on one occasion an offence which has been almost unheard of for a number of years.