Somerset Premier
Old Redcliffians 2nd XV 24, Wiveliscombe 0

WIVELISCOMBE had a bad day at the office after losing to a robust Reds team who adapted to the conditions and played to the referee, who penalised Wivey heavily throughout the game, writes Roger Bellamy.

The home team were a constant threat in the driving mauls, which they used to overcome the heavy underfoot conditions, and fly-half Nick Purcell kicked the vast majority of possession he received to put his team in good field positions.

Wiveliscombe, playing up the slope in the first half, had the better of territorial advantage but failed to open a stubborn home defence and Reds made them pay with two tries, one of which was converted to put them 12-0 up at the break.

The rain throughout the opening 40 minutes had made an already sodden surface a sea of mud on much of the pitch, and it became difficult to distinguish one team from the other.

Wiveliscombe continued to play with ball in hand but never really threatened the home try line.

When they tried to kick for territory they lacked distance and accuracy, while their driving mauls lacked penetration and were thwarted by numerous referee decisions which seem to knock the heart out of the visitors.

Reds continued to use their driving mauls which, if anything, became more effective as conditions deteriorated.

They doubled their first half points tally with two more tries and one conversion for a full-time score of 24-0.

Wiveliscombe remain in second position in Somerset Premier, but have failed to find their pre-Christmas form and have struggled to adapt to the wet conditions over recent weeks.

Avon, who are one point behind Wivey with a game in hand, are next weekend's opponents - they had no game this week, and their coaches took the opportunity to assess the West Somerset team throughout this match.

Wiveliscombe 2nds' home match against Bridgwater 3rds was called off on Saturday morning as the Recreation Ground and Plain Pond were both waterlogged.

This weekend, the second XV travel to Martock.


Somerset 1
Wellington 2nds 29, Bristol Barbarians 28

WELLINGTON 2nd XV welcomed league leaders Bristol Babas to The Athletic Ground on Saturday, for the first game played at the ground for nearly a month due to recent inclement weather, writes Allyn Chetland.

Having competed very well when the two sides met earlier in the season, the Red & Blacks were confident they could give another good account of themselves, but as it turned out they went one better and beat the table-toppers.

A large crowd, bolstered by a very vocal 1st XV (whose game at Plymouth Albion Oaks was cancelled at the 11th hour), were treated to a thrilling and pulsating encounter.

The early signs didn't look good for the hosts, though, as the away side crossed for a converted try in the opening minute, but Wellington rolled up their sleeves and put the early setback behind them, playing some excellent rugby to take a 19-14 lead into the half-time break.

The second half started as the first had finished, with end-to-end rugby, but the Babas enjoyed a purple patch and scored 14 unanswered points to take a 28-19 lead.

Going into the final quarter the Babas were leading comfortably but didn't count on the hosts' 'never say die' attitude, and it was they who pounced to score two more tries, the decisive one coming in the last five minutes of the match.

This was an outstanding squad performance from the home team, with all 18 playing their part in an excellent win against a very strong opponent.

The R&Bs' pack were superb all afternoon against their bigger opponents, with Sandy Kiddle, Jacob Bristow-Thorne and Andrew Bellamy catching the eye, as did the returning veteran Anthony Gill.

Joe Coppin, playing in the unfamiliar position of centre, also had a fine game.

Kiddle claimed two tries, with the others coming from Coppin, Gill and Gavin Simpson, with Ricky Marke kicking two conversions.

It was all the more impressive given that Wellington resisted the temptation to bring in first-team players after their own game was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.