Somerset Premier

Yatton 29, Wiveliscombe 31

WIVELISCOMBE secured promotion to Western Countries rugby with an absorbing victory over a determined Yatton team, who looked like spoiling the visitors' attempt to gain entry to a higher level, writes Roger Bellamy.

Played in front of a good crowd, the game went through periods of ups and downs for both teams.

Yatton started the stronger and used their pace in the threes to create holes in Wiveliscombe's defence.

Full-back Pete Quin finished off a good move with several players involved to score the game's opening try, and centre Jack Edwards converted.

But the champions-in-waiting scored next after a good chase, following a kick into home territory, as Yatton failed to retain possession and prop Will Ellis finished after several phases of play.

Fly-half George Rowe converted to bring Wivey level at 7-7.

Yatton continued to trouble the visitors, though, with their strong running backs creating two more opportunities, which were finished off by centres Edwards and Ben Boyer, with Edwards converting the latter to make it 19-7.

Wivey were finding it difficult to gain a foothold in the match, but talisman Jake Sharland lifted spirits with a typical try, going on a mazy run to score, and Rowe's conversion saw the score read 19-14 at half-time.

Wiveliscombe's forwards were beginning to look the more likely to gain the upper hand at the start of the second half, but the hosts increased their lead through a penalty from Edwards after Wivey transgressed in front of their posts

Home fly-half Mitch Wantee was having a fine game and was rewarded with a good try to give his team a bonus point, and a 29-14 advantage with Edwards' conversion.

Fifteen points seemed a lot to recover and the visiting supporters were looking anxious.

But Wivey weren't promotion candidates for no reason and they set about closing the gap.

Their forwards were dominant in good periods of the game and Yatton were struggling to stop the visitors winning possession, which in turn led to Sharland crossing for a further two tries.

Rowe converted both, having also kicked an earlier penalty, to cap a good afternoon with the boot.

The visitors finished the game with a number of well-controlled rucks and were jubilant on the sound of the final whistle, victorious by 31 points to 29.

Wiveliscombe now have an unassailable lead of 12 points over Burnham-on-Sea, who have two games remaining.

The champions' final game is at home to Avon this coming Saturday, while the 2nd XV host Taunton 3rds.