Western Counties (W)

Wiveliscombe 28, Falmouth 15

WIVELISCOMBE secured their fifth league victory of the season to move up three places but they still remain in a fight for survival with five other teams with just a few points separating them, writes Roger Bellamy.

The home team, as expected, fielded a stronger team than recent weeks with their set scrums being the deciding factor in the game.

Playing up the slope in the first half, Wiveliscombe took the lead through a penalty from George Rowe after Falmouth didn't release in the tackle.

The visitors raised their game and had the edge in a period where they scored 12 points.

Centre Rob Coote finished off a good attack to score in the top corner before prop Ashley Searle finished off a forwards attack to score near the posts.

Full-back Olly Evans added one conversion.

Rowe's second penalty of game to reduce the visitors lead to 12-6 and Wivey's threes, who had a more confident look than recent weeks, constructed the home team's opening try.

Good hands and support play created space for left wing Sam Gibbs, who showed good pace to score in the oak tree corner.

Playing down the slope in the second half, Wiveliscombe used their superior scrummaging to keep the visitors on the back foot.

They were pushed backwards on numerous occasions and Dan Smyth Moore took advantage to cross for two trademark tries to give Wiveliscombe a comfortable lead.

A fourth Wiveliscombe try from George Rowe, which he converted, gave the home team a precious bonus point victory.

On Saturday, Wivey travel to Tiverton.

Western Counties (W)

Wellington 27, Saltash 3

THE R&Bs made numerous changes to match day squad as Saltash were welcomed to The Athletic Ground last Saturday, writes Allyn Chetland.

Jack Richards, Ash Harney, Danny Lee, Andrew Bellamy and Alex Davey all came into the starting XV with Scott Howe and Callum Warren coming in on the bench.

Playing away from the clubhouse, Wellington started with purpose and scored straight from the kick off, centre Nev Pitman crossed under the posts following an outstanding break by his fellow centre George Hodgson.

Full-back Rob Hooper made no mistake with the extra points to give the R&Bs an early 7-0 lead.

More pressured ensued and soon Wellington were awarded a penalty in front of Saltash’s posts following an infringement at a ruck.

Hooper slotted the ball between the posts to extend the R&Bs lead.

Saltash responded soon after with a penalty of their own after Wellington were caught offside.

With the wind at their backs, the hosts had the better of the territory and possession throughout the half and created numerous scoring chances but a combination of desperate defence and questionable ball retention frustrated Wellington.

Saltash’s defence could not withstand all the leaders' attacks, however, and Hodgson crossed for a unconverted try following a well worked attack.

On the stroke of half-time, the impressive Cam Venn showed great footwork and strength to cross for the third try of the match which was converted by Hooper to give the R&Bs a half-time lead of 22-3.

Now playing towards the clubhouse but against the chilly wind, Wellington worked hard looking for the bonus point fourth try but, with elements now in their favour, Saltash had their fair share of possession and had extended periods of pressure on the home team's line.

These attacks were thwarted by a well organised defence and Wellington created chances at the other end but, like the first half, these chances went begging much to the frustration of the home faithful.

However, The R&Bs were not to be denied their bonus point try and, with 15 minutes left following a hectic passage of play, number eight Chris Kitto powered over for an unconverted try in what was the final score in a hard-fought encounter.

After last week’s set back it was great to get back to winning ways.

This was not the polished performance some may have wanted but it was a good win nonetheless, taking into consideration the tricky playing conditions against a team desperate to pull away from the lower part of league who threw the kitchen sink at the R&Bs.

Next week sees Wellington make their last long trip of the season, travelling into Cornwall to take on St.Austell in a vital top-of-the-table clash.

Squad: Richards, Bellamy, Marke, Walker (M), Walker(R), Venn, Lee, Kitto, Goldstone, Jarman (C), Harney, Hodgson, Pitman, Davey, Hooper, Hart, Warren, Howe

Somerset Premier

Nailsea & Backwell 26, Minehead Barbarians 19

THE Barbarians could not back up the previous weeks’ superb performance against leaders Burnham as they slipped to defeat at Nailsea on Saturday.

However, there was still much to admire about the Minehead performance, with some determined defence, three good tries, and a losing bonus point at a very difficult venue.

The Barbarians, playing down the significant slope in the first half, started with a bang, scoring after only two minutes.

An early line-out was won by Willes and driven forward.

As the ball went wide, a pass found Gower, who linked with winger Lewis and then took a return pass to score in the corner.

Lewis produced a fine conversion.

Soon after, Minehead scored again as a Nailsea clearance kick only found Walker-Blair and he powered down the touchline to score.

Now the Barbarians suffered their first problem, with Sam Lewis being forced from the field with a rib injury and Bruce Bullard coming on.

This mishap did not stop the team extending their lead as a mistake by the Nailsea line-out allowed Walker-Blair the space to come through, collect the ball and break tackles as he forced his way to the line for a converted try.

The flanker has played at higher levels, but has returned to his home team to play for fun and inspire the next generation of team-mates.

The match now turned towards the home side, as Nailsea's number eight made a break through midfield and his supporting runner crossed to score a converted try.

They then built a period of pressure on the Minehead line which led to two yellow cards and a penalty try on the half-time break.

The Barbarians were forced to start the second half down to 13 players, but their determined defence was a credit to them.

The team held out against greater numbers, and the slope, until they were able to get one of their sin-binned players back.

The resistance could only last so long, however, and a well-constructed driven maul gave the home side the converted try.

Jack White came on in the front row for his first team debut and Minehead did well at the lineout throughout, but the heavy Nailsea forwards gave them an edge at scrum time and in close carrying.

Nailsea gained a fourth try late in the match, and it was similarly to the previous, with the home pack powering over from a maul.

The kick failed, and this ensured that the Barbarians left with a losing bonus point, if not a win.

Minehead were disappointed but the efforts of the players never waned.

Minehead now look forward to the visit of Imperial this Saturday.

Man of the match: Charlie Walker-Blair.

Somerset 2 (S)

Wiveliscombe 2nd XV 47, Wyvern 0

WIVELISCOMBE seconds secured one of their largest victories of the season with their 10th league win.

This is by far their most successful season for a long time and the West Somerset club are hopeful the team can carry on securing the victories.

Wivey crossed for eight tries through John Palk (2), Jason Richards, Hugh Harris, Archie Brammel, Tom Lally, Jake Woodward and Rob Pike.

Hugh Harris added two conversions, with Lally kicking one penalty.

Wivey travel to Wells on Saturday.