Westcliff 31 v Brentwood 12 (London & South East Premier Division) 27th October 2018
By Matthew Burr
3 match win streak ended by Westcliff
Brentwood's fine run ended at the hands of Westcliff on a bitterly cold afternoon on Saturday, despite a strong start by the visitors Westcliff put together a strong second half and Brentwood failed to match their intesity to lose 31-12. As difficult as an away match against a top 2 team would normally be, Brentwood lost 2 influential players during the week, number 8 Ben Patterson & second row Matt Whaley picking up injuries that saw a big reshuffle in the forwards. George Bassenger & James Vogel started in their place.
It was the visitors who made the better start, strong runs from Adam Thomas and Tijde Visser made good ground but, as in previous weeks, poor handling brought multiple attacks to an end. James Vogel hit a great line on 12 minutes and carried deep in the opposition half, a nice pass to Charlie Wilkinson who put in a great kick deep into the corner. His opposite wing collected the ball and made some ground but passed inside straight into the arms of Josh Stannard who ran in unopposed under the posts. An easy conversion followed for Burr and Brentwood led 7-0. More pressure on the Westcliff line failed to see them increase their lead and Westcliff put together some nice play to force a penalty in front of the posts. A handling mistake in midfield gifted Westcliff a try on 25 minutes and they took advantage of a lucky bounce on 35 minutes following their own lineout overthrow to further increase their lead just before halftime.
H/T Westcliff 17 - 7 Brentwood
With the cross wind slightly in their favour Brentwood would have expected to have the better of the territory but Westcliff went over on 50 minutes to take a commanding 24-7. A fine multi phase period of play including good hands through the backline saw Liam Batty score in the corner for his sixth try in four games, apart from that try and a fine break from Stannard that saw him beat 3 players only to dragged down on Westcliff’s 22 metre line it was as good as it got for Brentwood. The game was played mostly in Brentwood’s half and Westcliff played some powerful, forward orientated rugby that put their visitors under enormous pressure. They went down to 14 after their winger was red carded for a dangerous tackle on Henry Galligan that saw the young winger taken to hospital with a nasty gash on his forehead. Strong pressure told with a late try that put the game out of Brentwood's reach.
A stop start game with some strange decisions by the referee but that aside, Westcliff deserved their victory. They were quick to put pressure on the ball and played the conditions to perfection in the second half with a some well organised forward play. Brentwood's backs looked dangerous on the counter attack but those opportunities were few and far between but if Brentwood learn from the game then the return match should hold no fears for them as they showed in the first 20 minutes and sporadically throughout the game that they can break down their hosts’ defence.
Team: McMillan, Payne, Visser, Killington, Aldous, Bassenger, Amato, Vogel, White, Burr, Wilkinson, Thomas, Stannard, Batty, Simpson Subs: Bevans-Royston, Wells, Galligan