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Home > News > Westoe 32 - Birkenhead Park 7
Your News Westoe 32 - Birkenhead Park 7

WESTOE went marching on with a revenge victory over rough and tough North One opponents.

Sadly for them so, too, did Huddersfield with a comprehensive 53-17 win over visitors Cleckheaton, thus further cementing their grip on the runners-up place - and the play-off chance of promotion - so coveted by Gareth Nesbits men.

It means the Tykes remain five points ahead of their third-placed rivals with only five games remaining - leaders Kendal serenely extending their all-win record by beating Middlesbrough 31-nil at home.

But there was plenty of satisfaction for the Shieldsmen in having much the upper hand against a brawny and belligerent Birkenhead Park who were the only ones to have really mastered them this season in inflicting a 28-8 defeat on their own patch back in September.

It took their winning ways to five successive games since the turn of the year when they were keenly aware they could not afford to drop a single point if their dream of aspiring to National Three (North) was to be realized.

Victory was effectively achieved in the first half when flanker Kerry Wood scored a hat-trick of tries for the second time in three games as the Westoe pack, as so often this campaign, ruled the roost with towering lock Matthew Muchalls lineout banditry again a vital factor.

Fellow Kiwi Sam Rasch, who hitherto had not missed a place kick since his arrival from Canterbury a month ago, showed his is not infallible by converting just two of his sides five tries - though the others, all from just inside the touch line, were only slightly off-target.

The fly half compensated, however, with another skilful allround performance, sparking the finest move of the game immediately before the interval when his dancing footwork from a tap-on penalty bemused the defence and launched nimble fly half Martin Lithgo on a 40-yard sprint to touch down between the posts.

Beacon Electrical (NE) Ltd-sponsored Westoe took the lead in just the third minute when a five-metre scrum led to Wood diving over near the right corner flag.

He struck again on the half-hour when the pack powered its way over from a lineout in the opposition 22 and again in carbon cop fashion at the beginning of added time which extended to 11 minutes because of incessant and irritating stoppages.

The referee was in lecturing mode and three home players and two opponents were dispatched to the sin bin.

Rasch kicked a penalty soon after the turnaround but then Birkenhead fought back and having laid siege on the home goal line were rewarded in the 57th minute when replacement flanker Colin Campbell forced his way over, full back Dave Hall converting.

Westoe reasserted themselves and a couple of good chances were spoiled by shoddy handling before victory was sealed when number 8 Graeme Smith broke from a scrum, found Lithgo who darted between two defenders to pass to Graeme Haswell on the wing who was too fast to be caught.

Afterwards Big Nes said: The game was pretty well sewn up at half-time and we afterwards put more emphasis on defence. They had a good crack at us yet although there was a heavy penalty count in their favour they only broke though once.

We again played good rugby and so enjoyed ourselves although it was such a stop-start game that it was difficult to get any rhythm going.

*The Seconds, handicapped by having to field something of a makeshift line-up in the backs, were beaten 24-nil away from home by Mowden Park in the first round of the Durham County Cup.

*But the Thirds sailed over the first hurdle of their county cup competition when their backs enjoyed a field day in an overwhelming 74-3 win against visitors Stockton.

David Fairlamb touched down four times and two tries apiece were scored by fellow centre Peter Atherton, number 8 Graham Aldus, winger Kevin Ridley and full back Chad Reay who also kicked seven conversions.

*Derek Tighes men also took their first step in defending the Fourth Teams Shield which they have won for six successive seasons with a convincing 34-7 home victory over Barnard Castle.

Tries were scored by centre Bruce Woodhouse, his full back son Stuart, fly half Richard Elliott and wingers Peter Shaw and Rob Scorer who also kicked three conversions and a penalty.

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