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Home > News > Westoe v Hull Preview
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Your News Westoe v Hull Preview
18
SEP

THERE will be intense interest focused on Westoe’s trip to Hull this coming Saturday.

Although this is only the second weekend of the season, the contest could well be a defining episode in the North One campaign.

The Shieldsmen, who have finished third top in the past three years and so were each time just thwarted of a play-off chance of promotion to the national arena, have been bolstered by an influx of talented recruits and so are regarded as being among the league’s top dogs.

Hull, with money in the bank after selling their Haworth Park ground, have also made quality signings and last week, while Gareth Nesbit’s men were making rather hard work of beating newly-relegated Beverley 18-6 at Wood Terrace, they gave home albeit depleted team West Park (St Helens) a 64-7 savaging.

Seldom can a team at this high level have thrown their cap into the ring in such an early and emphatic manner, so tomorrow’s confrontation is seen throughout the league as something of a battle of the Titans and, as the Humbersiders have home advantage, it is likely to be Dunes Adventure Island-sponsored Westoe’s toughest assignment of the season.

But Big Nes is undaunted. He said: “They have certainly recruited some fine players and we are expecting a hard, physical game, but we are well up for it and looking forward to it.”

Hull’s nine-try victory was achieved by a second half onslaught after leading by only 10-7 at the interval, their precocious 18-year-old fly half James Cameron notching 24 points with a try, eight conversions and a penalty.

However, Director of Rugby Tevita Vaikona, who also scored a try, lauded the forwards as the crucial factor. He said: “They just kept on going and won it for us.”

Prominent were hooker Scott Plevey, newly arrived from National One club Doncaster, and the back row duo of ex-England Under-21 international and Newcastle Falcons player Rob Devonshire and Tongan international Sione Onesi.

But if any side in the division is going to give Hull’s pack a testing time, it is Westoe who have plenty of raw-boned strength themselves and the lineout levitation of towering locks Paul Bird and Mathew Muchall is always likely to cause opponents problems.

It was noticeable, though, that Westoe played a more open game against Bevereley, relying far less on the driving strength of their forwards which has been the bedrock of their game in recent times.

While that will remain an integral part of their armory, Nesbit explained: “This is the fourth season that we have been in this league and other teams have become familiar with our style of play, so it is important to add extra dimensions to our game.”

Certainly, if the game matches up to the corresponding one last year it will be an occasion to relish.

It was the final league game of the season and the last of all at Hull’s former ground, and so it was a special and sentimental match watched by many ex-players and it was a classic with both sides on the top of their form which, perhaps appropriately, the home team narrowly won 27-25.

For the information of Westoe supporters travelling independently, the new venue is also on the Cottingham side of the city at a sports centre in Chanterlands Avenue. For the Sat-Nav savvy, the postal code is HU54EF.

Because of uncertainty over niggling injuries and availability affecting a number of players, a 22-man squad has been provisionally chosen.

*Kiwi front row man Moe Souter, who has joined up with Petone teammates Sam Rasch and Willy Moala, will have his first run out for the club with the Second XV in their home Candy and Northumberland Leagues clash against Morpeth 11(kick off 3pm), having cried off the their game at Penrith last week with a hand injury.

*The Thirds and the Colts begin their league programme, respectively at Morpeth (3pm) and Wigton (2pm).

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