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Home > News > Westoe 29 - Loughborough Students 3
Your News Westoe 29 - Loughborough Students 3

WESTOE left the Students battered and beaten after giving them a stern lesson in power play rugby.

They bulldozed their way into the third round of the EDF Energy National Trophy with a quite dynamic display that crushed opponents who are among the cream of burgeoning national talent.

And if the bruising experience has left any of the young university men with bad dreams it is highly likely that the formidable vision of James Fitzpatrick will loom large.

This was a terrific team effort, but it was the strongly-built and muscular centre who most of all led the way with thumping tackles and solo drives that sometimes needed three opponents to bring him down.

Westoe are alongside Hull on top of North One with high hopes of elevation into National Three (North) where Loughborough reside. If there were lingering doubts about them coping at that level, they were surely vanquished by this performance.

It was very much a rest day for captain Gareth Nesbit who, nursing a niggling back injury, came on as a replacement for the last few minutes only and so otherwise watched in admiration from the touchline.

He declared: “We were never really threatened because our defence was just superb and it was a wonderful all-round performance in which Fitz was outstanding. At half time we resolved not to concede another point and we didn’t.

“It means we are in the hat for the next round with a home game against a National One side as the very best scenario.”

The Dunes Adventure Island-sponsored Shieldsmen began with gusto, giving the visitors early warning of what to expect.

And after just five minutes they went ahead when fly half Sam Rasch’s deft side step created a gap that took him to the Students’ 22 where he passed to full back John McFarlane whose long precision off-load found winger Graeme Haswell who touched down next to left corner flag.

Fly half Tom Mills reduced the arrears with an eighth minute penalty, but that was to remain his side’s sole success.

For although they had the first half advantage of the Wood Terrace slope and a stiff downfield breeze, such was Westoe’s raw-boned aggression that they benefited hardly at all and were several times pressured into error.

A zig-jag run from inside his own half by winger Willy Moala, already with 13 tries to his credit this season, ended just feet short of the line, but a similar piece of fleet-footed magic soon after saw him touch down on the far right - fellow Kiwi Rasch kicking the first of his three splendid long-range conversions.

After the interval the university pack adopted pick-and-drive tactics, but although they had plenty of possession they were unable to make any significant dent in the home team’s fortress defence.

So it must have been galling for them when on the hour Westoe won the ball after a long sequence and promptly scored, Haswell dodging and dancing his way though to set up McFarlane who burst along the left flank to touch down.

The Students must by now have been resigned to defeat and a Rasch penalty in added time and fourth try in the last act of the game when replacement winger Jonathan Cloak sped from the 22 to score compounded their misery and sealed a memorable home victory.

*Strong and whole-hearted utility forward Mickey Holland, absent from Westoe through injury and work commitments for more than a year, made a welcome return - and was a try scorer - in the Seconds’ 19-5 win in their Candy League match against Middlesbrough at Oakleigh Gardens.

Other tries were scored by fellow lock Lee Burn and number 8 Andrew Kirton, with Andrew Thompson and Andrew Tiffin each kicking a conversion.

*Because of cry-offs, the Thirds were only able to make the trip to Tynedale for their Northumberland 2B League fixture by recruiting six Jarrovians seeking a game. But the makeshift side was outplayed and beaten 59-0.

*For the second consecutive week the Fourths were unable to raise a side and had to call off their Northumberland 3B League game at Blyth.

*The Colts, who gave their younger players an outing, were beaten 48-19 at home by well organized Under-18 League opponents Penrith. For Westoe, tries were scored by Grant Presley, fellow winger Nick Sharpe and number 8 Michael Thompson, with centre Michael Booth converting twice.

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