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Home > News > Westoe 10 - Huddersfield 9
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Your News Westoe 10 - Huddersfield 9
14
APR

A script writer could hardly have produced a more dramatic build up to such a gripping finale.

There is bloodied history in recent years between these two sides when always it seems there has been something at stake and a mutual no-holds-barred attitude to achieving it.

In the mud at Wood Terrace on Saturday this rivalry flared again and, from the sidelines anyway, it looked amid the flying fists - mostly either unnoticed or ignored by referee Steve Lee - that a few old scores were being settled.

And in the very last play of what had been mostly a grim, attritional contest the result hinged on a conversion kick wayout on the left flank; the ball slippery as soap, the pitch of near quagmire consistency and an awkward breeze blowing diagonally across the field.

In total silence, fly half Sam Rasch took his time, weighed it all up - and then amid an explosion of jubilation from a good-sized crowd he struck the ball right between the posts.

What a gem of an acquisition this man has been since he arrived from Canterbury in January. Apart from his all round skills, it says so much for his place kicking ability that most of those watching so tensely would, despite the considerable difficulties, have put money on him being on target.

Had the Kiwi been in the side from the start of the season it could well have been Beacon Electrical (NE) Ltd-sponsored Westoe and not Huddersfield who achieved the runners-up spot in North One and with it a play-off place in National Three (North).

It was a dogged first half with an abundance of unforced errors, mostly by Westoe, and at half time the visitors led 6-3,their fly half Chris Johnson - 26 points short of a personal 300 tally for the season - having kicked a penalty and drop goal against a superb 40m drop goal by Rasch.

So this evenly-fought, slugging confrontation went on until on the hour Johnson put his side six points ahead with a splendid penalty kick from just inside the half-way line.

As if galvanized by this, Gareth Nesbits men came fighting back and thereafter were almost in total command.

Relying on their superior pack power both inset pieces and rolling mauls they time and again drove Huddersfield back to their own try line, twice going over as time ebbed away for it each time to be adjudged that the ball had been held up.

Three times they opted for a scrum after winning penalties in front of the posts, their vociferous supporters wondering why a penalty-try had not been awarded, but a resolute Huddersfield defence held out.

After so much promise without reward for this thrusting forward play, it was when the ball was spun wide that success eventually came deep in injury time.

It went through various pairs of hands when from a ruck in mid field just outside of the Huddersfield 22 David Haswell spun the ball out to John Younghusband who off loaded in the tackle to Nigel Douglas who finally passed to the athletic and muscular James Fitzpatrick on the left wing who handed off one defender and burst through two more to cut inside to score - thus setting the scene for Raschs marvellous coup de grace after which the final whistle blew.

Afterwards Nesbit said: Despite a penalty count of 33-7 against us, having two men yellow carded - which I have no complaint about - and twice having tries disallowed when in one instance I know the ball was grounded, we never let our heads go down.

Although I dont think we played brilliantly, we never looked like conceding a try and deserve credit for not allowing our spirit and commitment to relax.

*The Seconds, badly hit by late cry-offs,found themselves down to 14 men because of injury just ten minutes into their Northumberland 2A and Candy Leagues match at Blaydon and suffered a 71-0 hiding.

*The Colts put up a more spirited display than their 26-0 defeat at Morpeth in the Under-18 League would suggest.

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