A deserved loss
Westcliff played to their strengths; Barnes looked as if something was missing
Westcliff had the better of the first half, despite having the strong wind against them and receiving two yellow cards. They played to their strengths, had better retention and scored the first try; Barnes soon responded with a converted try. Later in the first half Barnes failed to convert two opportunities and Westcliff one. From the start of the second half Barnes improved; early penalties led to a line-out and drive that got over for a 7 point lead. Westcliff later held out an attack consisting of Barnes' best set of phases that got to 7 metres out. In the final quarter the visitors stole several lineouts before a very good Westcliff kick sent them back to defend 5 metres out. Attempting to run out of their 22 an isolated ball carrier was turned over and they were penalised soon after. Westcliff kicked to reduce the deficit to 4 points. Soon after, Barnes kicked through the opposition line and Westcliff ran back to score their other try rather easily.
The visitors kicked off with the advantage of the strong wind; there was then an early error by each team. Westcliff advanced from well inside their 22, recycling and retaining for 7 close phases with a breakthrough after the first 3, to get a scrum a metre from halfway. Barnes were penalised in that and Westcliff ran the ball for 3 more phases until the defence got a penalty at their 10 metre line. The kick gained Barnes 28 metres then from the line-out they kept the ball mostly close for 6 phases until the defence forced an error to get the ball back. Westcliff kicked for territory after recycling 4 times; the visitors ran the ball back with 3 phases then were intercepted. The home team cleared to touch still 9 metres from halfway after recycling 3 times. From the line-out Barnes went wide and broke through at centre then after a pass and a recycle they were awarded a penalty less than 10 metres out and a man advantage for 10 minutes at 7 minutes. They kicked for a line-out 5 metres out. The wind blew the ball well towards the opposition who were then awarded the scrum put-in. After it and a no. 8 pick-up the visitors were penalised for a high tackle and the kick took Westcliff to 27 metres out. From the line-out there they advanced well with 5 mostly close phases to get a penalty at their 10 metre line. They kicked, but not to touch, and Barnes kicked back. Westcliff then ran the ball and soon got another penalty 3 metres into the other half; they ran that and recycled 4 times, advancing strongly, before the opposition forced an error to get a put-in 18 metres from their line. After that the visitors soon kicked for territory; Westcliff set their back line running and made good ground then recycled once close, once wide then once again close to put hooker Hopkins over wide out after 16 minutes. Centre Jones' conversion missed.
Westcliff secured the high restart and kept the ball close for 3 phases before their near-vertical up-and-under went into touch 23 metres out. After the line-out, outside centre Cornish made a half-break then after 7 mostly close phases Cornish went off at the blind side around a defender and reached over to touch down near the corner at the end of the first quarter. Fly-half Wicks' good conversion, using the wind, was successful.
The restart resulted in a penalty for the visitors that was kicked well to touch to the other 22. The line-out was stolen. After Westcliff had had the ball for 3 close phases they lost another player for 10 minutes. This was 4 minutes after the preceding try; for the penalty, just inside the 22, Barnes chose a scrum. From it they went wide and after one recycle they were penalised 6 metres back. Westcliff kicked for a line-out 7 metres from halfway that was stolen and they were penalised immediately after that. The visitors' touch kick only gained them 7 metres and from their line-out their pack did not get the ball out or down thus giving Westcliff a scrum 11 metres from halfway. From that they advanced putting together a very good set of 13 close phases until the opposition forced an error to get the ball back. Fullback O'Toole started a good varied attack that with 5 phases got his team a penalty 12 metres from their opponents' line. After a long injury was dealt with the forgetful Ref. gave it 4 metres back. A scrum was again chosen from which Barnes went wide but soon an error gave the defence a put-in 12 metres out. From it Westcliff kept the ball close for 5 phases before launching an up-and-under. The visitors got the ball and had it for a few phases before being dispossessed. The home team then had their best progress since their try. They made more than 60 metres with 5 advances within 10 phases before being forced into touch just inside Barnes' 22. From their line-out the visitors moved up field a bit before kicking for territory. Next they intercepted a pass and tried an up-and-under after recycling twice. Westcliff got the ball then got a penalty 5 metres inside their half. They ran this and got to the other 22 with a break out wide after recycling once. There they lost possession and the visitors got it; Westcliff then got a scrum when Barnes couldn't get the ball out or down. After the put-in they kept the ball close to get a penalty 18 metres out. They chose to have a scrum then kept the ball close again recycling 7 times to get another scrum 5 metres out, after having been closer.
After that was wheeled the visitors got the ball and launched a good up-and-under. A knock on at the take gave Barnes the next put-in at their 10 metre line. From that they went wide, recycled once then kicked high to the opposition 22. Westcliff ran the ball to an error at the first tackle to give the visitors a scrum just outside the 22. Barnes went wide from that after 2 phases and got a penalty at the 22. They ran this but straight away an error gave the defence a put-in 17 metres out. From that Westcliff kept possession for 13 very good close phases; that ended, after eventually going wide, with an interception by Barnes. The home team won a turn over after the opposition had the ball and had recycled 3 times. Next, Barnes forced a turnover after 4 phases by Westcliff; they made yards, recycled 3 times then made more ground before recycling wide to send centre Davies towards the corner. He was tackled into touch 3 metres out before the halftime whistle.
The visitors dealt with the high second half kick-off and soon got a penalty at their 10 metre line. The kick took them to 30 metres out; from the line-out they kept the ball in a maul. An opposition forward got hands on the ball in the maul and prevented Barnes from getting it out or down. From the scrum, 2 metres outside of their 22, Westcliff soon launched a good up-and-under; Barnes dealt with that and after 5 phases got a penalty 25 metres out. They kicked for a line-out 11 metres out and got another penalty when their drive went down. From the following 5 metre line-out the pack drove over wide-out at 6 minutes, with flanker Nimmo on the ball. The conversion missed.
The restart wasn't caught and bounced into touch just inside the 22. From their line-out Barnes kept the ball close recycling 5 times then went wider; after another phase they got a penalty 11 metres from halfway. They chose a scrum and after it kicked to touch 27 metres from the opposition line. From the line-out Westcliff launched an up-and-under; the visitors ran the ball back wide and made yards before being turned over. An error soon after gave Barnes a scrum 7 metres into their opponents' half. From that they made no progress but kept the ball for 4 close phases before getting another put-in a metre back. From this one they went wider then recycled close 3 times before an advance by a couple of forwards. After five more phases the defence forced an error to get a scrum 13 metres out.
Westcliff kicked for territory; Barnes' fullback O'Toole set wing Martey running then after two more phases the home team forced a turnover and kicked. The visitors again ran back well and then put together their best sequence of mixed phases of the game, 12 in all, until an error gave the defence a scrum 7 metres from their line. Westcliff's pack kept the ball in and advanced 5 metres to get a penalty that they kicked to touch 12 metres from halfway. The line-out was stolen and Barnes kept the ball for 6 mostly close phases without advancing then chipped through the line before being penalised back at the same distance as the last line-out. The kick gained the home team 18 metres then the line-out was stolen again. The visitors used an up-and-under and the opposition hacked the ball into touch where the previous line-out had been. Rain started; a third line-out in a row was stolen. Barnes kept the ball close recycling 7 times before kicking for territory. Three kicks followed, the last the best and this to 5 metres from the visitor's line. A knock-on at the line-out gave the defence a scrum; after a no.8 pick-up Barnes went wide and an isolated ball carrier was turned over. Westcliff recycled close 4 times then went wider to get a penalty 28 metres out, not far from centre field and Jones kicked the points at 26 minutes to reduce the deficit to 4 points.
The home team secured the flat restart and soon replied with an up-and-under; after that was caught they were penalised 8 metres past halfway. Barnes chose a scrum and soon after it chipped through the line. Westcliff dealt with that, recycled the ball wide and seemed to easily break through at centre by replacement Stol sending wing Brown over wide out at the half hour. The conversion was wide.
After the restart Westcliff soon kicked back long; O'Toole started running, chipped over and regained. Barnes were penalised for not releasing after nine varied phases 4 metres into the opposition half. Westcliff kicked for a line-out at the visitors' 22 then kept the ball tight for 10 phases before the defence forced an error 13 metres out. Barnes went wide from their scrum and recycled 7 times close to get a penalty 17 metres out. They ran this but straight away an error gave the opposition a put-in at the 22. Another error soon after the scrum and going wide gave the visitors another scrum at the same distance. From that they started to run wide and recycled once wide again before an error at the final whistle.
Very windy, with the wind from the southwest blowing at an angle of about 30o to the length of the pitch. Bright with mostly clear blue sky, cool then much colder in the second half; some rain late on; the pitch good.