Westcombe Park just deserve win
Revenge for Barnes win at WP when they were weak at season start.
This game was played on a firm Putney-end pitch because the regular first team pitch had been prepared for the coming athletics' season. There was 100% blue sky and some variable breeze, in Barnes’ favour in the first half. When losing against Hertford the week before a few regular Barnes’ first team players had been unavailable. This week 8 of Barnes’ 15 were different from the previous week’s team. Westcombe look much bigger, especially in the backs; but they did look bigger when we beat them at their ground early in the season. Both teams scored 2 tries; one each was a result of a major defensive error. Westcombe won by 2 penalties against a conversion. The difference between the teams was probably in the three-quarters; Barnes certainly had the edge in the scrums.
The visitors returned the starting kick-off high; Barnes dealt with this then recycled 4 times before getting the first penalty of the game after 1 minute. This was 9 metres into the opposition half and Gower was asked to kick the points which he duly did. Two kicks followed the restart then Barnes were penalised for not releasing 11 metres inside their half and Giles made it 3 - 3 after 3 minutes. The second restart resulted in a scrum to Westcombe 12 metres into their half. Barnes' pack exerted pressure at this but the visitors got the ball clear and soon got their first penalty with ball in hand. This was kicked to touch 11 metres into the other half. From their line-out they varied their recycling through 5 phases at first advancing then being forced all the way back before a pass was dropped. From their put-in, Barnes advanced but not far to an opposition scrum near halfway. Westcombe sent ball wide from the scrum and broke through at centre into the 22 then recycled 8 times to get a penalty 10 metres out which they ran and got close to the line and were awarded another penalty 5 metres out after 10 minutes. Giles kicked the points.
Barnes regained their high restart and advanced to 8 metres from Park's line, with just 3 recycles, then were penalised for not releasing. The visitors kicked for a line-out still in their half and from the line-out quickly advanced into the opposition 22, first making yards at centre then recycling 6 times to get to 5 metres out. After 3 more close recycles the defence forced an error and got the put-in 6 metres out. Westcombe exerted pressure; Barnes tried to clear and the resulting kick was near vertical but they got the ball back and soon kicked up field. Park recycled once before they were penalised near halfway. The first major error occurred next; Barnes kicked for a line-out near the corner but the ball didn't go into touch but did go close to the try line. A Westcombe player made a mistake under pressure, taking the ball behind the line and touching down. This gave Barnes a 5 metre scrum and their pack kept the ball in and moved forward. Before they got to the line the Ref. awarded a penalty try. This not long before the end of the first quarter and Gower added the conversion. Barnes kicked the restart back into the other half and Park were straight away penalised for not releasing. From 9 metres into the half Gower added another 3 points within 2 minutes of the restart.
Again Barnes kicked back the restart and this time Westcombe made good progress with ball in hand. They advanced varying their recycling through 8 phases until the defence was penalised 26 metres out then kicked for a closer line-out. From the line-out their forwards recycled 6 times but were being forced back to the 22 when they were awarded a second penalty and this time Giles took the points at 25 minutes. Westcombe kicked back the restart; Barnes soon kicked and the ball went into touch unintentionally 14 metres into the visitors' half. After their line-out Park recycled 7 times but not advancing before there was some action without the ball. This was followed by a scrum for Park. Barnes wheeled this and the Ref. ordered the same scrum again but a bit further forward. From that the ball was put into touch 17 metres inside the opposition half. From the line-out wing Sager made yards down the blindside before Barnes were penalised 6 metres into the other half. Again the kick was put into touch for an attacking line-out 28 metres out. Now Westcombe put together their best set of varied phases, nearly 20 in all and got to the line but not over it. However Barnes lost a forward for 10 minutes. The visitors opted for a 5 metre line-out; their forward drive went down then after 6 more recycles prop Bellinger got over near the posts after 36 minutes and Giles added the extras. Park cleared the long restart to touch then from the line-out Barnes' pack set for a drive and released wide when that went down. After 3 more recycles without advancing much the visitors were penalised then marched 10 more metres back by the Ref. Gower levelled the score before the halftime whistle.
The second half kick-off resulted in a scrum put-in for the visitors. Westcombe soon dropped the ball giving Barnes the next put-in 13 metres inside their half. This scrum had to be reset and Barnes were then penalised and Giles kicked the points inside 3 minutes. The restart resulted in a Barnes' line-out 28 metres from the opposition line. There was some chaos which Barnes recovered from then they were turned over. Park sent ball wide then recycled twice before dropping the ball. From their scrum Barnes next put together a good set of phases advancing from their own half to 10 metres inside the other where they won a penalty. This was kicked for a line-out just inside the 22. Their pack set for a drive and got another penalty 16 metres out. The next line-out was 7 metres out and from it the pack drove for the line with flanker Millar getting the touchdown wide out after 10 minutes. A very good conversion from Gower made it 23 - 19. Two minutes later Giles reduced the deficit to only 1 point when Barnes were penalised for not releasing soon after the restart. Westcombe kicked back the restart and Barnes tried wider ball then were turned over. Park then put together another good sequence of phases and advancing strongly before being forced into touch 12 metres from Barnes' line. They stole the line-out then recycled 4 times while being forced backwards before they were penalised for not releasing. Barnes kicked to touch into the other half then threw the line-out too long and the visitors got the ball.
Barnes soon forced a turnover; this after 2 recycles then they got another penalty after a couple of moves at the blind side. Of course they kicked for a line-out, now 16 metres out. When the drive went down, unusually for Barnes, a drop-goal was tried; it missed. Two kicks followed the 22 drop-out the second deep into touch into Barnes' half. From the line-out Barnes soon kicked high then forced a turnover after Park had recycled twice. They went blind and got into the other half where the defence forced an error to get the next scrum. Westcombe recycled twice before kicking for touch not far into the opposition half. After the line-out they forced a turnover then the second major mistake was made; this time by Barnes. Park's hooker Fry had kicked towards the opposition goal line and a defender waited for it to cross the line and touch it down for a 22 drop-out. The kicked ball was hardly faster than Fry and he got to it at the line and scored at 24 minutes to retake the lead. The conversion was wide.
Barnes regained their restart, then recycled 4 times before being turned over. This was soon followed by a put-in for the visitors. Barnes wheeled the scrum to get their own put-in. The Ref. changed his mind and awarded the home team a penalty. The touch kick took them to 6 metres out; the drive was held and the ball released to centre then recycled blind before they were awarded another penalty 5 metres out. Again the touch kick for a line-out but this was followed by a turnover by Park. They kicked high and an error gave them the next scrum not far from halfway. Barnes wheeled this and were penalised for it, probably wrongly as Park were without a recognised prop. The penalty kick didn't find touch; Barnes ran the ball wide then there some chaotic, probably tired, play. Barnes dropped the ball backwards then regained and kicked; Park kicked and regained then immediately lost possession. Barnes kicked high then Westcombe were penalised for not releasing, attacking in the opposition 22. Barnes kicked for a line-out near halfway. They tried wider ball and got another penalty; the next line-out wasn't far into Park's half. Barnes went wide then a chip ahead bounced off an opposition foot and was gathered by Park. They recycled twice before sending a good touch kick towards the corner. Barnes tried an up-and-under after their line-out then Westcombe dropped the ball after recycling twice. The defensive scrum was 11 metres out; it was reset then it went down and Park were penalised. The kick still left Barnes in their own half; there was an error from each side before the whistle.