Another tight match ...
- made so by the difficult playing conditions (deserving of a shorter report this time)
Prior to this match Barnes had been hoping for a firm pitch confident in overturning the deficit of the reverse fixture, but it was not to be. The wind from the northwest favoured the visitors in the first half and the home team in the second.
Westcombe kicked off and soon after set up the first attack with 5 recycles before being penalised for not releasing. Barnes’ pack then demonstrated their dominance and a penalty took them to their line-out 15 metres from Westcombe's line. The pack drove for the line and the ball carrier went down close to the line but the Ref. said they were millimetres short giving the defence a scrum. This at about 8 minutes. Barnes kept up their pressure until errors and a penalty got Park into Barnes' half for the first time in 15 minutes since their attack from the kick-off. Play then switched regularly due to errors until Westcombe got a penalty at the opposition 10 metre line near centre field at the half-hour and fly-half Gordon kicked the points. Westcombe had the best of the last 10 minutes and Barnes had to defend well against a good attack that got close before the whistle.
Barnes had had the better of the first quarter but just failed to get an early try. Westcombe were more effective in the second quarter and had got points on the board.
The restart resulted in a scrum for Barnes at the opposition 22. The first 8 minutes of the second half were played in the visitors half with no possession being maintained by either side for as much as a minute. Westcombe got into the other half momentarily after Barnes were penalised for crossing that had been accidental. Two penalties then took Barnes to a line-out 5 metres out. From this one the pack drove to the line and well over after crabbing infield with flanker Smyth on the ball after 12 minutes, having been denied one in the first half. O'Toole converted.
Barnes were soon back attacking after Park were penalised twice but were stopped 6 metres out. Westcombe broke out into the other half for the second time since halftime and hacked on a loose ball well into the opposition 22. Replacement scrumhalf Franklin just got back to save. The ball was recycled and Barnes got out of their half before Park forced errors to send them back again. Then Barnes attacked again with the help of two penalties and put together some very good recycling and almost got to the line but were held out again by stout defence. In the second period, against the wind, Westcombe struggled to get out of their half.
Cold, wet, variably gusting wind, 100% overcast in the first half, drizzle before the game and until halftime, sunny in the second half, the ground rather soft.