Youth Rugby: Weymouth Boys Fall Short at Final Hurdle

Weymouth and Portland Under 13's rugby

Published at 7:41am 17th March 2015.

This Sunday saw the long awaited Under 13 Dorset Plate final between Weymouth & Portland and Sherborne, played at Slaughtergate, home of North Dorset RFC.

This Sunday saw the long awaited Under 13 Dorset Plate final between Weymouth & Portland and Sherborne, played at Slaughtergate, home of North Dorset RFC.

The Weymouth boys had brought a good crowd of supporters and everyone was looking forward to a good match between two improving sides.

As expected, the contest started with both sides probing each other’s defences, and finding that they were unable to penetrate significantly. The Sherborne boys did have a slight edge though, and were generally quicker to the breakdown, leading to them playing most of the first period in the Weymouth half. Even with this territorial advantage, they were still unable to break Weymouth down due mainly to the line speed of the Weymouth backs who were up in the faces of their Sherborne counterparts putting enough pressure on them to lead to mistakes. This defensive line led by Ned Bennett, Alfie Honeybun & Rob Hunter was off the mark like lightning and was a significant reason that Sherborne were held at bay for so long.

Sherborne did finally manage to break through though towards the end of the half, scoring a try after a number of phases as Weymouth simply ran out of numbers in defence. The conversion was missed leaving the score 5-0 at the break.

In the second half, the Weymouth pack struggled in the set-piece, finding themselves hardly able to win any ball in the scrum for the first time this season. The Sherborne pack made the most of this advantage, applying territorial pressure at the beginning of the half, but Weymouth fought back with some breaks of their own.

From one of the few times they were able to gain clean possession, Jaden Claridge made a break through the heart of the Sherborne defence, but with Ben Tracey in acres of space and screaming for the ball, was unable to get the pass off to him, and was then brought to ground by the scrambling defence.

The missed opportunity proved to be pivotal, as Sherborne then applied more pressure to the Weymouth line, and through a series of phases drove them back, finally cracking the defence and scoring under the posts. The try was duly converted and from the resulting restart, Sherborne ran the ball back through a number of missed tackles, their runner finally being brought down by Lucas Bywater metres short of the line. This time, the Weymouth defence was unable to reorganise in time, and Sherborne touched down for their third try which again was converted.

Although this should have put the match to bed, the Weymouth boys kept believing, remembering their strong finish against Bournemouth a few weeks earlier. They kept trying to break Sherborne down, but were sadly not able to make much progress. In the end the Sherborne defence held out, and they finished up winners by 19 points to 0.

The Weymouth boys were extremely disappointed with the outcome, but could not be faulted for their efforts or their play. The team they were up against was a good, well drilled team and they simply had more in their lockers than Weymouth.

The disappointment is a measure of the strides that have been made recently by Weymouth. Not too long ago they would have been pleased to have held such a quality side to three tries, but those days are now a distant memory. Expectations have been set higher, and they can only push on from here.