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Loan watch: Powell scores for Clifton, Wilstead double for Dings

Seven Bears players were in dual-registration action over the weekend, with victories for Dings Crusaders and Clifton RFC in National Two South.

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Photos courtesy of Dings Crusaders.

National Two South
Esher Rugby 37-32 Dings Crusaders

Tom Wilstead scored twice as Dings came within a whisker of causing a real upset in what turned out to be an enthralling and entertaining contest against high-flying Esher at Molesey Road.

The Bears Academy fly half added two conversions and a penalty for a 17-point personal haul, while Harry Rowson was also on the scoresheet for Dings.

The home side led 37-32 in the final minutes but were camped on their line as Dings pressed for the try that would bring the scores level, with the conversion attempt to follow. The final act saw Dings kick into the corner and opt for the catch-and-drive that has been so successful for them this season.

The comeback looked complete when the Dings' team reacted in unison to what they believed was the sight of the ball being grounded by skipper Jake Holcombe. Referee Adam Wookey, who in fairness had a great game in the middle, peeled the bodies away after sounding the full-time whistle, and following a lengthy discussion with the assistant referee deemed that Esher had got a hand underneath the ball and held it up. Esher rightly celebrated their great escape while Dings had to be content with two bonus-points in defeat.

Any thoughts of a runaway Esher victory were soon damped as Dings took the lead in the third-minute with a try from the impressive T.J. Wilstead, who had a fantastic game at fly-half. A little show and go saw the Bristol Bears youngster cut the defence and sprint in under the posts for a try he also converted. More Dings pressure enabled Wilstead to add a penalty to give Crusaders a 10-0 lead on 12-minutes. But as expected, the homeside responded with a try from wing Dan Rowland, converted by stand-off Sam Morley to cut the gap. Morley was on target again with another three-pointer to bring the sides level again on 27-minutes.

And Esher, who as a result have now won eight in-a-row and sit second in National League Two South, hit the front for the first time on the stroke of half-time when impressive scrum-half Pierre Thompson finished of a sustained attack to dive in close to the uprights. Morley added the extras to give Esher a 17-10 lead at the turnaround.

Two more Morley penalties early in the second-half nudged Esher 23-10 infront. But the introduction of veteran scrum-half Waylon Gasson from the replacements bench gave Dings a healthy dose of enthusiasm and energy. Gasson, who was making his 250th appearance for Dings, latched onto a forward drive and plunged over for a try to make it 23-15. Shortly after, Gasson fielded a long kick from Esher, chipped over the top of the rushing defence, regathered and fed wing Harry Rowson to score. The Bristol Bears ginga ninja has now scored four tries for Dings in as many appearances.

Back came the hosts with tries from Matt Lowes and Cameron Wilkins to take them 37-20 clear. Dings hit back again, though, after lock Danny Hodge broke from a maul and fed Gasson to dash down the touchline and into the corner to make it 37-25 and ensure the visitors a try bonus-point. Things really became interesting when Wilstead ghosted through the Esher defence in the closing stages - Dings now leading on the try-count - five to four. Wilstead added the conversion to make it 37-32 with 10-minutes to play. It was all Dings in the closing stages, but credit to the Surrey men who survived the late tryline drama and hung on to secure the victory.

Esher tries: Rowland, Thompson, Lowes, Wilkins. Conversions: Morley (4). Penalties: Morley (3).
Dings tries: Wilstead (2), Gasson (2), Rowson. Conversions: Wilstead (2), Penalty: Wilstead.

TEAMS:
Esher: 15 Lavin; 14 Mitchell, 13 Rowland, 12 Davies, 11 James, 10 Morley, 9 Thompson; 1 Lowes, 2 Hamilton, 3 Skoumbordis, 4 Sloan, 5 Bullett, 6 Wilkins, 7 Gossington, 8 Dow. Replacements: 16 Routeledge, 17 Coutts, 18 McBreaty, 19 Chaumeton, 20 Bullock.

Dings: 15 Harbinson; 14 Foot, 13 Smith, 12 Arscott, 11 Rowson, 10 Wilstead, 9 Knight; 1 Turner, 2 Anderson, 3 English, 4 Bilton O, 5 Hodge, 6 Bilton A, 7 Beer, 8 Holcombe. Replacements: 16 Hawkesby, 17 Taylor, 18 Body, 19 Gasson, 20 Hargan.


Powell scores in emphatic Clifton win

National Two South
Clifton 40-22 Leicester Lions

Charlie Powell touched down for Clifton as they overpowered a determined and physical Leicester side in an enthralling game at a wet and muddy Station Road.

Harry Ascherl and Tomas Gwilliam also featured for Matt Salter's side, who are now top of National Two South.

Two of the form sides in the league, Leicester arrived having won their last four games and were keen to stamp their authority on proceedings, utilising their impressive forward pack in turgid conditions. However it was Clifton who hit first, Harry Bate going over from short range and Luke Cozens adding the extras.

Leicester immediately hit back six minutes later, centre Dan Martin brushing off defenders following an error from Clifton at kick off to dot down. Young converting.

With the conditions underfoot becoming increasingly difficult, Clifton's Brad Talbot finished off a fine period of sustained pressure to take the Lavender & Blacks back ahead, with Cozens again converting.

It was Talbot who hit back again nine minutes later from a scrum, as the powerful No8 picked and went down the short side and scored in the corner. Cozens converted to give Clifton a 21-7 lead.

Leicester have made a name for themselves as being dogged in staying in the fight and they kept banging on the door, Zac Bean surged ahead of a poor Clifton kick chase to open up and score in the corner. Young added a penalty three minutes later to make the score 21-15 at half time.

Clifton quickly took charge of the game in the opening minutes of the second half and started to gain the upper hand in the physical contest. Charlie Powell, Alex Giltrow and Harry Bate all scored in a 15 minute period to pull away from the Lions and ultimately seal the game. Devon Constant struck late for Leicester and the midlands outfit pushed for a losing bonus point, but were to be denied by a resilient and physical Clifton defence.

Clifton: Forrester, Sharp, Powell, Nel, Howman, Cozens, Spencer, Bullimore, Herbert, Giltrow, Harper, Bergh, Wilson, Bate, Talbot. Bench: Cano, Gwilliam, Broady, Ascherl, Hamid.

Leicester: Wilcockson, Bean, Hamilton, Martin, Constant, Young, Stubbs, Spendlove, Taylor-Walker, Thompson, Godefroy, Ward, Johnson, Murdoch, Cairns. Bench: Roberts, Murray, Hutchinson, Brock, Ogden.


Power features in Weston victory

Tribute South West Premier
Weston-super-Mare 22-7 Brixham

Dylan Power started in the midfield as Weston overcame Brixham with a workmanlike performance.

With the pitch on the stand side far from ideal but ultimately playable the first quarter of the match was nip and tuck with both sides having chances, but the excellent defence kept the scoreboard blank until midway through the first half.

It was then that Brixham took a kick ahead by right-wing Chris Young, but a follow-up tackle by live wire flanker Jack Woodland led to a penalty to the hosts, which they elected to scrum.

Weston ran the ensuing ball, and a fantastically long lateral pass by fly-half James Mackay put left-wing Huw Morgan over in the left corner. Mackay miraculously kicked the conversion from the sideline.

Shortly after, he added a penalty when impressive new boy Dylan Power, a Bristol Bears Senior Academy player, was high tackled. Brixham reacted well, and once again, only superb defence by the home side kept the visitors at bay.

The score remained 10-0 until the fifth minute of the second half when a Morgan kick through and chase led to yet another scrimmaged penalty that ended with Morgan crossing for his brace after a bewildering number of hands.

Brixham briefly responded when their fly-half Jean-Pierre Simonetti cut through a gap to open the visitors scoring with full-back Joel Ashworth adding the extras, but their joy didn’t last long.

Almost from the restart, the ball came loose out of the scrum after a Brixham put in, and Woodland snaffled it to go on a mazy run before outpacing the defence, and Mackay added the extras.

Weston remains fourth in the Tribute South West Premier table and again have home advantage on Saturday [January 15, 2022] when Okehampton, two places off the foot of the table, will be the visitors, kick-off 2.30 pm.

Weston-super-Mare scorers – tries: Huw Morgan (2), Jack Woodland; cons: James Mackay (2); pen: James Mackay.


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