The Stags took the short trip over to the local seaside resort of Weston Super Mare on Friday night for what turned to be tough local encounter against Weston 2nd XV.

The match started brightly under the light for The Stags who were awarded a penalty in Weston’s 22 for off side. The Stags opted for a scrum on the 5m line and the ball was worked its way to the back, Sam Lewis then whipped the ball out on the blind to Tim Piper who then switched play and saw Will Hopkins running at pace who manged to crash his way over the line for the first try of the game. Piper converted 0-7.

Weston soon responded shorty after the restart and levelled the score 7-7.

The Stags always knew this would be a physical match and stuck with the game plan, which frustrated Weston, who were penalised various times which allowed The Stags to gain territory. The first yellow card was given to the home team for bring a maul down and The Stags opted for a scrum again, knowing that they were stronger in the set piece and from 5m out the forwards drove the home pack backwards over there line and Sam Lewis pounced on the loose ball from the back of scrum to score the second try which Piper converted. 7-14.

Weston came straight back at the visitors but nothing really came of it after a few moves then lost possession. Good ball retention, and several phases of play by The Stags, who  then found themselves back in the Weston half.

A lineout was had, gathered by the pack, maul set and off they went pushing Weston back deep into there own 22. The ball was somewhere amongst many forwards then out popped Sam Wall, with ball in hand, who bumbled from 5 meters out to score and extend the lead after 30 minutes. Piper converted 7-21.

Weston were persistent offenders at the break down and were penalised many times for offside and slowing the ball down. The Stags ceased on these opportunities with plenty of possession and at one point kicked for touch. The lineout was won, maul set and the forwards drove the home pack back from 10m out and loosehead prop, Stef Pierce, touched down for the all important bonus point try. Piper adding the extras. 7-28.

A moment of madness came soon after and The Stags kicked away the ball only for it to land in the Weston wingers hands who sensibly took the ball in field, and into contact and Weston recycled the ball quickly to score just before half time 14-28.

The second half got underway, and the late night rugby appeared to have an affect on The Stags, as the struggled to keep momentum going as they did in the first half. 

The penalty count seemed to have swapped sides and The Stags began to give away possession and territory through numerous offenses. With Weston getting plenty of possession, they applied pressure on the visitors but couldn’t come up with the goods. The Stags cleared there line from a knock on and slowly worked back up the pitch.

Weston were dogged in the loose and tackled anything that came at them for the next 10 minutes as The Stags could not find a way through. The ball was knocked on at one point, the referee allowing advantage, and Weston’s back three set off down the flank at an almighty pace. The winger ran 50m, and looked distend to score, but was tackled just short of the line. The Stags were on the back foot at this point and as Weston’s support came they recycled the ball at ease to score 19-28.

Changes were made at this point and Eoghan Westoff came on for Sam Wall in the back row, Jacob Allen came on for Chris Warner in the front row although his time was short lived as he was yellow carded for back chat so Warner went back on and Tom Wall made way as the replacement. 

The Stags lost control of the game a little and Weston kept banging on the door. Many penalties were awarded against the visitors and Weston could sense thetry line once again with only minutes to go. A few dubious referee decisions went against The Stags and the frustration could be seen.

Weston kicked to touch, won the line out and whipped the ball out to there centre who scored in the dying minutes of the game but the clock had ran out, thankfully for The Stags.

Final Score 26-28.

With only three league games remaining The Stags sit in second place and take on Nailsea & Backwell next Saturday which will be another tough test for this ever improving group of players.

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