Two tries in the closing five minutes earned Wells a hard working bonus point victory over league newcomers, Oldfield Old Boys, in this entertaining Tribute Western Counties North fixture which was played in brilliant sunshine in front of a large crowd at the Portway Ground.
Due mainly to injuries, Pete Kennedy was forced to shuffle his forces with a number of positional changes and some new faces. Dave Wheatley moved from the wing to fullback, with Brad Hibbert coming into the backline. Try scorer Liam Barlow was on the right flank and there was a new centre pairing of Jake Knight and Charlie Willcox. Aaron Cook continued at outside half, but he had a new scrum half partner in Harry Peters who up until this week has been playing at fullback. In the pack there was a new look front row, with Al Knight operating at loose head, Mason Brook getting his first start of the season hooking, whilst there was a debut for new tight head prop, Ryan Davies. Behind them Lewis Cohen partnered Jamie Payne and in the back row, Ben Knight who was scrum half last week, was back on the blindside and there was a welcome return for Callum Stonier who seems happy to play in any position. This week, openside. Al Payne captained the team from number eight.
In the first half with the slope in their favour Wells generally dominated, but did not take full control. Liam Barlow got a well worked try way out on the right after eleven minutes, but Wells then had to wait until the clock was showing forty seven minutes before a typically accurate Aaron Cook cross kick was gathered by Dave Wheatley to score on the left. So half time came with Wells ten points up.
The visitors who had had a fine win the previous week against Stroud upped the pace in the second period. It was now that the organisation and commitment of the Wells defence came to the fore. The line speed and alignment of the backs was impressive to watch and with the forwards also playing their part to the full it is hard to recall a tackle being missed. Both of the Payne brothers carried well, but so did Lewis Cohen and the rest of the pack, especially Callum Stonier who always seems to give Wells an extra cutting edge.
Two Aaron Cook penalties edged Wells further ahead to sixteen points, but when Oldfield got their try after seventy minutes, they seemed to sense an upset. A Yellow Card with just six minutes to go ruined their chances and the home team took full advantage. A catch and drive from the line out saw Al Knight bundled over the line for a try converted by Cook. Then with time running out Dave Wheatley got his second and the important bonus point try. Almost immediately he had to leave the field to be replaced by Sam Garrett making his first and probably shortest appearance of the season.
Player coach, Al Simmonds did play fifteen minutes of the match, but Sam Wedmore waited patiently to make his debut, it will have to be another time.
So an impressive second win of the season for Wells and whilst they did get four tries, it was their defensive effort that earned them this victory. It was vast improvement from last weeks effort at Chosen Hill where many tackles were missed.
This Saturday Wells make the short journey to Midsomer Norton, the Second team are home to Bridgwater & Albion Thirds and the Third team travel to Taunton to play Taunton Thirds. All games
kick off at 3pm.
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