Percy Park Pumas 19 - 44 West End
On a day when the weather couldn’t make its mind up what to do, West travelled to Percy Park Pumas for their second league game of the season. On arrival at the ground it became clear that Percy Park were struggling to field a team, having only 6 players turn up. With West carrying a large squad of 23, it was decided that West’s subs would play for Percy Park to ensure the game went ahead 14 against 14.
With West creating pressure from the start, it didn’t take them long to get on the score sheet, with skipper Tony Kay crossing the line following a quick tap penalty 10 yards out (5-0). However, Percy Park weren’t going to rollover without a fight, with the 10 showing off some good footwork to cross the line (5-7). Knowing they were in a contest, West then kicked a penalty into touch 10 yards out, and from the resulting catch and drive the skipper was able to break off the back and sneak into the corner (10-7). A competitive 15 minutes then occurred with chances on both sides, before good hands down the West backline managed to create space for Ewan (IQ) Pritchard to score in the corner before half time (15-7).
With a first half injury to Matt Stephenson accounting for the only sub used in the game, no changes could occur at half-time.
At the beginning of the second half West continued to maintain the pressure that they’d finished the first with. Good hands again led to the defence being drawn in, and a smart kick through for Stephen Carn to score in the corner and make it 20-7. This try was quickly followed by Ewan’s second of the game, taking advantage of the space on the outside to run around and dot down behind the posts, only for the conversion to then be missed. Percy Park showed they weren’t out of the game shortly afterwards, with Gary Blake showing his barraging running ability to score, a try that was then duly converted (25-14).
Into the last 20 minutes and there were some tired bodies on show on both sides. John McGrann making the most of the space in front of him to run in uncontested from 20 yards (30-14). West then proceeded to go straight up the field again, including a run from Ben Ngata where he inexplicably made a beeline to smash into Scott Walker on the Percy Park side. Following a few rucks in the corner, Chris Hoskings was able to dot down and continue his good record this year (37-14). Percy Park had one more try in them with their 10 finding a gap in the tiring West backline and making the most of the opportunity to cross the whitewash for his second of the game (37-19).
A moment forget for Craig Allmond arose when a good bit of football lead him to being straight in for a try but failing to apply the brakes and running past the ball. A missed opportunity in an otherwise great performance.
With time running out, a loose ball popping out the back of the scrum on the Percy Park 40 allowed Tony to break through the Percy Park defensive line and offload to Matt Allmond, who then drew his defender and passed it back to the skipper, who then dummied the final defender with Ewan outside to score the first hat-trick of his 26 year career! (44-19).
With the conversion made, the ref blew full time on a game that epitomised the spirit of rugby. Massive thanks to all the West lads that pulled on a Percy Park shirt to allow the game to go ahead. West now move onto two weeks of friendlies before their next league game away to Winlaton Vulcans in three weeks’ time.
Tries: Kay (3), Pritchard (2), Carn, McGrann, Hosking
Convergys Man of the Match: Tony Kay