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Sat. 13th October. Dorset & Wilts 2 North Melksham 2nds 22 Westbury 17

Although Westbury outscored their opponents by 3 tries to 2, the penalties given away certainly cost Westbury the match.

With a strong wind at their backs, Melksham were keen to exploit the advantage and kicked well into the Westbury 22-metre area to set up scoring chances. After 10 minutes, they were 5 points up after good handling across the field, and they coasted in for the try. The conversion was missed. 

Then we had the first of Westbury’s penalties, when the Referee deemed that the Westbury Tighthead Prop had collapsed the scrum. Melksham took the 3 points on offer. Westbury again incurred the Referee’s displeasure when he penalised them again, this time for holding on to the ball after being tackled and preventing a Melksham player from playing the ball. Once more Melksham kicked the points. The score was 11-0, to the home side.

Westbury worked hard to reduce the deficit and after 5 minutes they were a try to the good when Centre, Sam McQueen, carried the ball deep into the Melksham half and worked the ball wide to Winger Jamie Dixon, who was stopped short of the line. His supporting players rucked over the ball for the Number 8, Ferran Adams, to pick up and dive over the line. Standoff Aaron Vaughan was unable to add the conversion. 

Melksham achieved their second try when their ball carrier was able to outpace the Westbury cover defence to touch down in the corner but they missed the conversion. 

The visitors once more fought back, with Captain Aaron Vaughan leading by example. With the collaboration of Dan Heatley, playing at Scrumhalf and Hooker Jack Bates, the ball was carried well into the Melksham half of the pitch, then passed to Flanker Reece Ball for him to score. Unfortunately Vaughan missed with his conversion attempt. Once more Melksham were able to extend their lead when the Westbury backs were guilty of straying offside. 3 more penalty points were scored with the boot. It was 19-10 at half time.

The second half started well for Westbury with them using the elements and spending long periods of time in the Melksham third of the pitch and only good home side defending kept them from scoring.  After 20 minutes, Vaughan kicked in to touch, deep in the opponents’ 22 from a penalty, when Melksham were caught offside.  From the ensuing lineout, a maul was set up to drive over the line. Tom Redman touched the ball down. Vaughan completed the conversion with a superb kick from the touchline. 

The final score again came from a penalty when Melksham raced into the Westbury half. The ball carrier was tackled, a ruck was formed and Westbury were caught with hands on the ball. The Melksham kicker made no mistake and the score moved on to 22-17. This was the final score of the match, leaving Westbury with just a losing bonus point when it could have been so much more.

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