West returned to Gatehouse Lane with another bonus point win on Saturday, following a hard fought 24-17 encounter at Beccles.
The victory saw the North Wootton based club move up to second in the London North East 3, leap-frogging their closest rivals Harlow.
Knowing they would need to improve further after their scrappy performance against Stowmarket, West arrived with a slightly changed line up. This saw the return of Dave Harrison at full back, and Craig Blackmur and Will Greenwood coming into the forwards. This gave a well-earned rest on the bench for captain Jamie Williamson, as prop Paul Bridges took the helm as captain for the match.
With driving rain and wind making up the dire weather conditions on a waterlogged pitch, combined with a fierce home pack to face, the visiting forwards were well aware that they would need to put in a hard shift to graft some quality ball for the backline.
West started well, pinning their hosts back in their own marshy 22 metre area with a series of well positioned kicks, making it tough for Beccles to break out in attack. Having regained possession, some decent ball from the set piece saw fly half Sam Moses set the backline free. A burst up the centre from Craig Edwards ended with Lewys Weaver slicing through, converting his own try to open West’s account.
A couple of infringements by Beccles then went unpunished as two penalty chances in quick succession narrowly missed the posts.
Despite Beccles work at the ruck, West appeared to have the upper hand at the set piece and another phase of attacks resulted in Weaver bursting up the right hand side of the pitch. A neat back-handed reverse pass to Ross Biggs saw the winger slide over to double the visitors’ try tally.
Beccles hit back with some powerful running from their forwards, led by their giant No.8, but West held on under pressure defensively.
A counter attack at a lineout deep in Beccles territory saw flanker Greenwood pounce on a loose ball to score near the posts, Weaver converting to give West a handsome 19-0 advantage at the interval.
Sensing Beccles’ vulnerability with a man being sin-binned at the start of the second half, Weaver then sealed the bonus point as he clinically finished a fine attack from the backs.
As the final quarter passed, the hosts then hit back with a number of thunderous crash balls, which eventually saw them breach the visitors’ defence to score.
This was followed up with a second try and conversion, before a penalty conversion saw Beccles cut the deficit to seven points, gaining a losing bonus point.
This weekend sees West host fourth-placed Lowestoft and Yarmouth, before welcoming Harlow in what could be seen as a crucial fortnight in the outcome of their push for promotion. Kick-off is set for 3pm.
Adrian Flux MoM: Craig Edwards.