Lydney 31 Weston 0
FOLLOWING an 8.30am pitch inspection, Regentsholme was deemed fit for play. Prior to kick-off a minute’s silence was observed for two ex-Lydney players who had both lost battles with cancer in the last week. Brian ‘Cabbage’ Kear and Jeremy Weech will always be remembered at Regentsholme.
Just before kick-off, however, another downpour made the conditions very much worse.
The game was ultimately decided by the forwards and the home side held the edge in this area.
Weston, with the elements in their favour, never really got a foothold in the game and the Lydney eight, superbly led by captain Will Jones, were always the dominant force.
The big men in the Lydney pack certainly came to the fore in conditions that suited the powerful runners.
Weston gained possession from the kick-off and kicked into the corner but Tony Wicks was able to field the kick and send the home side back into the Weston half.
The visitors, in increasingly difficult conditions, were forced to defend for long periods.
This they did with vigour, with number eight George Sparks and Dave Bufton in the thick of the action throughout.
Weston can take a lot of credit that, even when down to 14 men, with Bufton in the bin, they still kept a clean sheet.
It was the 35th minute after Lydney had shunned several chances to kick at goal that Wicks accepted an easy chance that sent the home side in at half-time with a three-point lead.
The second half saw Lydney, with a change of shirts, take full advantage of the conditions and their physical advantage soon told when the evergreen Paul Price picked up a pass from Dave Arnott and slid over the Weston line. Tony Wicks kicked the conversion to give the Severnsiders a 10-point advantage.
Weston then enjoyed more possession, and certainly territory in the next 10 minutes than they had done all game.
However, they never really threatened the Lydney line.
On 54 minutes, and after some powerful drives, Weston conceded penalties at successive scrums inside their five-metre line and referee Richard Harding went under the posts to signal the inevitable penalty try.
The home backs were coming more and more into the game with Sam Arnott. as always, pulling the strings while Josh Innes was enjoying a fine game in his unaccustomed role of outside-half.
It was he and Arnott who combined to put Charlie Vine away, who jinked past three defenders to score wide out. Wicks again added the extras.
With nearest rivals Redingensians without a game, it was now a bonus- point victory that the home side were seeking. With Weston still defending resolutely, this was never a certainty.
It took until the last minute of normal time when Tia Lakabuka managed to gather a kick and run across field, where he found support from the ever-alert Josh Hannam and he scored in the corner.
Wicks again kicked the conversion with the last kick of the game.
This was arguably one of Lydney’s best performances of the season, with Will Jones outstanding throughout. It was by no means a one-man show, however.
It was a solid team effort that will surely make the gap between first and the rest in this league difficult for anyone to close.
The 100 per cent home record is still intact and with only one reverse this season promotion is now a word that can be whispered at Regentsholme.
They are 15 points clear of second-placed Bracknell, who beat Barnstaple 55-10 yesterday, and 16 clear of Redingensians.
LYDNEY: Tony Wicks; Tia Lakabuka, Josh Hannam, Dewi Scourfield, Jack O’Connell; Josh Innes, Sam Arnott; Paul Price, Mike Wallis, Sam Winchcombe, Dave Bennett, Jimmy Roberts, Brett Scriven, Matt Boobyer, Will Jones. Reps: Seb Merritt, Callum Wyman, Charlie Vine.
WESTON-SUPER-MARE: Harvey Skelton; Harry Jones, Sam Smee, Kirk Middlemiss, Matt Watkins; James Mackay, Ross Bennett; Dave Swann, Craig Withers, Phil Hobbs, Dave Bufton, Andy Glen, Shaun Eaton, Paul Morrissey, George Sparks. Reps: Steve Donegan, Ash Russell, Tom Bellak.
REFEREE: Richard Harding.
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Will Jones.