Slick Brighton side condemn Combe to a 2nd home defeat
By Mark Ley
Westcombe Park 15-49 Brighton
As one Combe supporter said this was a game of two pitches rather than
two halves. The change to the "Swamp" was necessitated due to a
neck/head injury to Combe hooker AD Foster when the score stood at 22-15
to Brighton. The visitors adapted to the change with aplomb and ran in 4
tries dominating both ball and territory.
Brighton had opened the scoring on 5 minutes with a flat low penalty
into the blustery wind when WPRFC infringed at the ruck. Brighton
continued to press hard and were rewarded with an unconverted try which
came from a 5 metre scrum followed up with a couple of hard physical
thrusts. Combe then provided a bit of hope for their supporters who had
braved the freezing weather. A Brighton attack fizzled out with the ball
breaking loose. Flanker Dave Pohlen hacked on and winger Dan Hamilton
did likewise and then won the race to dot the ball down for the try.
Matt Harrison kicked a fine conversion in the tricky conditions.
Brighton extended their lead at the start of the second quarter after
Combe coughed up a number of penalties in the red zone. From an ensuing
line out Brighton got their driving maul into action and rumbled over
the line. The conversion was kicked.
Combe were showing more attacking prowess than the previous week.
Flanker Ryan Hackett was industrious, breaking the gain line and
tackling hard. Harrison impressed with a fluent well balanced run which
ended with a knock on and Hamilton was only just bundled into touch by a
try saving tackle.
Combe were also managing to get some continuity into their phase play in
Brighton territory and, when the visitors finally managed to get their
hands on the ball, they lost possession and Isireli Sami was first to
react to collect the ricochet. He muscled through the opposition in a
weaving run and fed fellow centre Sam Atiola who crashed over for the
Halftime Westcombe Park RFC 12-15 Brighton RFC
Combe equalised through the boot of Harrison at the start of the second
period when Brighton were pinged for not releasing but that was Combe's
last entry on the scoreboard. From the restart Brighton made serious
inroads which Combe could only stem illegally and for the second time
Brighton made full use of their effective maul to score.
Combe came back valiantly putting a series of phases together which
Brighton terminated by infringing. It was at a lineout from one of these
penalties that Foster's injury occurred and the lengthy halt in play and
the change of pitch took any momentum out of the Goddington Dene side's
At 15-22 down Combe were still in with a good chance of getting
something out of the match but Brighton were efficiently ruthless in the
final 30 minutes running in four tries through both forwards and backs.
Combe struggled to put together any meaningful moves and when the
visitors regained possession they not only breached Combe territory but
put points on the board.
Another hard afternoon for Combe players, officials and supporters the
only solace being that Brighton were clearly the best outfit faced this
season and that Combe matched them for a good chunk of the game. Next
week Westcombe Park are off to the coast to visit Tottonians.
Westcombe Park RFC: Fernandez, Hackett, Forsyth, Calohard, Novell,
Pohlen, Foster, O'Sullivan, Smith, Harrison, Hamilton, Sema, Davies,
Replacements: Onwuka, Pass, Harding
Combe man of the match: Hackett
Match Report: John Vallely