Thrilling Westoe win over Middlesbrough keeps promotion hopes alive
Lookers-sponsored Westoe took one more step to promotion with a thrilling 22-18 win over Middlesbrough.
And they now face the simple equation – beat Barnard Castle in a fortnight in a winner-takes-all clash to earn the play-off spot against West Leeds or York.
Westoe now sit second in the league with Northern already promoted, but made it hard for themselves against a committed Boro team.
With both teams looking to play an expansive fast match, the key factor on the day was going to be defence.
Boro led through a penalty but from the restart, Westoe worked their way up field and were awarded a penalty, which was taken quickly by Luke Moffett, spotting the gap and taking the lead.
It took Boro until 32 minutes before they retook the league with an entertaining try; centre Homan showed his pace and vision, splitting West’s defence on a 50m run, passing to his centre partner just before the line to retake the lead.
Just three minutes later he struck again, this time being pulled down close to the line. Westoe were penalised at the scrum and a quick take from the hooker, saw Boro’s lead extend to 15-7.
In the 12 minutes of extra time played in the half, the sides swapped penalties leaving the half-time score 18-10.
Westoe came out firing in the second half, but as previous weeks, tried too hard at times with complex moves and long-floating passes, where simple hands and numbers were often the best option.
After a period of sustained pressure, Westoe kicked to the corner for the line-out. Boro decided not to contest and Westoe lock John Younghusband secured the ball, found a gaping hole and waltzed over the line for the score. It was 18-15 with just 15 minutes left to play.
Westoe made things difficult for themselves; already using their allocated replacements; they found themselves down to 14 men for the remainder of the match when Reggie Fasa was injured.
But wit the clock counting down, Westoe again went to the corner, secured the line-out and drove towards Boro’s line.
The home side managed to halt Westoe’s progress, only for Sam Gaff to break off from the back and power over the line for the score and ultimately the win.