Westoe’s title bid still on after stormy encounter

Luke Moffett races clear on his way to scoring against Stockton. Pic: Phil Haswell
Luke Moffett races clear on his way to scoring against Stockton. Pic: Phil Haswell

The league title won’t be decided until the final whistle after Westoe maintained their promotion bid with a 24-0 win over Stockton.

It was a must-win game for the Lookers-sponsored Wside, more so with both Northern and Barnard Castle winning their matches.

With just two games remaining and the top four teams facing each other in the final week, the league is still on a knife-edge. If Westoe can win their final two games with bonus-point wins they will finish in the play-off spot at the very least.

Freak storms two hours before kick-off on saturday made the Wood Terrace pitch unplayable and the match was switched to Harton School’s 3G surface.

The first score came on 15 minutes, from a Sam Gaff line-out, palming the ball to Raymie Elliott who smashed into the defence. When stopped, Ryan Lamb took the next charge and the offload to Andrew Kirton was enough to power across the line.

Stockton found themselves down to 14 men after their No 4 was shown the inevitable red card after a barrage of punches on 22 minutes. Westoe upped the pressure, but a solid Stockton side kept the storm at bay with some frantic defence and attacking play.

With the first half coming to a close, Luke Moffett fielded a long kick and with lightening pace, sped 50 metres down-field to take the half-time score to 14-0

The visitors came out firing and only a superb display of organised defence prevented them crossing the line. They spoiled and disrupted many Westoe attacks, who were trying too hard at times with complex moves where simple hands may have been the better option.

Twelve minutes in Stockton’s number 8 received a yellow card for foul play, and less than a minute after returning to the field of play from his yellow card, the same player was red-carded for kneeing a player in the face and Stockton were down to 13 for the last 15 minutes of the match.

With ten minutes to go, Jake Arnold spotted the gap out wide, splitting the defence and passing to Gaff, who off-loaded to Michael Potts to run under the sticks.

Fearing that the four-try bonus point was not coming, Westoe squandered several chances, missing some simple three on twos. However with the last play of the game, Luke Moffett passed outside to Reggie Fasa who completed the job with a 60-metre sprint up the touchline to seal the win and the five points needed for promotion hopes.