“OF course the lads are disappointed now, but in 20 years time when they’re propping up the bar in the clubhouse, regaling the younger generation of the day they ran out at Twickenham, they will look back only with amazing memories.”
These words from Wath RUFC president Phil Ardron summed up perfectly a day for the club where defeat was a merely a minor inconvenience.
The team, officials and more than 600 supporters made the home of English rugby union their home for one day, an experience none of them will ever forget.
Though there was a 31-22 defeat to a strong Wells outfit, Wath departed Twickenham with the knowledge they had pushed an excellent opposition to the limit.
It was clear from the whistle that Wells – coached by former England Women boss Pete Kennedy – were a class act with a solid game plan.
Though smaller than the Moor Roaders, Wells’ defensive efforts were outstanding and the pace of the back three proved a thorn in Wath’s side.
The Somerset side came out with all guns blazing and Wath struggled to get a hold on the game with missed tackles, handling errors and needless penalties costing them dearly.
Wells led 23-0 at the break, producing ruthless scoring with Wath enjoying much of the territory and possession.
Wath were in the ascendancy heading into half time with skipper Matthew Burrows and wing Ashley Rothery making telling breaks through the midfield.
A penalty was expertly placed five metres out and Wath piled on the pressure.
Andy Hopkin looked to have scored in the corner but the officials rules the ball was held up leaving Wath empty handed at the break.
But the intentions of Wath were clear and they started the second half as they had finished the first.
Lock Richard Hill put in a thundering tackle from the kick off and Wath were soon maintaining possession well and playing at pace.
Anthony Barratt got them off the mark with a penalty, registering Wath’s first points at Twickenham.
But Wells would increase their lead after Wath tried to run the ball from their own 22 and a wayward pass was intercepted.
From then on it was all Wath’s way as they threatened the most special of comebacks.
Martyn Bray fumbled the ball inches from the line as the Moor Roaders pushed for their opening try.
But they remained patient, setting up a driving maul inside the 22 which forced the Wells pack back over their own line for Richard Hill to score.
Barratt superbly converted from the touchline.
Wath lost scrum half Joe Bartlett who could remember nothing of the game afterwards.
Replacement wing Ben Keen was next to go close but was brought back for a forward pass.
Young flanker Ethan Dyson was introduced and was immediately in the thick of the action, brought down by a superb cover tackle five metres out.
Wath remained patient and the ball was moved quickly for Burrows to surge over and score.
Wells effectively sealed the game with a penalty from their first real foray into the Wath half in the second period.
Wath continued to fight and were rewarded with a try from centre Steve Mason after another display of superb teamwork.
Before the end Hopkin got within inches of capping Keen’s break with a score but the ball was lost in the grounding.
The final whistle brought jubilant celebrations for Wells but Wath received as big an ovation from their own supporters.
Attention now turns to getting the job done in the league.
Wath need just two points from their final game at West Leeds this weekend to seal promotion to Yorkshire One.