With two league games remaining, Ross claimed the league
title on Saturday 4th March with a hard fought 13-5 win
over their nearest rivals Westbury on Severn. Prior to the
game Westbury sat in second place and were hopeful that
a victory would keep their title hopes alive. However Ross
ensured that 1st place was theirs and left the rest to fight
for second place.
the first half Ross looked tentative, as if the prize of
champions was hampering their natural open rugby style.
Westbury started strongly, using their forwards to drive
hard at the Ross defence, keeping the ball and running through,
phase after phase. However the Ross defence, as they have
done throughout the season held firm, with Flos Morgan,
Mike Davies and Wayne Williams to the fore. With twenty
minutes gone the score remained at 0-0, when Ross began
to get into the game. However their usual fluidity was missing,
errors dominated and Ross were unable to develop their game.
Against the run of play Ross took the lead after 30 minutes.
After a Westbury infringement, Chris Gage converted the
penalty giving Ross a 3-0 lead, which they held through
to half time.
Westbury started the second half as they did the first,
dominating both possession and territory. After a scrum
against the head, their outside half crashed over to score
making the tally Westbury 5 - Ross 3. That score seemed
to invigorate Ross, who finally began to play their natural
game, with Tara Barnett, Kevan Healy and Nick Brierley beginning
to find holes in the Westbury defence. As a consequence
the Ross half backs, Simon Gwynne and Andy Hunt began to
release the Ross backs. The Westbury defence began to creak
and eventually cracked conceding a penalty 40 yards out,
which Chris Gage expertly converted giving a 6-5 lead to
one point lead seemed to relax Ross and Hugh Bellamy, Wayne
Bishop and Alistair Rees began to find gaps out wide, crossing
the gain line and stretching the Westbury defence. Dave
Mince, Tony Clements and Craig Creed began to take advantage
of a tiring Westbury pack. With the game entering the final
quarter Ross finally put some breathing space between them
and Westbury, with Tim Hans, then Tara Barnett driving hard
into the Westbury 22. The ball was moved quickly to Andy
Hunt, who held the ball up perfectly, before feeding Adam
Clements who had come on a late searing run and crashed
over to score under the posts. Chris Gage converted making
the score 13-5. Westbury launched one last effort in the
closing stages, however the Ross defence was too strong
and the ref blew the whistle to confirm Ross as league champions
2005 / 2006.
two league games remaining, Ross are now looking to go through
the season unbeaten and complete a great campaign that's
seen Ross play some great Rugby. Ross's next fixture is
a friendly away game at Bromyard on 11th March.