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WEST OF ENGLAND Rep side Report

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• Oxford winger Ross Lewis grabs a hat-trick as the West run out 44-16 winners

Oxford Cavaliers winger Ross Lewis grabbed a hat-trick of tries as the West of England Lionhearts recorded a dominant 44-16 victory over Devon Sharks at Oxford RFC.


In their final outing before travelling to Ireland in March (subject to approval from the Rugby Football League), the West of England Lionhearts led virtually from start to finish. A dominant performance by their forward pack laid the foundations for the side’s talented half-backs and speedy backs to pile on the points.


The West were on the front foot from minute one, when right winger Aaron Lambourne strolled in unopposed following good work from stand-off Connor Tomley, who also added an impressive touchline conversion. Devon Sharks responded well and could have had a try of their own a couple of minutes later following a 60-metre break, but were denied thanks to a brilliant last-hasp tackle from Southampton Spitfires full-back Mike McGrath.


The visitors were soon made to pay as Ross Lewis got on the end of a tidy right to left passing move and dived over in the left corner. Devon Sharks were again denied a try a few minutes later – the attacker being held up over the line by West defenders – but finally got on the scoresheet after 19 minutes. It was stand-off Sam Conway who forced himself over between the posts, before adding the easy conversion himself.


As the first half wore on, the West of England took control. First, Swindon St George half-back Connor Tomley ghosted through for a short range score on 22 minutes, before Mike McGrath showed his attacking class with an eye-catching score on 29 minutes. Both tries were converted by Tomley. Another quick fire score from scrum half Jamie Deal two minutes later – unconverted – gave the home side a commanding 26-6 half time lead.


Devon Sharks returned to the field in the second half determined to change the outcome of the game. Within two minutes of the restart they got the try they so desperately needed, impressive centre Ben Spear breaking clear 45 metres out and sprinting away to touch down. Although Sam Conway missed the conversion attempt, he was successful with a penalty kick awarded for foul play on Spear after he’d scored.


Any thoughts of a dramatic comeback were extinguished less than three minutes later, when Ross Lewis broke clear and hared down the  left wing to score his second try of the afternoon. From the next set of six, the West of England scored on the opposite flank, where centre Rhys Evans just had too much pace and power for his opposite numbers to handle.


With 58 minutes on the clock, Ross Lewis completed his hat-trick with another classic winger’s try. As the game wore on, both sides were guilty of making unforced errors. The West of England finally crossed the whitewash again 10 minutes from time, centre Henry Beer storming over for a try converted by Jamie Deal, before Devon Sharks’ Tom Phlips finished off a fluid, cross field passing move for a late consolation try.



West of England Lionhearts 44
T: Aaron Lambourne, Ross Lewis 3, Connor Tomley, Jamie Deal, Rhys Evans, Henry Beer
C: Connor Tomley 3, Jamie Deal 1
Devon Sharks 16
T: Sam Conway, Ben Spear, Tom Philips
C: Sam Conway. Pen: Sam Conway



The West of England Lionhearts is the representative side of the West of England Men’s League, a summer competition featuring community clubs from Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham, Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, Somerset and Swindon. Players are selected based on performances for their clubs over the course of the season. The representative side was established in 2016 and in early 2017 toured Ireland, beating the country’s under-21 side in an entertaining encounter. The West of England Lionhearts are managed and coached by volunteers from a number of community clubs in the region

Report, thanks to Matt Anniss

West of England v Devon Sharks - 14th January 2018.jpg

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