Aaron Cook kicks Wells RFC to narrow win over Matson
Matson 13, Wells 14
by Michael England
Three penalties from outside-half Aaron Cook and Dave Wheatley’s scintillating try saw Wells home by a single point after a thrilling encounter at Matson in Gloucester on Saturday.
Injuries and absences meant that the club as a whole were missing more than 20 players at the weekend but Tom White again proved an able deputy at hooker, while Sean Hegarty started at tight-head.
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Jake Smith was a late call-up at outside-centre, Stefan Davies came in on the left wing and youngster Kieran Joyce showed plenty of promise on the opposite flank.
Although conditions were cold, the dry ground encouraged both teams to throw the ball around. Wells made the worst possible start, though, as Matson crossed within the first three minutes when the home winger latched onto a delicate chip through.
Cook reduced the arrears with his first successful kick but Matson were further ahead at half-time as their winger crossed for his second try.
Wells narrowed the gap three minutes after the break when full-back Wheatley sprinted 40 metres for a spectacular score and Cook edged the visitors ahead 15 minutes later with his second penalty.
The nip-and-tuck match continued at a tremendous pace but the changes made by Wells proved decisive in securing victory.
With limited resources to play with, coach Pete Kennedy moved openside flanker Gavin Foster to hooker, while Jamie Payne joined his brother Al in the second row and Lewis Cohen switched to the back-row. Skipper Ben Knight then moved to scrum-half and his brother Jake partnered the third brother, Alex, in the centre.
Although Matson briefly regained the lead with a penalty, Aaron Cook slotted over his third with nine minutes remaining to put Wells back ahead.
There were scares in the closing stages, not least when the hosts sent a penalty against the upright, but Wells held on to keep up the pressure on the top two in Tribute Western Counties North.
Number eight Rob Wiseman was outstanding in defence and attack, while loose-head prop Lewis Smith got around the pitch like a flanker and made dents in the Matson defence.