2nd Season blip for Romans

Bath & Wiltshire Romans sit in third place after victory in their 5th league game of the season; 58-30 at home to Gloucester Warriors. After a fantastic debut season last year whereby they won the West of England Rugby League the Romans now find themselves in a much more competitive league with new boys Portsmouth Navy Seahawks leading the way.

The only team that could really challenge Chris Chatten’s men, last season, were the Bristol Sonics who are a place ahead of them. In all sports a second season is always harder for a manager and it is even harder still then it’s a club’s second ever season. Some of their key performers have moved on to professional clubs in the summer break and some of their student signings aren’t back in the area yet.

So there is more to come from this talented Romans side who are still blooding debutants at their new Corsham home ground. Time, however, is running out to qualify for the top two (who go through to the Grand Final) with Bristol Sonics ahead of the Romans by 4 points but crucially have played a game more. Chatten is still upbeat about how his side has performed so far this season:

“It was fantastic for the club to get back to winning ways in such spectacular style, and still have a slim chance of making the top two in our West of England group to allow qualification for the Grand Final. It was nice to see the two debutants in Alex Clark and Luke Cador getting on the score sheet 5 times between them, and Frome based Matt Warnock coming in for his season debut. Ryan Willcox final try epitomised the team effort particularly from the forwards on a hot humid day”.

You can see the full league table here and continue reading for a full match report on their latest win.

Best of luck to the Romans who travel to Oxford today (at the time of writing), a win there would close the gap to 2 points and improve their points difference in the hunt for a top two finish.

Bath & Wiltshire Romans 58 – 30 Gloucestershire Warriors
West of England Rugby League
Corsham RFC

Courtesy of Bath & Wiltshire Romans 
Photos by Paul Turner official club photographer

The Romans’ Fijian centre Bruce Vuetanatotoka led his side to victory at Gordon League with a dominant performance in the first ever meeting between the Romans and the Warriors.

He crossed for two tries and added seven goals from eight attempts for a personal haul of 22 points. Luke Cador added a hat-trick on his debut fresh from trials with London Scottish RU as the Romans ran riot in the opening stages of a game that eventually became a good contest.

romans 9th july 2
Experienced Fijian Bruce Vuetanatotoka fends off the defence on the way to one of his tries

The Warriors were their own worst enemies as a torrent of penalties and mistakes aplenty handed the initiative to the Romans who were not slow on the uptake, but the Romans raced into a 24-0 lead on the back of this and stand-in coach Huw Parks defensive qualities looked to be rubbing off before the Warriors went in for a couple of soft tries for a 30-12 half-time score in the Romans favour.

They were bundled into touch in goal by a superb cover tackle in their first attack and it was no surprise that they opened the scoring when Scotland Students International Tom Plance dodged through a scattered defence to score shortly afterwards.

Bath and Wiltshire Romans Rugby League Tom Plance
Tom Plance Scotland Students International Hooker speeding away for the first score of the game for the Romans

Vuetanatotoka added the first of his goal tally and added the extras to Sam Goulding’s well-worked score ten minutes later, with the forward finding himself in the wing position and bulldozing over out wide.

Alex Clark’s (another debutant for the Romans) searing break set up Cador’s first try before Vuetanatotoka scored a simple try just two passes from a tap penalty to give the Romans a stranglehold on the game.

The Warriors finally got on the board as sheer determination from captain Ash Lewis dragged his side into the game. He crashed over for his side’s first two tries but between them Vuetanatotoka scored for the Romans. Vuetanatotoka decided to do a short kick off which just went the 10 metres, re-gathered his own kick to splendidly weave through the whole warriors defence to go in under the sticks.

Despite the setback, the Warriors started the second period in determined fashion and Sam Goatley had them just three scores behind as he twisted over with just two minutes gone.

However, Clark crossed twice in quick succession to put the Romans 42-16 ahead as the visitors exploited some woeful discipline and defence.

Dean Cooper and Kirk Lewis both scored from close range to cut the lead to 16 points, the Romans were always too far ahead.

Cador completed his hat-trick finishing another good handling move before intercepting Cooper’s pass to score under the posts, Chris Barter successfully taking over the goal kicking duties from the Fijian.

Ben Roche had gone over for an unconverted consolation try for the Warriors before a strong finish from Ryan Willcox sealed a fine win for the Romans.

romans 9th july 1
Ryan Willcox sets off on a barnstorming run which ended in a try close to the sticks, just before the final whistle

ROMANS: Chris Barter; Luke Cador, Matt Warnock, Bruce Vuetanatotoka, Adam Almond; Matt Bodey; Nick Parks; Luke Panting, Tom Plance, Richard Carlile; Tom Culshaw, Alex Clark; Ryan Willcox; INTERCHANGE; Sam Goulding.

Scorers: Tries; Tom Plance (8), Sam Goulding (18), Luke Cador (24, 71, 77), Bruce Vuetanatotoka (29, 35), Alex Clark (47, 51), Ryan Willcox (79)
Goals; Bruce Vuetanatotoka 7 from 8, Chris Barter 2 from 2

WARRIORS: Kieran Cox; Charlie Gaulder, Jake Thompson, Kai Phillips, Ben Roche; Ash Lewis(Capt), Sean Roberts; Karl Kocerhan, Kirk Lewis, Jake Kellaway; Ben Barradine, Dean Cooper; Sam Goatley; INTERCHANGE; Patrick Muldowney, Jon Payne, Connor Whittall, Conrad Jones.

Scorers: Tries;  Ash Lewis (33, 37), Dean Cooper (57), Kirk Lewis (62), Ben Roche (75)
Goals; Ash Lewis 3 from 6

Referee: Ian Waters (SWRLRS)

The Romans are based at Corsham Rugby Union Club, Lacock Road, Corsham and are keen to welcome new players aged 16+ of all abilities to training currently on Wednesday evenings from 7pm. The club are also interested in hearing from anyone who would like to sponsor the club in 2016 and have packages available for all budgets.

The Romans are next in action when they take on Oxford Cavaliers away at Tilsley Park, Dunmore Road, Abingdon, OX14 1PU on Saturday 16th July, 2.30pm kick off.

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