Teenage debutant steals the show for Wootton Bassett
5:30am Wednesday 19th March 2014 in By Tom Bassam, Chief sports writer
Seventeen-year-old debutant runs in 65m try to win it at the last Josh Lewanituva scored a magnificent solo try deep into injury time on his debut to give Royal Wootton Bassett a narrow 22-20 win over Reading Abbey at Ballard’s Ash on Saturday.
Bassett twice conceded the lead but were able to claw back a victory when defeat seemed most likely.
Trailing 20-17 deep into injury time at the end of the game 17-year-old replacement back Lewanituva saved a certain try before turning the game on its head single-handedly.
Bassett captain Tim Gallimore said he felt Bassett had stolen the win but was full of praise for Lewanituva, who he hopes will become a permanent feature for the seniors “I think when you come from behind to win at the death you sort of feel like you’ve stolen one,” said Gallimore.
“He (Lewanituva) is such laid back character it’s hard to know how he felt about it but we were all really exited him.
“Talent wise he should be in the first team but it would have to be discussed with the under-18s coaches.”
The win puts some distance between seventh-placed Bassett and Drifters in eighth and Gallimore thinks Bassett will be able to give more youngsters like Lewanituva a chance in their remaining games.
“You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder so for us it was a big game to win.
“We want to give some more of those 17/18-year-olds a chance and now that we’re in a more comfortable position we can.”
Bassett had burst into the lead after seven minutes when Jonathan Clarke ran in out-wide, with Dave Hogg adding the conversion Though they dominated most of the opening 40 Bassett fell behind late in the period. Abbey stole the ball against the head at the scrum in Bassett’s 22 and moved it wide for Tom Waterhouse to go over. Waterhouse missed the conversion but added a penalty shortly after to give Reading the lead.
The visitors’ scrum was dominant early in the second half. Reading again took the ball against the head allowing Waterhouse to cut inside and feed prop Paul Emery to battle his way under the posts. Waterhouse‘s conversion made it 15-7 to the away side.
Bassett clinically took advantage when Waterhouse was sin-binned shortly after, working an overlap for Hogg to run in an unconverted score.
Back to full strength Abbey then regained the lead when Dai Garhard crossed in the corner. Though Waterhouse’s missed conversion did mean Bassett only needed an unconverted try to steal the win.
This proved to crucial when Abbey conceded a penalty in Bassett’s 22 for coming in at the side of a ruck.
The home side took a quick tap to get the ball to Lewanituva who completed his school-boy’s own moment. Cutting through the Abbey defence from well within his own half the Bassett colt beat everyone to score out wide and win the game.