Torrington 6 Withycombe 22

Withycombe were good value for their win over a spirited Torrington side fighting for survival in the Cornwall and Devon league, writes John Goldfinch.

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On a very cold day at Donnacroft, Withycombe overcame a spirited Torrington side fighting for survival in the Cornwall and Devon league, writes John Goldfinch.

Pre-match rain made conditions very awkward for both sides and Withycombe will be very happy with the result in what could have been a potential banana skin had they allowed themselves to become bogged down.

Withy played the first half with the slope in their favour. Clearly intent on making the most of that advantage, the Withycombe pack opted to take it on and Torrington were forced to defend from the onset.

Kickable penalties were rejected in favour of kicks to the corner for the catch and drive. It was after twelve minutes that Withies got themselves on the score board when a catch and drive was taken on and quick recycled ball from the drive was stopped and scrum half Danny Parry squirmed over close enough in for stand-off half Tom Steer add the extras. The seven point advantage was soon reduced to four when Withies were penalised and Torrington’s Sam Britton slotted the ball between the posts

After the restart Torrington, enjoyed some brief incursions into Withies territory, but a combination of excellent defence and conditions denied the home side in the quest for a score.

Withycombe needed to increase their lead to make the most of the Donnacroft slope. They did just that with a score from full back Bradley Perkins, crossing the line, after some encouraging phases from the Withycombe pack. Steer added the extras.

The final minutes of the first half had Withycombe pushing hard for an equaliser, but the slippery conditions denied them as the ball went to ground at crucial moments. Torrington’s Britton reduced the deficit with another penalty, but right on the whistle Withies were awarded a penalty and Steer knocked it over as it was the last play allowable.

The second half was a more even affair and Withycombe were forced to defend on occasions, but Torrington never really looked like scoring. Withy did, and their opportunities were much clearer, particularly when lock Jon Axon nearly forced his way over from a line out.

Another Withycombe score was needed to make the game safe as the final quarter of the game approached, but with the pitch becoming heavier ball control was becoming a lottery. Withycombe pack had a weight advantage and they used it to good effect and rumbled and mauled the ball to make good ground. Ben Mardle nearly broke the defences with a nicely timed run but a last ditched tackle saved the day for Torrington. However, it was only moments later when Withies got their score and it was a copy-cat score from scrum-half Parry. Steer was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt, but with only ten minutes to go to the final whistle the game was almost won. With a 22-6 advantage Withies held control of the ball until the final whistle and the points were in the bag.

Withies travel to Plymouth Barbarians next week for a rearranged fixture.

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