Withycombe 31, Liskeard-Looe 10

Withycombe entered this game fully in the knowledge that nothing was at stake; Liskeard had turned up with only 15 players and could not field a front row, writes Mike Richards.

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Therefore, Withycombe had five points in the bag and Liskeard were playing with uncontested scrums merely to avoid a penalty. Though this provided what appeared to be the perfect rehearsal for next week’s crunch meeting at Teignmouth, the afternoon proved bittersweet for Withy.

It all started to plan with early forwards’ pressure ending with Kevin Rodwell opening the scoring in the corner.

Liskeard seemed determined to keep the score down by whatever means necessary after this, with niggles, punches and persistent offending at the breakdown. Unfortunately for Withycombe the referee appeared to have entered into the lackadaisical spirit and the ruck area became a mess. A good three-quarter move broke the stalemate with Brad Perkins putting Rodwell away to claim his second with Jack Pugsley converting. Liskeard managed to snatch a try through some enterprising pick-and-go moves that caught Withy napping at the fringes just before the break to make it 12-5 at half-time.

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first. Rodwell first completed his hat-trick, Mike Symons scored what is fast becoming a trademark try from the halfway line and Neil Williams wrapped up the scoring finishing off a backs move, with Pugsley adding two conversions; whilst Liskeard snatched an opportunistic try of their own. Withycombe also suffered a blow before Saturday’s Teignmouth showdown with an injury to openside flanker Brad Perkins.

It’s not all bad news though: despite being deprived of the scrum, one of their biggest weapons, and though it was far from a vintage performance, Withycombe came away with a comfortable win on the day under difficult circumstances. Not long ago this could have been a very different match report. Added to the hat-trick of relative new boy Kevin Rodwell; just last year he might have been helping Exmouth’s third team avoid defeat to a burgeoning Withycombe second string at the Imperial Ground on Saturday. Things are looking up for Withycombe, and they have every reason to look to Saturday’s big game at Teignmouth with confidence.

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