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Taylor try hat-trick as Withy start year with home win

PUBLISHED: 12:38 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:38 11 January 2018

Withycombe turned round a half-time deficit to visiting Hayle to begin 2018 in winning style, recording a 20-9 victory over the Cornish side.

In the first half, Withy played up the slope and against the wind, but they dictated the early exchanges and, with a slight advantage in the scrum, used it to their advantage.

However, Hayle grew into the game and, from their third attempt at goal, took a 3-0 lead in the 35th minute.

Withy’s response was both clinical – and immediate – as they roared up the slope, led by Scott Burgan and Alex Taylor, and, when they won a scrum 10-metres from the line, Taylor broke free and off-loaded to John Parkin and he played a perfect pass out to Sam Conway, who dived over to score.

That was not the end of the first-half scoring though, for Hayle found time to slot a second penalty and trooped off with a narrow 6-5 interval lead.

Whatever was in the Withycombe half-time drink, it certainly provided inspiration! From the restart the home side powered onto the offensive and, five minutes into the second half, won another scrum penalty from which Taylor repeated his first-half action and this time Sam Conway slotted the conversion to put Withy into a 12-6 lead.

As conditions underfoot became worse, both sides resorted to trying to battle their way through.

Hayle reduced the deficit to one of six points with a third successful penalty and threatened further scores. However, they got little change out of the impressive Danny Sansom and Rob Griffin was a constant thorn in the Hayle side, though he did pick up a yellow card for collapsing a maul and sat out 10 minutes of the game as a result.

The Cornish side were unable to make their slight numerical advantage count and Withy almost scored again when a barn-storming John Parkin run was ended just shy of the line.

With time ticking down, Withy went into another scrum and, not for the first time in the contest, the combined efforts of Andrew Dudley, Liam Cullen, Max Cooke, Rob Griffin and Mark Wilkinson again got the better of their opposite numbers and the main beneficiary was once again Taylor, who took the ball over the line to complete a hat-trick of tries and seal Withy a terrific home triumph.

The win, a sixth of the Devon and Cornwall campaign, leaves Withy sitting sixth in the table.

This Saturday (January 13) Withy face the daunting task of visiting table-topping Saltash, who have won 13 and lost just twice in 15 starts so far this season.

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