Thursday, September 6, 2012
Withycombe 22 Crediton 14
Withycombe overcame Crediton in a close encounter at Raleigh Park last Saturday, writes John Goldfinch.
The conditions were perfect for open rugby and both teams looked to run the ball were ever possible.
Playing down the slope Withies were reduced to calling on their first substitute within a minute when lock Will French was injured from the kick off. However, undeterred, Withies dominated the opening exchanges and with the sin binning of Crediton’s lock John Down it gave the impetus to the home side to push forward for the first score and it came after eight minutes from centre Adam Morris who gathered a kick ahead from Paddy Shaw. Shaw added the extras to put Withies 7-0 up. Withies pushed forward after the score to increase their lead both sides looked nervous as the game developed into a typical first game of the season encounter. There were some very good bits and some not so good bits where passes that should have gone to hand were put down at crucial stages. It was all a bit frenetic.
Crediton, in one of their rare incursions into Withies territory were awarded a penalty from in front of the posts and Tom Ronchetti slotted over the kick.
The status quo remained until the last ten minutes of the game when a silly error from Crediton lock Dove resulted in a penalty for Withies right in front of the posts and a red card for Dove for his second yellow card. Shaw slotted the penalty and Withies had a 10-3 lead.
However, the red carding did not break Crediton spirit and they started to produce some of their best moments of the game and right on the half time whistle, Ronchetti was presented with another penalty chance and the successful kick left the side changing ends with Withies holding a narrow 10-6 advantage.
The second half had Withies seeking to push home their advantage. Patience should have been the name of the game but with first day nerves still prevailing and youthful exuberance sometimes upsetting the rhythm of the game it took until fifteen minutes before Withies scored a well worked try wide out with wing Kevin Rodwell the recipient. The score was not converted. With a 15-6 advantage Withies just required another score to enter the comfort zone.
However, as seems the norm in many games the advantage was immediately slashed from the restart when Ronchetti notched third penalty effort.
Within ten minutes, Withies made the game safe when prop Sam Manning raced over from twenty metres, after taking a great line, to score between the posts. The score was converted by Adam Morris.
Well into the last quarter Withies strove for the bonus point win and on occasions the score looked likely only to be thwarted by some strong Crediton defence and some indecisiveness on the part of the Withies attack at the last moment. As the seconds ticked away to the end of the game Crediton engineered a position near the Withies line and quickly taken tap penalty caught the Withycombe defence unawares and winger Vince Black raced over in the corner for an unconverted score.
This was a pleasing Withycombe effort with so many new and young players. Once the rawness and nervousness is redressed, this Withycombe side will cope with most in the league. The test will come next week against Plymouth Barbarians away who are a big strong side who will be out to put the Withies youngsters out of the stride. Withycombe 2nd XV is also away to South Molton so resolute away supporters have a choice of games to travel to.