Tiverton 26, Withycombe 15

Withycombe’s hopes of a top two finish in this season’s Cornwall and Devon league were dealt a big blow as they went down in Mid Devon.

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It completed their season of visits to the sections top teams, but they returned home having served up a lacklustre performance against a slightly less lacklustre Tiverton side!

Conditions underfoot were heavy after rain, and spectators might have accused both sides of not playing to the conditions in the early stages as handling errors dominated the opening exchanges.

After threatening for a while, Tiverton finally broke the deadlock after 16 minutes with a well-worked try in the corner.

Four minutes later they were over again from a scrum five, and there was a hint that Withycombe’s recent away day blues were returning.

The green and blacks pressed hard from the ensuing kickoff, earning a series of penalties before settling on Jack Pugsley’s boot from under the posts to make it 12-3.

Five minutes later though, Tiverton opened up the visitors far too easily, bringing the blindside winger in from a lineout and making the most of breaking the Withycombe line by scoring under the posts.

The score remained 19-3 until halftime, and with neither side really playing to their potential, the game was still very much for the taking.

The second half started much the same as the first, error-strewn and fairly balanced, although Tiverton made much better use of the wind than Withycombe had in the first.

Withycombe gave themselves hope when they were first to score, John Parkin finally taking advantage of one of the many holes in Tiverton’s outside defence to dance over on 52 minutes, Pugsley adding the extras.

However, even with the penalty count ending 9-2 in Withycombe’s favour, they couldn’t make the most of their endeavours, and Tiverton effectively ended Withy’s hopes of winning the game by scoring their bonus point try on 65 minutes to make it 26-10.

A quick tap from a scrum infringement allowed Mike Richards to offload to Neil Williams late on for a try, but even the sin binning of Tiverton’s star open-side flanker inside the last ten minutes yielded little return for Withycombe’s effort.

On Saturday Withy take a break from their league campaign to visit Exeter Saracens for a cup tie.

The game gives Withy the opportunity to rebuild some momentum in time for the New Year.

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