Withycombe 62, Falmouth 17

Withycombe powered to a third succesive league victory and sit second to leaders Teignmouth in the Cornwall and Devon feldgling table.

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Withycombe finally found top gear in a second-half performance that coach Trevor Harris described as: “The best I’ve seen at Raleigh Park in a long while”. Falmouth arrived having won their opening two games and having posed serious questions to Withy last year. However, within five minutes the tone of the game had been set: Danny Sansom scoring from a blindside break, swiftly followed by a red card being shown to a Falmouth second row, the result of which saw the unfortunate Andy Morris require hospital attention!

Withycombe did well to stay above the niggles and concentrated on playing rugby. Mike Richards was the next to benefit from Falmouth’s distraction with a well-taken try from a short lineout, Tom Steer adding the extras. Withycombe’s continued lapses in concentration led to a penalty attempt for Falmouth which was fortunately scuffed and fell well short of going over. Brad Perkins showed the way, paving the way for Neil Williams to score his first try.

Falmouth then caught the Withy boys napping when their No.8 crashed over from a cleverly-worked lineout from short distance to keep them in it at 17-5. Withycombe once again replied, seemingly as necessary, with James SD Perkins busting the line and offloading to skipper Dave Richards, the hooker bamboozling the Falmouth full back to dive over untouched leaving a simple conversion for Tom Steer. Once more before half time the Withycombe concentration would lapse. Perhaps scenting blood, the home side pushed hard for a turnover on the last play of the half, only for Falmouth to take advantage of an inside shoulder not being covered, the resulting try and conversion leaving the game apparently finely balanced at 24-12 at the half.

In the second half the Withycombe fitness really shone through in the heat, though. The youthful back line ran riot, Tom Steer making a huge break and Danny Sansom being the beneficiary, Steer adding the extras.

Next a Mike Richards (the old man of the starting line-up at a venerable 27) lineout steal gave Neil Williams a far from simple finish that the barnstorming centre, now moonlighting at No.8, took with glee in the top corner.

Falmouth’s frustration was beginning to show, and this manifested itself in a second red card, this time for a petulant second yellow.

From a Falmouth scrum shortly afterward, Brad Perkins poached a loose ball to dive fully two metres to score, Steer again converting.

Withycombe were then reduced to 14 men temporarily when Mike Richards was sin binned for a dangerous tackle, and despite a Falmouth try shortly afterward, this would not stop the Withy momentum. Kevin Rodwell scored from a flowing scrum move in clubhouse corner, a Neil Williams offload then allowed John Parkin to break and feed Dave Richards for Rodwell to grab his fourth try in three league games in Withycombe colours, Steer once again adding the extras. As if to mark that their dominance was across all areas, the final Withycombe score came from a lineout drive, Brad Perkins again dotting down for his second of the day. Steer’s boot left the scoreboard at 62-17, a score which will surely have raised eyebrows across the league. Blindside flanker Terry Mears earned the Man of the Match award on his 1st XV debut, and Withycombe’s strength in depth continues to grow.

This Saturday they travel to Saltash, newly-promoted high-fliers in what will once again prove to be a considerable test of their season’s ambitions.

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