Plymouth Barbarians 10, Withycombe 41

Withycombe bounced back from an unconvincing start to win their first league away outing of the new term, writes Mike Richards.

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The Withy players seemed as if they were still on the bus as they were under the cosh in the early stages until Mike Symons poached a loose ball from the back of a Barbarians scrum before showing his electric pace in finishing from 50-metres out, leaving a simple conversion for Jack Pugsley. Sloppy play from the kickoff allowed the hosts an immediate reply, one they took with a successful penalty awarded for obstruction to close the deficit to four points.

Withy were full of invention, but at times lacked the finishing touch.

However, when things did come together, the results were stunning! Jamie Rose fed the returning John Parkin who shimmied, dummied and feigned his way to the line to make it 12-3 after 15 minutes.

Just after the half hour mark a Barbarians clearance kick was collected by Mike Richards, with the ball going through Neil Williams and Jamie Rose to allow Adam Morris to waltz over in the corner.

The offloads were coming thick and fast now and another flowing move five minutes later gave Ben Tuckett a similar run-in to Morris’, Pugsley this time slotting the touchline conversion attempt to make it 24-3 at half-time with the bonus point already secured.

After the break Withy served up more of the same as the defence coped admirably with the best the hosts could offer.

On the hour, after a period of sustained pressure in the opposition-22 led Jack Pugsley to slot a drop goal in order to get the scoreboard ticking over again.

Shortly after, further industry from the forwards gave Neil Williams the chance to make a trademark line break and dart over the try line, Pugsley again converting.

Withycombe’s scoring was rounded off with a nice bit of forward interplay, flanker Brad Perkins offloading to prop Sam Manning who popped inside for Number eight Mike Richards to score and Pugsley converted to make it 41-3.

Barbarians did score a late consolation try as Withycombe struggled to clean up some quick-won ruck ball in their own half; their willingness to offload went from being their biggest strength to the rope by which they hung themselves as Steve Hammon pounced on a loose pass and darted under the posts, converting his own try to leave it 41-10 at the final whistle. Plenty to work on, but two wins from two outings, whilst clearly still not yet out of third gear leaves Withycombe well placed. Results elsewhere suggests that Falmouth may prove a sterner test this weekend at Raleigh Park.

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