Thursday, September 19, 2013
Withycombe 3, Exeter University 24
Withycombe’s first home game ended in defeat as what promised to be a festival of running rugby turned out to be more of a tactical ding-dong at Raleigh Park, writes Mike Richards.
With both teams clearly placing a premium on defence, the game was a tight affair from the outset. The score remained deadlocked for 25 minutes until the University crashed over in the corner to make it 5-0. Two missed penalties from Withycombe cost them the opportunity to lead and when Al Loaring was beaten on the outside shoulder the University held a 10-0 lead at the break.
Commanding debuts for George Toomey, Sam Conway and Will Cole among others showed the promise in this young Withycombe side. Blooding players now will surely pay dividends before long, and this was a courageous effort against a very well-organised team who will surely be there or thereabouts come the business end of the season.
All that is not to say that Withy did not have a chance to win it, though. With Glenn Channing finally putting Withycombe on the board on 60 minutes, the University looked beatable as the green and blacks started to apply pressure. Two missed tackles led to two converted tries in the last ten minutes though which gave the visitors a soft bonus point and a flattering margin of victory.
So plenty to work on, but also plenty to work with for Withycombe as they prepare to travel to Falmouth next week, who opened their account with an eye-catching 12-8 win at Crediton;; meanwhile Withies’ 2nd XV play host to Torrington at Raleigh Park.