Thursday, September 12, 2013
Crediton 14, Withycombe 13
Withycombe’s league campaign got off to a stuttering start following a week of selection headaches.
With mass unavailability’s in the front five and late withdrawals disrupting the starting line-up, the Withy preparation was far from ideal.
However, they started the better of the sides. After some early pressure and many phases making ground in the Kirton 22, Kevin Rodwell was tackled high giving Glenn Channing the opportunity to score Withycombe’s opening points of the season. The game remained tight for the next twenty minutes, Withycombe appearing to have overcome their breakdown woes that cost them badly in pre-season. On 25 minutes a set move from a lineout gave Danny Sansom the opportunity to showcase his talent and score a fine try in the corner to make it 8-0.
Having been run ragged in the last game of last season, Withycombe were wary of the Kirton backline, which turned out to be a non-factor thanks to the diligent Withy defence. Crediton certainly had the edge in the tight though, and their first points came from a rolling maul which would be a sign of things to come. John Stevens scored the try with Mark Lee converting to make it 8-7.
Withycombe replied on 39 minutes with a blindside break from a scrum, Mike Symons offloading to Connor Gilby then Mike Richards who rumbled over to put Withycombe 13-7 up, Channing’s conversion attempt hitting the post. Crediton were not done though, and on half time were awarded a penalty try from a five-metre scrum which Lee converted to put the hosts up at the break.
The second half was a completely different affair as Crediton made their superiority in the scrum count. Withycombe struggled to win first phase ball, and with indiscipline at the breakdown creeping in again, Crediton kicked the corners and played the numbers game with their rolling maul. It yielded another try after just four minutes of the second half and changed the face of the game. An offside penalty was gratefully slotted by Lee to stretch the lead to 22-13, before 10 points in three minutes effectively ended any Withycombe hopes of getting anything from the game.
A try in the corner followed by a touchline conversion and yet another penalty two minutes later made the score 32-13, and the departure of Danny Sansom robbed Withycombe of one of their best counter-attacking threats. To rub salt in the wound, Crediton scored another try with three minutes to go, making it 37-13.
Though the scoreline may flatter the home side, there were many positives to take from the game. Notable performances from debutants Connor Gilby and Dan James in the back row, Glenn Channing beginning to get the backline firing from fly-half, and resurgent performances from the likes of Kevin Rodwell and Danny Parry are just some of the reasons that this is a Withycombe team on the up. Exeter University visit Raleigh Park next week to visit their old friend Mark Tomlinson for what promises to be an open, attack minded 80 minutes of rugby.