Withycombe RFC secured their place in the Devon Junior Cup final with a strong performance against South Molton.

With the hosts heading downfield for the opening half, they received the kick off and almost immediately earned the first penalty of the game inside the first 15 seconds.

The ball was sent deep into the visiting half and a break from Joe Blyth made some good ground but, before the ball could go any further, Withy earned another penalty in front of the posts – a sight too tempting for fly-half Tom Cooke, who slotted the kick to get some early points on the board after three minutes.

Exmouth Journal: Withycombe v South Molton

A few minutes later, Withy were given a similar opportunity, unfortunately this time the kick sailed wide of the mark. The dropout kick cleared the immediate danger for the North Devon side, but even with some time with the ball, the Withy defence ensured that the play wasn’t to pass the halfway line.

Defence turned into attack, as Withycombe headed back into the Molton red zone. It looked as if Withy had their first try on the board when George Doughty launched towards the line but was unfortunately adjudged to be in touch.

Withy did manage to get that try soon after as they stole a scrum against the head at halfway; the ball made its way out to Tommy Foa who made a solo run to the line, sidestepping the defenders to score.

The quick-footed young winger doubled up on his try tally just five minutes later with a second score in the corner. Those two quick tries completed the first half scoring, with the home lead at 13-0.

The second half begun with Withy continuing to apply pressure to the South Molton side and with the ball back inside their 22’, an attempted interception resulted in a knock on, handing the ball back to Withy in a dangerous position with a potent attacking move. The scrum was duly marched towards the try line, Joe Blyth broke from the scrum to score in Clubhouse Corner.

Exmouth Journal: Withycombe try

With the penalty count building against them, the visitors were struggling to deal with the pressure that Withycombe were putting on them. This was made evident when Callum Tose broke down the right wing to score in the far corner of the pitch.

The 23-point lead took a bit of a dent almost immediately after a brief lapse in concentration allowed South Molton to capitalise on the charged-down clearing kick from the restart. A gap in the defence made their job easier as they marched in for a score of their own.

Similar to the game in round one of the cup, a try for the All Blacks gave them a bit of belief as the play levelled out in the middle of the field for the majority of the game’s final quarter.

In the final minute of the game, they thought they had earned a second a second try, only to be denied by a defensive Withycombe hand, holding the ball up. The clearing kick from the goal line dropout found touch to bring an end to the game. The final score: Withycombe 23, South Molton 5.

The final will take place next Sunday, when Withycombe will travel to South Devon to face Torquay Athletic who were 17-25 winners away at Tavistock in their semi final. Kick off time is yet to be announced.

The Tics of Torquay, leading 7-5 at half-time, pulled away in the second half, ending Tavistock 1st XV's run of 19 successive league and cup home wins, stretching back 15 months.

On this evidence, the ingredients are in place for an outstanding final and all played in a beautiful location, as the Torquay home ground is based on the English Riviera seafront and right outside the train station – perfect for Withy fans!

Exmouth Journal: Withies in the final