It has been 101 days since the Withies last took the field in the final of the Devon Junior Cup.

Although this may still be fresh in the mind of some of the players and fans, Withycombe began looking at the 2023/24 season with the opening preseason fixture against Crediton’s 2nd XV.

A seventh minute penalty to Withy saw the ball enter the Crediton 22’ for the first time. Once there, Withy set up camp and began to build a little pressure, earning a couple more penalties for their troubles.

A quickly taken penalty from debutant Hooker Dave Brown proved deadly as he carried the ball across the freshly painted whitewash, bringing three defenders with him! With the conversion attempt sailing inches wide, Withy took an early 5-0 lead after 11min.

Crediton began to pick up the pace to ensure they kept a hand in the game though and, a little after the half an hour mark, managed to get themselves onto the scoreboard after a well-placed penalty kick to touch resulted in a try in the corner to level the scores at 5-5.

Withycombe produced an immediate response, however, as some quick ball recycling freed up enough space for Dave Brown to sneak across the line in Clubhouse Corner for his second of the game. This try gave Withy the lead into the break with the score at 10-5.

Crediton cranked up the pressure in the second half, as they regained possession, eventually breaking down the Withycombe wall and scoring 10m out from the posts. With the conversion attempt hitting the posts, the scores were once again tied at 10-10.

Keen on the win and with some fresh legs on the field, the Mid-Devon visitors were back in an attacking gameplan. Withy worked hard at keeping them away from the danger zone and were rewarded well as a loose pass through the backs saw Lewis Tose receive the intercepted pass and run unopposed towards the posts. Tose topped up his five points to seven with the conversion kick. Withies were back ahead with just 9 minutes to play!

The Withies held out to secure the win and get the preseason series off to a winning start with the full-time score Withycombe 17, Crediton II 10.