Axon signs off at Withy with try in Bodmin defeat

PUBLISHED: 12:43 21 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:43 21 April 2015

Withycombe away to Honiton. Ref exsp 5502-16-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Withycombe away to Honiton. Ref exsp 5502-16-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Withycombe have enjoyed a wonderful season in both league and cup, but the league campaign ended in defeat as they went down 26-22 on their visit to Bodmin.

The game also marked the final appearance in the clubs green and black kit for Jon Axon who is hanging up his boots after a long and distinguished Withy career.

The tolls of a long season were all too evident in Cornwall as Withy succumbed to their sixth defeat of 2015. That number of losses in such a short time would have been unthinkable during the first half of the season as the Raleigh Park men turned over all who came before them.

However, with long term injuries continuing to keep Phil Sluman and Dave Sims from the action, there was another unfamiliar backline and that meant the game at Bodmin was always going to be an uphill battle, and so it proved in the first half as Withy also had to battle a strong wind and playing up a considerable slope!

The early signs were promising. Having received the kickoff, Withy went 13 phases uninterrupted, culminating in the Bodmin defence parting for the retiring Axon to waltz over.

Bodmin fought back, and, although they missed two shots at goal, a try followed on 22 minutes which put them 7-5 up.

Withycombe were soon back on top and another march into Bodmin territory gave Tom Steer the opportunity to put Kevin Rodwell away down the blind side.

Bodmin missed another penalty, but scored another couple of tries before half time to bag themselves an eleven point lead from the considerable advantage in conditions.

Despite plenty of possession and territory advantage, Withy could not make the most of the wind and slope in the second half. Seven minutes in, Mike Richards scored from the latest in a series of short-distance scrums, with Channing converting to make it 21-17. A freak injury to the referee with 22 minutes remaining meant that the Bodmin chairman had to kindly step in after fulfilling his duties on the adjacent second team pitch, and this disruption only seemed to add to the Withycombe discord.

It was only after Bodmin scored a breakaway try with little time remaining to all but seal the game, that Withy seemed to pick themselves up and play with any purpose. Terry Mears crashed over a minute later to bring Withycombe within one score with the resulting restart being the last play of the game.

Some careless handling proved to be the Withy undoing as it had been all day and that was that. The summer rest and regroup has come at a welcome time before Withycombe look to mount another league charge next year.

The second team are not done yet though; they host Paignton at Raleigh Park on Saturday (April 25).

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