Cooke serves up impressive debut

PUBLISHED: 11:15 25 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:16 25 September 2014

Withycombe 1st XV action

Withycombe 1st XV action

Archant

Withycombe continued their perfect start to the new league season with a 29-5 bonus-point win against former Western Counties outfit Bude in a bad-tempered clash at Raleigh Park.

After a first-minute penalty from Glenn Channing put the hosts in front, the early exchanges were nip and tuck, with the experienced Bude pack putting Withycombe under pressure they won’t have experienced for some time! With last season’s captain Dave Richards injured, Fridge Gibbons in Australia and Phil Sluman missing from the front row, Withycombe’s front row had an unfamiliar look to it but stood up well. Second generation Withy boy Max Cooke made his first team debut at the tender age of 18 and earned himself a joint Man of the Match award for his efforts. Bude’s bully-boy tactics wouldn’t yield any results until half an hour into the game though, when Jon Axon was sent to the sin bin for the latest in along line of maul offences in the home 22. Bude once again went to the driving maul and crashed over to nudge themselves in front. Fourteen-man Withycombe hit straight back when Glenn Channing barged through the 10 channel and scrambled over from 15 metres out to put Withycombe 8-5 up at half time.

It turned out to be a textbook game of two halves as Withycombe turned the table on Bude’s pack. With a Bude player sent to the sin bin for the same offence and in the same sot as Jon Axon twenty minutes previously, Withycombe’s driving maul gave Liam Cullen a try to the rapturous reception of Clubhouse Corner, with Channing nailing the touchline conversion. Bude’s frustration began to show as the game wore on; thankfully the home side rose above the nonsense and Bude ended up with four yellow cards.

Glen Channing grabbed his brace on 52 minutes when he again smashed through the fly-half channel and touched down after trying to take the goalpost with him. The conversion put the game beyond Bude and left only the qustion of whether Withycombe would take maximum points from the game. Dave Wellbeloved answered that question quite emphatically ten minutes later when some fantastic phase play left the giant prop in acres of space near Clubhouse Corner. Channing’s miss-pass put ‘Wellby’ over and the fly-half added the conversion to take his personal tally to 19 points.

Withycombe travel to OPMs next weekend with the second team playing the reverse fixture at Raleigh Park.

Withycombe: Jack Pugsley, Sam Conway, Aaron Conway, Joe Parkin, Adam Morris, Glenn Channing (2T, 3C, 1PG, MoM), John Parkin, Max Cooke (YC, MoM), Liam Cullen (1T), Dave Wellbeloved (1T), Jon Axon (YC), Dave Sims, Danny Parry, Andrei Toma, Mike Richards. Reps: Eugene Badenhorst, Terry Mears, Danny Sansom.

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