Hayes can’t stop scoring

PUBLISHED: 07:36 11 April 2013 | UPDATED: 07:36 11 April 2013

Action from a very muddy Raleigh Park on Saturday between Withycombe and Tiverton. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exsp 0403-10-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

Action from a very muddy Raleigh Park on Saturday between Withycombe and Tiverton. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exsp 0403-10-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

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Withycombe 59, Wessex 5

Withycombe hosted their final home game of the league season last Saturday, fielding a full strength side save for the inclusion of skipper Dave Richards switching from hooker to fly-half. Wessex, already relegated, brought a strong side and thankfully both teams seemed more eager to play rugby than the last time they met, writes Mike Richards.

Withycombe started slowly as usual, Wessex veteran Steve Boatfield showing Danny Sansom a clean pair of heels to put the visitors 5-0 up after only five minutes. That was to be the last of the Wessex scoring for the day as Withycombe scored 59 unanswered points, though the scoreline was flattering. Rob Hayes proved the difference in the early stages, his fleetness of foot proving lethal on the firm ground. Three blindside moves from scrums gave Hayes a first half hat-trick, first from a scrum on the 22, then from halfway as the ensuing kickoff failed to go ten metres, before Mike Symons outfoxed the bolstered defence with a clever grubber kick for Hayes to gratefully scoop up for his third. Lee Tanton kicked all three conversions to give Withycombe a 21-5 halftime lead, despite being second best at the breakdown. Two yellow cards, first to Ben Mardle and then to Phil Sluman just before Mardle’s return, underlined Wessex’s fine play in the loose.

The second half would do the visitors no favours though, as Withycombe’s pace outside turned half-chances into tries. Terry Mears scored under the posts early in the second half to effectively end Wessex hopes of salvaging a win. Lee Tanton then put a speculative kick into the air, only for the Wessex backs to completely flub the catch allowing Kevin Rodwell, moonlighting at flanker, to collect and score unchallenged beneath the posts. Two more Tanton conversions made it 35-5. Wessex captain Dean Meldon was next to go to the bin, opening the floodgates on the scoring somewhat. A blindside break gave Adam Morris a five-pointer, then a fine three-quarter move allowed Danny Sansom to put Rob Hayes in for an incredible eighth try in two games, and a turnover directly from the ensuing kickoff resulted in Matt Brambles dotting down. Dave Richards added a conversion to the latter to make it 52-5, where the scoring ceased for a while. To add insult to injury, Adam Morris intercepted a wayward pass in the Wessex backline to score from halfway, a Tanton conversion rounding off the scoring. Withycombe travel to Penzance next week looking to extend their run of wins, whilst the 2nd XV host Sidmouth in preparation of club stalwart Paul Clarke’s 50th birthday celebrations

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