Lawes signs off with try but it’s defeat in the Duchy for Withy

PUBLISHED: 17:15 21 September 2011 | UPDATED: 17:15 21 September 2011

Withycombe played Plymouth Barbarians at Raleigh Park on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exsp 8980-37-11SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Withycombe played Plymouth Barbarians at Raleigh Park on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exsp 8980-37-11SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Withycombe failed to take advantage of a strong wind in the first half at Falmouth last Saturday before going down 20-18, but did manage a losing bonus point for their efforts, writes John Goldfinch.

The normally potent Withycombe front five found their heavier Cornish counterparts on top of their game and in the tight and in the breakdown clean, quick decisive ball was difficult to deliver.

Oddly enough Withies could have been on the score sheet within minutes when a loose was hacked on and a score looked been made only for the referee to award a drop out. Never the less Withies did look the stronger in the opening stages looking to spin the ball wide whenever possible. On ten minutes Withies were awarded a penalty and Tom Steer converted to give Withies 3-0 lead. Falmouth were soon to able draw level when Withycombe were penalised for holding an Falmouth’s Mark Horton was able to convert the points.

With the scores level Falmouth started to exert some forward dominance and using home knowledge of how to play the pitch in adverse conditions, significant gains were made into Withies territory. Withycombe were being starved of any ball to get their agile back line into action. It looked ominous when Falmouth were awarded a penalty that was put in the corner for a catch drive and Phil Wells driven over. The lead was short lived when Falmouth had a player sin binned when a promising Withycombe move was stifled. After some smart interplay by forwards and backs, Danny Parry squirmed over for an unconverted score.

With the scores level at half time, Withies fortunes were always in doubt as the wind strengthened. It didn’t get any better when Withies were reduced to 14 men with the influential Mike Richards being sent to the bin. Falmouth took full advantage of the dismissal and with the Withies scrum under pressure Falmouth’s 8 Tom David picked up and drove over for an unconverted score. Ten minutes later Falmouth’s Rob Fitzpatrick muscled over when the Falmouth forwards kept it tight with some determined driving. The score was unconverted. With only ten minutes ago, Withycombe suddenly cottoned on the tactics that Falmouth used in the first half and made good gains into the Falmouth half . Withycombe’s Parry was given a sharp opportunity when the ball was taken on by the forwards and he scored to set up an exciting finale.

Unfortunately the revival was too late and with the minutes ticking away, Withies needed a converted score just to draw level. With the final play Withycombe did manage to score when Adam Lawes , playing his last game for Withycombe before returning to Australia sniped a try in the corner. The conversion needed for a share of the points was always going to be a tall order into the prevailing wind and Withies had to be content with a losing bonus point.

Withycombe entertain Tavistock next Saturday at Raleigh Park with a 2.30pm KO. Tavistock have also had an indifferent start to the season so there is all to play for next week.

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