Local rugby roundup

PUBLISHED: 12:46 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 10 June 2010

P7241-14-08SH Action from Exmouth's clash with Newton Abbot on Saturday.
Pictures by Simon Horn.

P7241-14-08SH Action from Exmouth's clash with Newton Abbot on Saturday. Pictures by Simon Horn.

Copyright Archant Ltd

Hayle 7pts, Withycombe 3 Western Counties West WITHYCOMBE let two points get away from them in the scrap for survival. At least two clubs will go down from this division at the end of the season and it could be three depending on the trickle-down effect

Hayle 7pts,Withycombe 3Western Counties WestWITHYCOMBE let two points get away from them in the scrap for survival.At least two clubs will go down from this division at the end of the season - and it could be three depending on the trickle-down effect from the next division up.Withies are third from bottom, but with the same number of points as Hayle, who are the next side down.Only points difference is keeping Withies out of the bottom two, which is no margin at all with two games to play.If Withycombe slip behind Hayle they are in big trouble. Even if they don't, they could go down after the dust settles from the play-off games later this month.Hayle enjoyed most of the first-half territory and possession, but try as they might they couldn't breach a determined Withies' defence. Just before half time, and against the run of play, Withycombe centre Adam Pearce kicked a penalty to sneak a three-point advantage. Buoyed by an interval pep talk from coach Jason Atkinson, the Lions started the second half in confident mood.Hayle laid siege to the visitors' line for 20 minutes and were awarded a string of penalties before the referee sent a Withycombe player to the sin bin for persistently killing the ball. Hayle kept the pressure on their 14-man rivals and centre Adam Redgrave charged down an attempted clearance kick to score a try.Redgrave converted his own score and they deservedly led 7-3. Hayle soaked up the pressure in the final ten minutes to gain a deserved victory that puts them level on points with Withycombe, but minus 64 worse off on points difference.Hayle play Tiverton (A) and already relegated Penryn (H) in their last two games. Withycombe are away to Bude and at home to Tiverton.Exmouth 16pts,Newton Abbot 9South West Two West When the Cockles kicked off the current season back in September with a visit to Newton Abbot, their 25-0 victory was achieved by open, running rugby in glorious sunshine. Roll the clock forward six months to the Imperial Ground on Saturday and what a difference! Not unlike the previous week against Torquay, the conditions were not good for rugby. Frequent showers, coupled with a howling wind coming in from the sea, had an impact on the course of the game.Exmouth kicked off into the wind and a series of misdemeanours gifted the visitors three penalties.By the start of the second quarter Newton Abbot, who have only lost once in their last five games, were nine points up thanks to three Paul Roberts kicks.The Cockles had some chances and, despite going behind, always looked as if they could turn the tables when the elements were in their favour. The third penalty on 26 minutes had a positive effect as Exmouth started to play the conditions. The forwards picked and drove, creating good scoring positions. With 10 minutes of the half remaining, a high-tackle gave the Cockles a penalty on the All Whites' 22. Richard Cadywould punted the ball to the corner to set up a regulation catch-and-drive. This didn't work but, when Newton Abbot knocked-on, a scrum, five metres out gave Exmouth the platform.There was no stopping Graham Smith when he picked up and barged over. The wind held the conversion up, but with the score at 9-5 the Cockles were clawing their way back. The Exmouth forwards were now dictating affairs and a series of driving mauls took them back into the Newton half.With only minutes on the clock, a knock-on halted their assault. The Newton Abbot scrum was solid but slow ball to Roberts at stand-off gave the Exmouth back row all the time they needed to pounce and force a scrum in their favour five metres out.The Exmouth scrum was spot on and they drove over the line with Ben Boswell touching down. The wind again held up the conversion kick.Although Exmouth were only shading it by a point at half time they had taken the initiative away from the visitors by their performance over the preceding 10 minutes. The visitors kicked off the second half and now had to face the elements against an Exmouth side with their tails up. The Cockles carried on from where they had left off before half time and a series of drives took them within 30 metres of the visitors' line.When a Newton Abbot player went offside, Richard Cadywould used the wind to his advantage to curl the ball between the posts for a 13-9 lead. With 18 minutes of the half played, the Cockles went further ahead with another Cadywould penalty. That was how it stayed until the final whistle. With the wind at their backs Exmouth spent virtually the whole of the second half in the visitors' half. On another day a cricket score would have been the result.Exmouth wrested the game in that 10 minutes before half time but it is to the credit of both sides that they did not stop playing until the final whistle in ground conditions that were strength sapping and difficult. The match was refereed by Neal Woodhead of the Devon RRS, who had a fine game on a day when playing rugby was a bit of a challenge. The Devon Senior Cup final (see back page) will be the focus this Saturday. There is still unfinished business in the league with one victory out of two games needed to gain automatic promotion. In a week's time it's away to a difficult Clevedon side with Camborne at home the following week. A win at Clevedon and its done and dusted!Devonport 2nds XV 8pts, Exmouth Nomads 10ptsDevon Merit Table TwoThis match was played in very poor conditions with Exmouth taking 75 per cent of play in both halves. It should have been a doddle. However, it took 10 minutes into the second half before Richard Haynes intercepted a Services pass to score under the posts. Lee Loveridge converted.Not long after this, Services put pressure on Exmouth and a debatable try was given to them.Under pressure, Exmouth touched down in-goal for a scrum which should have been Services', but the referee decided it was a try to the home side. Not long after this the referee gave a penalty to Services in front of the posts which was converted.Justice prevailed when, with only two minutes to go, Exmouth were awarded a penalty which Paul Atkins slotted over.

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