Withies Share the Spoils with Spirited Display
PUBLISHED: 08:57 15 December 2011
Withycombe share the spoils with an improved show - but there’s still room for improvement!
Pirates Amateurs 8 Withycombe 8
Another almost game but at least Withies returned from the Duchy with a share of the spoils, writes John Goldfinch.
True, this was a better performance than the previous week but there are weaknesses with certain aspects of the game that must be worrying for the coaches. Eradicate those weaknesses then Withycombe’s potential can be built on.
Withycombe started strongly and kept the home side mainly in their own territory for most of the first twenty minutes. Chances were few as both packs tried to exert their dominance. It was what Withies do best and it showed. Despite the territorial advantage it was Pirates who went ahead in the second quarter of the game in their first real excursion into the Withies half when a penalty for holding was punished and the attempt was sent through the posts for 3-0 lead.
Withies soon were back in the game when a off the ball incident was noticed by the referee, who surprisingly didn’t award a yellow card but did give Withies Dean Chisling the opportunity to level the scores with a penalty from 25 metres. Soon after this the referee did go to his pocket to give a yellow card to a Pirates player for chat, and, with the man advantage, Withies should have made this period count. There were some scoring chances, as the half came to a close, notably when hooker Dave Richards and prop Chris Gibbons produced promising runs but lacked back up when it was needed.
Withies were hit early in the second at the half when the home side manoeuvred a position some ten metres from the Withies line and a rather fortuitous pass was picked up for a Pirates score wide out that wasn’t converted.
This score stung Withies into action and with the very slight slope in their favour dominated most of the second half proceedings although the propensity to kick for territorial advantage was starting to back fire as in last week’s unfortunate performance against Veor. However, unlike last week the Withies forwards mobility and their good tight technique started to tell and the Pirates’ found themselves encamped in their own territory for long periods.
With twenty to go Withies lost standoff Chisling with a knee injury and with a switch around outside the Withies pack began to exert more pressure. A penalty nudged to the corner by Tom Steer gave Withies the opportunity for classic catch and drive and the pocket rocket Sam Manning was driven over the home line. Steer was just wide with the conversion attempt.
The Pirates did a have a match winning penalty attempt with minutes to go that was unsuccessful but it would have been an injustice considering Withies long time domination of the second half proceedings.
Withycombe travel to Plymouth Barbarians next week for the last game before
Christmas and a point’s win there would set Withy up nicely for the second half of the campaign which begins on Saturday, January 7.