Withy battle well in defeat at Pirates Amateurs

PUBLISHED: 11:27 12 December 2018

Action from the Withycombe defeat at Pirates Amateurs. Withy players Scott Burgan (left) and try scorer Joe Staley (right) in the thick of the action during the Withycombe defeat at Pirates Amateurs. Picture ANDREA PARKIN

Action from the Withycombe defeat at Pirates Amateurs. Withy players Scott Burgan (left) and try scorer Joe Staley (right) in the thick of the action during the Withycombe defeat at Pirates Amateurs. Picture ANDREA PARKIN

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Withycombe battled through another ‘difficult day at the office’ as they went down 32-5 at Pirates Amateurs, a side that started the day sitting immediately above them in the table, writes Adam Curtis.

This was certainly a contest that was not truly reflected in the final score. Such were the conditions, with a wind dominating play throughout, that when Withy kicked off against the wind the ball acted more like a boomerang and ended up back near the halfway line!

The home side had the first scrum and looked to power to the line, but the much-improved Withy defence was evident and they bagged turnover ball to eventually work back towards the middle of the pitch.

An 11th minute penalty, in front of the posts, gave the hosts a lead and then a home converted try scored by the fleet-footed winger, saw Pirates into a 10-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Withy responded well and were denied by a try-saving tackle close to the line. However, the tackle was ‘high’ and a yellow card was issued to the offending player. Withy opted for a scrum and, when the ball was cleared, Withy captain Dave Richards was the victim of a late tackle and a second yellow card left the hosts playing, for a spell, with 13!

Play continued to be end-to-end with the home side adding a penalty before, in the closing stages of the half, Withy’s Doug Wibberly became the third player in the game to pick up a yellow card.

Despite being a man down, Withy dug deep, found both fire and pace and, after some well-worked running rugby, Joe Staley crossed the whitewash in the 40th minute to make 13-5.

However, there was still time on the match official’s watch for the home side to score another converted try and lead 20-5 at the break.

Early second-half pressure from the home side was met with magnificent resistance from the Withy defence and it was only after what must have been at least 18 phases of pressure play before the defensive line was finally broken and the ball dotted down next to the posts.

At 27-5 it would have been very easy for the Withy players to allow heads to drop, but they showed terrific character and continued to give as good as they got.

The contest became feisty with a second yellow card for Withy followed, soon after, by red for a home player! It was the home side who scored the final points of the game with a 65th minute quick penalty catching the Withy defence out.

The game had an unexpected twist as the final whistle was blown shortly after, bringing it to an end following a nasty injury.

A special mention needs to be made at this point to all those at Pirates Amateurs whose help, support and hospitality following the injury was second to none and a real display of what rugby is about. On behalf of all at Withycombe RFC - thank you.

On Saturday (December 15), Withy will seek to end the year on a high note when they entertain Plymouth Argaum at Raleigh Park (2.30pm).

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