Withy Under-14s impress in win over Newton Abbot

PUBLISHED: 15:38 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 19:17 15 March 2018

Action from the Withycombe Under-15s cup tie at Exeter Saracens. Picture IAIN COOPER

Action from the Withycombe Under-15s cup tie at Exeter Saracens. Picture IAIN COOPER


Withycombe Under-14s travelled to Rackerhayes to meet Newton Abbot for the second meeting between the two sides in a fortnight.

As in the previous fixture, both teams contributed towards a great game of rugby, and, in a closely-fought contest, it was Withy who emerged victors, winning 20-10.

Withy knew that Newton Abbot would provide a real threat up front and they defended well against good driving play.

The Withy back line was also prominent, and the home defence was solid in repelling forward moves.

For a large part of the first half defences were on top and the Withy cause was not helped when they lost prop Jack Wood with a worrying leg injury and were forced to reshuffle.

The stalemate was broken when full back Charlie Skinner made an impressive break from his own half and, after drawing the last man, a fine pass found centre Jude Baker-Hands, who raced over and winger Harry Bennett slotted a fine conversion.

The home side hit back, but the Withy defence was disciplined and, after winning turnover ball, they were awarded a penalty and Bennett stepped up to rifle the kick home to make it 10-0.

Newton Abbot were certainly not in the mood to let Withy take control and they forced their way up towards the visiting line with some fine driving play.

Withy appeared to have stolen the ball just short of their line, but Newton re-gathered the ball and dived over for their first score.

The home pressure continued and, when an attempted clearance was gathered up, it was followed by some clever handling leading to a try out wide and that sent the teams into the break all square at 10-all.

In the second half Withy began to take control, though the home defence was equal to the attacking play until Bennett got the ball in space and he showed his pace with a smartly taken try.

The home response was dynamic, but the Withy defence was outstanding. There were some big tackles, particularly by flanker Brad Worthington, who had a fine game throughout.

In typical Withy fashion, the defence was heroic and it was rewarded with a try at the other end of the pitch.

Baker-Hands received the ball in midfield, he stepped around two would-be tacklers and drew the last man.

He then rooted the defender to the spot with a great dummy pass and raced towards the line. With plenty work still to do, he showed his strength as he forced his way through some last-ditch tackles. That was the final score of the contest and, when Withy number eight Joe Dale was injured making a last-ditch tackle, the referee called time.

Alongside Worthington, Jack Draper had a fine game at flanker. Second row Erin Asselman and Dale threw themselves into every tackle.

Prop Jack Ballet had some fine runs into the heart of the Newton defence, and outside Skinner and winger Max Richards, supported Baker-Hands and Bennett, and put in a fair share of tackles themselves.

Newton certainly added to the contest and are to be commended for their style of play. Withy hope for a speedy return to action for injured duo Wood and Dale.

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