Withy Under-14s power to fine win over visiting Exeter Youth

PUBLISHED: 12:35 01 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 01 February 2018




Withycombe Under-14s were good value for their 55-5 win over Exeter Youth in a match switched to the drier surface at Bicton.

Both sides played some excellent rugby in a contest that was good to watch from first whistle to last.

Withy began with good tempo and scored first when, following some good driving play by the forwards, prop Jack Ballet crashed over from close range and full back Harry Bennett converted.

Exeter then pressed hard and they too had some periods of forward dominance, but Withy stood firm and tackled with real tenacity, forcing Exeter to spill the ball.

The ever-alert Bennett picked up and he raced away to the line for a try, which he converted himself.

Exeter came back with some good driving play from their heavy forwards, but again Withy stood firm and, after more strong defence, stole the ball, and centre Jude Baker-Hands picked up the ball before racing clear to score under the posts; again, Bennett tucked away the conversion.

From the restart, Withy gathered the ball and, with quick hands moving the ball from one side of the pitch to the other, they created sufficient space out wide for full back Jack Draper to draw his man before finding Bennett with a great pass and the full back crossed for another try, which he also converted.

Exeter hit back and won a lineout in the Withy 22, but the ball was stolen back once more and carried up field where Baker-Hands collected a great pass from centre Henry Bragg before going over in the corner to send Withy into the interval with a 33-0 lead.

The second half was just as competitive. Exeter used their strong driving mauling game to really test the Withy defence. They were soon in the Withy 22 again, but another swift backline move saw Baker-Hands with space again. He brushed aside a number of would-be tacklers for a fine individual try.

From the restart, flanker Max Wilkinson caught the ball and headed into the heart of the Exeter youth defence. More quick hands found winger Max Richards who showed his pace, as he finished well in the corner.

Exeter, to their credit, kept going with their game plan. Their forwards took control for large periods and they forced penalty after penalty from Withy infringements. They were rewarded with a fine try after a number of line-outs on the Withy line.

Withy continued to use their pace advantage and they came back with a try by centre Charlie Skinner, who slipped through a number of tackles following quick hands from a five metre scrum. Bennett converted to complete a fine day with the boot.

There was still time for one more score with Bennett sending Richards away to score his second try of the match.

Exeter played their part, but got little change out of some outstanding Withy defence and the entire home pack played their part.

Second row players Joe Dale and Erin Asselman led the way, with great support by flankers Wilkinson and Olly Willis. Prop Jack Wood battled well in the tight and showed up well in a period at hooker.

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