Withycombe all set for Saturday visit of Ilfracombe
PUBLISHED: 13:08 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:08 28 February 2020
Withycombe head into tomorrow’s Tribute Devon One League home meeting with Ilfracombe (2.30pm) looking to record a 17th successive league win.
Indeed, such has been the power of the Withy run since the first whistle was blown in the 2019/20 season, that the Raleigh Park men are now just three wins away from being crowned divisional champions and, with that honour in the bag, making an instant return to the Cornwall & Devon division from which they were relegated at the end of last season. However, just two wins will see Withy snap up a guaranteed play-off position, but it it that title the men in green and black are surely going to be celebrating before too long.
Last Saturday, Withy were in double-header action in Plymouth where they beat second-placed Tamar Saracens in a league/cup double header. Two tries from Neil Williams and one apiece from Jake Prophett O'Neill and Will Cooper, the latter marking his 1st XV debut with a try, together with three conversions from Glenn Channing fired Withy to a 16th straight league win - and took them 16 points clear at the top - and also saw the team book a place in the Devon Junior Cup Final at the end of the campaign.
Ilfracombe sit 12th in the league after what has been a difficult season for the side after returning back from the Merit Table last season. Their last league outing - the February 1 meeting with Dartmouth - saw the North Devon team hand a walk-over win to the Darts, and the last time they took to the pitch they were 21-3 winners over Buckfastleigh Ramblers.
When Withy travelled to Ilfracombe at the end of November, the contest proved to be a tight one with the home side adopting a tough, physical game with some strong phases of both attack and defence. Three Ilfracombe tries in the first half were matched with tries from Paddy Haddad, Ben West and Ben Dawson saw the sides level at the break with a 19-19 score.
However, the Withy resilience proved the difference in the second half with another Ben Dawson try and one from George Toomey gave the Withies a 19-31 victory - but the victory was most certainly not of the 'easy' kind!
A similar tough encounter is anticipated at Raleigh Park tomorrow.
Speaking after the midweek training, With head coach Sam Williams said: "We look forward to welcoming Ilfracombe to Raleigh Park. Despite their position in the table, our visitors showed great spirit and some real physical edge in the previous game and the boys know not to take them lightly. We picked up a few knocks in last week's game at Tamar Saracens, but this means there is a great opportunity for a few boys and press claims for the next few starts. We welcome Josh Arbury into the squad and look forward to seeing him in action at training and with the colts.
"It again feels like a long time since we were at home, so we hope the weather will hold and our support turns out as usual."
For anyone who cannot get along to the game you can follow the action at http://bit.ly/WITvsILF or via the Pitchero Club App