Withycombe hope to reach Twickenham via Bromley

PUBLISHED: 08:20 04 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:28 04 April 2015

Withycombe played South Molton at Raleigh Park on Saturday. Ref exsp 1961-14-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Withycombe played South Molton at Raleigh Park on Saturday. Ref exsp 1961-14-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

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Withycombe headed for London on Friday afternoon for an early night ahead of the National Junior Vase semi-final against Bromley.

Withycombe played South Molton at Raleigh Park on Saturday. Ref exsp 2011-14-15SH. Picture: Simon HornWithycombe played South Molton at Raleigh Park on Saturday. Ref exsp 2011-14-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

It is the biggest game in Withycombe’s history with a trip to Twickenham as the prize.

Withies have had some big days before – they got to the last 16 nationally of the EDF Intermediate Cup in 2000 and fought an epic battle with Sidmouth the year before to win promotion into the Western Counties Division.

A trip to Twickenham trumps anything Withycombe have ever done before though, so it really is the biggest game in the club’s history… for now.

“Going to Twickenham would be bigger, but we have to get there first,” said Withycombe’s director of rugby Nigel Symons.

“The buzz around the club since we got to the semi-finals is amazing – and you have never seen so many people clamouring to play.

“Everyone is excited about the prospect of getting to the final, but the coaches are keeping the players focused as we are not there yet.

“You can’t say we are treating it like any other game as we don’t normally have our opponents videoed, but we did last Saturday.

“But we do need to stay level headed in the run-up to the game and not get carried away.”

Withycombe were able to ask an old clubman living in London to go spying on Bromley in their 11-7 defeat at Folkestone last Saturday.

“I haven’t seen the video, but the coaches feel it has been useful,: said Symons.

“I was surprised they didn’t have anyone watching us last week against South Molton, not that they would have learned very much.

“I think we had nine second teamers playing and the team that goes out at Bromley will be vastly different.”

The side that beat Swindon Old Boys 41-17 in the last round will start at Bromley, possibly with ex-Chiefs prop Phil Sluman on the bench.

Sluman has been out for more than three months with a stamping injury, but feels fit enough to return.

The team are going up overnight, followed by a supporters’ coach on Saturday morning.

“It is just about full, which will make for a great atmosphere at the game,” said Symons.

The win over South Molton was only sealed in the last few minutes by a try from Mickey Symons – his second of the match.

Kevin Rodwell crossed in the first half. All three tries were converted by Jack Steer.

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