Withycombe open eight point lead at the top of the league after Ilfracombe success
PUBLISHED: 13:31 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 03 December 2019
Withycombe were 31-19 winners when they travelled to Ilfracombe for their latest Devon One outing.
Twice before, Withy had been thwarted in their bid to travel to North Devon, but each time a waterlogged pitch prevented any chance of action.
That was not the case this time as Withy made it nine wins from nine games to continue heading the table.
Withy made a bright start keeping the ball well and also enjoying early territorial advantage. However, despite the award of a succession of penalties, they were unable to get the points on the board and it was the home side that opening the scoring with a try in the corner that went unconverted.
Withy were not behind for long as Paddy Haddad won a dash to the line and got to the ball ahead of a home player to level things up at 5-5.
However, the home side were soon back in front as a scrum on the Withy 5-metre line was cleared out on the blind side from where a try was scored in the corner and a difficult conversion was slotted to leave Withy trailing 12-5.
Once again the Withy response was superb and, after good initial work from Rory Collings, the ball was passed to George Toomey who made a perfectly weighted cross-field kick out to the left where the ball was caught on the run by Ben West who the showed the home back line a clean set of heels as he charged over the line and a Hockin conversion once again evened things up at 12-12.
Shortly after parity was restored Withy took the lead for the first time with a delightful run and chip-kick from Sam Warren was knocked forward from Ilfracombe into the hands of young full-back Ben Dawson who went over beneath the posts for a converted try, but again the home side showed they were up for the challenge as they bagged their third try of the half and the teams went into the interval all square at 19-19.
The early second half play took place in the middle third of the pitch until young Dawson again showed quick feet to work himself space from which to get over the try line and another successful Hockin conversion took With into a 26-19 lead.
The lead was extended thanks to some George Toomey power play and Withy were now holding a 31-19 lead, finally putting some distance between the teams in terms of the score board.
From there it was a case of Withy serving up sensible game management, something they did with aplomb and, when the final whistle blew it was to great acclaim from another great turnout by travelling Withy support all enjoying the fact that their favourites had opened an eight point gap at the top of the Devon One table.