Withycombe U16s win entertaining Fishermans Cup meeting with Barnstaple
PUBLISHED: 09:32 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:32 20 September 2018
Withycombe U16s hosted Barnstaple U16s in the first game of the new season, and the first round of the Fisherman's Cup.
Withycombe’s Will Cooper kicked the game off which saw ten minutes of strongly contested rugby going from 22 to 22 with both teams retaining the ball well, and putting in some strong tackles. The deadlock was broken after 11 minutes with a well placed kick by the Barum 10 which landed short of full back Lewis Hillier and foxed him with an awkward bounce away from him into the arms of the Barnstaple left wing who pinned his ears back and went for the line to score. Withycombe came back strong, which led to the ball being passed to Tom Humphreys thus setting off on one of his trademark runs around most of the pitch to score in the corner.
Twenty minutes of more fiercely contested play forced a knock on from Barum and a scrum on their 10m line. Withy scrum half, Max Rickard, showing great vision switched the angle of attack to get the ball to Finn Musgrave who consequently made a strong run brushing off tackle attempts to dot down across the Barnstaple line. The conversion was slotted by Will Cooper to put Withycombe into the driving seat. Barnstaple pressure at the breakdown forced a penalty against Withy for holding on, which the Barum 10 held his nerve to put between the posts. With their tails up, Barnstaple heaped further pressure on the young Withies eventually scoring a converted try in Clubhouse Corner. With Barnstaple leading 12-17 the game went into halftime.
With the game restarting, it was Withycombe who made the brightest start with Lewis Hillier sprinting down the touchline to dot down for the first try of the second half. Barnstaple responded with vigour with a sustained effort which saw them eventually breach the workman-like Withycombe defence only for the ball to be held up. Barnstaple kept up the pressure until a timely turnover saw a spirited Withycombe counter attack, with Will Cooper scoring a well worked try which he then converted. This set the tone for the rest of the half with Barnstaple retaining the ball but failing to convert the possession into points. Another Finn Musgrave bit of trickery saw the ball go to sledgehammer Will ‘The Bosh’ Cornish to make one of his barnstorming runs through several players to score.
With Barnstaple camped out in the Withycombe red zone, it took a massive defensive effort by the Withies to keep Barum out. After a huge effort by both teams, Withycombe perhaps breathed the biggest sigh of relief at the final whistle, winning 31 – 17.
Men of the Match; Backs – Finn Musgrave, Forwards – Jack Ottaway
Tries; Humphreys, Musgrave, Hillier, Cooper, Cornish
Conversions; Cooper 3