Crediton 38 - Wadebridge 19

THE meeting of the second and third teams in the league promised to be tough encounter and with both Crediton RFC First XV and Wadebridge sides not at what might be considered full strength, the strength in depth of the player pool would prove a decisive factor.

The opening exchanges were nip and tuck with each side testing the other but defences seemingly on top that is until the 12th minute when, from good lineout possession a strong run from centre Josh Goldman broke that defensive line before putting scrum-half Ed Brady in for a try. 

Fly-half Mark Lee landed the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Wadebridge battled back but were unable to penetrate to break the solid home defence. 

On 36 minutes, Crediton doubled the lead and again it showed the value of quality lineout possession, when they won such a lineout and set up a well controlled driving maul for hooker Dan Yendell to get the touch down in typical hooker fashion. Lee again converted for 14-0. 

With seconds left in the first half, that became 14-7 when the visitors went through several phases close to Crediton’s line and eventually gaining the try, which was converted.

Within two minutes of the second half a late tackle gave Lee the opportunity for a penalty which he slotted with ease for a 17-7 lead. Fifteen minutes later and another lineout deep in the Wadebridge half allowed Crediton to set up a driving maul, although this time the ball was sent out to the backs and it was replacement back rower Sam Westcott who cut a good line to race over for try number three. Mark Lee converted for a 24-7 lead.

Wadebridge rallied and put pressure on our defence but some excellent defending kept them at bay until the 65th minute when they too used the lineout to good effect setting up a driving maul and forcing their way over for a try which was not improved upon.

It was now Crediton’s turn to go in search of the bonus point try and five minutes later some really good handling from the backs and good support play ended with winger Bobby Jenkin weaving his way past several defenders to touch down, Mark Lee adding the extras. 

By now Crediton were in almost total control and a fifth try came two minutes later after more slick handling from the backs and several phases of play, replacement prop Phil Holmes raced over to score, Lee maintaining his 100 per cent record off the tee with the conversion.

Although the game might have gone away from them, Wadebridge are never a side to give up and indeed had the final word with a well worked try which was converted for a final score of 38-19.

This was indeed a good performance from what is effectively a very young side proving that Crediton do have a depth of talent that most clubs would envy. 

It is a delight to see Mark Lee turning the clock back a few years and using his experience to help the younger players as well as proving he has lost none of the accuracy kicking off the tee. 

The players who stepped up have certainly created a headache for selectors as Crediton head into the final league game of 2023 at bottom place Burnham-on-Sea on Saturday, December 16.

Devon Merit Table

Ilfracombe 21 - Crediton Thirds 14

After three blank weeks, the Thirds made their longest journey of the season to a windy and wet Ilfracombe, who themselves had not played in nearly a month. 

With two sides eager to have some rugby, the weather mattered little. The hosts had the advantage at the scrum but at the lineout Crediton managed to get the better of things with Liam Stait nicking a few of their lineouts. 

The constant Ilfracombe pressure in Crediton’s “22” only brought them seven points thanks to some outstanding defending. 

Things changed in the second half and the pressure on Ilfracombe’s line was eventually rewarded with a penalty try to level the scores.

Ilfracombe came back and regained the lead with another well worked try, but again Crediton responded with all 15 players seemingly involved in attacking the Ilfracombe defence with flanker Ben Baxter going over in the corner. 

Despite the strong wind, Owen Cooper landed the most difficult of conversions to level the scores once again. 

However, the home side did have the final word a few minutes from time with a third converted try to win the game 21-14.

A fiercely contested game with some heated exchanges and the Thirds felt that maybe they didn’t have the rub of the green, which led to a bit of frustration. 

However, a solid performance full of commitment from a great bunch of players who want to play rugby.

Unfortunately, the Thirds game at Exeter Saracens has been called off again by Sarries, which is disappointing and means yet again that they are left without a game.

Paul Harris