NORTH TAWTON RUGBY CLUB
DEVON ONE NORTH AND EAST LEAGUE
North Tawton 33
ON A perfect day for rugby at Taw Meadows, North Tawton put on a display of controlled and determined play to earn a deserved win over North Devon opponents, Ilfracombe, a team who usually present a tough challenge.
Within a minute the home side had a penalty kick from 40 metres out which fell just short but they maintained the momentum and were rewarded with a try from number eight Steve King, forcing his way through a maul to touch down.
The chance was set up by a good break inside by right wing Tom Chisolm, linking with the supporting pack. The conversion by David Fewings took them to seven points ahead.
Ilfracombe attempted to set up an attack, and a well-angled run by their left wing cut through the Tawton line with worrying ease. North Tawton regrouped and cleared the ball, then pegged Ilfracombe back in their half with some good plays.
Off the back of a Tawton scrum a good flat pass to outside centre, Fewings, opened up a half gap in the defensive line.
He was able to slip the ball back inside to the supporting player who ran in for a second try; the conversion by Fewings added seven more points the Tawton's total.
As the half ended Ilfracombe got themselves back in the match and it needed good clearance kicking out of defence, first by fly half Rob North and then by scrum-half Simon Quick, to deny them any advantage.
The chance for more points for North Tawton early in the second half was missed after Ilfracombe were penalised for going over the top, they conceded an extra 10 metres; the kick to the posts was just wide.
Soon after, however, a penalty tap and pass by Quick from about five metres out picked out Mike Young who cut through for a try under the posts, again converted by Fewings.
The domination of the set scrums by Tawton was a key feature of their play, with the front row of Tom Philips, Alfie May and Pete Wonnacott setting the platform for their pack to drive Ilfracombe back several times, often off their own ball.
North Tawton's next score was the result of this domination when Steve King broke off the back of an advancing scrum 15 metres from Ilfracombe's line.
He fed the ball the Simon Quick who dummied to his right wing then stepped through the gap to score a good try.
Once again Fewings obliged with the boot and took Tawton's haul to 28, with Ilfracombe yet to score.
With the Ilfracombe pack tiring and Tawton starting to improve their loose play the final score was almost inevitable.
It came from another tapped penalty by Quick, who passed out to centre David Fewings. With the defence in disarray he had time to pick his spot to touch down.
The final conversion bounced off an upright, giving a final score of 33-0 to North Tawton.
Tawton go down to last
season's league winners
New Cross 20
North Tawton 12
North Tawton faced last season's league winners, New Cross, with a strong gusting wind blowing up the pitch from the South, which made the kicking game somewhat of a lottery.
On their first visit to the Tawton half New Cross got a charge down from a slow clearance by North Tawton and their centre, James Ward, went in for an early score; the conversion was missed.
An equally lax piece of defending by New Cross just after the restart gave David Fewings his first try as the home side's full back tried to put a grubber kick past the advancing Tawton line. Fewings trapped the ball and picked up to go over for the score. This conversion was also missed from out wide.
The scrums were evenly matched but Tawton were starting to get into the groove and forcing New Cross to give ground. Hard won territory was lost as New Cross used the strong following wind to peg Tawton back again.
A penalty to New Cross took them to a line out five metres from Tawton's try line, but their lineout was disrupted and in the maul it was Tawton's flanker Rob McBain, who won the ball, giving his full back Bill Sharp the chance to kick the ball clear.
It did not go far enough and a good three-quarter move by New Cross got the ball out to their left wing. He scrambled over for a try wide out, meaning that the conversion went wide again.
Several more attacks by New Cross were disrupted by good defensive tackling by North Tawton and they reverted to the kicking game. The wind now favoured the visitors by causing the ball to carry long and go dead, giving Tawton the respite of scrums back up the field.
Good close-quarter play in the mauls helped Tawton hold their ground in the New Cross half, but the defence got sucked in and gave New Cross the chance to break out.
Their centre Ryan Wotton stepped back inside to evade the defenders and went over for his side's third try, which he converted to take them 17-5 ahead at half-time.
Pressure early in the second period by New Cross called for some long clearance kicks by North Tawton but they failed to find touch and were run back at the defenders.
After several good defensive scrums by North Tawton they were penalised inside their 22 metre area giving Wotton the position to slot three points and take his side to 20-5 ahead.
North Tawton forced a mistake by the New Cross scrum as they pushed the pack back and David Fewings was able to disrupt their ball. The ball was moved to Simon Quick, who made a strong break through the New Cross line.
He passed inside to Fewings, who rode a high tackle and stretched out to squeeze the ball over the try line. His conversion took Tawton to 12 points, still two scores behind.
The final stages produced some moments of good rugby; powerful mauling by Steve King in loose play recovered the ball for North Tawton and allowed them to clear their half and a cool catch and clearance by Bill Sharp from full back pushed New Cross back.
It was good to welcome two players making their first appearances for North Tawton this season, Andy Bourner and Kingsley Arthurs.
In the final minutes North Tawton messed up a line out and a quick break by New Cross nearly gave them a final try but the chip through bounced too far and went dead; the final score remained 20-12 to New Cross.
Tomorrow (October 31) North Tawton have a break from league action and are holding their annual bonfire and fireworks display at Taw Meadows.
All are welcome, the gates open at 7pm and the fireworks are due at 8pm.