Friday 5th February 2010 12:00 am

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A draw was a fair result

Saturday, January 23

Devon One North and

East League

THE contrast to a game two week's previously could not have been greater as North Tawton lined up in bright sunshine for this re-arranged league fixture against New Cross.

Both teams started well and the set scrums were the key areas of contention. It was New Cross that had the best of the early exchanges but North Tawton steadily worked themselves back into contention and were soon starting to dominate in the scrums.

For much of the first half New Cross had the territorial advantage but could not break through Tawton's aggressive defence. Their only attempt at a penalty kick was pulled across the posts.

Finally, a long clearance by Rob North and a good follow up by full-back, Bill Sharp, got Tawton into the New Cross area.

From a scrum, Tawton turned the New Cross pack and No 8 Steve King broke off to get over the 22 metre line for the first time.

North Tawton set up a sustained attack close to the New Cross line but despite repeated scrums and penalty taps could not get the vital touch down.

Perhaps they should have gone for the three points on offer from the penalties awarded but the prospect of a try was tempting. As it was, the half-time whistle went with no score on the board.

New Cross started the second half as they had the first, pressurising the Tawton half. When awarded a penalty they opted, significantly, for the kick to the posts, declining the choice of banging their heads against the brick wall of the North Tawton defence. The kick was converted from 25 metres by their full back to open the scoring after about 50 minutes of play.

North Tawton came back strongly and nearly got their scoring break off a line-out five metres from New Cross' line as flanker, Paul Turner, charged down a clearance.

The ball went loose and the defenders managed to clear. It was now Tawton's turn to put on the pressure and with their scrum starting to push the opposition around at will they soon came up with a penalty chance of their own. David Fewings converted the kick to level the scores at 3-3.

With the dominance in the set scrums, thanks to the efforts of the front five of Tom Phillips, Alfie May, Pete Wonnacott, James Henshaw and Ian Perrott, Tawton should have closed off the match but were not able to establish superiority in the line-outs, nor in the three-quarter play.

Their threes were a bit predictable and New Cross were able to defend without making much impression of their own.

Apart from a late break-out by the New Cross threes, the match was evenly contested, with neither side having the chance to establish a significant advantage, so the score remained at 3-3 at the final whistle.

Graham King

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