Topsham 39 - Crediton 31

CREDITON First XV knew that their trip to Topsham would be a difficult one made even more so with several lingering injuries which depleted the back line in particular. 

The team were of course aware that Topsham have made rapid progress through the leagues in recent seasons and have certainly established themselves as a Level Six side with some impressive results this season. 

The opposition had some speedy backs and would indeed be looking to spread the ball wide and often and it would be a question of how Crediton would deal with that.

As it turned out, the game provided some excellent entertainment for the crowd which included several of the Topsham former players who had enjoyed a pre-match lunch on a somewhat chilly day and whilst Crediton came off second best so far as the result was concerned, they matched the home side try for try. 

Crediton were ahead in the opening quarter with a converted try but by the interval they had received a couple of yellow cards and were down 12-24. 

In the second half a couple of yellow cards were given to the home side and Crediton battled back to lead 26-24 with 20 minutes remaining.  

Topsham then regained the lead with a converted try and a penalty but Crediton responded with a try of their own to make it 31-34. 

They battled away in an attempt to grab the whole five points but it was Topsham who had the final say with their fifth try to claim all five points and deprive us of a losing bonus point to go with the try bonus we had so richly deserved.

The players left Topsham with heads held high and proof that they have such strength in depth that is extremely encouraging. 

It was a game that could have gone either way and both sides deserve enormous credit for producing some quality rugby. 

With half the season gone there is little to choose between the top six sides, a mere 12 points separating them. 

This time last year the promotion race was almost a two-horse battle between Crediton and St Austell, 12 months on and it could be any one from the top six, which will make the remaining 11 games extremely interesting.

For the record, the try scorers were Jack Arnott, Dan Yendell, Sam Westcott, Josh Goldman and a penalty try with Rob Avery-Wright adding a couple of conversions.

Crediton Quins 12 - Topsham Seconds 35

Topsham Seconds gained a somewhat convincing win in this top of the table clash and cemented their position at the head of the table which would make them firm favourites for the promotion spot. 

Crediton are not completely out of it, far from it, but the knock-on effect of players being called into the First team undoubtedly disrupted things from the outset. 

The visitors, rather like their First XV, had a strong set of backs and although Crediton’s forwards did dominate the scrum, the Topsham defence was outstanding.

Crediton took an early lead when lock Charlie Clark got the touch down off a driving maul but that really was as good as it got from their perspective. Topsham hit back strongly and although the balance of play was evenly shared, Crediton found themselves 5-14 down at the interval. 

The loss of the influential Matt Pearce through injury proved costly as Crediton then struggled to win lineout possession. 

Scrum-half James Dodge tried valiantly to get the backs moving but the wall of defenders seemed impenetrable.

The second half was evenly contested although Topsham increased their lead with another converted try through their backs. 

Crediton responded with pressure on their line with several pick and go’s. The visitors were pressured into conceding penalties and eventually earned a yellow card. 

The constant barrage did finally lead to a try for centre Bobby Saunders, converted by Tom Ronchetti. 

However, Topsham wrapped up a convincing victory with two quick tries, both converted for a bonus point win.

The Thirds and Colts games were called off because of frozen pitches.

On Saturday, December 9, both the Firsts and Quins will be looking to return to winning ways with hopefully a few players back from injury. 

The First XV will host second place Wadebridge whilst the Quins will travel to Tiverton Seconds who currently lie fourth in the league.

The Thirds will travel to Ilfracombe for a Merit Table fixture and the Colts will go to Topsham in the next round of the Colts Cup.

Paul Harris