Truro 24 - Crediton 19

AS the league season began with a game at home against Truro so it ended with a trip for Crediton First XV to England’s most southerly and westerly City.

Like most of the rest of the country, Truro has suffered from an excess of rain which made pitch conditions very difficult for both sides as did the strong wind courtesy of storm Kathleen.

Electing to play into the wind looked at the outset to be a wise choice as we were on the scoreboard after only nine minutes.

Early pressure in the home “22” was met with some tough defending but eventually, centre Harry Strong made the initial breakthrough before putting scrum half James Dodge in for the try, skipper Ollie Avery-Wright landed the conversion.

Truro had an advantage at the set scrum although they struggled to make use of the possession or the strong wind in their favour.

They did, however, reduce the arrears after 19 minutes after a period of sustained pressure we were caught offside and the home side opted for a scrum. The forward drive enabled their No8 to pick up and dive over for an unconverted try.

We continued to try and play the game in the opposition half but the Truro defence was pretty uncompromising and they began to dominate in the contact areas. On the half hour, Truro did take the lead albeit somewhat fortuitously when a clearance kick was charged down and it was a home player who won the footrace to touch down. The conversion put Truro 12-7 ahead at the interval.

With the wind behind us it was important that we made full use of it and seven minutes into the second half playing out of defence, Josh Davey, playing in his 100th First XV game, kicked through the Truro defence and it was winger Josh Woodland who chased the kick down to score, the conversion missed its mark and scores were level at 12 all.

We were then forced to defend for long periods as the home side kept the pressure on and on the hour mark, they were rewarded when their big pack kept possession through a series of pick and go’s before forcing their way over for an unconverted try.

Trailing by five points, we did create some half chances but the home defence held firm as they battled to hold on to the lead.

With eight minutes remaining, we were back in the lead. Attacking close to the Truro line, the hosts were caught offside and the quickly taken tap penalty caught the home defence in disarray and No8 Ben Wonnacott crossed for a try which OAW converted.

With just a few minutes remaining to defend a two-point lead, it was important that we counted the clock down in the home half and use the wind to get us there.

However, we were unable to secure possession at the restart, a problem that has plagued us from time-to-time during the season. Truro then camped in our “22” and despite some outstanding defending, the home forwards took control and with the last play of the game forced their way over for a converted try to secure the win.

Despite a losing bonus point we dropped to finish in fourth place in the league as the other results did not go our way although only three points separated second to fourth.

The last couple of months have been especially difficult for players and coaches with the constant rain preventing training taking place. If this is a foretaste of what is to come in the future then we shall have to consider what can be done to ensure the players have somewhere reasonable to train in adverse weather conditions.

The Cup semi-finals begin this weekend with the First XV in a two-leg semi-final against Topsham. The home leg is on Saturday with the away leg the following week.

Congratulations are due to fullback Josh Davey who, on his 99th First XV game at Cullompton on January 27, suffered an injury which has kept him out of the game until the trip to Truro when he finally made his 100th appearance for the First XV – well done Josh.

Crediton Quins 38 - Okehampton Seconds 8

The Quins enjoyed a relatively comfortable win in what turned out to be the final league game of the season.  The game got off to a good start with plenty of possession and several phases, coming up against a stout Okey defence.

It was skipper Chris Hooper who set the scoreboard moving when he picked up from the base of the scrum and dived over, fly half Tom Ronchetti added the extras for a 7-0 lead. The visitors tried to get themselves back into the game and play continued from end-to-end and it was scrum half Joe Dodge who added to the Quins score with a try out wide, the conversion drifted wide.

As the interval approached, Okehampton reduced the arrears with a penalty.

A few injuries caused a bit of a reshuffle in the Quins threequarters and it was flanker Matt Pearce who switched to the wing and raced over for a try in the corner which was converted by Ronchetti.

Okey responded and put pressure on the Quins defence, they were rewarded with a forward drive over the line, the conversion was missed leaving the Quins ahead 19-8.

From thereon, the Quins gradually took control and some quick thinking by Ben Baxter with a tap penalty on the Okey “22” saw him race to the line, the conversion missed its mark.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, the Quins forced play up to within five metres of the Okehampton  line and after several phases, Hooper bundled his way over and Ronchetti converted.

This was followed by more pressure and when the visitors were penalised 10 metres out, the Quins opted for a scrum and it was Hooper who claimed his hat-trick try, Ronchetti added the extras to complete the scoring.

Despite the weather conditions both sides attempted to play some decent rugby and Okehampton were more in the game than perhaps the scoreline suggests. 

Unfortunately and despite the bonus point win, the Quins will finish the season in third place behind Topsham Seconds and New Cross.

We still have one game outstanding at Exeter Athletic but regrettably, that game will not be played and whilst victory would not have earned us promotion, it would certainly have given the Quins an opportunity to finish as runners-up.

There is a Cup Competition to contend with and the Quins travel to Brixham to play their Second XV in the semi-final of the Devon Second XV Shield Competition. Victory would give us a home final.

Interesting fact of the day, two brothers played in the same position, one in the First XV and one in the Second XV and both scored a try. Well done to scrum halves James and Joe Dodge.

Torrington 25 - Crediton Third XV 22

Torrington have had a difficult season and their withdrawal from the league prior to Christmas was more or less when their season ended.

However, they were looking for one final game for the 2023-24 season and the Thirds offered to travel there.

It provided an opportunity for some of our second year Colts to experience senior rugby for the first time and, despite the defeat, that part of it was a huge success.

Although Torrington withdrew from the league they were in fact the only team to defeat Topsham Seconds in the league but sadly that result was expunged after the withdrawal.

The closeness of Third XV result is brought into perspective especially as the game could just as easily have gone our way.

Included in the squad were six Colts making their senior debuts, Charlie Conner, Charlie Gribble, Ben Harris, Sam Kibbey, Harvey Murfitt and Timmy Osborne and all took the adjustment in their stride and, in the face of some questionable tactics from the home side, never took a step back. The entire team defended superbly and played with passion and commitment and maintained their composure throughout the 80 minutes.

For the record, Joe Warren bagged two tries and there was one apiece for Charlie Conner and Tariq Sayers. Owen Cooper landed a conversion.

Paul Harris