Wellington 24 - Crediton 27

CREDITON Rugby Club Firsts made the short trip to eighth placed Wellington with the hope of extending the winning run on January 13, and maintain the pressure on league leaders, Sidmouth.

The Somerset side have always been a difficult side to beat especially on their own patch however, we were off to a flying start with a dozen points in as many minutes.

Having been awarded a penalty, the kick for position was kept in play by a home player but it was centre Freddie Blackburn who followed the kick and pounced on the loose ball to run in unopposed.  Ollie Avery-Wright landed the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Five minutes later and pressure on the home defence, we patiently went through the phases before releasing the ball to the backs and winger Josh Hall went over in the corner. The conversion drifted wide but we were 12-0 ahead.

To their credit, Wellington seemed unfazed by this opening blitz and as could be expected from a side coached by former England hooker Graham Dawe, their forwards began to dictate at the scrum providing their backs with a solid platform.

We lost a player to the sin-bin on 22 minutes and that one-man advantage gave Wellington the opportunity to reduce the arrears which they did after several phases close to our try line, space was created and the try was scored in the corner, 12-5.

A second yellow card reduced us to 13 players and we would have to dig deep to see out the remaining minutes until we returned to a full compliment. 

Unfortunately, Wellington did manage to level the scores before that time had elapsed with a second try and a conversion. 

It is a massive credit to the side that, despite still being two players short, we created space for winger Josh Hall to evade tackles and score out wide for a 17-12 lead.

It had nonetheless been a frustrating period as the first sin-binning was still off the field 14 minutes after the infringement that put him there and he was still there when Wellington levelled again shortly before the interval.

We did begin the second half with a full compliment but it was Wellington who took the lead with good lineout possession and the ball spread wide, with good support, they scored a bonus point try with the conversion putting them 24-17 ahead.

We did respond immediately and it was OAW who kicked a penalty to the corner and from the resulting lineout we set up a driving maul with No8 Ben Wonnacott getting the touch down to earn the try bonus.

The conversion failed to find its mark and we were still two points adrift.

With 10 minutes remaining and applying pressure on the home line, we were in control but Wellington eventually cleared their lines to touch.

The lineout was won and another driving maul took us over the home line for Wonnacott to grab his second try of the game to put us 27-24 ahead.

We held out for the remaining minutes for a hard earned and thoroughly deserved victory.

The game was in the balance to the final whistle and, had it not been for a couple of yellow cards, we would likely have put the game to bed much sooner. However, to come away from Wellington with a bonus point win will be regarded as a job well done.

Crediton Quins 7 - New Cross 27

IT was certainly a day of surprises and missed opportunities with the top two sides losing. Fair play to New Cross, they have improved dramatically since we put 40 odd points on them earlier in the season and that form has seen them rise to third place in the table. 

From the Quins perspective, there is very little of a positive note to come from the game, the five-week lay off may have contributed but cannot be regarded as an excuse.

We were slow out of the blocks and before we knew it we were 0-22 down at half-time.

We had been under constant pressure for the entire half although, in fairness, we had been getting the better of the scrums but seemed unable to make use of that advantage.

When we did put a few passes together their defence was excellent and we got turned over too easily or on occasions dropped passes was our undoing.

The second half showed a distinct improvement and lock Charlie Clark crashed over to reduce the arrears, Tom Ronchetti added the extras. Unfortunately, the visitors added a further try to collect a five point win.

A bad day at the office but one that we should take a lesson from, they were the better side and deserved their win.

To rub salt into the wound, bottom team Torrington achieved what no other team has done so far this season and that is defeat league leaders Topsham.

We shall have to bounce back against Tiverton Seconds on Saturday.

Honiton Seconds 22 - Crediton Thirds 36

ANOTHER great performance from the Thirds against a strong Honiton team.

The cold weather and heavy pitch did not deter the Kirton players and the mixture of youth and experience made sure that the running rugby kept the spectators warm.

The pack dominated the scrum although the lineout went the way of the home side and is an aspect that will have to be worked on. Both sides contributed to an entertaining game with the Thirds deservedly coming out on top. 

Tries were scored by Tariq Sayers, Liam Staite, Brad Baker, Deyan Tomic and Elliott White. Joe Warren added two conversions and there was one from Elliott White.

The First XV have a free day on Saturday whilst the Seconds travel to Tiverton for a rescheduled league game.

The Thirds have a Merit Table game at home against South Molton and the Colts travel to Barnstaple in the Colts Cup. 

Paul Harris