Crediton 30 - Ivybridge 24

RATHER like the old saying about buses, you don’t see one for ages and then two come along at once, so it is with the Senior sides winning Cup Finals, nothing for 38 years and then two in eight days.

On April 29, the First XV followed up the success of the Quins with a superb victory over one league higher Ivybridge in the Devon Senior Shield Final to round off a wonderful season for the Club.

The last occasion that these two sides had met was 10 years ago, almost to the day in the Intermediate Cup Final here in 2013, when Ivybridge were the victors by two points on that day with a last minute penalty.

The opening 10 minutes were all Ivybridge and their threequarters were looking impressive with some quality handling that set up a well worked try from centre, Charlie Briant.

The conversion failed but from a Crediton perspective, it was an ominous start.

However, things changed when we made our first foray into the visitors "22", keeping possession through several phases and it was winger Devon Hosegood who came inside at a great angle to wrong foot the Ivybridge defence and go over at the posts.  Ollie Avery-Wright converted for a 7-5 lead.

As if to reinforce the point that, whilst we may be the underdogs, the visitors would have to work hard to repeat their success of 10 years earlier, we doubled our score three minutes later.

This time it was set up from a ruck on the Ivybridge 10 metre line and scrum half Ed Brady caught the visitors defence napping as he darted through a gap and raced home with defenders hot on his heels.   OAW added the extras for 14-5. 

Ivybridge reduced the arrears with a penalty from fly half Matt Grieveson on 25 minutes.

However, by now, we had total dominance in the scrum as the visiting eight were having an uncomfortable time of it.

The backs were playing with some freedom and five minutes later it was winger Bobby Jenkin who continued his recent try scoring form with a dash down the touchline to score in the corner.

The conversion drifted wide but we headed to the interval with a 19-8 lead.

A yellow card early in the second half when Jenkin miss-timed a tackle when the Ivybridge winger caught the ball from the restart meant a 10 minute spell with 14 men.

However, we survived that without conceding and on 55 minutes, OAW landed a penalty as the visitors were caught offside and we were ahead 22-8, leaving Ivybridge needing two scores to draw level.

On the hour mark, it looked as though it would be game over as we had continued to dominate and pressurise the visitors defence.

A penalty to the corner led to a driving maul and it was hooker Dan Yendell who slipped off the back of the maul to dive over and at 27-8 going into the final quarter the Trophy was surely in our hands.

Clearly, Ivybridge had other ideas and they don’t play at a higher level for no reason and they came back in determined fashion and within 10 minutes, the gap had narrowed with a converted try followed by a penalty and we were ahead 27-18.

We were forced to defend for long periods and with five minutes remaining, things got really nervy when another Ivybridge penalty brought them to within a score and a potential repeat of what had happened 10 years earlier. However, nerves were steadied somewhat when OAW struck a penalty when Ivybridge were penalised at the tackle, 30-21 with minutes remaining.

We infringed once again and the visitors opted for the penalty and we were back to a six point lead and anything could happen.

Fortunately, we did manage to hold out and the last play of the game saw the ball put safely into touch for a well deserved victory and a fine way for the Seniors to finish off the season.

It has been something of a crazy April with the Girls U16 finishing as Devon Champions, the Girls U18 combining with Sidmouth to become Devon Champions, First XV and Quins both Champions in their County Competitions, the U14s were runners-up at the Devon Festival - Note to committee, we need an extension to the Trophy Cabinet!

Congratulations to all the teams that have represented Crediton RFC this season from U9 through to the First XV, the Girls and Ladies XV’s, you can all take a bow, you have all done the Club proud.

Paul Harris