Newton Abbot 29 - Crediton 59

THE short journey for Crediton RFC First XV to Newton Abbot on Saturday, October 21, was undertaken with a two-fold objective, firstly to gain maximum league points and secondly, this game doubled up as a Devon Intermediate Cup fixture and the win would get the competition off to a good start. 

The All Whites had shown an upturn in form with an excellent win at Chard the previous week and so Crediton were certainly not going to underestimate them and it would take an improved performance from Crediton to get a result.

Crediton started strongly and soon had Newton Abbot pinned in their own half, controlling possession, and dominating territory although the home defence was proving resilient and kept Crediton at bay until the 11th minute. 

The forwards went through several phases, drawing in the defenders before releasing the backs to put fullback Josh Davey in for the opening try, the conversion drifted wide. 

Crediton continued to dominate and were beginning to play some excellent rugby. 

Within five minutes, winger Josh Woodland made one of his trademark dashes, taking play deep into home territory before being halted. 

The ball was quickly recycled and spread wide to Josh Hall who went over in the corner. 

The lead was further extended seven minutes later when, from a lineout, a driving maul was set and the ball was released quickly. Centre Mark Lee went over and Ollie Avery-Wright added the extras.

Newton remained competitive and did not allow Crediton to have everything their own way and after a period of pressure they reduced the arrears with a well taken try, which was not converted. 

However, Crediton hit back immediately and from another lineout move, flanker Will Crang forced his way over for the bonus point try, Ollie Avery-Wright adding the two points. 

Minutes later and the All Whites came back again and a penalty to the corner gave them a platform for a driving maul. 

The ball went through several phases before touching down for a converted try leaving Crediton with a 31-12 lead at the interval.

At the start of the second half Crediton were caught cold when Newton broke a number of tackles to score another converted try. 

Crediton regained their composure and earned a penalty, which was kicked to the corner and a good take by Tom Mortimer set up a well worked training ground move around the front of the lineout and which was held up just short of the line. 

However, the ball was popped out to prop Rob Leach who forced his way over, Ollie Avery-Wright converted. 

Newton bounced back and earned themselves a bonus point with a fourth try. 

The game was opening up and both defences were left wanting at times. 

Crediton were the next to score when Ollie Avery-Wright put a deft chip over the home defence and Davey won the chase to score his second, Ollie Avery-Wright converting. 

Newton responded with some sustained pressure and Crediton coughed up a few penalties and a quick tap and go caught Crediton off balance and it was try number five for the hosts. 

Next was a line break from Mark Lee who was eventually held up but not before an offload to Josh Hall who went over for his second of the game, Ollie Avery-Wright landing the two pointer. 

The final score came in injury time when replacement Sam Westcott made an excellent break before offloading to Ollie Clark who in turn shipped on to Jake Clarke who went in under the posts, Ollie Avery-Wright completed the scoring for a 59-29 win.

Once again Crediton outscored the opposition, but conceding five tries in a game, not for the first time this season, must be of concern. 

The penalty count is another concern that needs addressing, Crediton are giving opponents easy exits and putting themselves under unnecessary pressure. 

It all creates exciting rugby and 14 tries in a game is great for spectators provided Crediton score more than the other team!

Crediton Quins 41 - Cullompton Seconds 10

Cullompton provided the sternest challenge to the Quins so far this season and, in an effort to make the challenge ever greater, once again they allowed the opposition to score first. 

The slow starts seem to be what this team thrives on and perhaps a part of the plan to get all the errors over and done with during the first half and then put things right in the second. 

If that is the plan, it seems to work very well! 

For 40 minutes the Quins were slow to the breakdown, made too many unforced handling errors, tried to offload when perhaps the more pragmatic approach would have been to retain possession and build again. 

Cullompton started brightly and took an early lead with an unconverted try and yet for all Crediton’s errors, they reached the interval with a 10-5 lead. 

The half-time discussion had the desired effect once again, although it was Cully who levelled early in the second half but that really was as good as it got for them. 

The Quins certainly found their rhythm as the players did the things that they do so well with some good handling, forwards and backs linking and tries beginning to flow. 

Certainly, the scrum was under pressure against a strong visiting eight but the lineout worked well for Crediton and indeed they stole a few Cullompton lineouts. 

In the end it was a strong team performance in the second half that saw the Quins through and maintain their 100 per cent record. 

To score seven tries against a good Cullompton side is a tremendous effort but Crediton cannot continue to give opponents an early advantage every week and the focus needs to be there from the first to the 80th minute.

For the record, centre Josh Goldman grabbed a hat-trick of tries, and there was one apiece from Matty Dayment, James Dodge, Josh Pearce and Chris Hooper. Tom Ronchetti converted two and Goldman one.

Barnstaple Thirds 49 - Crediton Thirds 17

Last season’s Merit Table Champions were always going to be a tough test for the Third XV especially as Barnstaple had a 100 per cent record this season. 

However, the scoreline certainly did not reflect the game and, as the home side pointed out, Crediton were the best opposition they had played this season and they were made to work hard for their win.

Crediton certainly took the game to Barnstaple but their defence was excellent and won a number of turnovers. 

Crediton edged the scrum and lineouts worked pretty well too. 

Barnstaple are a hugely experienced side with the majority of their players having played for their First XV at some stage over the years. 

Taylor Wonnacott scored a thoroughly deserved try having caused the home defence problems with his constant running at them, Liam Staite added a second try and he too was not afraid to take on the Barnstaple defenders. Owen Cooper converted both tries and landed a penalty.

For the second week running, Paul Comer dusted off his whistle and refereed the game for which both Clubs are most grateful, without his efforts, 40 players would have been without a game.

Saturday, October 28 is another weekend break from league rugby but Crediton have the World Cup Final to look forward to!

Paul Harris