North Tawton RFC 27 - 12 Devonport Services II

NORTH Tawton RFC hosted Devonport Services Seconds last weekend, with the game being given the all clear to go ahead, following the morning’s pitch inspection.

The home side was keen on keeping the momentum going after a recent improvement in form with two wins out of the past four games and a well deserved losing bonus point the previous weekend against high flying Torquay.

The away fixture earlier this season saw Devonport beat the Tawts 36-13. 

The opening 10 minutes of the game saw both teams test each other’s defence with two different styles of attack.

North Tawton’s fly-half Liam Pyle kicked the ball high for the backs to chase with Devonport’s number 10 opting for the kicks to the corner for territory.

The forward pack led by Simon Quick’s hard carry’s into contact put the Devonport defence under some pressure but the final pass to break through was difficult due to the weather conditions.

The slippery ball meant several scrums which the North Tawton pack controlled very well throughout the game.

The first points of the day did not arrive until the 25th minute when the Tawts were awarded a penalty which Liam Pyle kicked successfully to put the home side 3-0 up.

Again Devonport responded with the deep kicks which back three Ben Sharp, Bill Sharp and James Bowden dealt with well considering the difficult conditions.

With 35 minutes on the clock North Tawton found themselves just over 15 metres out with the away side making it difficult to find any gaps for the Tawts to exploit.

An unexpected kick over the Devonport defence by Ryan Gross took the away side by surprise and a good chase by Stuart Bennie saw him go over the line for North Tawton’s first try of the game. Liam added the extras to take the score to 10-0.

The referee’s watch must have frozen for a few minutes as the first went well past the 40 minute mark and the Tawts again found themselves a few metres out.

Unfortunately, although going over the try line, the ball was held up and the away side were awarded a goal line drop-out.

The following phases saw North Tawton fumble the ball and the Devonport 10 made a long kick which was chased well by their centre, who was extremely quick.

A possible push may have stopped full back Ben Sharp collecting the ball but the Devonport Centre collected the ball and went over to score Devonport’s first try of the game. The conversation unsuccessful, the score went in at half-time, 10-5.

The opening minutes of the second half saw Devonport in the Tawts half putting the defence under pressure.

Although only a few metres away from the Tawts try line for a good five minutes, some big hits from Michael Young, Tom Stevens and Matty Dennis kept the Devonport attack from breaking through.

After clearing their line North Tawton began to control the game with the tempo set by scrum half Ryan Gross wasting no time in getting the ball out to the forwards and backs.

After being awarded a penalty, the home side opted for the kick to the corner.

The resulting line-out was secured, and a few phases later, number eight Simon Quick bulldozed over the line.

The referee took his time to check the ball was grounded but after a few moments the try was awarded. The conversion, successful by Liam, took the score to 17-5.

For the next 10 minutes Devonport tried getting back in the game with a combination of long kicks and passing through the back, but the home side’s defence was not letting them make that final break.

Unfortunately Michael Young came off with an injury which we hope won’t keep him out of the game for long. 

North Tawton got their third try of the game from the scrum which had been strong all game.

Five metres out, the pack drove forward and Simon Quick went over the line for his second try of the game.  The conversion unsuccessful, the score 22-5.

The resulting kick was taken well, and a few phases later, the home side found themselves again in Devonport’s half only a few metres out from the try line.

Devonport managed to turn the ball over. The ball was passed back to their number 10 to make the clearance kick but the kick was charged down by Simon Quick.

The charge down put the ball over the line which Captain Jack Phare jumped on to score the Tawts fourth bonus point try. The conversion was unsuccessful after hitting the post. The score 27-5.

In the final few minutes the Tawts were keen to close the game out.

However Devonport had one last day in the game when another good individual run down the wing got Devonport the last points in the game. The conversion was successful and the game finished 27-12. 

This was the best team performance I’ve seen this season and in the past few weeks things are finally starting to click after a difficult start to the season.

A few special mentions go to Dan Quinn, Stuart Bennie and Brad Hudson in the front row who bossed the scrum and all had great games. Simon Quick with his two tries lead the forwards well and Ryan Gross dictating the game but the Man of the Match was awarded to Tom Stevens whose defence was excellent and made a few big breaks throughout the game. 

Next North Tawton travel away to Withycombe for their final match of 2022.

Thank you to all the supporters for coming down in the cold conditions to show their support, the team I’m sure very much appreciated it.

Jabby Fewings