North Tawton team praised for efforts against league leaders South Molton

By Crediton Courier Newspaper   |   Editorial   |
Thursday 19th April 2018 10:42 am
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AFTER at least two attempts to stage the semi final of the Devon Cup between the Division One winners South Molton and the Division Two winners North Tawton the teams finally locked horns at a very soggy Taw Meadow during the evening of Tuesday, April 10.

How the pitch was going to hold up was very much in everybody’s thoughts. At best it was just playable and it was going to play a big part in the outcome of the match.

South Molton arrived full of confidence as league champions, one league above the Tawts.

They brought with them plenty of support, all expecting to progress to the final against Totnes.

From the whistle the home team made it clear, we don’t care who you are, and went at the black shirts like the world depended on it.

The Tawton players started to throw the ball around as is the Tawton way these days.

Both sides were making the best of the conditions and playing some good running rugby, added to by a ref that understood mistakes are easily made in the wet and mud.

A bad ankle injury to front row anchor Dan Bennett caused the ref to call uncontested scrums for the rest of the match from about 30 minutes in.

The Tawts had already lost Luke Dennis to a knee injury and some on the touchline on the Molton side said that this helped the Tawton cause.

The flip side of that argument was that the heavy conditions very much suited a much bigger South Molton side.

With nearly 40 minutes on the clock the score stood at nil-nil and this could only give hope for a home win.

The Tawton backs were making light of the ground when given any sort of encouragement to go forward but following a loose pass, South Molton were down the wing and over for the first points of the game.

With the kick missed, South Molton were 5-0 up at half-time.

The second half got underway with North Tawton showing no sign of giving in to the Division One champions, in fact they seemed to up the pace and just kept right in the faces of anybody in a black shirt.

At this stage of the game the conditions were starting to play a part on both teams who were both losing key players.

North Tawton suffered a big loss when Si Quick had to leave the field with an eye injury and Matty Dennis after a knee problem.

Bit-by-bit the Tawts were running out of fit personnel, but with a bit of rearranging the team got going again.

Nobody in the gold shirt was giving less than 100 per cent, it just needed a bit of luck in the bounce of the ball or a dropped pass and you felt Tawton would have been in with a chance.

Saying this, the visitors gave very little away and kept the ball safe in-hand when they had to.

With just a minute on the clock South Molton manufactured a try out of nothing, as champions do.

With the kick it was 12-0 and the ref sensibly brought the game to an end. The South Molton bandwagon rolls on into the final.

I would wager that no team has worked so hard for 80 minutes to score 0 points as did North Tawton but credit the defence of the visitors also.

Both teams deserve full credit for playing at full tilt for the full 80 minutes in the conditions as they were, no foul play to worry about and no cards.

The Tawts might have lost the game but everyone in the NTRFC shirt could leave the field with their head held high.

South Molton are a good team and they got a fright in the game. Man of the Match? You could have picked anyone that played and you wouldn’t have been wrong.

Chris Phare

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