Crediton Thirds 34 - South Molton Seconds 7

WITH no other teams playing on Saturday, February 10, Crediton RFC Third XV had a rare opportunity to play on the main pitch and that opportunity was certainly not wasted.

Despite the draw of international rugby on TV, a good crowd turned out to watch an excellent game between the Thirds and South Molton Seconds that was full of commitment and endeavour.

With plenty of players making themselves available, skipper John Gurzynski remained loyal to the players that had been playing in the team throughout the season plus a couple of newcomers and returning players. That loyalty was rewarded in more ways than one. 

It is fair to say the performance throughout the team was one of real quality, yes there were errors but in view of the conditions, some of the handling was outstanding.

Defensively, we looked really solid with some hearty tackles going in as the visitors struggled to make any headway.

The forwards grafted for the full 80 minutes and generally had the better of things although the South Molton pack made us work hard at the scrum whereas we did dominate the lineout.

The front row of Lewis Cook, Brad Baker (is there a position in the team that he has not played?) and Deyan Tomic (making his first appearance at tighthead prop) were in commanding form backed up by a combination of youth and experience in the second row with the evergreen Richard Gray and youthful Joe Wreford.

The back row of Harry Poole, Ben Gillard and Liam Stait were everywhere and must have covered every blade of grass on the pitch. 

At scrum half, Elliott White was a constant thorn in the South Molton side with his quick feet and sidestep creating confusion in their defence on many occasions and his partnership with Joe Warren at fly-half kept the backs moving and were a constant threat.

In the centre, Jamie Crang and Taylor Wonnacott looked really good combining well with Wonnacott using his strength and power to bag a couple of tries.

Fullback Owen Cooper controlled things from the back with wingers Josh Edwards and Travis Baker completing a steady back three which was solid in defence and sharp in attack. 

The bench was also full of quality, the three Reed’s, dad Wayne and sons Jack and Sam, all put in good shifts as did Ethan Pearce making a welcome return to the game.

Another returnee after injury was Mike Snell who put in some crunching tackles.

Paddy Elworthy and Ash Nicks both gave impressive performances off the bench and if this side can stick together, then the Thirds will become a force to be reckoned with in addition to pushing for places in the Quins.

For the record, apart from the two tries from Taylor Wonnacott, there was one apiece for Josh Edwards, Ben Gillard and Jack Reed with Owen Cooper landing three conversions and a penalty.

Josh Edwards, having made way for a replacement, may have thought his game was over but within minutes he was back on the pitch but with a South Molton shirt on his back.

They lost a player through injury and Edwards came on as their replacement and made something of a difference as his perfectly timed run enabled him to cut a line through the Thirds defence to score South Molton’s only try and thus he scored for both sides in the same game. Well done Josh.

On Saturday, February 18, the First and Second XV’s resume league duties at North Petherton and at home against Newton Abbot respectively. The Thirds host Ilfracombe in a Merit Table fixture and the Colts entertain Barnstaple in the Colts Cup. A full day of rugby for all to enjoy.

On Wednesday, February 21, the Thirds have another Merit Table game at home against Exeter Engineers.

Paul Harris