Teignmouth 21 - Crediton 22

THE stop start season continued for Crediton RFC with a game at Teignmouth on March 16, preceded by another weekend off, a very unsatisfactory situation because it disrupts continuity and makes something of a mockery of the league system.

Of course it is the same for all teams but the weather has also meant that training has been difficult for some Clubs whereas others have had an all weather facility close at hand.

The league organisers really need to sort themselves out and return to a system that was working perfectly well before.

It was not really broken and consequently did not require fixing but the powers that be at Twickenham love to interfere!

As to the game itself, we travelled minus a few regular first choice players plus some positional changes and so it was a much changed side from the one that lost against Sidmouth two weeks previously.

As the saying goes, one man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity and those who stepped up can be extremely proud of their performance.

From the kick off we were camped in the home “22” but despite controlling possession we were unable to break the home defence.

It was Teignmouth who broke the deadlock with almost their first foray into our territory and their period of pressure produced a score out wide as they created an overlap, the conversion failed.

Within four minutes, we were in the lead.

An excellent midfield break from Sam Westcott, playing in the centre for the first time, put us in a good position and a quick ball sent winger Bobby Jenkin over in the corner. Ollie Avery-Wright converted for a 7-5 lead.

The lead was increased on the half hour after another period of sustained pressure, forwards and backs linking well to put winger Josh Woodland through a gap to score out wide, OAW converted.

Any joy was very short lived as the home side responded right from the restart.

Teignmouth turned over possession and a neat chip over the top of our defence landed perfectly for their winger to run onto and score, the conversion reduced the lead to two points.

That lead soon became a deficit of one point when we were penalised for failing to roll away at the tackle, the simple penalty gave the hosts a 15-14 lead at the interval.

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first but both defences were cancelling each other out.

Teignmouth increased their lead with a penalty for what was considered a deliberate knock on.

The game developed into a fairly tense affair, scoring opportunities were few and far between and it would come down to who made the fewer mistakes.

On the hour mark though, we did catch Teignmouth on the hop with a quickly taken penalty and the backs created space for Bobby Jenkin whose final pass to Westcott saw him in for a try, which was not converted, but we were ahead 19-18.

However, Teigns were not to be denied and they attacked but again were not able to make much headway until another attempted interception was knocked on and the resulting penalty put them back into a two point lead.

The question then was could they hang on?

Well with time running out, indeed into the final minute, we were awarded a penalty on half way.

Skipper OAW decided (maybe more out of desperation than anything else!) to go for the posts. A test of nerve? Certainly. On his range limit? yes probably. Worth a shot? yes definitely, fortune favours the brave and all that!

A successful kick would mean victory and four points, failure and we come away with one point.

The deathly hush could be heard all around the ground as the kick flew straight as an arrow and high as a kite, dissecting the posts. The home groans and away cheers could be heard across the river in Shaldon as the single point victory was secured with the very last kick of the game.

The result meant slipping a place to third in the league but with only one promotion spot and that has already been decided, there is nothing other than pride resting on the outcome of the next two games at home against Topsham on Saturday and away at Truro on April 6.

Crediton Thirds 56 - Exeter Saracens Seconds 10

The Third XV gave a sparkling performance against Exeter Saracens Seconds and ran out comfortable winners scoring eight tries in the process.

However, things did not start particularly well as Sarries opened the scoring with a well taken try when they fielded a clearance kick and ran the ball back.

Their threes looked quite pacy and they scored in the corner when the fullback came into the line.

Despite the apparent strength of their backs, that was as good as it got for the visitors as the Thirds took control of the game.

The opening score for the Thirds came after several phases some 10 metres off the Sarries line and with the referee allowing an advantage, it was scrum half Elliott White who found space to go over at the posts, fly half Owen Copper added the extras to put us ahead 7-5.

The visitors battled back and put the pressure on inside our “22” but the defence was outstanding.

As the game went from end-to-end, more pressure and a patient build up ended with prop Richard Gray crossing for try number two, Ryan Stiles converted and then Cooper landed a penalty to take us to a 17-5 lead.

Sarries were not out of the game and responded with another try out wide, thanks again to some quick hands by their threequarters, and we reached the interval with a 17-10 lead and both sides with everything to play for.

Within 15 minutes of the restart, the game had been taken out of the visitors reach, firstly a break by Taylor Wonnacott stretched the Sarries defence and Styles was on-hand to score and he followed that with a second try after more strong running and good handling. 

Replacement No8 Chris Hooper then grabbed one of his trademark pushover tries, converted by Cooper.

The home pressure became relentless and further tries were added by Gray and Ben Gillard, with Cooper adding the extras to both.

This was a really entertaining game and a great performance from what is in the main a very young Third XV.

The forwards dominated the scrums and the direct running of the backs was a feature.

It was not all about attacking though as defensively we were very solid and certainly looked a match for most sides in the Merit table.

Crediton Colts 17 - Sidmouth Colts 20

THESE two Colts sides put on a tremendous show in a game that could easily have gone either way.

As it was, the visitors nicked it at the death.  They had the advantage of the slope in the first half and led 15-3 at the interval.

However, the Crediton lads also made full use of the slope and bounced back to take a 17-15 lead until Sidmouth bagged the winning score near the end.

Charlie Gribble and Harry Grigg each scored a try for the Colts with George Baxter adding two conversions and a penalty. The result guarantees the Colts a home quarter final against Topsham on Saturday.

Four big games on Saturday, the First XV entertain Topsham and we shall be looking to take back second place in the league from them.

The Quins visit Topsham and will be looking to close the gap at the top of the table.

Both games count towards the Intermediate Cup and whatever the outcome, both sides will be in their respective semi-finals on April 13.

The Thirds host current Merit Table toppers Barnstaple and if last Saturday was anything to go by then we should give them a run for their money.

The Colts will battle it out at home against Topsham for a place in the Colts Cup Semi-Final. Still plenty of rugby left and plenty to play for.

Paul Harris