Drama aplenty over the rugby weekend
- Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
A tense first win of the South West One season for Sidmouth and two Cornwall & Devon thrillers for Withycombe and in-form Topsham were the highlights of an eventful weekend in Tribute Westcountry rugby.
Exmouth came up just short in the SW Premier Division, losing 16-19 against Old Redcliffians in Bristol, but the Cockles remain in fifth place ahead of a visit from Royal Wootton Bassett this Saturday.
The game of the day is undoubtedly the meeting of unbeaten leaders Exeter University and second-placed Bournemouth at Topsham Sports Ground.
Sidmouth needed a victory, and they finally got it at home to North Petherton 21-15.
Tries in each half by Dan Armstrong and Cian Warren, and eleven points from the boot of Dan Retter, including one drop-goal, were enough to see off a spirited fightback from the visitors in the closing stages.
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The Cornwall/Devon Division is shaping up as a tasty league, and unbeaten Topsham inflicted a first defeat (22-15) on Pirates Amateurs at the Bonfire Field to stand second, a point behind leaders Torquay Athletic.
Wingers Will Loughton and Declan Hadley and full-back Luke Edwardson crossed the whitewash, plus two conversions and a penalty from James Mattin, but it was a nervy finish as Pirates reduced a 22-8 deficit before no-side.
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The finish of the day came at Raleigh Park, where Withycombe edged a belter 22-21 against Saltash.
Withycombe trailed 3-16 at one stage, but they managed to overcome the sin-binning of Eugene Badenhorst to battle their way back with tries by Will Hockin and George Doughty.
Needing a try to win it at the end, they stuck a penalty into the corner, won the throw and Dave Thornton finished the driving maul to snatch what will surely be one of the victories of their season.
Can Withycombe now follow up at bottom club Hayle..?
This Saturday's fixtures include: SW Premier - Exmouth v RWB; South West One - Old Patesians (Cheltenham) v Sidmouth; Cornwall/Devon - Plymstock Albion Oaks v Topsham, Hayle v Withycombe.