Withycombe make table-topping Tivvy work hard for their slender victory
PUBLISHED: 09:15 14 November 2013
Withycombe 14, Tiverton 17
Table-topping Tiverton only led for a total of four minutes, but it was enough to secure them four points in a tight encounter at Raleigh Park.
Whilst the Mid Devon side left with their unbeaten season continuing Withycombe can take heart from a commanding performance in a game that proved a fantastic advert for Devon rugby.
Withycombe opened the scoring on 15 minutes after fly-half Glenn Channing was hit late and Jack Pugsley slotted the penalty kick.
The very slight incline on the pitch proved a considerable factor; Channing’s boot using it to Withycombe’s advantage throughout the first half, and Pugsley was to strike two more penalties before half-time to send Withy into the break with a 9-0 lead.
Tiverton started the second half the brighter, a string of rare missed tackles from the Withycombe midfield allowing Johann Van Wyk to score by the posts.
With Tivvy using the hill just like the home side had in the first half, Withycombe spent much of their time defending, and a further three points from a penalty nudged Tiverton in front for the first time.
Withycombe hit straight back after winning their own restart, a clever kick from Jack Pugsley forcing Tiverton to concede a lineout on their own five-metre line. From the lineout, the unlikely figure of Glenn Channing emerged from a cluster of players to cross the try line for his fourth try of the season.
The game returned to Withycombe’s stout defence holding out wave after wave of Tiverton attacks.
There were just three minutes remaining when the resistance was finally broken. A series of pick-and-go carries and mauls eventually resulted in Tivvy scoring a workmanlike try that they converted to seal the narrowest of victories.
The result sets up a mouth-watering return fixture in Mid Devon next March should both teams keep up their current form.
This weekend Withy entertain Western Counties outfit Kingsbridge in the Devon Cup, while the 2nd XV look to maintain their unbeaten run in the Merit Table at Tiverton.