Close final game of the season for Exmouth's Withycombe RFC
By Will Goddard
26th Apr 2022 | Rugby
By Adam Curtis
Final score: Bude 19-16 Withycombe
With the final league game of the season getting underway, Withy made a good start, controlling large amounts of the early play and getting into Bude's 22' early on; unfortunately the ball got stripped away but with the ball immediately being kicked away, Withy had another chance. Despite our strong start, it was the visitors that would get the early score; following some good play of their own, Bude made their way downfield, forcing the penalty in our 22'. With the line out won, they travel the short distance to score a converted try in the corner.
The scoreline was doubled just two minutes later when Withy were caught sleeping from the restart as the ball was safely carried out wide for a break down the left wing. The score 0-14 after just 10 minutes.
Following this sudden flurry of Bude action, the boys in green and black began to gain in strength once again and found themselves pressuring back in the visitor's red zone. Bude's defences were hampered after their outside centre was sent to the bin for a deliberate knock-on.
With the game entering it's second quarter, Withy continued the pressure and kept the game largely in the Bude half. Despite this, they were unable to capitalise on the territorial advantage and convert this into any points with some planned phases of play not quite going to plan and some strong defence from the visiting Cornishmen.
However, with 32min on the clock, the boys were finally rewarded for their good play and with the overlap forming, the ball found Will Cooper who managed to spot the gap and sneak in to score. Tom Cooke's conversion topping up the points and closing the gap to 7. Withy were back on the Bude 5m line shortly after but with the ball being lost in contact in front of the posts, nothing came of the final push of the half. The score at the break, 7-14.
Now with the slope in their favour, the boys looked to keep the play down at Brook End. This was executed very quickly into the half as with three quick penalties in a row for Withy, the opportunity came for some points via the boot of Cooke and a penalty kick.
A more settled second half brought a lot of entertaining and quality rugby from both sides. Withy took the lead just after the hour when more penalties against Bude gave Cooke another shot at goal and take the lead at 16-14.
The lead wasn't to last long though as Withy were caught out at the ruck and couldn't quite recover from the break made by the Bude back-rower who scored in the corner with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
Withies battled back again to force a penalty from the 10m line and an ambitious shot at goal again; on this occasion the accuracy was there, but the ball fell just short of the posts. From there, despite their best efforts, time was against them and with Bude defiant in keeping the lead, Withy were unable to score any further points. However in similar fashion, they also managed to prevent Bude from extending their lead with some impressive defence of their own on their 5m line in the closing moments of the game to hold on and earn the losing bonus point.
With the season now at a close, we'd like to thank all those that have come along to support us home and away through what has been a season of mixed fortunes.
We've got plenty going on over the summer break so we'd love to see you throughout the summer and we'll look forward to doing it all again in September!