Exmouth Withycombe RFC advances to the final after South Molton win

By Nub News guest writer

24th Apr 2023 | Rugby

On the run (Adam Curtis)
On the run (Adam Curtis)

Final score: Withycombe 23-5 South Molton

Withies have secured their place in the Devon Junior Cup final with a strong performance against South Molton.

With the boys heading downfield for the opening half, they received the kick off and almost immediately earned the first penalty of the game inside the first 15 seconds.

With the ball sent deep into the visiting half, a break from Joe Blyth made some good ground; before the ball could go any further, Withy earned another penalty in front of the posts – a sight too tempting for flyhalf Tom Cooke who slotted the kick to get some early points on the board after three minutes.

A few minutes later, Withy were given a similar opportunity, unfortunately this time the kick sailed wide of the mark. The dropout kick cleared the immediate danger for the Mid-Devon side, but even with some time with the ball, the Withy defence ensured that the play wasn't to pass the halfway line.

Defence turned into attack for the boys as they headed back into the Molton red zone. It looked as if Withy had their first try on the board when George Doughty launched towards the line but was unfortunately adjudged in touch. Withy did manage to get that try soon after as they stole a scrum against the head at half way; the ball made its way out to Tommy Foa who made a solo run to the line, sidestepping the defenders to score. The quick-footed young winger doubled up on his try tally just five minutes later with a second try in the corner. Those two quick tries completed the first half scoring, with the score at 13-0.

The second half begun with Withy continuing to apply pressure to the South Molton side and with the ball back inside their 22', an attempted interception resulted in a knock on, handing the ball back to Withy in a dangerous position with a potent attacking move. The scrum was duly marched towards the try line, Joe Blyth broke from the scrum to score in Clubhouse Corner.

With the penalty count building against them, the visitors were struggling to deal with the pressure that Withy were putting on them. This was made evident when Callum Tose broke down the right wing to score in the far corner of the pitch.

The 23-point lead took a bit of a dent almost immediately after a brief lapse in concentration allowed South Molton to capitalise on the charged-down clearing kick from the restart. A gap in the defence made their job easier as they marched in for a score of their own.

Similar to the game in round one of the cup, a try for the All Blacks gave them a bit of belief as the play levelled out in the middle of the field for the majority of the game's final quarter. In the final minute of the game, they thought they had earned a second a second try, only to be denied by a defensive Withycombe hand, holding the ball up. The clearing kick from the goal line dropout found touch to bring an end to the game. The final score: Withycombe 23, South Molton 5.

The final will take place next Sunday where the boys will travel to South Devon to face Torquay Athletic who were 17-25 winners away at Tavistock in their semi final. Kick off time is yet to be announced, so watch this space!


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