Exmouth: Withycombe RFC crowned Devon Junior Cup champions

By Nub News guest writer

2nd May 2023 | Rugby

Victory (Adam Curtis)
Victory (Adam Curtis)

By Adam Curtis

Final score: Withycombe 18-17 Torquay

Withies have been crowned Devon Junior Cup champions following a final-minute kick from Lewis Tose.

Withy got the game underway with a kick downfield and were immediately on the back foot with two penalties against them. The second of which within range for the Torquay fullback. To Withy's relief the ball sailed wide but was a warning for the boys.

Withies responded well to this early warning as they sent Torquay into defence mode. Withies had their own chance at goal after a couple minutes, but with this ball also missing the mark, the game remained scoreless.

Withies continued to apply some pressure, keeping the Tics in their own half and thought the pressure had been rewarded as Luke Pattison broke free of the defenders to touch down under the posts – only to be brought back for a forward pass.

With the pressure continuing, the boys managed to get onto the scoreboard with a Lewis Tose penalty after 17 minutes.

The lead didn't last long as Torquay came straight back as they benefited from a Withy knock-on to go on and score; the successful conversion gave the hosts the lead.

After ten minutes of shared possession, Torquay extended their lead as they got their second try in the corner of the field. This looked to be the score that would take us into the break, but Withy refused to let that be the case. With the clock in the red, Withy battled Torquay's red zone, recycling the ball and inching closer to the line. Their efforts were rewarded when George Doughty launched himself through the tiniest of gaps to score and bring Withy back into the game at half time. The score at the break, 14-8.

Keen to follow up on their first try, Withy were on the attack from the get-go. Some powerful skills at the breakdown earned the boys a vial turnover deep inside the Torquay 22'. The ensuing scrum saw the ball march towards the try line, with precision timing, Joe Blyth peeled out from the base of the scrum to score in the corner of the pitch. Lewis Tose topped up the points to put Withy back in the lead at 14-15 after 45 minutes.

After a period of shared possession, the hosts made a break from inside their own half, with the try line in clear sight, the Torquay winger made a turn infield, allowing for George Doughty to make the tackle; a tackle that would cost him ten minutes in the sin bin, but saved the try. Despite the man-advantage and with a long period of time in our 22', the home side were unable to outplay the Withy defence and get a score. Things were to get worse for Withy after Callum Tose got the worse end of the deal following a touchline fracas, with Tose being shown a red card, but the Torquay player only getting yellow.

Withy were now down in numbers, but not in strength as they continued to defend well in the red zone, denying the Tics a try.

On the hour mark, Torquay managed to get themselves in the lead with a penalty in front of the posts.

This change of lead spurred on Withy to find another gear once again as they, despite playing with 14 men, began to spend more time back inside the Torquay half. An opportunity to regain the lead with a penalty was met with some disapproval from the large home crowd, the kick was missed, but Withy weren't giving up…

With the game into it's 80th minute, another opportunity at goal presented itself to Lewis Tose, who, under extreme pressure from the jeering Torquay crowd, managed to keep his composure and slot the kick between the uprights, winning the game for Withy on his senior debut for the club!

The final whistle blew to the jubilant celebrations of players and visiting supporters alike as the boys in green and black were crowned Devon Junior Cup champions in what seemed like a fairytale ending.

The final score: Torquay 17, Withycombe 18.

The closest of games in the toughest of circumstances and the best possible conclusion to the season! We'll see you in September when we get to do it all again!

The last thing that remains is to thank the players, coaches, sponsors and supporters for absolutely everything this season, it really is appreciated by one and all at the club!


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