Exmouth: Withycombe RFC stung by Newquay Hornets, key decisions prove costly

By Will Goddard

8th Nov 2021 | Rugby

Action shot from Withycombe vs Newquay match. Credit: Adam Curtis
Action shot from Withycombe vs Newquay match. Credit: Adam Curtis

Score: Newquay Hornets 23 - 14 Withycombe Raleigh

With the third away trip to the Duchy in a row approaching, the strong wind downfield would definitely need to be a key feature of the game.

Withies had the benefit of this wind as the game got underway, but before they had even got a chance to make the most of the conditions, they found themselves a try down as a loose pass out wide was scooped up by the home side, and they carried the ball across the field and in at the opposite side for an unconverted score with little over a minute on the clock.

With this rude awakening, the Withy boys came back with some good play of their own, working the ball into the home half. Withy camped themselves there for a short while but seemed unable to break the strong Newquay pack.

Withies got onto the scoreboard at the end of the opening quarter when a good phase of play from Paddy Haddad cleared space for Sam Warren to run in over in the corner. Tom Cooke's touchline conversion attempt sailed through the posts to give the visitors the lead.

With the narrowest of leads, Withy tried to use their backs where they could in attack. In a game where Newquay's pack were dominating any forward play, use of the backs would be key as they were, arguably, our strongest weapon and best chance of points.

On the half hour mark, Withy had got themselves into a strong attacking position, winning three penalties in a row following a brief lapse of concentration from the Hornets' pack. We opted for a third scrum but lose the ball to relieve the pressure for Newquay.

The hosts had the final say of the half as a wayward clearing kick from the Withy 22' landed in the arms of the Newquay winger who slips through the tackles to swan dive in the corner once again. With the kick landing wide, the half came to an end with Hornets sporting a 10-7 lead.

With the second half underway, Newquay earned themselves a penalty just outside the 22' a couple of minutes in. The kick hit the posts and landed in Withy hands to clear back out to the 22' line.

Shortly after, a fumbled ball behind the try line gave Newquay a 5m scrum, which was thankfully stolen by Withy; a great break by Sam Warren saw the ball make its way to the half way line.

The final line of home defence went in for the tackle somewhat high to give Withy the penalty. The quick tap by Captain Liam Cullen made considerable distance. With the ball recycled well, a perfectly timed pass out to Danny Sansom allowed him to break free and leave the Newquay defence standing, scoring to the left of the posts for Withy's second converted try of the game, giving them back the lead.

Newquay wouldn't roll over though as they began to use the strong wind to their advantage. Despite strong visiting attack, our concentration started to drop as we watch a 50:22 kick cross the touchline at the 5m line. The ensuing line out was taken strongly as Withy conceded the penalty which was taken quickly, creating the gap and scoring under the posts to put the hosts back in control of the game just before the hour mark.

Soon after, the Hornets had an opportunity to extend the lead with a kickable penalty as our boys drifted offside.

Keen to still aim for the win, Withy pushed on up the field. However, Newquay were equally as keen to keep the lead as the big hits kept coming, forcing Withy to cough up the penalties. With 2min left on the clock, the losing bonus point was lost as another penalty in front of the posts extended the hosts lead to 9pts.

Despite trying hard to get back up the pitch, our boys were just unable to get through the defensive line as Newquay ran out the remainder of the game. Full time, Newquay Hornets 23, Withycombe 14.

A tough day at the office today, but one that once again we can learn from. Today's game was won and lost around key decisions from both teams and maybe another day different decisions will lead to a different result.

The boys have a week off next week but return in a fortnight when we welcome fourth placed Torquay to Raleigh Park.


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