Positive start to preseason for Exmouth Withycombe RFC
By Adam Curtis
14th Aug 2023 | Rugby
Final score: Withycombe 17-10 Crediton 2nd XV
It has been 101 days since the Withies last took the field in the final of the Devon Junior Cup. Although this may still be fresh in the mind of some of the players and fans, the boys began looking at the 2023/24 season with the opening preseason fixture against Crediton's 2nd XV.
With the game in its initial stages, both sides kept an equal share of the possession within the middle third of the field.
A seventh minute penalty to Withy saw the ball enter the Crediton 22' for the first time. Once there, Withy set up camp and began to build a little pressure, earning a couple more penalties for their troubles. A quickly taken penalty from debutant Hooker Dave Brown proved deadly as he carried the ball across the freshly painted whitewash, bringing three defenders with him! With the conversion attempt sailing inches wide, Withy took an early 5-0 lead after 11min.
Following the try, Withies managed to keep control of the gameplay from within the visiting half for the rest of the opening quarter. Crediton began to pick up the pace to ensure they kept a hand in the game though and, a little after the half an hour mark, managed to get themselves onto the scoreboard after a well-placed penalty kick to touch resulted in a try in the corner to level the scores at 5-5.
Withycombe produced an immediate response however, as some quick ball recycling freed up enough space for Dave Brown to sneak across the line in Clubhouse Corner for his second of the game. This try gave Withy the lead into the break with the score at 10-5.
The second half saw plenty of action from both teams with the sides playing some good rugby to make some decent gains in possession, ensuring that defence was as good as attack.
The Withy defence was particularly tested on the hour mark as, despite the building fatigue, the home side had to deal with some strong Crediton attacking play. A break down the wing was dealt with well with the winger bundled into touch. The resulting lineout earned a penalty for the boys to relieve some of the immediate pressure and a chance the clear their lines back to halfway. Crediton continued to apply the pressure as they regained possession, eventually breaking down the Withycombe wall and scoring 10m out from the posts. With the conversion attempt hitting the posts, the scores were once again tied at 10-10.
Keen on the win and with some fresh legs on the field, the Mid-Devon visitors were back in an attacking gameplan. Withy worked hard at keeping them away from the danger zone and were rewarded well as a loose pass through the backs saw Lewis Tose receive the intercepted pass and run unopposed towards the posts. Tose topped up his five points to seven with the conversion kick. Withies were back ahead with just 9 minutes to play!
The boys held out to secure the win and get the preseason series off to a winning start with the full-time score Withycombe 17, Crediton II 10.
On Friday, the boys are back in action as they test themselves against a team that now sit two leagues above them as they welcome Topsham to Raleigh Park. This exciting encounter kicks off at 7pm.