Barnstaple keep grip on KO Cup

Joseph Bulmer

BARNSTAPLE coach Kevin Squire claimed his side s big-match experience made all the difference as they beat Brixham 28-25 in a gripping Devon Cup final. Brixham stormed back from 17-3 down just before half time to lead 22-17 midway through the second half

BARNSTAPLE coach Kevin Squire claimed his side's big-match experience made all the difference as they beat Brixham 28-25 in a gripping Devon Cup final.

Brixham stormed back from 17-3 down just before half time to lead 22-17 midway through the second half.

Squire said his side had to dig deep to come away with their third successive cup final victory.

"When we were 17-11 up at half time I seriously wondered if we had done enough," he said."Brixham started running at us and that caused big problems. We made a couple of mistakes, suddenly we were behind. Some teams would have crumbled. That was when our big-match experience helped. We have been in enough finals to know a thing or two about how to win them and we were able to draw on that."

Brixham found themselves 12-0 down before they knew it when Barum centre Mark Fatialofa streaked in by the side of the posts for a try that Neil Giddy converted.

Barnstaple went further ahead when hooker Sam Roberts finished off a running move on the right.

When Barum were penalised at a scrum on 17 minutes, Brixham's Ben Lovell stroked over the three points.

A simple No.8 pick-up move started by Jack Elliott ended in Jonny Carter cruising up the tramlines for a try wide on the right.

Lovell landed another penalty in reply not long after Kyle Browne had to go off with a suspected broken arm. Alex Brown replaced him.

With half time approaching Brixham got back into Barum territory, Tom McLean kicked to the right and Tom Goodman won the foot race to the try line.

Brixham drew level at 17-all thanks to two more Lovell kicks. Now Brixham had their foot on the gas and there was something inevitable about them taking the lead.

The ball was swung from right to left and Brown was on the end of the last pass from McLean to go over in the corner.

Then came one of those moments that can change games.Barnstaple full-back Paul Scheres appeared to knock-on round his ankles while attempting to field a Brixham hack into the away 22. Scheres played on, referee Clare Daniels indicated the ball hit him on the shins and as Brixham watched the Kiwi speedster ran 75 metres almost unopposed to dot down.

Brixham then went behind to a Giddy penalty awarded for offside.

Lovell levelled straight from the restart and it was even-steven again with 13 minutes to play.

Eight minutes from time Giddy popped over a drop-goal and that was how it ended.

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