Bideford’s dreams of a run to Twickenham in the RFU Senior Vase came to and end when they lost 14-5 at home to Wellington, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
Wellington, second from top in the same Western Counties Division that Bideford are just below halfway in, were always slight favourites to go through to round three.
Bideford had their moments, but Wellington were never behind in a close game after taking the lead with a try six minutes before the break.
Wellington went further ahead with a penalty early in the second half, but back came Bideford with a Dean Folland try to leave three points in it.
Two penalties gave Wellington some breathing space and they closed the game out with two penalties three minutes apart in the latter stages.
Simon Morrell, the Bideford coach, felt Wellington were given a real run for their money.
"The first half was nervy but we fought back and at 8-5 in looked like only a matter of time before we went ahead," said Morrell.
"Unfortunately we conceded two late penalties, which took the game away from us, and we came up short."
It gets no easier for Bideford this Saturday as they are at home to divisional leaders St Austell.
There was no action in the Western Counties West division last Saturday as the only scheduled match, the one at Teignmouth where Wellington were due to be the visitors, was postponed owing to a waterlogged surface.
Bideford head into Saturday's home meeting with St Austell sitting eight places and 30 points behind the table-toppers. When they met in Cornwall back in early November Bideford were beaten 22-5. Since a 24-8 defeat at Wellington at the end of November, St Austell have won seven of the eight league games they have played with the one defeat being a January 18, 24-20 defeat at Teignmouth. In contrast, Bideford have won two and lost three of their last five, beating Cullompton and Penryn at home while losing at home Kingsbridge and away to both Hioniton and Falmouth.