Withies continue to improve against the top teams

North Devon Gazette

Withycombe came away with a hard-earned bonus point in difficult conditions, despite eventually going down to a narrow 7-10 defeat to a powerful Cullompton side.Â

With the rain coming down and the gusty wind blowing downfield, the game was always going to be tricky. Withy started well as they showed themselves to be the stronger of the two teams in the early exchanges of the game. Â

Emotions were running high in the mud and the referee issued a yellow card to each side, Withies’ Danny Sansom and Cully’s Jacob Unwin being given a ten-minute rest.Â

Cullompton had their first turn at issuing some persistent pressure, gaining some possession and territory. Withy dealt with the initial wave, winning the turnover but a mistake shortly after the scrum proved costly for them as the ball was knocked forwards into Cully hands, the ball was quickly passed out and the visitors ran the short distance to the line and score under the posts for the opening points of the game, somewhat against the general run of play. Â

After the half-time break, the green and black defence continued to deny any tries, however when a gap was opened, some scrambled defence resulted in a kickable penalty in front of the posts and a 10-0 lead for Cully.Â

An expertly judged penalty kick to touch by Tom Cooke gave Withycombe a line-out on the Cullompton 5m line. The ball was taken well and with the maul forming, Withies were awarded another penalty; this time, scrum was the call and it turned out to be the right one – with the driving scrum just inches from the line, the momentum was brought to a halt illegally by Cully, with this the referee headed under the posts to award Withycombe the penalty try.Â

With just two minutes on the clock, Withies weren’t planning on giving up and pushed forward from the restart and almost immediately playing out the final phases deep in the visitor’s 22’, but Cullompton just about held on for the victory in a terrific game of rugby.Â