KINGSBRIDGE 17 points               CULLOMPTON 13

League leaders Kingsbridge welcomed WCW league new boys Cullompton to a windy High House on Saturday with the visitor’s one of the current ‘in-form’ teams in the table.

After being relegated down to the WCW at the end of last season, Cullompton made an inauspicious start to the season in losing their first 5 matches. However a dramatic turn around has seen them win the next 4 and pull away from the foot of the table. Kingsbridge knew that they would have a battle on their hands in this match and so it proved to be.

The hosts started by far the stronger of the two teams and were on the scoreboard as early as the 5th minute. From a line out near the visitors line the forwards set up safe ruck possession before the ball was fed out along the back line where centre and captain Ben Glover powered through to score under the posts. Fellow centre Ashley Treeby added the simple conversion to make it 7-0.

On 13 minutes the hosts had stretched their lead further as a penalty saw them take a line out just inside the Cullompton 22. Kingsbridge implemented their catch and drive move to perfection and proceeded to take the visitors back 20 yards over their own line where number 8 Matt Allen gained the touchdown. The conversion was missed but Kingsbridge still led 13-0 inside the first quarter.

A similar penalty chance only three minutes later, which would have set up another good attacking position in the Cullompton 22, was squandered as it was taken quickly rather then kicked. Possession was turned over and the chance lost.

The hosts had a number of further scoring opportunities to increase their lead during the rest of the first half but failed to put those chances away. It would not be unfair to say that the hosts could and should have put the game to bed with the chances and amount of possession that they had during the first half. The only remaining score of the half was a penalty from the visitors on the stroke of half time to reduce the deficit to 12-3.

The visitors appeared to come out invigorated at the start of the second half and pushed the hosts back deep into their own half. Then from a set piece in the Kingsbridge twenty two, a neat move saw the Cullompton full back wind his way through the home defence to score near the posts. The conversion saw the score reduced to 12-10. Almost immediately from the restart Kingsbridge gave away a penalty which the visitors gratefully accepted and scored to see them take the lead at 12-13.

As the second half progressed Kingsbridge were finding it hard to get sufficient possession to set up potential scoring opportunities. When they did, either possession was turned over of penalties given away, and they were forced back downfield to start again.

Finally, entering the final quarter, Kingsbridge managed to secure some good possession in the Cullompton 22 with a number of rolling mauls exerting pressure on the visitors defence. One maul, containing most of the team, was deemed as held up over the line when it appeared to everyone that the hosts had touched down for their third try.

Soon after, from a similar strong forward position, the ball was moved along the back line where full back George Banfield squeezed his way into the corner to score and see the hosts back in front at 17-13 – a lead that they managed to hang on to during the few remaining minutes.

This Saturday sees Kingsbridge travel the short distance to Plymouth to face Devonport whilst the A XV will entertain Totnes at High House at 2.30pm. Kingsbridge Colts will welcome Bideford Colts to the Longfield Pitch for a 2.00 pm kick off in the 2nd phase of the Devon Colts Merit Table.