KINGSBRIDGE 26 points DEVONPORT 3
KINGSBRIDGE welcomed Devonport to High House on Saturday where three tries in the final 15 minutes saw them extend their winning run to ten matches and maintain their 16-point lead at the top of the Western Counties West league.
The hosts had to battle hard to gain the win and the bonus point in the face of a stubborn and determined Devonport defence. It was only in the closing stages, as the visitors wilted, that the hosts were able to pull clear to gain a maximum return from the game.
A very tight first half saw the visitors open the scoring as they were awarded a penalty for offside in midfield. With the wind at their backs Devonport duly slotted the goal for a 0-3 lead. Back came Kingsbridge to take play deep into the Devonport 22 where a number of line outs near the visitors line were repelled and the ball cleared back downfield. Kingsbridge’s usually reliable catch and drive line out weapon failed to fire on this occasion as they found Devonport a tough nut to crack.
It was not until the 32nd minute that the home side got on the scoreboard as a scrum on the Devonport ten metre line saw the ball moved to the backs where centre and Captain Ben Glover broke the initial tackle and outpaced the covering defence to race 40 metres to touchdown near the posts. The conversion from fly half Ben Newman gave Kingsbridge a 7-3 lead which they held until half time.
The second half remained as tight as the first with Kingsbridge gaining opportunities to score but failing to convert them into points. It seemed like many times they were close to the Devonport try line only to be penalised either for failing to release in the tackle or coming in at the side of the ruck. Kingsbridge were desperate to increase their slim advantage to at least ensure that they took the four points for the win even if the bonus point proved too far.
It was not until the 26th minute of the second half that the hosts put themselves more than a score ahead. Forward possession in the Devonport 22 followed by slick hands from fly half Newman and centre Joe Banfield saw them stretch the visitors defence out wide before getting the ball to winger Matt Allen who evaded the final defender before rounding to score near the posts. Full back George Banfield converted to give the hosts breathing space at 14-3.
Only five minutes later and Kingsbridge had guaranteed that the win would be theirs as they crossed over for their third try. Forward momentum again in the Devonport 22 saw scrum half Tristan Couch held up just short of the try line but prop Mike Powell was on hand to get over the line to touch down. Banfield again converted to extend the lead out to 21-3.
With time all but up and Kingsbridge seeking the crucial bonus point the Allen brothers (Alex and Matt) combined on the top side of the ground to score the fourth try. A break out of the Kingsbridge half saw Alex draw the final defender and give Matt the scoring pass to race into the corner from 25 metres to touch down. The conversion, from wide out, was narrowly wide but the crucial 5 points earned from the game keeps Kingsbridge on track with only two league games remaining.
Team P W D L F A +/- BP Pts
KINGSBRIDGE 24 21 0 3 667 235 432 15 99
Okehampton 21 18 0 3 426 260 166 11 83
Exeter University 24 16 1 7 690 441 249 15 76
Truro 24 14 0 10 585 497 88 19 76
Torquay 23 14 0 9 521 538 -17 12 68
Tiverton 23 12 0 11 410 355 55 12 60
This weekend sees Kingsbridge travel to Truro for their penultimate league match of the season knowing that victory will take them tantalizingly close to the WCW league title with only the visit of Saltash to come on 23rd April. Kingsbridge A XV welcome Plymouth based Old Technicians to High House for a 3pm KO whilst the Colts entertain Tavistock Colts in their final Merit Table match of the season on the Longfield Pitch at 2.30pm.
Last week should have seen Kingsbridge entertain Okehampton in the Quarter Finals of the Devon Intermediate Cup. However the visitors withdrew from the fixture 24 hours beforehand to give the Blue and Whites a free passage into the Semi Finals and a meeting with Sidmouth. It was however discovered the day after that Sidmouth had also withdrawn from the competition meaning that Kingsbridge now progressed to the final without having played a game in the competition.
Kingsbridge will therefore travel to face Crediton for the final on Wednesday 20th April with KO at 7pm. The Blue and Whites hope that as many spectators as possible will make the effort to get to the match to support on the boys as they aim to go one better than last season when they were runners up in this competition.