Winscombe come up short at Saltash despite late cameos from veterans in Cornwall

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 April 2019

Will Thomas attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)

Will Thomas attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)

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Winscombe came up short against Saltash in their penultimate match of the Western Counties West season in Cornwall on Saturday.

Chris Marsh attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)Chris Marsh attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)

Despite a late injection of veteran replacements and a number of chances to claim victory, Winscombe fell to a 21-18 defeat, but travel to Bideford this weekend with their place secured.

Saltash fly-half Kieran Down and Winscombe’s Jim Merryfield traded penalties in the opening quarter, before the home side got their running game together and sent winger Gregory Eatwell over for the first try of the day.

Down’s conversion attempt was pushed wide and Winscombe established good field position from the restart, forcing a knock-on by the home defence in their own 22.

After winning the resulting scrum, the visitors sent the ball left for number eight Will Thomas to touch down in the corner, but Merryfield missed the conversion.

Jim Rutherford attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)Jim Rutherford attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)

That left the two sides on level terms at 11-11 at half time, but Saltash took control after the restart with two quickfire scores.

Winscombe’s defence was found wanting when scrum-half Oliver Mulberry darted over from close range and a kick to the corner led to some confusion on the visiting line, with flanker Phillip Eatwell pouncing on a loose ball to score.

But the visitors responded to the double setback well, taking the ball deep into the home 22 and, when awarded a penalty close to the line, they elected for a scrum.

Number eight Thomas picked up at the base and powered over for his second try, with Merryfield’s successful conversion cutting the deficit to three points.

Stuart Warren attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)Stuart Warren attacks for Winscombe (pic John Podpadec)

As the match wound to a close, and in a desperate attempt to gain the initiative, Winscombe brought on their veteran replacements in 52-year-old team manager Graham Buller and Chris Marsh, three years his junior.

Marsh took to the field with his son George for a Winscombe first cross-generational appearance, however the injection of maturity and flair failed to pay off and, despite a number of chances, they came up short.

Latest standings: Sidmouth 25 matches 98 points; Crediton 25-96; Wellington 25-95; St Austell 25-89; Tiverton 25-67; Wadebridge Camels 25-65; Falmouth 25-53; Winscombe 25-51; Kingsbridge 25-48; Saltash 25-46; Bideford 25-44; Chard 25-43; Truro 25-41; Paignton 25-35.

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