Winscombe register important victory over fell strugglers

PUBLISHED: 10:07 14 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07 14 December 2018

Jim Rutherford.

Jim Rutherford.

Archant

Winscombe defeated fellow league strugglers Saltash and managed to come out narrow victors to ease their relegation fears.

Winscombe 24 pts

Saltash 21 pts

Winscombe entertained fellow league strugglers Saltash at the weekend and registered an important win that in large part sees their season put back on track.

The home side, playing down the slope, started brightly and following a midfield break by No 8 Will Thomas and prop Alec Chase advanced quickly into the Saltash 22.

When the ball was moved infield, lock Jack Hodson, running a sharp line, was there to gather the ball and crash over under the posts for the opening try. Fly-half Jim Merryfield added the conversion.

Winscombe dominated the first half and played much of the opening session inside the visitors’ 22. Their pressure again paid off shortly before half time when hooker Dan Friar was driven over from short range for another converted try.

Commanding the set piece, Winscombe seemed in control of the match at the beginning of the second period when they were awarded a penalty try after a series of scrum infringements inside the visitors’ red zone.

At this point it appeared that it was to be a matter of time before they pressed for their bonus point try.

Saltash, however, had different ideas and following some intelligent kicking established good field position in the home 22. From the subsequent line-out they stole ball and Adam Coutts was driven over for a try to open their account. Saltash fly-half Kieren Down added the conversion.

Now playing down the slope, Saltash moved the ball from wing to wing, probing the home defence for any weak points, which they found eventually on the right touchline.

Their wing made 50 metres before feeding centre Olly Mulbury who came up inside to take the ball and score beneath the posts

Next up, there was virtually a carbon copy of the same passage of play this time with left wing Jay Moriarty coming across to gather the ball and to score the visitors’ third try. Fly-half Down’s conversion brought the scores level at 21-21 with all to play for.

From the re-start, play moved quickly uphill and the final 10 minutes of the match were played out within 10 metres of the Saltash try-line and were brutal and enthralling in equal measure.

Winscombe, desperate to secure the win pressed time and again for a decisive score with a series of driving mauls, tap penalties and five-metre scrums. Saltash defended heroically, but eventually infringed in an area that gave Winscombe a shot at goal.

With the last kick of the game, centre Sam Dearsley stepped up to slot the penalty that brought this thoroughly entertaining match to an end and give Winscombe an important win ahead of next weekend’s home encounter with league leaders Sidmouth.

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