CREDITON 20 - TRURO 16
WITH the games ticking away, the need for league points is becoming even greater and so the outcome of the game against Truro on March 11 would prove to be hugely important.
The game was sponsored by Crediton RFC Former players and more than 100 turned out, travelling from all over the UK to enjoy a fantastic afternoon and evening at the Club.
As to the game itself, both sides had their periods of pressure and it would be a question of which one made the most of.
Truro found themselves on the back foot for the best part of 25 minutes, indeed there was only one team in it and we were playing some very good rugby.
The only surprise was that we were only eight points to the good at that stage. The forwards laid out their stall very early on and the opening couple of scrums set the pattern for much of the game as we were certainly getting the upper-hand.
The first points of the game came on eight minutes when the forwards went through several phases close to the Truro line but the visitors defended well until the ball eventually went wide and with some excellent handling, winger Devon Hosegood outpaced the oncoming defenders to score wide out.
The difficult conversion was missed but on 25 minutes, fly-half Mark Lee popped over a penalty for an 8-0 lead.
Truro responded in some style and our defence was tested to the limit and a score seemed inevitable. It came in the 34th minute after some good handling, their No 8 was on the end of the move to score, the conversion found its mark, reducing the deficit to a single point.
Matters got worse for us when right on half-time we conceded a penalty to reach the interval 8-10 down, in what had been a pulsating opening 40 minutes.
Things got worse and within 10 minutes of the second half we found ourselves eight points adrift after a couple of penalties were conceded as the visitors began to turn the screw.
The second of those penalties was for a deliberate knock on which earned flanker Chris Hooper a yellow card and a 10-minute breather.
Being reduced to 14 seemed to inspire rather than hinder and as the game entered the final quarter, we piled on the pressure, the forwards with the “pick and go” tactic working effectively and gaining ground yard-by-yard, protecting the ball and above all remaining patient.
Eventually, the moment came and flanker Jake Clarke forced his way over and the conversion from Mark Lee brought us back to a point behind.
Both sides were battling away, Truro in order to protect their lead whilst we were striving to overturn it. On one occasion we actually thought we had bagged the points when a superb kick and chase from full-back Gareth Mason caught everyone on the hop. As the ball reached the visitors “22”, it was Mason who got the next touch with Devon Hosegood joining in the chase.
As the ball crossed the line Hosegood appeared to have made the touchdown but unfortunately the referee viewed it as a knock on.
With time running out the forwards again camped on the Truro line and again battled for ground yard-by-yard, Truro defended desperately but eventually the pressure told and scum-half Josh Lee forced his way over.
The conversion was missed but it mattered not as the final whistle went.
The delight on the players faces was in direct contrast the looks of disappointment that showed after the last minute defeat at Burnham the previous week.
To their credit, Truro took defeat graciously and their view was that the better side on the day had won.
And so, all retreated to the bar to catch up on the game that also had huge significance as the mighty Scots travelled South to HQ with expectations of bringing the English down a peg or two.
Delusions of grandeur sprang to mind at the final whistle as England strolled to their biggest total in the Calcutta Cup, winning by 40 clear points. A wonderful ending to a very special day.
The victory over Truro did not move us out of the bottom two but we have pulled further away from bottom placed Wellington and a mere three points separate ourselves, Bude, Burnham and Tiverton.
The ball is firmly in our court and we do not have to rely on other clubs to do us favours. Survival in Western Counties West is in our own hands. It will be an interesting final four games but in all honesty sometimes wouldn’t it be nice to be in mid-table with no pressure either way?
BARNSTAPLE SECONDS 25 - CREDITON QUINS 19
Crediton Seconds travelled to Barnstaple for a Devon Merit Table One fixture with a playing squad of only 15 players who all knew that they were in for a tough encounter.
The opening exchanges were evenly balanced but it was Barnstaple who drew first blood on 19 minutes with a fortunate try.
A probing kick into the Crediton half bounced over the Crediton try-line and as a defender went to touch it down for a drop out, the ball bounced viciously sideways for a chasing Barnstaple player to get the touch down for an unconverted try.
Crediton fought back but the Barnstaple defence was solid denying Crediton any line breaks time and time again.
However, where we were dominant was in the scrum and after 33 minutes we finally got on the scoreboard and it was their powerful scrum which took the plaudits.
Following a sustained period of pressure in the Barnstaple 22 metres area the referee awarded Crediton a penalty try for persistent scrum infringements by the Barnstaple pack as Crediton were going for a push over score. Hayden Hill added the extras.
Right on half-time Barnstaple regained the lead. A good break down the right-wing looked to be covered by the Crediton defenders but two clever offloads out of tackles put their winger over in the corner for an unconverted try, making the half-time score 7-10 to Barnstaple.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with the ‘Quins gaining good field position in the Barnstaple half and within five minutes we were awarded a second penalty try courtesy of some powerful scrummaging by the Crediton pack.
The Barnstaple scrum simply could not handle the pressure as they were shunted back over their try-line and persistent infringing again by Barnstaple gave the referee no option than to award a penalty try, with Hayden Hill adding the extras.
Barnstaple came right back and winning good ball from a line-out in the Crediton 22 metres area they broke through a tiring Crediton defensive line to crash over for an unconverted try.
Once again Crediton got right back in the game and a good backs move finally found space getting in behind the Barnstaple defence and winger Sam Shakespeare raced clear to go over for an unconverted try.
Barnstaple were not to be denied and finding good field position in the Crediton half their forwards won good turnover ball against a now tired Crediton pack to race away down the blind side to score an unconverted try.
With the score just 19-20 to Barnstaple, and with 10 minutes left on the clock, Crediton knew they still had a chance and were forcing Barnstaple back into their own half with a series of attacking moves.
With minutes left and with Crediton in the ascendancy a promising Crediton move unfortunately broke down and the loose ball was picked up by a Barnstaple player to race in for an unconverted try, making the final score 19-25 to Barnstaple.
This was a tremendous effort by the whole of the Crediton team against their National League Two opponents, and had it not been for a couple of unlucky breaks at the wrong time, and had they had fresh legs to bring on in the second half, the score could have been somewhat different.
Tries from Deyan Tomic and Josh Goldman, plus a conversion from Josh Davey, were not enough to prevent the Colts from losing 12-17 at Kingsbridge in the final game of their Colts Cup Merit Table.
Nonetheless it has been a good season for the Colts to end up in the top six teams in their age group.
A number of the squad have already had a taste of senior rugby and look well-equipped to make a challenge for places next season.