Devonport 17 – 15 Kingsbridge
King’s battle to end in stormy encounter with Services at the Creek.
A hardy band of just 16 players and a harder band of supporters made the waterlogged journey down the A379 on Sunday. They played an entertaining game. Within the first five minutes of play Isaac Rayworth took the ball and pressured the Devonport defence repeatedly with support from Dryburgh and Shortman. George Jones capitalised off one of the successive rucks intelligently breaking blind to storm his way through to the line, the angle of the kick and the ensuing wind denying Jones his conversion. After numerous phases of play, Devonport finally found themselves 5 metres out and replied with their own try under the posts, despite the fierce efforts of Warner, Lee and Burgess. Having fought over who would prop! Bradley Mercy James Warner and James Lee put on a strong display, continually getting the early nudge and causing no end of problems for Services. Persistent tackling from Mercy, Banfield and Matthews put Devonport under pressure allowing Kings to secure repeated ball at the ruck for Marvin Jones to pick up the ball and make a driving run through the middle of Services’ forwards to take the ball over the line for a second try. The new backs partnership of Ollie Sutton at 10 with Isaac Rayworth, Harvey Dryburgh and Keanu Mearns at times worked well to push the Devonport attack out wide. Just before the whistle, in almost a re-run of their first try Services again scored through indecision in defence following a penalty, bringing the score to 12 all at half time.
The second half continued in the same vein despite changes to the Devonport line up, Kings continuous aggression in attack and defence saw them dominate possession throughout and pressure Devonport. Ben Stumbles once again kept busy at 15 as successive balls were kicked away by Services. Fred Matthews had an excellent game as flanker, his lightening, severing and side stepping run down the wing through numerous Services players from his own 22 nearly being rewarded with a try. Pearsall, Matthews and Jones continued to secure ball in repeated rucks and mauls and their physicality at the breakdown was impressive. Pearsall, Matthews and Banfield also linked well to put in some fine attacking runs and caused many problems for the Devonport defence. Kings managed three points through an intelligent decision by Jones to convert a penalty and took the lead 15-12. As the game entered the last 5 minutes with the loss of their only sub through injury and playing with 14 men at points, Services powerful back line eventually broke and scored. The backs mounted successive phased attacks without a score despite Sutton, Rayworth and Mearns, spending much of their time within the Services 22.
This was a fine performance by the boys who turned out to play for their team and club despite the weather, showing both the depth and talent this team possesses. An encouraging performance ahead of next week’s final in the Devon Plate against Sidmouth at Exeter Chiefs. Man of the match Nick Triggol was fearless throughout, his successive attacking and skilful runs and his fine defence of his wing demonstrating why he was named Players Player of the Season.