The visit of table topping Ivybridge to the Athletic Ground was not the ideal fixture following the previous week’s heavy loss at Plymouth on an artificial surface but the home team put up sturdy resistance to frustrate their opponents, particularly in the second half, and restore some pride and confidence in their own ability.
The visitors’ got points on the board in five minutes when fly half Matt Grieveson slotted a penalty against the extremely strong breeze and the first try was scored five minutes later when Wellington possession in the Ivybridge 22 was turned over. Quick handling created the break and full back Tom Scoles was on hand to go over under the posts with Grieveson adding the conversion.
Try as the home side did they just could not set up a penetrating move which troubled the visitors. The closest they came was from a grub kick through from full back Mark Nichols which was chased by Ben Gamlin who just couldn’t reach the ball in goal before it went dead at the side
The restart saw the visitors return to the attack and they rounded off their next concerted effort with a try from flanker Rory Wakeling with Grieveson missing the conversion in the increasingly strong headwind.
More Red and Black effort to get a foothold in the game came to nought and a third try was conceded in the twenty fifth minute when backs replacement Dan Burnard had acres of space to cross for an unconverted try after some more effective handling drew the home cover in. This came as a bit of a fracas was ignored or not seen by the referee on the Ivybridge ten metre line.
The visitors got their fourth bonus point try just before the end of the half when the Devonians won a regulation scrum and their left wing joined the line to create the extra man. The ball was passed to centre Jordan Anderton who made no mistake for a straight five pointer.
At 25 – 0 down at halftime the home crowd had every right to worry that they would see their side concede at least the same number of points again in the second period with the visitors now having the advantage of the wind and the slope but that is just what did not happen as the Chiefs steadied themselves to compete with their high flying opposition.
The second half played out with the visitors trying to see off the home side but being denied any more points by Wellington’s stout defence which eventually wore Ivybridge down and caused their discipline to falter. With an increasing penalty count mounting against them Wellington finished the stronger of the two teams with the forwards, who had competed superbly throughout the match, actually beginning to boss set plays as their opponents stamina began to drain away. This allowed the backs to gain a foothold but the visitor’s defence also proved solid so whilst Wellington won the second half fight Ivybridge were able to see out the match for the win.
Next week’s matches:
The Firsts travel for their re-arranged fixture to another high flying side, Kingsbridge, in the first of three consecutive away matches. This will be a tough match as although they are lying fifth they are one game behind the top three sides and still very much in contention for a top three finish.