Lowly Wellington overcame the difference in league positions between them and their visitors to engineer a shutout which denied the Devon side a playoff place. Chiefs had already ensured their Level 7 status with gutsy performances in the previous three weeks and bid farewell to captain Robin Trott in fine style.
The visitors made early raids into hoe territory looking for an early score but solid defence from the home side particularly from the back row of Micky Norman, Danny Lee and Dan Smythe-Moore held them at bay.
Once more the first scrum provided an indication of how the match was likely to unfold as the front row union of Dave Swann, Dale Maggs and Lee Wadham aided and abetted by Shane Jordan and Chris Kitto in the engine room at second row comprehensively destroyed the Devon set piece from which the pressure was relieved.
The exchange referee from Southampton was however not too happy with aspects of the home sides play, particularly offside’s and awarded a penalty to Tiverton which went wide. Still more defensive hard work was necessary for the home side as Tiverton continued to pile on the pressure without anything to show for it.
Eventually a clearance kick broke the spell and following an exchange of kicks The Red and Blacks took the lead as the visitors infringed at a breakdown. Fly half and Coach Matt Parsons stepped and judged the kick perfectly in the swirling wind.
A mishandled catch from the restart allowed Tivvy back into the home 22 and again the set scrum was destroyed by the home pack taking the ball against the visitors put in. and another series of breaks resulted in Parsons slotting his second penalty.
The pressure being exerted by the Wellington forwards now switched to driving mauls and they were unlucky not to score following one such just before half time as the ball was deemed to have been held up but the respite was short lived. Another powerhouse 5 metre scrum shunted the Devon side’s pack back over their own line for number 8 Micky Norman to drop on the ball as it hit the line. Parsons converted to establish a 13 point lead at the break.
The difference in body language and temperament was becoming apparent as the second half got under way as Parsons stretched the lead further with another penalty early on.
Twenty minutes later and despite increasingly urgent efforts from the Tiverton side Wellington flanker Danny Lee delivered the killer blow. An opposition lineout on the home twenty two missed the intended receiver and fell directly to him and he simply took off through the yawning gap at the back of the line and raced past all comers the length of the field outstripping chasing forwards and three-quarters alike to score under the posts. Parsons converted the easiest kicks to leave the visitors needing four scores to retrieve the situation. All this occurred whilst the home side were down to fourteen players with one in the sin bin.
After being restored to full strength another Wellington player was sent to the cooler but this did not deter them as they continued to pound away up front and old stalwart Tim Jenkinson took the ball from the back of a ruck dummied the pass and dived through a gap to score an unconverted try to put the result beyond any doubt.
Whilst the heavy duty action was up front mention must be made of the contribution out behind by the Wellington threes who never flinched from a tackle and concentrated to bottle up the slick Tiverton backs from breaking through. Luke Browne was making his last appearance for Wellington as he has decided to hang up his boots and Captain Robin Trott also leaves the Club having taken up a position at a school in Richmond. The Club made a presentation to each player of a 100 Club tie to mark their departure after the match.
Team: David Swann, Dale Maggs, Lee Wadham, Chris Kitto, Shane Jordan, Dan Smythe-Moore, Danny Lee, Micky Norman, Tim Jenkinson, Matt Parsons, Neville Pitman, Luke Browne, George Hooper, Dan Hinton, Robin Trott (Capt) Reps: Joe Dyke, Scott Davy, James McLauchlan.
Report: Nick Robins