Wellington now sit top of the Tribute Devon & Cornwall league, fractionally ahead of rivals Saltash on points difference. Chiefs welcomed Withycombe to the Athletic Ground last Saturday in what turned out to be a character-building and dogged victory, writes Allyn Chetland. The first five minutes was an action packed period, The R&Bs had an early missed opportunity, Withycombe replied with an penetrating attack which was thwarted by a superb covering tackle from winger Tyler Hart.
A fine break involving Liam Phillips & Corey Jenkinson was halted by an off-the-ball incident, the result was Chief’s Martin Walker being shown a straight red card for retaliating to a piece of foul play by the visitors with just seven minutes of the match played.
The R&Bs took a little time to adjust to losing a player, during which they conceding a penalty which Withycombe slotted between the posts, but once they did settle down they went onto dominate the reminder of the half despite the visitors being a man to the good. No.8 Chris Kitto scored a push over try which fullback Alex Davey duly converted then winger Nev Pitman scored an unconverted try in front of the club house after superb work by Cam Venn to further extend the lead. Further pressure by The R&Bs resulted in a penalty in front of Withycombe’s posts which Davey coolly slotted to give The R&Bs a 15-3 lead going into the halftime break.
The half time talk was full of positives and The R&Bs were keen for the match to continue. Once the match did re-start Wellington once again had the ascendancy and to all watching it would have looked like the R&Bs had the numerical advantage in players rather than the other way around. Early pressure by The R&Bs pack saw hooker Joe Dyke smash his way over for a try with Davey making no mistakes with the extra points to give 22 – 3 lead.
Further pressure ensued but The R&Bs were frustrated by desperate defence by the visitors. The try bonus point came from Pitman who scored his second try of the game rounding off a superb team attack, the conversion kick hit the woodwork. The score board was not troubled for the reminder of the half giving a final score of 27-3 to The R&Bs.
Difficult to pick out players from a standout squad performance but second row Cam Venn caught the eye and the praise in the club house afterwards. It was pleasing to see all the hard work put in at training over the last few weeks both technically and fitness wise, being put into practice. A stand-out win that all of the squad can take great pride in. Apart from the first attack of the half Withycombe rarely threatened the R&Bs try line which again shows the determination on display from Wellington – there was some very tired bodies in the changing room after the match!
Next week the R&Bs travel to Plymstock Albion Oaks. The Oaks are currently sitting in mid-table but have had some good results of late putting up a spirted display away to Saltash in the process, so confidence will be high for the Devon side.
Ben Gamlin was a late withdrawal due to illness meaning Chris Batts returning to the starting XV and Tim Jenkinson taking a place on the bench.
Team: R.Marke, J.Dyke, L.Wadham, M.Walker, C.Venn, L.Phillips, D.Lee, C.Kitto, T.Jenkinson, P.Jarman(C), N.Pitman, G.Hodgson, C.Batts, T.Hart, A.Davey, J.Hancock, T.Jenkinson, W.Hinchcliffe