Tribute Western Counties West
Kingsbridge travelled to a very soggy Recreation Ground at Torquay on Saturday for round 21 in this season’s WCW programme, confident of extending their recent winning run over a team that were fighting the threat of relegation.
That confidence, however, proved to be unfounded, as the hosts ran out narrow 3-2 winners. Kingsbridge had edged the reverse fixture 15-11 when the two teams met at High House back in November.
Kingsbridge started brightly as the kick-off fell directly into the hands of winger Ollie Wotton, who made strong progress deep into the Torquay 22. But the visitors were unable to turn the early pressure into points, as the hosts managed to clear their lines.
Play for the opening quarter remained even, with both sides having opportunities to score, but not able to close them out.
It was the hosts that then took the lead as a break by their number eight at a five-metre scrum saw the ball held up but recycled out to the backs for the try. The conversion was added for a 7-0 lead.
Immediately from the kick-off, Kingsbridge responded with a break in midfield from centre George Banfield, resulting in a clear run in for winger Chris Canevali to open the scoring for the visitors. Fullback Thom Leman added the conversion to take his points tally to 150 for the season.
Leman was on target again shortly before the interval after he converted a penalty when the hosts had been caught offside in midfield.
This left Kingsbridge sitting on a 7-10 half-time lead.
The hosts retook the lead 10 minutes into the second half in dubious circumstances, with more than a hint of a knock-on. However, the try was awarded amid appeals from the home side, which saw Torquay back in front at 12-10.
While the conversion was pushed wide, a further penalty from the hosts eight minutes later saw the lead extended to 15-10.
The home side were now most definitely on top and the visitors were almost a shadow of the side that had only lost one of their previous six league outings – and that was away at the league leaders.
With 15 minutes remaining, a series of missed tackles within their own 22 saw Kingsbridge concede a third try, with the simple conversion putting Torquay clear at 22-10.
This seemed to rouse Kingsbridge from their slumber and they took play back downfield through a series of penalties given away by the hosts. From one of these Kingsbridge elected for a scrum on the Torquay five-metre line and the ball was moved wide for fullback Leman to come into the line and cross over near the Torquay posts. Leman converted his own score to put Kingsbridge back within striking distance at 17-22, with five minutes remaining.
However, the late efforts were in vain as the hosts maintained possession in midfield to record a vital win for themselves and leave the visitors with just a solitary losing bonus point.
This Saturday sees the first XV entertain Falmouth at High House in the league, with kick-off at 2.30pm (rearranged from Saturday, March 3). Kingsbridge A XV travel to face Exmouth in the Devon Merit Table, while the Colts face a trip to Okehampton for a rearranged Devon Colts Cup Merit Table match.