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Richards try double as Withy net clean sheet home win

 Richards try double as Withy net clean sheet home win

Action from the Withycombe win over Torquay Athletic. Picture ADAM CURTIS

Withycombe rounded off a fabulous day all-round at Raleigh Park by cruising to a 36-0 win over a Torquay Athletic side that began the day sitting in a top four berth in the Tribute Cornwall/Devon table, writes Adam Curtis.

Withy ran in five tries in what was regarded by all who follow the Green and Blacks as ‘the best all-round performance’ of the season to date!

Adding extra ‘sparkle’ to a fabulous day on and off the pitch at Raleigh Park, the club hosted their first ‘Sporting Luncheon’ of the season with guest speakers, Exeter Chiefs ‘legends’ Kai Horstmann and Carl Rimmer.

Withy, playing with the slope in their favour in the first half, were quickly into a good rhythm and their early endeavours were rewarded when, in the fifth minute, a penalty was awarded just outside the twenty-two and Tom Cook slotted the kick between the uprights.

Cooke was also highly influential in the opening try when he made good use of the new 50:22 rule to gain Withy a line-out inside the visitors 22.

Withy won the ball and drove down the pitch and over the line with prop Chris Gibbons getting the final touch to register the try and take the home side into an 8-0 lead.

Torquay hit back with a prolonged period of attacking play, but they could get no change out of some impressive defending by Withy who eventually cleared their lines courtesy of a and, when Withy skipper Liam Cullen led a break, another penalty was won and the kick to touch led to a line-out that was again won and, after the ball had been passed multiple times it was ultimately channelled to the forwards and, after a number of phases, Mike Richards took the ball over the line and a successful Cooke conversion left Withy sitting on a 15-0 lead.

The home pressure continued and, after another superb passage of play ended with vice-captain Danny Sansom ‘bull-dozing’ his way through the Torquay defensive line and, with a simple kick, Cooke added the extras and Withy trooped off at the break with a 22-0 advantage.

In the second half, with the slope now in their favour, Torquay Athletic served up some good attacking play of their own, slowly playing their way out of their own half and they fashioned a break down the wing that looked as if it would bring them a first score of the game, but a superb tackle bundled the player into touch! None the less, Torquay were clearly buoyed by this and they were able to enjoy the greater share of both possession and territory throughout much of the third quarter.

However, once again it was to no serious effect as the Withy defensive game was more than a match for the best of the Torquay attacking intent.

A key to the Withy defence was speed at the breakdown that prevented too many large gains and, when attacking, Withy moved the ball with confidence and that kept the visiting defence ‘on their toes’!

The first score of the second half came just after the hour mark when another catch-and-drive from some 10-metres out, saw the ball moved slickly across the line for Mac Cooke to cross in the Clubhouse corner and the roar from a big Raleigh Park crowd was something to herald. Completing a ‘brothers-in-arms’ score, Tom Cooke slotted the conversion from the touchline.

Torquay again hit back, but there was to be no way through the Withy defensive line and it was back at the Clubhouse end where the final score was struck with ‘Man of the Match’ Mike Richards crashing over the whitewash taking a number of Torquay players with him. It was Tom Cooke who finished what he started, slotting the conversion to round off an excellent all-round afternoon for Withy.

This was a top performance from each and every one of the 18 boys who took to the field in the Green and Black – certainly this was the best of the season to date and the players will no doubt be looking to take similar levels of high-energy and performance with them to North Tawton this coming Saturday (November 27).

Saturdays hosts North Tawton were edged out 26-24 on their visit to Newquay Hornets on Saturday. The game with Withy will be the sixth home game of the season for North Tawton who currently have a mixed record of win, loss, win, loss and win in their first five home games. They began with an opening day 26-5 win over Saltash, but then went down 38-13 to Topsham before beating Veor 20-13. Their October 23 home meeting with Cullompton saw them beaten 17-10, but their most recent home game was the November 6, 31-10 win over Liskeard-Looe.

North Tawton sit seventh in the league with 25 points from their first 10 games. Following the win over Torquay Athletic, Withy sit ninth with 21 points. Both Withy and North Tawton sport identical records over the first 10 games, each having won four, drawn one and lost five.

Our lead picture and those below are of action from the Withy win and all were taken by ADAM CURTIS

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