Paignton RFC 16 Winscombe 1sts 18
By Ted Sands
As the drizzle blew in from the English Channel
The Winscombe first team travelled to the English Riviera at the weekend and recorded a memorable last minute win over Paignton to all but guarantee their league safety in Tribute Western Counties West.
Winscombe started strongly and soon revealed their advantage in the scrum, driving Paignton off their own ball. Charging into the home 22 they secured their first penalty which Sam Dearsley successfully kicked.
From the restart Winscombe failed to deal with the ball and there-after conceded possession. When they were found guilty of sealing off at the ruck Paignton’s fullback Mike Sandercock stepped up to convert the penalty and level the scores.
For the remainder of the first half Winscombe carried strongly and had a number of gilt edged chances to score tries - none of which they were able to take advantage of - the ball was either knocked on at the last moment or was miss-passed into touch. They were, however, awarded a further two penalties which Dearsley successfully kicked to give them a lead of 3-9 as the whistle sounded for the break.
As the drizzle blew in from the English Channel the second half began as the first ended, with a series of penalty kicks. Sandercock was successful with two for Paignton and Dearsley bagged another for Winscombe.
Until Paignton finally got their running game together it seemed that the match was destined to be played out from the kicking tee. Finding some space in the centre, Paignton’s Henry Hoare made a decisive break and charged his way up to the Winscombe five metre line. At the ensuing ruck and despite a good scrambled Winscombe defence, the ball sat up nicely for Paignton’s scrum-half Alex Jeffries to collect and dive over for the only try of the match. Sandercock’s conversion moved the South Devon team clear by four points.
As the match entered its final phase another long range Dearsley penalty cut the home advantage to a single point but seemed to be too little too late as Paignton pressed for a second try. Attacking from deep they again made deep in-roads into their visitors’ 22 but were eventually caught out holding on at the breakdown. The resulting penalty gave Winscombe field position and a precious last chance.
Moving into the Paignton 22 Winscombe patiently moved forward through a series of drives and appeared to be fully in control as lock Jack Hodson took the ball into contact. Stepping in off his wing Paignton’s unfortunate George Palk lifted Hodson before taking him to ground, the referee ruling it a tip-tackle and awarding a final penalty. The decision seemed harsh and a cruel blow to the home team who’s league position is precarious.
Player of the match Dearsley, completing a perfect kicking record with six out of six, stepped up and with the last kick sealed a memorable away win for Winscombe. They move into the top half of the league for the first time this season and look set for survival.