Saltash RFC 21 Winscombe 1sts 18
By Ted Sands
Veteran replacements fail to save Winscombe
Winscombe 1sts travelled to Cornwall at the weekend to face Saltash as the Western Counties West season winds to a close. Not even a late injection of veteran replacements, however, was able to save the Somerset outfit in a close run affair.
In the first quarter the two teams traded penalties with two apiece for Saltash flyhallf Kieran Down and his Winscombe opposite number Jim Merryfield. Saltash were thereafter first to get their running game together linking well to send winger Gregory Eatwell over for the first try of the match, Down pushing the conversion narrowly wide.
From the re-start Winscombe established good field position in the Saltash 22 forcing a knock-on from the home defence. They demolished the resulting scrum and sent the ball left for No. 8 Will Thomas to score in the corner. Merryfield missed the conversion, sending the teams into halftime all square at 11-11.
After the break Saltash took control of the match with two quick fire scores. The visiting defence was found wanting when scrum-half Oliver Mulberry darted over the line from close range and soon after a Saltash kick to the corner was met with confusion on the Winscombe try-line with flanker Phillip Eatwell pouncing on the loose ball and scoring.
Winscombe responded well, taking the ball deep into the home 22 and when awarded a penalty close to the line elected to scrum. No. 8 Thomas picked up at the base and powered over for his second try with Merryfield’s conversion cutting the deficit to three points.
As the match wound to a close and in a desperate attempt to gain the initiative Winscombe brought on their veteran replacements. Team manager Graham Buller (52) took to the field together with Chris Marsh (49) who went on with his son George for a Winscombe first cross generational appearance.
The injection of maturity and flair, however, failed to pay off and despite having a number of chances to take the game Winscombe came up short. Next week they travel to Bideford for the last match of the season, their survival in the league already assured.