Bideford Chiefs 38 Winscombe 1sts 13
By Ted Sands
Winscombe finish the season mid- table
Winscombe 1sts travelled down to Bideford at the weekend for their last match of the season in Western Counties West.
Bideford Chiefs started the brighter and their early pressure paid off when a cross-field kick found full-back Peter Bowles in space who crossed for the first try of the match, Scrum-half Chris Snell slotted the conversion.
The rest of the first half was characterised by poor handling and high tackles, with both teams found guilty. Bideford’s Snell and Winscombe’s fly-half Jim Merryfield traded penalties shortly before half-time with the Chief’s going into the break 10-3 up.
Winscombe appeared to have re-grouped at the start of the second period and closed the gap to a single score with another Merryfield penalty. The comeback was short lived however, and they were soon taken to task by a Bideford team who took every opportunity to run the ball, often playing end of season champagne rugby.
Wing Nick Adams was first to exploit the gaps that began to appear in Winscombe’s defence scoring a try in the left corner before scrum-half Snell scored two decisive tries that took the game out of the reach of their visitors. A further try by lock Oliver Sanders scored against the run of play in the final quarter added insult to injury.
Winscombe did manage to cross the whitewash as the match came to an end, centre Sam Dearsley powering over from short range, but it was too little, too late and Bideford were well deserved winners at the final whistle.
Despite the loss, Winscombe finish the season mid- table and now await the RFU’s decision as to whether they remain in Western Counties West or return to its sister league Western Counties North.