Colts win County Cup!
By Simon Rees
Magnificent display of pacey running rugby secures the trophy
The under-eighteen teams from Winscombe and Taunton put on an incredible display of fast, skillful rugby in the Somerset Cup Final on Sunday on the all-weather pitch at Hornets. In a blustery wind, both sides showed ambition and great ability in an entertaining and competitive game.
It began well for Winscombe, with a deep kick-off being forcefully chased. Taunton were forced back in an aggressive defensive display, eventually conceding the penalty. Two more phases and Winscombe’s hooker Ollie Dark crashed over, for fly-half Ollie Walrond to convert. Walrond controlled the game throughout with maturity and vision, and it wasn’t long before a raking kick was taken into touch by a scrambling Taunton defence. From the line-out Dark crashed over once more, and this time Walrond’s touchline conversion was well taken leading to a 14-0 lead for Winscombe.
Taunton had been reeling from these opening exchanges but started to find the pace of the game. With a more direct style than the north Somerset side, they held their own from the restart and pinned their opponents back. Defensive errors developed and Winscombe’s Harry Wayne eventually saw yellow for holding on in the tackle. Taunton saw their opportunity and after a splendid spell of direct running and quick ball, Joe Heybourne scored near the posts. Ben Shirley converted well in the tricky breeze.
Winscombe saw out the remaining sin-bin time and at half-time the score remained 14-7. At this point it could have gone either way, but Winscombe began the first half with a beautiful display of slick handling, working the ball from one side to the other until Walrond spotted the gap. Leaving his man tackling thin air, he spun a double miss pass wide to Shoji Leach on the wing, who accelerated onto the ball to score wide. With the wind against him Walrond conceded a rare missed conversion.
The game was now being played firmly in the Taunton half. Eventually they secured possession, only for Tulsi Winterson to intercept and score beneath the posts. 26-7 quickly became 33-7, when more Winscombe pressure led to a penalty. Electing to take the scrum, where they’d been dominant throughout, the ball was popped on to Oscar Browne to score. Walrond’s well-taken conversion from the left touchline into the wind closed the scoring for Winscombe.
Taunton never gave up, and for the final spell of the match showed every intention of closing their opponents down. The error count from both teams was remarkably low, and eventually Shirley showed that he also had an impressive boot, landing a perfect cross-field kick into the arms of winger Martel Payne. Payne’s diagonal line led to a score beneath the posts, but keen to return to the attack and with the wind still a problem, the conversion was rushed and missed.
Taunton kept coming but time was running down and Winscombe were now defending as capably as they had earlier attacked. The final score stayed at 33-12, in a truly excellent game that bodes well for the future of rugby in the county.