All Whites Colts vs Torquay – Devon Merit League

18th October 2022

The final game in the first round of the Devon Merit league against Torquay would prove to set the tone for the All Whites remaining fixtures in this season’s Devon Colts League. From this concluding game, the 5 regional tables across Devon would be seeded into the Cup, Shield, Plate and Bowl competitions. Undefeated so far, another win would place Newton Abbot Colts in the premier Cup competition.

With that in mind, the opening 10 minutes was a little lacklustre with neither team really getting into their stride, progress hampered by fumbles and handling errors galore. Torquay opened the scoring after Newton were penalised for going off feet at the ruck with 3 points. After the restart Alex Rundle probed their left flank taking play to within 15 meters of their line. Pick and go from Sam Higgs nearly made it but it was Ben EJ who grabbed the match by the scruff off the neck, driving to the line in a trademark effort. Converted by Ash G. 7-3.
The scrappiness dogged play still and ill-discipline handed Torquay another 3 points soon after.6-7. On restart, Torquay fumbling gave turnover to Newton and Ash G, spotting room on the wing and fired a double miss pass clean out to Alex R on the wing, who powered his way through the 3 defenders and towards the posts, sadly too wide for Ash. 12-6. Intensity was building in both team’s play and Torquay were not going to let anything happen without them being involved. Having gained a corner lineout from another Newton infringement, they built the phases for a score close to the posts which they converted. 12-13.

Newton Abbot Rugby Club Colts VS Torquay Colts

Newton delivered the rumbling maul of the day after a lineout on their 22, driving all the way to within a couple of meters of the Torquay line. Forward drive after drive was kept out until Torquay infringed and the penalty allowed EJ to soften up all their forward defenders for Toby Cox to pick and score at the foot of the left post, converted. 19-13. Pressure from Newton giving them a psychological upper hand at the close of the half.

Second half started well until an interception by Torquay took them the length of the pitch and nearly scoring but for skilful chase down by Jacob Denwood. Newton worked hard to dig themselves out of their danger zone and on to a moment of offloading fluency that took in all the major rugby food group dynamics; thundering line break from EJ, dancing sidestepping from Denwood, looping offload from Jack Cox collected by inside diagonal drive from Ben French for the score. 24-13. Sadly, this comfortable buffer score was to be tested all too soon as Torquay retaliated with a converted score through their centres, 24-20. A wee bit riled by this, Newton ignited that fire in their bellies that they lay every week for the final quarter, putting down their next score after 10 phases of forward dominance through Izaak Evans with Ash taking the extras, 31-20. In a predictably pendular response, it was only 3 minutes before Torquay had taken advantage of yet more Newton infringements 10 meters out with a quick tap and go that caught the defence unorganised, 31-27.

Newton Abbot Rugby Club Colts VS Torquay Colts

As tense as games go and as frustrating for supports on the side-lines get, this was a right humdinger. And something was going to have to change. It did. The ref reached his limit of Newton infringements and sacrificed Leo H for the whole team accumulation. Keen on digging holes for themselves, Newton had given themselves 7 minutes with 14 men. Torquay sniffed a chance and after raising the ante against a 7-man pack chipped a deft kick over the top of a ruck to chase and dot down a sneakily skilful move. Their very consistent man with a boot converted, to take the lead 31-34. With quite literally all to play for, the All Whites needed a try to save their bacon. Knowing this, tense moments were had as an easy 3-point penalty was turned down in favour of the forward drive that sadly came up short and eventually was cleared by Torquay from their line but not into touch. Kept alive by the back three, Coote took it on for another go which was again thwarted phases later by Torquay who broke the line off the back of a scrum in their 22 and back into Newton territory only to give possession away with a grubber that was gathered by Curtis, recycled to Hodges, offloaded to the rampaging French up to their 10meter, offloaded again to Matt “Stobart” Juniper who drove and reset the ruck for the ball to be fed through the hands (via Jack Cox, Toby Cox, Tom Curtis) to James Darcy in space on the wing. Powering past all Torquay defence, he slid over in Cameraman Corner to screams and cheers all round Homers. 36-34, the bonus point win needed to buy the Colts at the top of the table and a place in the Cup competition going forward.

With the future Cup group holding all of the other County wide table undefeated winners, discipline and focus will be of an absolute premium to avoid tasks similar to today’s. Devonport Services, Bideford, Sidmouth, Crediton and local bogeymen, Ivybridge will demand the utmost commitment from the squad.

Newton Abbot Rugby Club Colts VS Torquay Colts

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