All Whites - Report
Date: Saturday 8th October 2011 - Kick Off: 14:30
RFU National - National League 3 South West
Barnstaple v All Whites
Report by Gordon Hooper
NATIONAL 3 SOUTH & WEST
BARNSTAPLE 23 – NEWTON ABBOT 13
With only five minutes remaining a draw seemed the most likely result of this Devon derby at Pottington Road, however a converted interception try, plus a late penalty saw the “All Whites” travel home pointless.
The closing minutes of this tight encounter were in stark contrast to the opening phase of the match that had Newton 10 points in the lead within twelve minutes.
Given first use of the slope and wind, the South Devon side banked a second minute catch and drive try credited to hooker Dean Avery. Full back Josh Smith – back in the side after a week off – put over the conversion from a wide angle and then added a penalty for good measure.
Barnstaple cut the deficit with an Ollie Rayner penalty before the fly half converted a Jonathan Carter try to level the scores after 22 minutes.
A second Smith penalty soon had the visitors back in front where they stayed up to and beyond the half-way point.
Six minutes after the break the scores were levelled again, this time by home winger Luke Berry who put over a penalty.
Newton anticipated being put under pressure as they had to play up hill into the wind against a Barum team more than used to their own pitch.
However, Newton managed not to get stuck at the wrong end of and enjoyed periods of pressure in Barnstaple’s territory, but crucially couldn’t break the 13-all deadlock.
That honour went to home centre Mark Galliford who took advantage of a loose Newton pass in midfield. With all the Newton backs committed to attack, Galliford had a straightforward run in from halfway.
Berry added the simple conversion and then took away Newton’s bonus point with a last minute penalty.
Newton Abbot’s Director of Rugby Phil Burford thought his side were worth at least a draw commenting : “We had enough opportunities and chances – especially in the second half – to have won, but we were held up over the line a couple of times and we wasted some strong scrummage positions. Missing three penalties didn’t help either”.
Burford had praise for his trio of props, two of which were making their first team debuts since joining from Torquay, saying “I thought Nick Hammond did particularly well having one of his best games for the club, Russ Owen also showed up well in his first game, but I was particularly impressed with the other debutant, Gavyn Webber, who made a difference when he came on as a replacement and caused them some problems”.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s match with unbeaten League leaders Bournemouth, who have maximum points, Burford said “Bournemouth are the undoubted favourites for promotion, but we will be going all out to keep our unbeaten home record intact”.