North Devon Raiders - Report
|North Devon Raiders||26||vs||22||Devon Sharks|
Victory gives Raiders Minor Premiership.
The North Devon Raiders bounced back from the disappointment of last weekend's South West Cup Final defeat to claim the South West Minor Premiership with a 26-22 win over second placed Devon Sharks to reach their first Grand Final on August 19th.
Again, it was Will Topps who proved to be the difference, scoring 22 of his sides points with four tries and three goals including an amazing effort where he recieved the ball on the left touchline and beat the whole of the Sharks side on an arcing run which saw him touch down just inside the right hand corner flag.
The Sharks reputation as an aggressive side was shown in the first hit up of the game when they were penalised for an off the ball high tackle but it was the Raiders who scored first points, Kevin Angell running onto a Topps pass to crash over near the posts, Topps adding the extras to lead 6-0.
With the sides evenly matched it was another quarter of an hour before the scores changed, former England Lionheart Russell Morris running in behind a possible shepherd to barge over and close the gap to 6-4.
It was that man Topps again on the half hour who wriggled through three defenders to score from a quickly taken tap penalty and convert to lead 12-4.
The Sharks replied with a big effort with their attacking raids repelled by big hitting defence from Mike Sumner and Ashlee Crouch in particular. Howver, the dam eventually was breached with Paul Cartwright fooling the defence which stopped allowing him to sneak over, Ashley Ansermoz kicking the goal.
Topps wonder try came five minutes into the second half to give the Raiders a 16-10 lead which they held until Jack Keiller converted Morris's second score of the day to level at 16 all, the prop crashing over between the posts following a period of pressure repelled by fine scrambling defence.
With the Sharks becoming dominant, it was a Will Topps chip and chase on half way which broke the visitors defensive line, the stand off regathering and offloading in the tackle to Trev Edwards. From the resultant play-the-ball Topps wrestled his way through three defenders to plant the ball on the line, the conversion giving the home side a 22-16 lead.
Next score came on 67 minutes when veteran Grant Tuhakaraina burst through the line and fed Trev Edwards who raced thirty metres upfield. Topps again took over and outflanked the Sharks defence to reach out just inside the corner post.
Raiders now had a ten point lead but the Sharks continued to attack and Morris burst through from 20 metres out to dot down under the crossbar to give Keiller an easy shot at goal and the lead was down to four points.
The Sharks got a controversial penalty from the restart, the ball clearly bouncing in the in goal area before going dead which should have resulted in a Sharks line drop out from under their posts, however, the referee awarded them a penalty on half way. Despite this glaring mistake, the Raiders held firm for the final set of six tackles and held on for a 26-22 win and their first title.
RAIDERS: Reece Hopkins, Shaun East, Jose Casanova, Trev Edwards, Matt Phillips, Will Topps, Josh Ovey, Luke Squire, Sam Roach, Adrian deRiz, Nigel East, Ross Goodwin, Mike Sumner, Grant Tuhakarainaia, Ashlee Crouch, Lewis Joce, Kevin Angell
Tries: Topps (4), Angell
Goals: Topps (3)
SHARKS: Ollie Hill, Lewis Curtis, Matt Crosscombe, Paul Cartwright, Anthony Drew, Matt Limmer, Jack Keiller, Mark Molyneaux, Asy Ansermoz, Russell Morris, Nev Delasandro, Connor Roberts, Joe Bramley, Mickey Rowlands, Addy Dutton, James Boyce, Alex Davey
Tries: Morris (3), Cartwright
Goals: Keiller (2), Ansermoz
The Raiders travel to Plymouth for their final regular season game and to defend the Barum Janner Cup against the Titans on Saturday (2.30pm).