TRIBUTE SOUTH WEST ONE (WEST)
TEIGNMOUTH 29 BIDEFORD 28
Whilst not exactly a must-win game, this match took on real importance following two heavy defeats which resulted in the Teigns falling to just one place above the relegation zone. With Bideford riding high in fifth place, and with several home First XV regulars unavailable, Teigns' supporters had every right to feel somewhat pessimistic, but the players who were selected produced a fine performance to bag a bonus point victory.
This was an exciting match which went all the way down to the final whistle. The visitors had an outstanding first ten minutes and a golden period in the final quarter, but for the rest of the game Teignmouth ruled the roost thanks to a dominant performance from stand-in fly-half Dan Force.
The writing seemed to be on the wall as early as the ninth minute as Bideford opened up a 14-0 lead thanks to tries from Rich Norman and Mike Smith, both of which were converted by Chris Snell.
At this stage the Teigns had barely had a touch of the ball, but slowly and surely they gained a foothold in the game, and by using their tried and trusted penalty-lineout-maul-drive they were back in the game after 16 minutes with a Pete Parsons try.
This gave the home side just the confidence boost they needed, and by half time they had taken a five point lead. Force was instrumental in both scores, first setting up Adam Dowsing and then, in injury time, touching down himself. He also converted both tries to leave the score 19-14 at half-time.
The home side continued their dominance early in the second-half. First Force slotted a penalty, and then he delivered a clever grubber kick for Henry Raby to kick on and touch down.
With 52 minutes gone and the home side leading 29-14 it seemed to be all over bar the shouting. However, the North Devon side found energy reserves they probably didn't think they had, and Will Copp and Alex Priest, aided by two conversions from Snell, made it a one-point game.
At this stage, Teignmouth took a few deep breaths and resolved to ensure that that the visitors would have no further chances. Indeed, in the last ten minutes it was the home side who looked more likely to score, and at the final whistle they were deserved victors.
Head Coach Marc Dibble gave fulsome praise to his side at the final whistle, commenting in particular on Force's all-round efforts and also on the resolution showed by the side as a whole after going behind so early in the game.
The side travel to Kingsbridge this Saturday, whilst the Second XV have an important Merit Table match at home to the same opponents. Both matches kick off at 2.30pm.
Updated 11:23 - 11 Dec 2016 by Paul Williams