BUCKFASTLEIGH RAMBLERS 12. TOTNES RFC 15.
This was always going to be a tough local derby cup match.
BUCKFASTLEIGH will be joining Totnes in Devon Division 1 next season having already been promoted, so they had a point to prove in this cup match.
Totnes had players out of position due to injuries and unavailability of players from the squad.
Even after all the Devon rain, the home pitch was bone dry and in perfect condition.
The home side gained early pressure and possession. Number 10 Harry Laitey controlled the game with his shrewd kicking and he moved the ball to his back line whenever possible.
Totnes defence was at its best in this game. The home side failed to turn their possession into points.
Totnes should have taken an early lead after being awarded a penalty, but on this rare ocassion full back Jamie Mitchelmore had left his kicking boots at home!
Man of the match Totnes Prop Thomas Edmonds had one of his best games for Totnes, with storming runs up field. He also put in a tremendous amount of tackles in the loose. However, some of his efforts were not supported by his team mates and he was occasionally left isolated with ball in hand.
It was the home side who took the lead with a Harry Laitey penalty in front of the posts.
Totnes then had 20 minutes of quality possession from their pack giving number 9 Arron Buzzy Bartlett the opportunity to move the ball from one side of the field to the other, before number 10 Steve Chapple found a gap in the defence and raced through to touch down from 15 mtrs.
Totnes followed the try up with some thumping runs through the centre of the field by Akey Percival, Jake Orchard, Elliot Browse and that man Edmonds again.
Indiscipline crept into the game, with some off the ball scuffles occurring, which were not stamped upon by the referee. Totnes players began back chatting to the ref and lost valuable terrority.
An off side offence by Totnes led to another Harry Laitey penalty from 35 mtrs.
Totnes pressure resulted in a long movement up field by the whole team resulting in winger Si Parris diving over the line for what he thought was a perfect try. However, the ref stated that he was unsighted and disallowed the try as "Held up"
Totnes came straight back and another run up field by Edmonds was this time well supported and quick release ball found young winger George Foster who went over wide out.
Half time Totnes 10-6 Totnes.
Within a minute of the second half Laitey added another penalty for the home side to pull. Back to 10-9.
There were some patches of good play from Totnes. Full back Jamie Mitchelmore gathered a ball on his 22 mtr line and set off up field and began an interpassing movement with scrum half Bartlett, which took play up the the home side's 10mtr line.however, the chance of a try was lost.
Laitey kept the home side in the game with his 4th penalty and took them into a 12-10 lead.
Both teams were now looking for the final push to seal the game. But, it was Totnes who looked the fitter and sharper outfit in the last quarter and they looked dangerous on the break. Veteran hooker Gareth Readman was always in the thick of things and always looking to pounce on any loose ball.
Quick quality ball from the Totnes pack led to Mitchelmore joining the back line and a three quarter movement found winger Si Parris who took tacklers with him as he crashed over in the corner for a well earned try. On this occasion the ref was sighted and awarded the try.
Final score Buckfastleigh 12 points. Totnes 15.
Totnes forwards coach Benjamin Townsend said after the game.
Updated 13:56 - 10 Apr 2018 by Dick Evans
"This was a classic close derby game. But, Totnes were dominant in scoring 3 tries to nil. Our defence was outstanding. Our penalty count was too high which let Buckfastleigh into the game. We should have scored more tries, but enforced errors let us down. A great performance from man of the match Thomas Edmonds. Centre Jake Orchard also had a good game and improves with each match. We are looking forward to the semi final game against North Tawton or South Molton, but we again find ourselves with yet another away game. It would be nice for our supporters to see us play at home. But, I suppose that's the cup for you."