Prior to the game the Colts and 1st XV together with their opposition lined up to give a minutes applause for Lily. In the grand scheme of life a rugby game seems very insignificant and it must have been difficult for the home teams to give of their best.
This was the first game of the second stage of Devon Colts competition and despite being unbeaten in the South group stage and in reality the best team in the group the team were docked 4 points for being unable to fulfill the final game of the group stage and placed in the Shield competition.
The Cup competition is therefore missing one of the best teams in Devon but the team can only play who they are told to play and in Torquay, Bideford, Kingsbridge, Tavistock and Exmouth the boys can expect some tough games to make the Shield final as the weekend results below show;
Kingsbridge 28 v Bideford 29
Tavistock 12 v Exmouth 33
Having played Torquay away in the earlier phase and which was a close affair (15-24) with Torquay threatening a come-back at the end, Torquay were feeling confident and started aggressively. Tops matched them and scored early down the blind side from a ruck on the 22m line with Gwyn Parks popping the ball up to Riccardo Biggi at 6 who offloaded to Harry Hart at 7 to hand off and score in the right corner. Against the cross pitch wind the conversion drifted wide despite a good connection from Zac MacLellen.
The Torquay forwards were showing good strength and power and were making good ground with pick and goes from the rucks and this approach enabled them to score under the posts shortly before half time and convert to go into the break at 5-7.
From the second half kick-off Gwyn puts the ball down the middle to the full back and his lazy run out on the diagonal and subsequent loopy pass to the outside centre was snaffled up on the intercept by Billy Holwill to score under the posts and Zac to convert taking the score to 12-7.
Billy now has ‘intercept fever’ and after one failed attempt his third attempt sees him secure the ball and almost get away again but being scragged by the back of the shirt he off loads to Tarquin Kerton Johnson to sprint away and dot down under the posts, again converted by Zac, 19-7.
Torquay are not to be defeated yet though as they come back with their pick and drives to get another try which they convert and its 19-14.
The game has really opened up by this point and Tops running game is clicking into gear with Fin Marks on a trademark overlap, run and chip kick enables Gwyn to time a perfect run (with the ref behind him an off side call was a real possibility) to collect and score. With the conversion missed the score is 24-14 and the bonus point is secured.
The boys are on fire now and quick passing and slick movement stretches Torquay and with gaps appearing Zac takes advantage with a great run that gets him close and a couple of rucks and quick ball enables Zac to burst through again and this time he weaves through the last 10m to score the fifth try, with conversion missed the score is 29-14.
From the restart Harry Hart takes the catch on the 22m and runs quick, purposefully and with aggression looking for a gap and bursts through, handing off four times and scores a brilliant try that Zac converts to make the score 36-14.
However the Torquay centre then does almost exactly the same to score a brilliant try of his own for a final score of 36-19.
A great start to the second phase of competition and with the Christmas and New Year break now upon us the next game will be Bideford away in January who are a bit of an unknown quantity but their result against Kingsbridge suggest a strong team.