Sat 09
Tavistock RFC
0
-
20
League
Colts
Topsham Colts book their place in Shield Final

Topsham Colts book their place in Shield Final

By Stuart Martin
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Topsham visit Sandy Park at Tavistock with a chance of playing at Sandy Park Exeter


Despite being undefeated in the league, the points deductions have made it extremely difficult for the boys to achieve a place in the final as the colts take the journey across the western part of Dartmoor for the final league game of the season.

The boys know that maximum points are needed but they are still dependent on the Exmouth v Bideford result that kicks off 30 minutes earlier.

With only 16 players available the task is made even more difficult and the U17 boys in the team will have to play a full match, which will be their third game in 7 days. Also some rearranging is necessary and a makeshift back line sees Oz Martin coming into outside centre from his normal open side flanker position.

A steady wind is at the boys backs in the first half as is the pronounced down slope and it is clear that the 4 tries needed must be scored in the first half to take advantage of this. There is a threat of a pitch invasion from the sheep that appear to have escaped from the field next door.

The boys start with intent and soon have the ball in the corner for an attacking line out on the 5m and with a good maul Will Bird scores. In the wind the conversion is very difficult and drops wide. The score is 0-5, three tries needed.

Tavistock forwards work hard but are let down by mistakes in their back line which gives Tops the advantage and a second attacking line out results in a free kick. Harry Collison taps and goes against the grain blind, passes to Will Bird who scores his second try. Again the conversion is pulled wide in the wind but the score is 0-10 and two tries are needed.

Tops are working hard with the forwards winning the battle in the loose and the scrum where a ball is won against the put in and this time the ball goes through hands in the back line and Tom Hart from full back on the overlap takes the final pass to score in the corner. The conversion drifts wide, the score is 0-15 and one try is needed.

The boys continue to put pressure on Tavistock in possession and force mistakes, from a great pick up by Oscar Rayworth the ball gets through the hands in the back line, this time for Jordan Whale to execute the finish in the corner and get the all-important fourth try. With the conversion missed the score is 0-20 and the job is done, the boys know they have to defend the advantage in the second half.

Twitter news from Exmouth and the score at half time is Exmouth 17 v 7 Bideford. The place in the final is still on a knife edge!

Tavistock try very hard in the second half to take advantage of the wind and slope and although they get close to the try line a couple of times Topsham defend brilliantly, a battle on the halfway line is predominantly the story of the second half.

The boys work to the end and despite players beginning to show signs of tiredness this is hardly a surprise considering how much effort they have had to put into the last three games.

The final whistle blows with the score at 0-20 and the boys have achieved what they needed. The news on twitter is that the game at Exmouth has finished Exmouth 24 v 7 Bideford.

Topsham and Bideford have finished on 36 points from 10 games but with Tops having a substantially better points difference, the place in the final is confirmed as is the position at the top of the table.

The opponents in the final will be either Exmouth or Bideford - Exmouth have one final game to play against Torquay to determine who it will be.

Congratulations to all the boys who have played throughout the season as well as the coaching staff and supporters. A place in the final is a just reward for all the hard work and was against the odds after the punitive points deductions.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 09, Apr 2016

Kickoff

15:00