After last week's dour loss in the rain of Falmouth, Withycombe's promotion hopes were well and truly over; but Saltash's visit on Saturday only served to highlight how close Withycombe have been this year.
For large parts of the first half Withycmbe dominated territory and possession, but all they had to show come half time was a twelve point deficit. The first twenty minutes saw the home side camped in the Saltash half, and creating plenty of opportunities but a combination of last-ditch defending and the lack of a finishing edge allowed the visitors to escape a few times, before a breakaway try put Ashes ahead on 17 minutes. With Saltash down to 14 men, Dan Carey claimed his second try of the season to level the scores but Saltash's backs restored the lead a couple of minutes later and a length of the field try just before the break meant that Saltash had very good value for their first half efforts.
The visitors' bonus point was claimed shortly after half time and they added a fifth try after Withycombe openside Ben Clark was sent to the sin bin. Wiithycombe once again had the better of the exchanges for the remainder of the game but struggled to get over the line. Sam Manning bagged a try but Withycombe's industry and effort was admirable without bearing fruit; a fitting way to describe the league campaign this year.
Next week the 1st XV travel to Swindon College Old Boys to decide the winner of the South West Division in the RFU Senior Vase, with the winners progressing to the National Semi Final.
Withycombe: Jack Pugsley, Andy Matchett, Tom Counsell (1C), Dave Passmore, Glen Layton, Glenn Channing (1C), John Parkin, Dan Carey (1T), Dave Richards, Sam Manning (1T), Matt Bragg, Mark Wilkinson, Andrei Toma, Ben Clark (YC), Mike Richards. Reps: Max Cooke, Terry Mears, Joe Parkin.