South Molton might wonder what might have been had their form improved sooner in the season after a bruising encounter at Raleigh Park.
Although the first ten minutes were a storm of pressure in the visitors' 22, with a yellow card for persistent offending coming in just the seventh minute, Withycombe's first chance at points was missed on 12 minutes by Tom Steer. In fact it would take a clearance kick returned by Kevin Rodwell under the posts to break the deadlock on 19 minutes. Molton hit back just four minutes later with a well-worked try at the Brook End to let Withycombe know they weren't going to have it all their own way.
Sam Manning restored the balance nine minutes later as his short line from short distance powered him over the Molton line. Tom Steer's conversion took the score to 14-7 at the break.
The second half became a scrappy affair with Molton using their sizable advantage in the pack to disrupt Withycombe's set piece, and both sides struggled to put much together in phase play. After South Molton's No.8 picked up a loose ball close to the Wthycombe line he powered over to bring Molton within two points. Withycombe were good value for the amount of ball they had but lacked composure and a finishing touch, something that may need addressing before next Saturday's visit to Bromley!
With another penalty opportunity missed on 73 minutes, a touch-and-go end loomed, until Mike Richards and Will Hockin combined to carve the Molton defence open. Hockin's legs wouldn't quite carry him all the way to the line from halfway but a couple of phases later man of the match Mike Symons powered over from short range to put the result beyond all reasonable doubt. Molton were unlucky not to have a try awarded after their No. 8 once again appeared to ground the ball on the line, only for the referee to disallow it, with the final whistle not far behind. Next week Withycombe travel to Bromley to contest the right to play at Twickenham in the RFU Senior Vase Final. Up the Withy!
Withycombe: Jack Pugsley, Andy Matchett, Danny Sansom, Tom Steer (3C), Kevin Rodwell (1T), Will Hockin, Mike Symons (1T, MoM), Max Cooke, Sam Manning (1T), Chris Gibbons, Mark Wilkinson, Keegan Ferreday, Glen Layton, Terry Mears, Dan James. Reps: Josh Bancroft, Mike Richards, Sam Warren.