Withycombe Under-14s - a look back in time to when they were an U8 team
PUBLISHED: 08:09 21 April 2020
The current Withycombe RFC Under-14s have enjoyed another fine season, one brought to a premature end by the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Just six years ago, as an Under-8 team, they were, at this time of the year, coming to the end of what was their second season as a team.
It was a season in which they welcomed ‘new players’ in the form of Lewis Tose, Jack McBryan and Ben Jeffery.
Mark Long, who helped with the coaching of the team says: “Looking back I recall just how much the boys and girls enjoyed a hugely entertaining and successful season welcoming and travelling to, teams from across Devon.
“In terms of season highlights, they have to include a couple of simply superb displays both at Honiton and Topsham and then a terrific performance by the team at the end-of-season County festival.”
He continued: “However, the undoubted high-point came with the team being able to undertake their first tour, one that saw them travel for a weekend of rugby and fun at Bude.
“There they played the host club as well as teams from Bideford, Frampton Cottrell and they had a first taste of international rugby as they played a Welsh touring team in the form of Croesyceiliog. What’s more, the Undee-8s won every game they played on that tour!”
Here is a report we ran back in February, 2014...
Withycombe Under-8s welcomed Teignmouth to Raleigh Park, for what was the Withies first home game since December 15. Good numbers from both sides meant that two simultaneous games could be played. Team one were a little slow to get into their stride as Teignmouth opened up a three try lead, however with Otto Montgomery-Ames and Max Rowley in the side there is always plenty of tagging action. Teignmouth kept coming and scored at regular intervals as the half closed with Teignmouth 7-2 up. Whatever was said by the two coaches certainly had the desired effect as the second half got under way. Tyler Gover, having his best ever game, and Jack Macdonald-Brown led the line superbly. Defensively Harry Dobrijevic and Charlie Tucker were rock solid as the tide turned. This was shown no better than by Jack McBryan who scored a length of the pitch try as the young Withies closed to within one score, but time ran out on them and they were edged out 7-6.
The other pitch saw the second of the two Withy teams put on a display of controlled defence, as personified by Kieran Long, Ben Jeffery and Lewis Tose, all of whom used the touch line to great effect to produce turnover ball on no fewer than six occasions. Passes were crisp and short due to the conditions; Jamie Thompson was end of one such move to score and finish the half with Withycombe 5-2 to the good. The second half followed in a very similar vein as the young Withies carried on where they had left off. Abigail Cotter made excellent use of her speed to score, but then came the move of the game. The ball was passed through five pair of hands to leave an overlap for Long to deliver an exceptional pass fully ten yards to Thomas Lawrence to score a superb try in the corner. At no stage did Teignmouth give up running or trying, but they were up against a team that would not contemplate defeat with Withy emerging 9-5 victors.
With the reverse games about to get underway it was pleasing to see all the boys and girls talking to each other about where they felt they could improve. Such maturity from 8-year olds bodes very well.
This resulted in the shackles well and truly coming off for two games that produced the best Withy performances of the season so far. Teignmouth were always just a yard behind. All Withy players got tags first time, ran great support lines, talked to each other and ran and ran and ran. Highlight of morning came in the second half of game four as Megan Holt raced clear from the half-way line to score her first try in Withycombe green and black! Withy secured 10-5 and 12-4 wins in games three and four. The Player of the Day award went to Abigail Cotter.
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