NEWS FROM WEEKEND OF 3RD DECEMBER 2011 – SENIORS
The scheduled First team game away at Bideford was called off at 10.30 am last Saturday due to a waterlogged pitch.
Although there had only been light rain in the Bay during the previous 24 hours our Referee Liaison Officer Charlie Wakeham had been advised the evening before by Dean Davies (Devon Referee Reappointments Secretary) that it had been throwing it down in North Devon (Dean lives in Braunton). Charlie was “not entirely surprised” with the outcome as he knows that the Bideford pitch is low lying close to a River and as a Referee he has himself previously had to call off a game after arrival at the ground. Although the coach had arrived at the Rec. pick up point and the Players were about to board when the postponement call came through it was fortunate that no-one had actually started the long journey north.
Whilst it was disappointing to be without a game the only possible benefit was that a number of players were travelling (out of necessity) with a variety of knocks and injuries from which they had not fully recovered and the extra week may prove to be a blessing in disguise if it gives bodies more time to repair.
The home game V Bude on Saturday 10th December KO 2.30 pm is the last League home match until 7th January. With the weekend off Coach Chris Dorling took the short trip to watch Brixham play Paignton at Astley Park as the Fishermen will be our opponents (away) on 2nd January Bank Holiday in a friendly – Brixham came to the Rec at the same time last season. He reported a hugely entertaining derby in which Brixham overcame 3 – 17 point and then half time 8 – 20 point deficits to run out winners.
Chris remarked that Brixham were visibly spurred on in the second half by the volume of support from the home crowd and would like to think that our own Members and supporters are able to avoid Christmas shopping this coming Saturday and turn up to support the team which currently lies fifth in Western Counties West with a game in hand on all those above, bar Bideford..
It may have gone unnoticed that the Tics points for tally exceeds 30 per game and is second only to current leaders North Petherton who have played a game more. Bude triumphed narrowly by 17 – 14 at the weekend at home to basement Club Tiverton and will no doubt be straining to get a good result to take them further away from the bottom relegation three.
The Quins were unable to raise sufficient front row players to travel away to contest Bideford II’s in a Merit Table game, although in hindsight this game would also have been called off because of the weather. This is the first occasion this season that the Quins have not contested a scheduled Merit Table match.
Meanwhile at the Rec, the Extra Firsts played Cullompton II’s in a Merit Table I match and for the second season running outscored their opponents at home. For those who watched this was a repeat of a tight, exciting match at the Rec. the previous season. Tics spurned the temptation to draft in any First Team players save that prop Jon Woodhead appeared for the second week running as a second half replacement. Jon has not played First team rugby since 5th November following his losing a contest with a mechanical bucking bronco whilst away on holiday – an incident which caused a back injury.
The final score was 21 – 10 with tries coming from the long striding running of wing Tom Brookman, No. 8 Marcus Phillip and Tom Drake. Penalties were added by Jack Keiler and Richard Wood (whose first game back this was after a long catalogue of injuries). The result was just reward for the hard work of Extras Manager Mark Woodhead who is assisted by another Club stalwart John Truscott
Chairman of Selectors Colin Whitford picked out the efforts of the back row as being an important factor in the result with No. 8 Marc Relph relentless going forward and in defence, assisted by flankers James “Podge” Norris and Nick Blackhurst – the latter playing out of position at No. 7 in place of the unavailable Paul Wood, whose tackle count the week before V Paignton Development XV had been quite outstanding. In the front row Gareth Binmore comprehensively outplayed his opposite prop for the second week running. To the delight of the Playing Directorate Gareth, a former Colts Captain, has started playing rugby again this season after many years out and with every game his natural strength is returning as his stamina improves.
In the second half 17 year old Colt Shane Wakeham was given a run out and helped the cause with solid tackling in defence.
For the second week running the match was refereed by Chris Philpott from Plymouth. Chris is only 19 and has himself played rugby at a fairly good level. As against Paignton the previous week he hugely impressed with his decision making, communcation with the players and his whole management of the game in general. If he has any aspirations to advance up the refereeing ladder it is hoped that he will be given every opportunity. Any good refereeing performance plays a large part in making the game more enjoyable for players and spectators alike.
The match finished 20 minutes late and required use of our training lights due to the fading light after a Cullompton front row suffered a neck injury in the second half and an ambulance was called as a precaution. Thankfully enquiries made the following day revealed that he should make a full recovery and was allowed home by Torbay Hospital.
The result was the Extra Firsts sixth win on the trot following a spell of three losses in October and again is positive proof of the perseverance and dedication of Mark Woodhead and others within the coaching set up in establishing a good team spirit.
The Colts arranged an Under 17 friendly at home to Crediton at TVN to give under used players from a large squad game time and deservedly ran out winners by 36 – 14. This weekend (10/12) the Under 18’s start the second phase of the Colts Merit Table competition with a home match V strong opposition in Ivybridge – KO 2.30 at TVN