Sat 20 Jan 2018

Devizes show lots of passion in poor conditions to win in mid table tussle

Devizes travelled to Nationwide Pavilions on the outskirts of Swindon looking to build on last week’s bonus point win over Blandford.  One change in the pack, saw Luke Moore fill the shirt vacated by Craig Bryant who was unavailable due to injury.  In the backs Nathan Strong replaced his brother in the back line.

In the opening ten minutes Swindon College showed their physicality and aggression with some huge carries but were thwarted for holding on at the breakdown which allowed Devizes to clear their lines.  The first half was played in tough conditions with the pitch cutting up and the ball like a bar of soap.  Both sides did try to play rugby, but it was mostly a day for the forwards. 

The home side probably edged the first period, playing down the slight slope as they were rewarded with a try down the left wing after their outside centre splintered off a maul situation to go over in the corner.  The try was expertly converted by the Swindon College full back to make it 7-0.

Not dispirited by this small set back Devizes upped the pressure and although some final passes and handling did not quite bring the rewards that were on offer, fly half Rory Brown kicked a straightforward three pointer after a number of transgressions by the home side after Jorge Wadman made two excellent tackles in succession.

For much of the remainder of the half, play was in between the two twenty twos, albeit the home side had a great opportunity to get another try before the break only for a heroic, try saving tackle from Brown saw the home side knocked on.

Turning round 7-3 at the break, Devizes were showing fantastic commitment and had the slight slope which bode well for the second half.

From the restart Devizes battled well against their counterparts as McGready came off for the returning Travis Orwin and shortly after, Wadman departed through injury.  A rejig in the pack and backline saw Tim Alchin come on and Rhys Harries move into the back line.

Devizes probably shaded the second half and deservedly edged their way back to within a point as Brown kicked another penalty to bring the scores to 7-6.  The forwards were cutting down the strong Swindon College ball carriers and were showing some good carries themselves. 

In the 70th minute the key moment of the game came when Orwin brilliantly charged down a clearance kick.  Orwin regathered and offloaded out of the tackle to the supporting Lewis Dodds who outsprinted the retreating home defence to run in from 40m.  The away support were clearly delighted, with Brown also adding the extras to make it 13-7.

The contest was not over by any stretch of the imagination as Swindon College came back at Devizes, however a massive hit from lock Lewis Paget on his opposite number stemmed the tide, buoyed the Devizes lads further and resulted in turnover ball which Devizes gratefully accepted.

Much to the delight of the away support who were in fine number and voice, Devizes had secured a gritty victory against a tough and phyical side.  Both sides have shown over 160 minutes against each other that there is not much between them, but Devizes will be delighted to have won after feeling disappointed with their performance back in September.  

This win sees the Saddlebacks move up to 6th with a game in hand on North Dorset.  A win in that game in hand could move Devizes up to 5th.  Credit to Swindon College who battled incredibly well all game and were great hosts after the game.

Next week Devizes move on to face Frome at Gypsy Lane.  Devizes will be looking to put a number of recent defeats at Frome to bed, although they know like today, it will be a physical, aggressive and hard-fought encounter.

Devizes Colts will be playing at Devizes RFC v Midsomer Norton tomorrow for a 2pm kick off, so please come up and support the future of the club.

Devizes 1st XV

1. Wilkinson (16. Hudson, 65) 2. Hutchings 3. Randall 4. C.Paget 5. L.Paget 6. Harries 7. Moore 8. Gould (c) 9. Bramwell 10. Brown 11. McGready (17. Orwin, 40) 12. Wadman (18. Alchin, 55) 13. Dodds 14. N. Strong 15. Barter

Try scorers: Dodds (70)

Conversion: Brown (71)

Penalty Kicks: Brown (31), (56)

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