Sat 27 Jan 2018
Devizes fell to a last-minute score at Frome on Saturday in an even contest between two sides in the middle of the table in Southern Counties South. The squad looked strong despite Luke Moore and Rhys Harries missing from last week’s heroics at Swindon College Old Boys. Scott Martin and Craig Bryant returned into the flanker jerseys whilst in the backs there were two new wings in the shape of Travis Orwin and Matt Strong.
Devizes played down the significant slope in the first half and were hoping to take advantage of this and the wind, however much to their frustration most of the half, the game was played between both twenty twos.
An early Rory Brown penalty saw Devizes edge in front, before the scores were levelled with a Frome penalty. After around 20 minutes, Frome were reduced to fourteen men as their fly half made contact with the eye area of Devizes flanker Bryant. Frome managed to ride the storm and when restored to fifteen edged up the pitch with a five-metre scrum. From this position Devizes held out, however the referee awarded a penalty try to make it 10-3 to the home side.
Restarting up the pitch in the second half, Devizes knew they would have to fight to get back into this and come away with the spoils. Frome extended their lead as another three points were kicked, before Devizes full back Chris Barter picked off a Frome attack inside the Devizes half and outpaced the Frome defenders to score against the run of play to make it 13-8, with the conversion missed.
Devizes were picking up injuries as both Sam Jones, Alex Pattle and Tim Alchin entered the fray late on. Nevertheless, the home side gave away a number of penalties, and with prop Alex Pattle making a welcome return from the bench with some strong carries and a dominating scrum performance the momentum was with the Saddlebacks. With the pressure mounting, Devizes got back into it, as the ball was shipped well through hands to Lewis Dodds who continued his good try scoring run of form to gas Frome defenders. Again, the conversion was missed, levelling the scores at 13-13.
From the restart with just five minutes remaining, a knock on from Devizes gifted Frome possession and then an offside offence piled on the pressure as the home side kicked for the corner. For four of those five minutes Devizes kept out the Frome onslaught, however with the last play of the game Frome drove over the line despite protestations from several Devizes players that the ball was held up. The try was awarded and the conversion kicked to make it 20-13. In airing his grievances with the referee, scrum half John Bramwell was sent to the sin bin, however this did not matter as the full-time whistle was blown. Despair for Devizes. Jubilation for Frome.
This was an even contest between two evenly matched teams in terrible conditions. A great game for the spectators and some good spirit shown by the Saddlebacks in the second half comeback. All credit to Frome who put in a solid performance on their own patch.
Devizes host table toppers Marlborough at the Chivers Ground next weekend. There will be a VP’s lunch prior to kick off as Devizes look forward to playing at home again after two, tough away trips.
Devizes 1st XV:
1. Wilkinson 2. Hutchings 3. Randall 4. C. Paget (17. Alchin, 62) 5. L. Paget 6. Bryant (16. Pattle, 64) 7. Martin 8. Gould (c) 9. Bramwell 10. Brown 11. Strong 12. Wadman 13. Dodds (18. Jones, 70) 14. Orwin 15. Barter
Devizes Try Scorers: Barter (64), Dodds (70)
Penalty Kicks: Brown (7)