Sat 24 Mar 2018
Defeated but not demoralised as Devizes match Trowbridge aggression and physicality
Devizes welcomed Trowbridge to the Chivers Ground on a grey but dry Saturday afternoon. Trowbridge arrived on the back of some excellent recent form and with both the best attack and defence in the league. Not only this, but Devizes were still missing some key players in the squad and had to dig deep on the resources for a second week running. The pack remained unchanged from last week’s win over Sherborne, with the backline seeing a couple of changes with Sam Jones returning in the centres and Tommy Hammill coming in on the wing. Impact from the bench would come from Rich Burton, Dan Rose and player/manager Julian Taylor. Devizes were keen to put on a much better performance than they did up at Trowbridge back in November, where they were on the end of a 80-5 hiding.
Unsurprisingly the visitors started very well and after some initial good defence by Devizes, slippery winger Lewis Jordan managed to roll over the try line after a jinking run. Tom Weaver converted for Trowbridge to put them 7-0 in front.
The Devizes lads were throwing bodies on the line, but the Trowbridge power soon told and veteran prop Sam Edwards bundled over from close range to make it 12-0.
Devizes recovered and played through the phases with some excellent play between backs and forwards and Trowbridge blindside flanker Max Day being penalised several times. Rich Burton came on in for Matt Bishop who withdrew through injury, which saw Toby Randall shift over to the tighthead spot. Edging their way up the pitch Devizes put the pressure on and Rory Brown kicked an easy three pointer to bring it to 12-3.
This was Devizes’ best spell of the match as Day was sent to the sin bin for another offence and camped on the Trowbridge five metre line unfortunately lacked the execution to allow the visitors to clear their lines. To add insult to injury, Trowbridge worked the ball wide and managed to dot down in the corner to make it 19-3 at the break, with Weaver adding the conversion.
After the break, the play edged between the two twenty twos as full backs Chris Barter and Ashley Chalk took part in a good kicking duel before the visitors again upped the ante and camped themselves in the Devizes twenty-two. Some great defensive work from the lads, notably Isaac Gould, Rich Burton and Travis Orwin kept out Trowbridge for long periods, however one huge hit on a Trowbridge runner saw Gould suffer a nasty head injury. After a good ten-minute pause in play, Gould was up on his feet and taken off the pitch. In came Dan Rose in his place. The pressure finally told as Trowbridge dotted down for the bonus point score but they had to work incredibly hard for this try.
Trowbridge added their final score with replacement Shai Bonnick powering through a couple of tackles to bring it to 31-3. Off came Craig Bryant who sustained a knock on the head and Julian Taylor came on. Devizes had the better of the final ten minutes or so as they edged down the pitch, but again from the lineout and subsequent drives, the Devizes lads lacked that little bit of execution to put further points on the board.
31-3 is how it finished, however this was not a fair reflection of the Devizes effort, more so the clinical nature of Trowbridge who showcased their credentials to become a South West 1 side next season. Trowbridge have a game in hand over Marlborough, are two points behind and have Yeovil next weekend, however the crucial game will be on the 14th April when they travel to Marlborough for a title showdown with their Wiltshire rivals. For Devizes, there was no threat of moving positions in the table before the game, therefore 6th place is where they remain. The effort and character shown by the players on Saturday will stand the lads in good stead as they travel to Walcot on Friday 6th April for an evening kick off, before facing Corsham in their last home game of the season, and then finishing down in Yeovil on the last day of the season.
Isaac is OK and was discharged from hospital on Saturday evening - great shift mate!
Devizes 1st XV:
1. Randall 2. Hutchings 3. Bishop (16. Burton, 11) 4. Bills 5. Paget 6. I. Gould (17. Rose, 62) 7. Bryant (18. Taylor, 64) 8. J. Gould (c) 9. Bramwell 10. Brown 11. Strong 12. Orwin 13. Jones 14. Hammill 15. Barter
Penalty Kicks: Brown (24)
Man of the Match: Rory Brown