Sat 14 Apr 2018
Epic tussle between two rivals sees Corsham come out with narrow win
Devizes welcomed 4th placed Corsham to the Chivers Ground on Saturday looking to finish the season well. It was perfect conditions for running rugby on a warm and sunny afternoon. Corsham travelled on the back of thumping Blandford by sixty points last weekend. Devizes were humbled at Walcot and keen to put in a better effort than they did at Corsham back in December, where they were on the end of a 55-12 hammering. There were many changes in the squad since that day. The pack remained unchanged from the previous week’s defeat at Walcot, with just one change in the back line with Harvey Schorah coming in for the unavailable Matt Strong on the wing. Matt Bishop, Craig Bryant and Tommy Hammill completed a strong bench.
Devizes had talked throughout the week about several things and from the kick off it showed as a ferocious opening 15 minutes saw the Saddlebacks start the best they have done all season. The aggression in ball carrying, clearing out which produced quick ball had the visitors on the ropes and after a number of penalties were conceded, skipper Josh Gould went for the scrum to put pressure on their opponents. Charlie Paget was unluckily held up over the line, before Devizes battered away and Scott Martin ran a great line to go over. Brown kicked the conversion.
Corsham came back as expected and Devizes dealt with the initial threat well, however Corsham travelled into the Devizes twenty-two and it was Corsham hooker Scott Parry who ran a good line through a gap in defence to score. The conversion was successful levelling the scores at 7-7.
The next ten minutes or so saw the match see saw between both sides twenty twos as both sides made errors which broke up play a little, but it was the character and spirit of the Saddlebacks which was forcing those errors from the visitors. Having said that, Corsham kicked long after Devizes conceded a penalty and despite stopping the initial drive, Corsham took their time and it was Adam Jamieson who bundled over the line from close range. The try was converted bringing it to 14-7.
The second half saw an epic kicking battle between Saddlebacks full back Chris Barter and Corsham full back Robbie Robinson and it was Devizes who made little errors which allowed Corsham to get a foothold and dominate the opening exchanges in the second period. A superb break by Scott Martin from his own twenty-two put Devizes on the front foot, however it was Corsham who got the third and decisive score of the day. A break, deep out of their twenty-two, saw a two on one situation which was helped by a slip in the wide channels and an easy run to the try line for wing Kalif Barnes. The try was again converted to make it 21-7.
Corsham now had the upper hand and Devizes emptied the bench with Bishop, Bryant and Hammill all coming on. Corsham went for the bonus point score but were held up over the try line and squandered a close drive with a knock on – Devizes’ defence holding firm. With the 80 minutes up, Corsham went for the corner, made a hash of the lineout and Devizes turned over possession. Skipper Gould went on a charging 60 metre run before being brought down agonisingly short of the try line before he managed to offload to the supporting Hammill who was on his shoulder to go over. Brown kicked the extras to make it 21-14 and a very deserved losing bonus point for Devizes.
Congratulations to Corsham, their win puts them in contention for a top two spot after Marlborough lost again and Trowbridge were named as Southern Counties South champions. This was a much better effort by Devizes. The frustrating thing all season has being having consistent personnel in the squad which has meant inconsistent performances. When Devizes are able to put out their best side they are able to compete well. Corsham, Marlborough and Trowbridge are the only sides they have been unable to beat this season. This defeat and Frome wins at home to Walcot sees Devizes slide to 7th with 8th placed Yeovil up on the final game of the season.
Devizes 1st XV Squad:
1. Burton (16. Bishop, 54) 2. Hutchings 3. Randall 4. Bills 5. Paget 6. Harries (17. Bryant, 63) 7. Martin 8. Gould (c) 9. Bramwell 10. Brown 11. Jones 12. Orwin 13. Wadman 14. Schorah 15. Barter (18. Hammill, 68)
Try scorers: Martin (8); Hammill (80)
Conversions: Brown (9); (80)
Man of the match: Chris Barter