Dorset and Wilts U18s faced Devon U18s in a South West Divisional fixture at Hornets RFC in Weston-Super-Mare. Devon started off the better side in the early exchanges playing to their game plan well of pinning the green and whites of DW deep in their own half with good use of the kicking game with some good pressure in the chase. This piled the pressure on the green and white’s set pieces in particular line out. Devon quickly took a 3 try lead, the first one being a catch and set drive from a lineout. DW grew into the game putting together some good phases of playing, with the Harvey Schorah running some good line breaks from outside centre. DW finally registered their first score of the day when winger Matt Strong got the ball from a well worked backs move, fly half Connor Carpenter started the move with a lovely delayed miss pass to Harvey on a looping run, Harvey was able to draw two defenders before offloading to Strong, Strong used his strength and pace well to evade the tackle from his opposite number and accelerate pass the back pedaling defenders. DW began to show dominance in the scrum with Alma Volavola, Olly Clements and Anotine Pilcher leading in the front row back by a strong 2nd and back row. Pilcher was causing problems for the opposition defence in the loose as well breaking the line on a couple of occasions. Harrison Colton was also causing problems for the opposition making a nuisance of himself at the breakdown by stealing plenty of ball. DW soon were on the score sheet again when Clements scored the second try after barging over from short range off the back of some good phases of play. That lead us into half time, at the interval lead coach Paul Dunne made the changes, bringing on all the replacements.
Devon quickly added to their lead from the restart with a well worked try from a turn over, quick ball from a turnover at a breakdown allowed the Devon backs to attack the space out wide, the left winger for Devon shot passed his opposite number but was stopped with a lovely last ditch covering tackle by full back Cameron Bull, Devon scored from the 2nd phase with a lovely inside pass for their centre to crash over. DW hit back through Matt Strong, a fantastic defence splitting pass from Ethan Randle to Conrad Carkeet, Carkeet carried well before passing to replacement Marcus Dunford Castro who played a lovely timed pass to allow Jordie Wayman to gas passed the defence and side step the fullback, opposition did well to make covering tackle. Wayman did well to offload to Strong to dive over to score. Devon replied after capitalising on a mistake a wayward pass from a DW player was picked off the floor by Devon and was a simple walk in. DW then hit back with a fantastic score when replacement Ethan Randle made a break before making a superb pass delayed pass to Wayman who was able to dive over in the corner. DW were trailing by one score but were dominating the game with strong defence and some fantastic free flowing interplay. DW by now were exerting extreme pressure by playing the rugby in Devon’s half. This time the forwards were on the score sheet after multiple phases of play through strong carries from Rory Horingston, Pilcher and Carkeet found DW deep in the 22 of Devon, Colton spotted a gap in the defence and picked the ball up at the bottom of the breakdown. Colton was able to break the line and evade the covering tackle to score. 5 tries a piece DW were confident and gunning to win and were soon attacking deep in Devon territory. Replacement prop Jack Ridout with another strong run breaking a tackle before being stopped, Ridout was able to offload to front row partner Pilcher who dummied a pass broke the secondary line of defence, with the support of Carkeet and Tom Evans, the green and whites looked certain to score, but Pilcher was deemed to have played an forward pass, that unfortunately give Devon the ball, whom also tried to grab a winner but were stopped by a strong DW defence which caused a handling error which saw the end of the game. 25-25 (5 tries each) was the final score in a great game of rugby, the first half was dominated by the boot of the Devon fly half, Devon controlled the game well in the early stages. However it was great to see the green and whites not to panic and build themselves back into the game and with ball in hand always looked dangerous and a huge threat. The second half was a mainly controlled by DW the backs looked dangerous with ball in hand and the forwards began to break holes in the defence around the fridges of the breakdown. Colton was always at the breakdown causing Devon problems, Tom Evans in the second half also made a presence in the back row, always at the breakdown getting turn over for the green and whites. Lead coach Paul Dunne commented on the resilience of the squad “they (the team) didn’t panic; they were aware of what they needed to do and built themselves back in the game brilliantly. Once the game opened up; we looked very dangerous with the ball and played the better rugby” coach Kev Dobbie was pleased with the outcomes “we set ourselves targets throughout the game, we feel that we achieve most of them! There are many positives, but also things we would like to work on. After some time for self reflection we will look at certain areas whilst training” overall a positive performance from the green and whites.