Devon Cup Quarter Final vs Kingsbridge
By Katie James
A hard fought team performance see Topsham progress to the semi-finals
Friendly fixtures between Topsham and Kingsbridge are always brutal, so the prospect of a competitive fixture promised to raise the performance of both sides even higher. The game did not disappoint.
From the kick-off through to the final whistle the match was high-paced and physical. Both sides were equally committed in attack and defence. Topsham’s rush drift defence worked well to snaffle out Kingsbridge’s attack, but Kingsbridge were equally as effective in defence when Topsham had the ball in hand. The game was going to be won on small margins and Topsham were more efficient in rucks and mauls. Committing just enough players and most crucially generating quick ball. With a numbers advantage both Hugo Hepburn and Toby Collins were able to run in a try each.
Kingsbridge replied with an excellent try.
Topsham forwards worked tirelessly to retain the ball in the close contact situations, and so it was appropriate reward for the forward’s efforts in the final minutes of the half that William Olney was able to score from a catch-and-drive lineout. Toby Collins converted.
At the half time whistle Topsham led by three tries and a conversion to one try from Kingsbridge – a score of 17:5.
In the second half Topsham had the strengthening wind in their faces. Intelligently the team knew they needed to keep possession, because Kingsbridge with the wind behind them would probably kick Topsham deep into their half. Topsham played more with the ball in hand and started to dominate the possession. Backs and forwards carrying the ball on short pop passes close to the break down or pick-ups from the base of the ruck made incremental territorial gains through the Kingsbridge defence and importantly meant Topsham maintained possession for long periods of the second half.
However, Kingsbridge always posed a powerful attacking threat and despite Topsham’s dominance of possession, Kingsbridge scored early in the second half to take them to within one try of Topsham.
Topsham forwards and backs continued to tirelessly work through the phases, fighting to maintain possession or regaining possession through excellent counter rucking and physical tackling. Their efforts were well rewarded when on two occasions in the second half gaps appeared in the Kingsbridge defence. Ollie Smith finished a well worked try to score mid-way through the half. And, on the second occasion Hugo Hepburn stretched the Kingsbridge defence sufficiently and with a pop pass out of the tackle Toby Collins was able to go over in the corner to secure Topsham’s fifth and final try.
As we know from our many encounters with Kingsbridge they are a very proud and determined team and they battled to the end of the game, coming back strong in the final minutes of the game to score their third try. Kingsbridge converted to make the final score 27:17 to Topsham.
It was a hard fought win which sees Topsham progress to the semi-finals.
Topsham’s point were scored as follows:
Toby Collins 2
Toby Collins 1