Torquay Athletic RFC U14s (0) v Topsham RFC U14s (37)
By Katie James
A mature performance see Topsham through to the final of the Devon Cup
In the last couple of years we have enjoyed some well contested fixtures with Torquay. Their large pack and back line play a very physical style of rugby and we knew that Topsham would have to be up to the defensive challenge.
With a vocal home support as expected, Torquay adopted a physical forward dominated game. Their large pack ran aggressively and powerfully, but despite the obvious size advantage in many positions every Topsham player stepped forward to make tackle after tackle.
Torquay had an overwhelming territorial and possession advantage for the first 15 minutes but the courageous defence from Topsham kept Torquay from crossing their line. Having weathered the barrage from Torquay and with meagre pickings in terms of possession, Topsham were able to skilfully work the ball through several phases and through the back line to score two excellent tries. The first by Harrison and the second by Hugo to take a lead of 10-0 into the half-time break.
From the start of the second half the advantaged changed. Topsham intelligently altered their style of play – committing fewer players to the breakdown and giving away fewer penalties. As a result, they were able to play through the phases, take advantage of more possession and play a high-paced game passing the ball the length of the back line and with forwards and backs interlinking seamlessly. As the dominance changed and the tempo of the game increased and Topsham started to run in tries at ease.
Ben scored after 5 minutes, followed quickly by two further tries from William S and Hugo. Three tries in relatively quick succession silenced the Torquay support and diminished any momentum from Torquay on the pitch. Further dominating, Topsham scored two more tries through Harrison and Ollie S.
Torquay were determined to the end and with a spell of possession in the last few minutes of the second half when they came very close to the Topsham line. However, an organised and committed defence from Topsham denied Torquay from scoring.
Seven tries and one conversion resulted in a final score of 37-0 to Topsham.
It was an excellent Topsham performance which was more significant than the score line because despite the physicality from the Torquay players, a vocal crowd and the number of penalties conceded, the boys controlled their obvious frustrations extremely well. They conducted themselves with maturity, did not give up, they stayed focused and had a self-belief and commitment to play for the team and one another, that eventually saw them come through as comfortable winners.
Topsham’s point were scored as follows:
Tries: Harrison 2, Hugo 2, Ben , William S, Ollie S