Paignton U14s 29, Okehampton U14s 0
Okehampton’s Under 14 rugby team learned that sport can be a cruel mistress as they were brought down to earth with a bang after the high of last week’s storming victory.
The second round cup match started in a cagey fashion with each team enjoying phases of possession whilst trying to find weak spots in the opposition defences.
Oke had the upper hand in the scrums, winning an early hit against the head, but Paignton ultimately proved to be better at stretching the play out to the wings eventually building an overlap to score two early tries.
Oke fought back strongly with Ciaran being inches away from chasing down a pitch length clearance kick from Louis forcing Paignton to touch down over their own line.
However, Oke failed to convert periods of pressure into points as all too often a final pass didn’t find its target or cold hands couldn’t quite cling onto to the ball.
Just as Oke were starting to find some rhythm they lost Euan and Ethan to injury in quick succession with Paignton taking advantage of the enforced rearrangement of the defensive line to poach another try.
Oke continued to go hard at the ball with big hits coming in from Joseph and Harry snuffing out Paignton attacks. As Oke tried to push forward they found their running game stifled by the home team’s exceptionally fast line speed shutting down the available space.
The second half brought a change of tactics as Oke opted to concentrate on punching holes in the opposition defences with route one crash balls.
Zak, Dylan Sullivan and Wilf all made significant yards with attempted tacklers trailing in their wakes but Oke couldn’t get enough bodies to the breakdown fast enough to take full advantage of the territory gained.
Jacob and Stanley continued to snipe around the edges of rucks trying to prise an opening with a drop of a shoulder or a gentle dink over the top but as was the overall story of the match Oke never quite got the required luck of the bounce to make that all telling score.
With the injury count mounting Oke refused to take a backward step, even though the scoreline was clearly beyond salvaging, the team continued to make Paignton fight for every inch of territory.
The team’s dedication epitomised by Harry’s full length diving tackle in the last minute of the match that saved a certain Paignton try at the expense of his own collar bone.
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