Match Report Devon U18 Boys v Oxfordshire U18 Boys

Devon travelled up to Hartpury College Gloucestershire this Saturday 7th January 2023 feeling confident for the game against Oxfordshire after an impressive win against Buckinghamshire on their previous outing to Hartpury in front of the South West England Counties selectors.

The boys arrived in good time and in good spirits thanks to the travelling parents for their support and driving duties.

Devon was missing their Head Coach for this match but had plenty of cover from the other coaches Darren Oxland and Justin Rogers who got the boys well-prepped pre-kick-off.

In blustery conditions Oxfordshire came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and put Devon under some intense pressure in the first 5 minutes, Devon conceding early penalties for the offside on which Oxfordshire was rewarded with the opening try.

Devon soon re-grouped and started to apply their own pressure with some good attacking forwards play and quick recycling of the ball which made its way out for a nice back move finished off by the Devon full-back Ed Slater of Ivybridge RFC in the corner. This levelled the scores to 5 – 5 bearing in mind as this was a South West England Counties selection game there was no kicking of penalties and conversions.

Devon again conceded a string of penalties and Oxfordshire soon responded with another try 5 mins later bringing the score to 10-5 in Oxfordshire’s favour.  This seemed to have given Devon the wake-up call they needed and started to dominate possession in the 19th minute, Devon’s Vice Captain and centre George Pooley of Devonport Services RFC went over for a nice try bringing the score to 10-10.

Just after this in the 22nd minute, Devon’s winger Morgan Gabe of Barnstaple RFC went over to finish off a great back move putting Devon 3 tries to 2 up 10-15.

Oxfordshire responded to this with some good pressure of their own but Devon’s defence held strong with some big defence hits from back rows Finlay Cackett of Exeter College and Tom Winzer of Kingsbridge RFC allowing a great forwards try from second row Louis Cook of Teignmouth RFC putting Devon 4 tries to 2 up at the half time 10-20.

The second half started and saw the rain come and go with both teams making errors in the conditions then Devon changed a few key players off the bench which was rewarded about 15 mins in with the Devon winger Kai Kidd of Barnstaple RFC going over for Devon’s fifth try making the score 10-25.  Oxfordshire replied with another try 2 minutes later 15-25.

Devon responded with another back move finished off by the Devon winger Kai Kidd for his second try of the game bringing the score to 15-30.  Followed by another try from the bench and Devon No23 Sam Westcott of Exeter Athletic RFC adding to the score of 15-35.

At this point, Devon had won the game and just when we thought the time was up the Devon scrum-half Stan Kift of Barnstaple RFC added another try to finish the game 8 ties to 3 in Devon’s favour winning 15-40.

The management and coaching staff were delighted with the convincing win and are very hopeful a few of the boys will get selected to represent South West England.

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