Photo Luis Smith
Venue: Newton Abbot RFC
Ground Conditions: Firm,Dry;
Weather: Sunny,Cloud,Light Rain.
Devon Sharks 16 All Golds 34
The many wonderful counties of the region have supplied Rugby League with some of its greatest players since Victorian times.If this thunderous encounter is an indicator of current playing stocks then it is surely only a matter of time before stands and terraces are full of scouts from some of the nation’s biggest clubs. They will not be disappointed.
The locals ripped into their visitors from the start of proceedings and after 5 minutes a well constructed right side raid saw Wes Keywood over in the corner. Ben Spear added the extras. The Sharks were 6 – 0 to the good with the fans still entering the arena. The All Golds were finding their feet and with 9 changes from their previous match and disruption through injuries were taking time to adjust.
Even so they showed firm resolution in repelling further assaults from the Devonians. Indeed the visitors began to secure possession and field position and after a further 20 minutes had elapsed Jack Uren darted over from dummy half. Ball goaled. 6 apiece. Furthermore the Golden Fern took the lead with 5 minutes of the opening stanza left to play. Uren slipped a ball to Kieran Harvey who shrugged off defenders to touch down in the corner. The conversion was missed and the first 40 minutes of frantic action left the game finely poised.
It was the All Golds who struck first 5 minutes after the renewal of combat with Brandon Lamb exploiting a gap on the Devon line and going over from close range. Smith goaled. 6 minutes later a tremendous run from the returning Tom Gaffney produced an identical outcome : a dummy half try from the inimitable Jack Uren. Smith tacked on the 2. The pendulum though was to swing again and the home side besieged the All Golds’ inner sanctum. The vigorous bombardment of the try line was met with equally defensive fortitude as the All Golds showed disdain for their mounting injury toll.
Eventually though the All Golds clawed their way back upfield and Luis Smith, who had marshalled his side in splendid fashion throughout, beguiled the defence on a 20 metre diagonal dash to the line. He converted himself and at 6 – 28 the All Golds were on course for a victory.
The impressive Ben Spear had other ideas and delightful Devon handling culminated in a superb 4 pointer that thrilled the local crowd. His ensuing kick sailed between the sticks and with a quarter of an hour left the Sharks were back in it at 12 – 28. Supporters though barely had time to settle down before Brandon Lamb evaded pursuing defenders on a 60 metre solo cameo to the Devon sticks.
Smith turned 4 into 6 and the team in the lime green livery led 12 – 34. The final segment was to witness a further Devon try touched down by Tom Worboys before the referee signalled the end of a riproaring full bloodied encounter which is set to resume on June 26 at the All Golds’ home ground in the city of Bristol at SGS Stoke Gifford Stadium.
Significant praise must also go to the Rugby Football League for supplying a match official of high quality. Grade 1 referee Michael Smaill came down from Leigh in Lancashire. A low penalty count, free flowing action, physical fitness, knowledge of the sport and an empathy with the players were key facets. The rising standards of both the players and the clubs in the blue riband Southern Conference League demand such reciprocity.
Phil Johnson Devon Sharks’ Chairman
“What a day for us as a club!!
A respectable 16-34 loss against a strong All Golds team in our first ever SCL/Tier 4 rugby league game. We could not be anymore proud of the guys on that pitch.”
Simon Martin All Golds’ Head of Rugby Development –
” The attitude and commitment of the players were the stand out features coupled with a great camaraderie of spirit. It was these qualities that enabled us to triumph against tough and resourceful opponents who are a fine addition to the Southern Conference League.”
Will Sanders; Joe Rider, Wes Keywood, Ben Spear, Jack Francklin; Andy Kay, Jack Carlisle (Captain); Tom Holliday, Josh Dore, Ashley Crouch; Charlie Dore, Finn Keywood; Peter Bilham.
Interchange Bench: Tom Worboys, Harry Emmett, Ben Cowley, Gary Mitchell
Tom Gaffney; Mason Robbins, Jorge Cabral, Manueli Tuisavatu, James Royle; Darrion Ball, Luis Smith; Luke Panting, Jack Uren (Captain), Dan Roberts; Brandon Lamb, Tomasz Pozniak; Michael Harrison.
Jacob Allen, Gregor Hamilton, Wes Long, Kieran Harvey.
Spear 2 from 3
Smith 4 from 5
Ball 1 from 1
Scoring Sequence: 6-0,6-6,6-10, (Half Time) 6-16,6-22,6-28,12-28,12-34,16-34
Penalty Count: 5 – 5
Match Official: Michael Smaill (RFL)
Man of the Match:
Devon Sharks ~ Peter Bilham
All Golds ~ Luis Smith
Photo – Luis Smith. Courtesy of Lewis Mitchell Photography