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Sprangle takes positives out of Tamar Cup loss

17 Apr 2019 08:24 | Devon RFU

DEVON were unable to wrestle the Tamar Cup away from Cornwall’s possession as they were beaten 28-13 at Brickfields on Tuesday evening.

The Green and Whites were leading 10-7 at half-time in a good contest, but the Duchy took hold on the game with two tries in four minutes at the start of the second half.

Wayne Sprangle, who was in charge of the Devon team on the night, said he felt the final scoreline was harsh on Devon.

“For me, I don’t think it felt like a 28-13 loss,” said Sprangle. “It was a highly-competitive game, but we just conceded those two early tries at the start of the second half.

“The first of those tries was us just not gathering from the restart and then all of a sudden you are on the back-foot. That’s a learning curve.

“We then conceded another quick try, but then for the rest of the game our territory was excellent – we had a lot of play in their half – but they (Cornwall) were more clinical. When they came into our 22 they scored. That just shows where they are and we are.

“But we stuck to our game-plan of wanting to use all our players. We are trialling a lot of players from different levels of rugby. We could have just kept players on but we stuck to what we said we were going to do and made sure every player had a fair share of rugby.”

Sprangle feels Devon will be wiser for Tuesday’s game. Last year Devon lost the Tamar Cup but then beat Cornwall in the County Championship.

Both teams took a while to settle in front of a decent-sized crowd at Brickfields, but it was Devon who took the lead when Tom Putt kicked a penalty on nine minutes.

There were a lot of turnovers in the first 20 minutes with both teams tackling hard and competing well at the rucks.

Cornwall looked like they were going to score the game’s first try on 20 minutes when Plymouth Albion full-back Matt Shepherd made a great break but Devon produced a good last-gasp tackle to stop the visitors.

However, the Duchy did score four minutes later. From a penalty, Cornwall went for the corner and they got a good drive going and Camborne hooker Tommy Lee-Southworth got the ball down over the whitewash. Albion fly-half Fraser Honey added the conversion to put them 7-3 ahead.

Cornwall had another good chance before Devon regained the lead on 37 minutes. A clever chip kick by Brixham fly-half Mitch Pinkus bounced perfectly for his former Ivybridge half-back partner Ben Watts to gather and touch-down. Putt added the conversion to make it 10-7.

Cornwall did end the half on the attack but Devon defended well to keep them out.

However, within 30 seconds of the restart the visitors did get a second try when Camborne winger Alex Ducker scored in the right corner and Shepherd brilliantly converted.

Putt cut the gap to one point with a penalty on 44 minutes but straight from the restart Cornwall scored another when the dangerous Shepherd broke through Devon’s defence and unselfishly put in Ducker for another. Shepherd again converted from out-wide.

Devon had a line-out and a scrum on Cornwall’s line in the 50th minute but could not make it tell and seven minutes later the visitors scored a fourth try when Ducker went over for his hat-trick.

The Green and Whites continued to battle hard and they had a lot of pressure in the closing minutes but were unable to get a second try.

Devon will meet Cornwall again in the County Championship on May 18 at Brixham.

Devon’s Bill Beaumont Senior Men's County Championship fixtures 

Saturday, May 4 – Gloucestershire v Devon (Cinderford, 3pm)

Saturday, May 11 – Devon v Hampshire (Okehampton, 3pm)

Saturday, May 18 – Devon v Cornwall (Brixham, 2.30pm)