GALLERY: Mugford's late long-range penalty secures Devon victory
DAN MUGFORD kicked a last-gasp penalty from beyond the halfway line to secure Devon a 30-27 Bill Beaumont County Championship win over Hampshire at Okehampton on Saturday.
The Plymouth Albion fly-half had missed an easier effort five minutes earlier but he made no mistake with the last play of the game to give Devon a full five points.
It was the perfect way for them to bounce back from last week’s heavy defeat at Gloucestershire.
Devon will end their group campaign next Saturday with a match against old rivals Cornwall, who will arrive topping the Division One South table with two wins out of two.
The Green and Whites made a great start at Showfield and pressed from kick-off. They came close before they did score in the sixth minute when Mugford went over on the left after Devon had stolen a Hampshire line-out on the right and Tom Putt had provided a perfect pass. Putt added the conversion to put Devon 7-0 ahead.
However, Hampshire, with 11 players from London One side Havant in their squad, hit back straight away. After pressure from the restart, scrum-half Jake Hewitt sneaked over from close range and captain Joel Knight added the conversion.
Devon, despite picking up two yellow cards in the first half, had a good spell after that and went 17-7 up with a try under the posts from Plymouth Albion second-row John Kelly and a conversion and a penalty by the influential Putt.
The first 40 minutes was a bit like a basketball match with the game flowing from end to end after a score.
Hampshire closed the gap when Chichester full-back Tom Blewitt went over on the right after good play by Sutton & Epson fly-half Jacob Knight, who chipped and gathered before feeding his team-mate. Joel Knight brilliantly added the conversion from out-wide to make it 17-14.
But within two minutes Devon increased that lead when Ivybridge winger Billy Pinkus intercepted a pass on halfway and ran in down the right wing to score and make it 22-14.
However, in first half injury-time Joel Knight kicked a penalty to close the gap to 22-17.
Devon went two scores ahead again straight after the interval. Hampshire knocked on from the restart and the hosts produced a well-worked move from the resultant scrum and Billy Pinkus scored a second try in the corner. That made it 27-17.
But Hampshire turned up the pressure for the rest of the half. Joel Knight kicked a penalty on 44 minutes before the visitors knocked in a great position not long later.
Joel Knight missed a penalty on 52 minutes before Devon wasted a penalty at the other end by going for the corner and then losing the line-out.
Devon picked up another yellow card and Hampshire again knocked on after a good break by flanker Joe Davis, but they kept the pressure on and in the 76th minute they scored in the corner when Havant winger Scott Morris went over in the corner. Joel Knight brilliantly converted from the touchline to level the game.
Mugford missed a penalty two minutes later but with time up Devon got another penalty on halfway and the former Sale Sharks player went for goal. Although it was almost in front of the posts it was a long way out but he managed to put it over to win the game for Devon.
Devon: Charlie Briant (Ivybridge), Billy Pinkus (Ivybridge), Rhys Palmer (Okehampton), Dan Mugford (Plymouth Albion), Frank Kelly (Plymouth Albion), Tom Putt (Unattached, Lewis Paterson (Ivybridge) 68), Ben Watts (Ivybridge, Cameron Setter (Plymouth Albion) 57), Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot), Dean Avery (Unattached), Matt Finn (Ivybridge, Ashlee Crouch (Plymouth Albion) 16), JamieTripcony (Ivybridge), John Kelly (Plymouth Albion), Caleb Sampson (Barnstaple), Wayne Sprangle (capt, Bridgewater), Tom McGratton (Okehampton, Schuster-Wood 32-40). Reps not used: Matt Friend (Devonport Services), Ben King (Ivybridge), Mitch Pinkus (Brixham).
Hampshire: Tom Blewitt (Chichester), Scott Morris (Havant), Wayne Dugan (Havant), Joel Knight (capt, Havant), James Wise (Havant), Jacob Knight (Sutton & Epson), Jake Hewitt (Havant), Armandus Morgan (Havant), Jerome Trail (Havant), Luca Firetto (Bournemouth), Ben Roberts (Bournemouth), Harrison Young (Havant), Gavin Hart (Tottonians), Ben Russell (Bournemouth), Dan Munden (Havant). Reps all used: Luke Marks (Havant), Tom Waite (Andover), Tom Gregory (Tottonians), Darren Leggott (Portsmouth), Conrad Carkeet (Bournemouth), Wesley Dugan (Gosport & Fareham), Dylan Baptiste (Maidenhead)
REACTION AND PICTURE GALLERY TO FOLLOW