Devon suffer disappointing start to U20 County Shield campaign with defeat at Dorset & Wiltshire
DEVON Under-20s made a disappointing start to their County Shield campaign with a 43-7 defeat against Dorset & Wiltshire at Bournemouth on Sunday.
Devon’s young side never really got going at a windy Chaple Gate, with Dorset & Wiltshire scoring three tries in the first half to lead 19-0 before adding three more in the second half - two of which came in injury-time.
The visitors’ only reply came mid-way through the second half when Ivybridge’s Damon Akerman scored in the left corner following a kick and chase and his club team-mate Mitch Pinkus converted.
Devon Under-20 coach Gareth Jones was disappointed with the defeat, but is hoping the side can pick themselves up for a vital match against Somerset at Okehampton on March 19.
If they win that game then they could finish second in the group and progress to the knock-out stages of the competition.
“It was very disappointing,” said Jones on Sunday’s loss at Bournemouth. “It is a new, young side but they had bonded well in training and were encouraged after a tough game against Cornwall, where we dominated in the forwards.
“We had hoped we could match Dorset & Wiltshire, but they were more prepared than us. They had played four warm-up games, which is something we need to look at next season.
“But it is still all to play for this season. There is still the potential to claim second spot in the group and go through to the quarter-finals.
“With any young age group games you’ve got to use them as a learning curve.”
Devon will hope that Ben Logan, Connor Banks and Damon Akerman, who all had to come off on Sunday with head injuries, will be fit for their next match.
Devon went behind in the 11th minute on Sunday when Dorset front-row forward Hayden Wilson went over for a try from close range, which Rhodri Hopkins converted.
Both teams then wasted penalty opportunities before the home team doubled their advantage with another converted try by prop Wilson.
Dorset & Wiltshire went 19-0 with an unconverted try in the left corner by flanker Sam Graham, before Pinkus missed a penalty for Devon just before the break.
Devon did offer more in attack second half, but Dorset & Wiltshire increased their lead to 29-0 with a Hopkins penalty and then a converted try by James Hill.
Akerman went over in the 59th minute after winning the race to a ball he kicked forward and Pinkus added the conversion from the touchline.
But any hopes the visitors had of getting back into the game went in the closing stages when Jordan Watson was sin-binned for what the referee deemed a professional foul and the home side took advantage with James Fisher and James Bagguley going over for converted tries.
Dorset & Wiltshire: Carlow Snell (Bournemouth), Jack Gurney (Salisbury), Rhodri Hopkins (Shelbourne), Connor Tomley (Royal Wotton Bassett), Max Clark (Wimbourne), James Baguley (Salisbury), Harrison Wall (Devizes), Hayden Wilson (Sherbourne), Matt Goddard (Bournemouth), Jack Spencer (North Dorset), James Fisher (Bournemouth), Sam Bailey (Bournemouth), James Hill (Salisbury), Sam Graham (Chippenham), Hamish Renwick (Clifton). Reps: Loui Gumta (Bournemouth), Sam Vivian (Wimbourne), Jared Cardew (Salisbury), James Clancy (Marlborough), Harry Bazalgette (Wimboure), Manasa Roqorua (Salisbury).
Devon: Damon Akerman (Ivybridge), Tom Robins (Sidmouth), Harry Lakeman (Ivybridge), Lewis Barnaby (Ivybridge), Jake Prophett-O’Neill (Sidmouth), Mitch Pinkus (Ivybridge), Connor Banks (Ivybridge), Ben Logan (Sidmouth), Aidan Taylor (Exmouth), Sean Harrison (Withycombe), Jordan Watson (Brixham), Redford Blaylock (Plymouth University), Tom Arnold (Plymouth University), Max Coles (Ivybridge), Robin Luscombe (Kingsbridge). Reps: Ben Collins (Ivybridge), Martin Carrick (Newton Abbot), Joe Buller (Tiverton), Adam Walker (Ivybridge), Ben Morris (Plymouth University), Kyle Blackmore (Honiton).
Referee: Joe Pointon (RFU)
Scorers: Dorset & Wiltshire: Tries: Wilson (2), Graham, Hill, Fisher, Baguley; Cons: Hopkins 5; Pen: Hopkin.
Devon: Try: Akerman; Con: Pinkus