Devon make disappointing start to County Championship campaign
DEVON made a disappointing start to their Bill Beaumont County Championship campaign, losing 55-12 away against Gloucestershire at Cleve.
Newly-promoted Devon were well in the game first half and led twice before going in at the break 20-12 behind.
But Gloucestershire dominated the second period and finished with eight tries in total – five coming in the final 40 minutes.
Gloucestershire opened the scoring in the first minute when Cinderford centre Sam Goatley went over on the right for an unconverted try.
But Devon hit back almost straight away with Ivybridge centre Lewis Paterson scoring under the posts and Sidmouth fly-half Tom Whelan converting.
Nine minutes later Gloucestershire regained the lead with Goatley scoring again after his Cinderford team-mate Harrison Yorke put him in.
That try was not converted and Devon responded and went back in front with a good try in the corner by Exmouth’s Harvey Ridgeway after good backs play by Whelan, Paterson and Tom Scoles.
Whelan had the chance to increase their lead on 25 minutes with a penalty but he put his effort just wide.
Both sets of backs looked likely, but especially Goatley, who completed a hat-trick on 35 minutes with a tremendous effort from his own half. Lewis Dennett converted to put Gloucestershire 17-12 up.
That looked like it would be the half-time score but four minutes into injury-time Dennett kicked a penalty.
Straight after the break Whelan missed the chance to reduce the gap with a penalty of his own.
After that Gloucestershire took control. Moseley flanker Jack Preece - the only survivor from the last meeting between the two sides seven years ago - scored their all-important fourth try on 48 minutes when he went over from a catch-and-drive move. Dennett converted to make it 27-12.
Devon wasted a penalty three minutes later. They went for the corner but, not for the first time on the afternoon, lost the line-out.
On 55 minutes, Preece added a second try, which Dennett converted.
Gloucestershire did not let up and Goatley scored another impressive individual effort – his fourth of the afternoon – and Dennett converted.
Preece was then denied a hat-trick for crossing, but Gloucestershire did add two more tries courtesy of replacement fly-half Tom Webb and winger James Gahan.
Next up for Devon is a home match against Cornwall next Saturday at Ivybridge.
Gloucestershire: E Rees (Cinderford), H Yorke (Cinderford), B Goatley (Cleve), S Goatley (Cinderford), J Gahan (Old Patesians), L Dennett (Hartpury), O Venni (Royal Agricultural College), J Lloyd (Dings), D Brooker (Gala), J Elliot (Moseley), H Home (Moseley), R Fuller (Hartpury), W Keenan (Cinderford), J Preece (Moseley), M Lane (Cinderford). Reps: P Vinicone (Cleve), T Jerrum (Cleve), L Beer (Cleve), R Webb (Newent), T Webb (Newent), B Gardner (Newent), G Angel (Old Pats).
Devon: J Petherbridge (Barnstpale), T Scoles (Ivybridge), L Paterson (Ivybridge), M Pinkus (Ivybridge), H Ridgeway (Exmouth), T Whelan (Sidmouth), J Mattin (Exmouth), R Morris (Brixham), A Crouch (Barnstaple), M Finn (Ivybridge), J Fahy (Exmouth), M Richards (Exmouth), R Luscombe (Kingsbridge), J Harris (capt, Exmouth), S Thomas (Brixham). Reps: M Dowrick (Newton Abbot), L Maggs (Brixham), K Angell (Barnstaple), R Dingle (Ivybridge), B Watts (Ivybridge), D Akerman (Ivybridge).
Referee: James Clarke (RFU)
Scores: Gloucestershire: Tries: S Goatley 4, J Preece 2, T Webb, J Gahan; Cons: L Dennet 4; T Webb 2; Pen: L Dennet
Devon: Tries: L Paterson, H Ridgeway; Con: T Whelan