Devon Under-20s forced to settle for draw at Somerset

11 Feb 2018 19:58 | Sara Raine


DEVON were denied victory in their opening Jason Leonard Under-20 County Championship fixture at Burnham-on-Sea by a kick with the last play of the game.

The young Green and Whites were leading 10-7 with time up on the clock, but they gave away a penalty that Barnstaple hooker Josh Mynett put over to secure Somerset a draw.

Devon, though, showed plenty of character on a bitterly cold and windy day in Somerset. They had to overcome the sin-binning of three players in the second half but defended brilliantly.

There was little between the teams the whole afternoon in a fixture where the wind hampered proceedings.

Somerset had the better of the early exchanges, but Devon had the first chance when Mitch Pinkus attempted a long-range drop-goal on 13 minutes that fell short.

The visitors came close on 25 minutes with a drive that was just stopped on the line.

Apart from that, try-scoring chances were few and far between. However, in the last minute of normal time Devon took the lead.

Somerset initially did well to deny the visitors from a catch-and-drive move close to the line. They forced the Devon pack into touch two metres from the line. But the hosts then over threw their line-out and it fell straight to Exmouth flanker Max Keen, who gladly collected and dived over the line for a try. Pinkus brilliantly converted in the wind to give Devon a 7-0 advantage at the break.

Five minutes after the interval, Devon had prop Marcus Prout sin-binned, but Somerset were not able to make the extra man tell.

Captain Pinkus had a great run on 56 minutes that got Devon up to the 22, while minutes later Jesse Lowe thought he was going to score but play was pulled back for a forward pass.

Somerset really turned up the pressure in the final 20 minutes.

On 63 minutes, Devon were again reduced to 14 men when Troy Willis was yellow carded for persistent team infringements.

And two minutes later Somerset equalised when Wellington lock Regan Walker burst through to score near the posts and Mynett added the conversion.

But on 70 minutes Devon went back in front when Pinkus kicked a penalty.

Three minutes later, though, they had another player sin-binned when Owen Garner was shown yellow.

Somerset threw everything at the visitors in the closing stages but it look like Devon were going to hang on when they brilliantly stole a five-metre line-out.

But Devon wasted the chance to get out of their half when they lost a line-out and, with time up, Somerset got a penalty that Mynett put over.

Devon’s next under-20 match will be against Berkshire at Newton Abbot on Sunday, March 18, 2018.

DEVON: 15 Aaron Smith (Teignmouth), 14 Troy Willis (Barnstaple), 13 Jesse Lowe (Brixham), 12 Tom Gosling (Brixham), 11 Brad Down (Hartpury College), 10 Mitch Pinkus (capt, Ivybridge), 9 Jay Toogood (Ivybridge), 1 Wes Vermigle (Ivybridge), 2 Ben Collins (Ivybridge), 3 Marcus Prout (Ivybridge), 4 Robbie Guthrie (Crediton), 5 Morgan White (Exmouth), 6 Robin Luscombe (Ivybridge), 7 Max Keen (Exmouth), 8 Josh Mackin (Torquay Athletic). Reps: 16 Owen Garner (Ivybridge), 17 Dan Johnson (South Molton), 18 Adam Walker (Ivybridge), 19 Calum Smith (Brixham), 20 Joe Harris (Exmouth), 21 Sam Fulthorpe (Exmouth), 22 Ryan Lee (South Molton)