Devon Under-15 A side make winning start against Somerset
DEVON Schools’ under-15 A team opened their season with an impressive 29-19 victory against a strong Somerset side at Keynsham on Sunday.
The visitors produced a fine all-round team performance that was built on a dominant set piece.
Devon completely dominated the first half and led 24-0 at the break, with captain Pierre Meyer scoring two tries and number eight Alex Sheridan and wing Josh Gillard also crossing. Tom Kilmartin converted two of those tries.
The second half started as the first had finished with wing Gillard going over for his second try of the game following a well-worked set piece move off a scrum. That made it 29-0 to Devon.
Somerset regrouped and some good home pressure was rewarded with two quick tries. Devon got back into the match and the rest of the half was quite even, but the hosts did have the last word with a try in added on time.
Devon’s B side also started well in Somerset, but eventually lost a competitive match 26-12.
The visitors were 12-7 up at half-time, despite playing into a fairly strong breeze and facing a much heavier forward pack.
Somerset won a number of early scrums against the head, but Devon’s breakdown work, with Ben Spence, James Hocking and Ben Keylock featuring prominately, was excellent and won the visitors three penalties to gain some territory.
In the 19th minute, Devon right winger Matt Shaw-Smith finished off a fine sequence of play to score in the corner.
However, from the restart a high speculative kick from the Somerset fly-half found space and the unpredictable bounce fell favourably to the chasing team enabling them to score underneath the posts for a 7-5 lead.
But Devon hit back on 28 minutes when scrum-half Sam Steel managed to skip through some weak tackles to score under the posts. His try was converted by Ben Leetham to give the visitors a five-point lead at the interval.
Although playing with the wind in the second half, Devon never really capitalised on this advantage. Some tactical errors saw them turnover the ball in their own 22 and the Somerset fly-half directed his team superbly.
Devon were unable to clear their lines and eventually succumbed to three further tries.
The visitors, though, did manage to set up some good attacking positions and Matt Shaw-Smith always looked dangerous with ball in hand. He was only denied by some great defensive work by Somerset’s full-back.
Devon under-15s will be next in action on March 25 when they travel to Bristol.
Their only home game this season will be against Cornwall on April 15.