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Devon under-20s reach semi-final after impressive win over Essex

01 Apr 2018 23:30 | Sara Raine

DEVON’S under-20 side continued their successful season by beating Essex 46-0 at Ivybridge on Sunday to progress through to the County Championship Division Two semi-finals.

The team had already won promotion back to the top flight the previous week by beating Berkshire and topping their pool, but now have a great chance of reaching a cup final.

Standing in their way will be the combined team of Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire & Derbyshire, who they will meet at home in the last four on Sunday, April 15.

Devon will go into that match full of confidence after running in six tries against Essex to claim their biggest win in years.

Captain Mitch Pinkus got them going with a penalty after just five minutes.

Exmouth flanker Max Keen then scored his fifth try in three County Championship games by going over from close range after pressure from a scrum. Pinkus, on his home pitch, added the conversion.

Almost straight away Devon added a second try when Barnstaple winger Troy Willis went over on the left.

Pinkus converted that from out wide and then added a penalty with the last play of the half to put Devon 20-0 ahead.

Devon made a blistering start to the second half, scoring four tries in the opening 12 minutes.

Ivybridge scrum-half Jay Toogood got the first within seconds of the restart when he made a great break to score near the posts for an easy conversion for Pinkus.

Two minutes later, Devon scored again when prop Marcus Prout touched down. Pinkus again converted to make it 34-0.

That soon became 41-0 when Barnstaple’s Ryan Lee went over after a great steal at a scrum by Toogood.

Devon were then held up over the line twice before replacement Dan Johnson, of South Molton, managed to dive in at the corner. Pinkus missed the tough conversion – his only failure of the match.

Essex did threaten to score in the final few minutes, but the hosts showed plenty of character to deny them.

Devon: 15 Aaron Smith (Teignmouth), 14 Ryan Lee (Barnstaple), 13 Brad Down (Hartpury College), 12 Jess Lowe (Brixham), 11 Troy Willis (Barnstaple), 10 Mitch Pinkus (capt, Ivybridge), 9 Jay Toogood (Ivybridge), 1 Wes Vermingle (Ivybridge), 2 Ben Collins (Ivybridge), 3 Marcus Prout (Ivybridge), 4 Dan Armstrong (Exmouth), 5 Morgan White (Exmouth), 6 Callum Smith (Brixham), 7 Max Keen (Exmouth), 8 Josh Mackin (Torquay). Reps (all used): Owen Garner (Ivybridge), Louis Chapman-Coombe (Withycombe), Alex Taylor (Withycombe), Robin Luscombe (Ivybridge), Lewis Swatton (Devonport Services), Tom Gosling (Paignton), Dan Johnson (South Molton).