Double joy for Devon Under-16s against Gloucestershire at Hartpury
DEVON Schools’ Under-16 A and B teams enjoyed victories over Gloucestershire at Hartpury College on Sunday in the second round of county matches.
Both Devon sides won by 10-point margins, with the A team triumphing 24-14 and the B side running out 29-19 victors.
They both had to show great character to come from behind at half-time in each of the matches.
In the opening A team fixture, Gloucestershire opened the scoring after five minutes but sustained pressure enabled Devon back-row forward Pierre Meyer to capitalise on a loose ball in the line-out and crash over for a try.
Against the run of play, the speedy Gloucesterhire left wing cut inside the defence to touch down under the posts to put his side 14-5 up at break.
However, early in the second half Devon centres Joe Blackburn and Kian Gentry both evaded strong tackles to score, with Ben Leatham and Tom Kilmartin adding the extras.
In the 68th minute, a well-worked move off a scrum enabled Meyer to drive in field and feed replacement wing Toby Lean to score in the corner and seal the match.
In the B team fixture, an early kick ahead by the Gloucestershire midfield created an opportunity for their right wing to score.
But from the re-start Devon were awarded a scrum on the 22m line and good interplay allowed impressive centre George Copley to release Harry Washington, who cleverly off-loaded the ball in the tackle to Josh Gillard, who just managed to squeeze in at the corner. George Caton-Pike slotted the conversion from wide out.
Gloucestershire’s strength was in their powerful ball carrying forwards and after a number of phases a final pick-and-drive saw them take the lead again to make the score 12-7 at half-time.
Some changes were made during the interval and immediately the Devon forwards created a good platform to release winger Ben Parsons, who evaded two defenders for an exceptional finish.
On 41 minutes, Devon number eight Liam Cleaver was yellow carded for a high tackle and awarded a penalty try to put Gloucestershire 19-12 ahead.
Devon, though, never gave up and a kick behind the home defence bounced kindly for Ben Parsons, who raced away to score.
A few minutes later, Harry Emmett, a half-time replacement, carried the ball impressively and fed winger Gillard. The ball was turned over by the Gloucestershire defence but the clearance kick was charged down by Copley to score.
The home team continued to press the Devon line but a great defensive set, led by Toby Lean, and forced a wayward pass which Parsons intercepted to run the length of the field for his try hat-trick.