Cornwall & Devon
Wellington 17, Saltash 13

WELLINGTON welcomed Saltash to The Athletic Ground on Saturday for a crucial top-of-the-table clash, writes Allyn Chetland

The Cornish visitors had not lost since the last time they played the Red & Blacks, which had been a high-scoring and entertaining encounter, and they were keen to avenge that defeat. 

Due to the recent bad weather this was Wellington's first game in nearly a month, and they welcomed Danny Lee, Nev Pitman and Ben Gamlin back into the squad, but Harry Ramsay and Micky Norman were still absent due to injury.

In front of a large home support, the game was a tense and physical affair but one played in the right spirit, which captivated until the very last play of the game. 

Both sides had their share of possession in the opening quarter, and Saltash grabbed an unconverted try following a 5m scrum. 

The hosts responded via a penalty from full-back Alex Davey on the half hour, but then Saltash took their chances via a penalty and another well-taken try to go in at the break with a 13-3 lead.

The half-time team talk re-focused the Red & Blacks, and their pack sparked into life. 

A series of strong attacking moves were rewarded with a pushover try for no. 8 Chris Kitto, converted by Davey. 

Then, following an extended period of pressure on the visitors' line, the home side were awarded a penalty try, giving them the lead with almost half an hour remaining on the clock.

The closing stages were a tense affair, with both sides throwing everything they had at each other, but te defences coming out on top. 

Wellington had a very late penalty hit the upright, while the away side had a couple of chances late on, only to be kept out by strong defence to ensure the hosts took the spoils.

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but taking everything into consideration, not playing for a month being one, this was another all-round excellent squad effort in a nerve-jangling win. 

Cam Venn, making his first appearance this season, had an excellent game, as did Chris Kitto and George Hodgson.

Next week Wellington make their longest away trip of the season, travelling to Penzance-based Pirates Amateurs. 

Away games are always difficult and this encounter will be no different, so the Red & Blacks will need to be prepared for a tough match. 

Wellington squad: R. Marke, J. Dyke, L. Wadham, R. Walker, C. Venn, L. Phillips, D. Lee, C. Kitto, C. Jenkinson, P. Jarman (c), N. Pitman, G. Hodgson, C. Batts, T. Hart, A. Davey, J. Hancock, B. Gamlin, M. Walker.

In Somerset Premier, Wiveliscombe's match against Avon was postponed and Minehead Barbarians were beaten 33-15 at St Bernadettes Old Boys.

Somerset 2 South
Martock 12, Wiveliscombe 2nds 25

WIVELISCOMBE 2nds cemented their mid-table position in Somerset 2 South with a comfortable victory over Martock, who are struggling to survive in the division.

Wivey scored all but one of their tries through the forwards, as Paul Gridley led the way with two, and John Palk and Lee Jeremiah crossed for one apiece.

Dan Clarke added a fifth, as the visitors claimed a well-earned bonus-point victory.

Wivey did, however, had an off day with the boot, failing to convert any of the tries.

Wiveliscombe 1st XV's fixture at home to Avon RFC from Bath was called off on Saturday morning due to waterlogged pitches. 

This game will now take place this coming Saturday, February 10 (ko 2.30pm). 

The outcome of this game could well determine the promotion positions come the end of the season, so the club would welcome a big support for Wivey in this important game.

Wivey 2nds next play on February 17, at home to Weston-super-Mare 4ths.

Somerset 2 South
Minehead Barbarians 2nds 14, Chard 2nds 12

LATE call-ups meant the Chard team travelling to Minehead was a scratch 15 with a mix of seasoned 2nds players, some reliable 3rds and a dusting of keen Colts, including Aaron Lewis in his first senior game in the front row. 

Minehead opted to run up the slope in the first half, so Chard's Ieuan Watkins kicked off to get the game underway.

As expected with a gradient of that size, the hosts didn't really get out of their half, with Chard putting constant pressure on the Barbarians, which eventually paid off when Brian Sugar charged over the line and Watkins kicked the conversion.

It wasn't long before Chard went over again through Ieuan Watkins, but this time the conversion was little out of range, so the lead was 12-0. 

The visitors crossed the line twice more, both times through Tom Hopkins, but both efforts were disallowed as the grounding wasn't seen, so the score remained 12-0 at half time.

The second half got underway and Minehead's game plan was obvious: get it to the big bloke and he would trundle down the hill.

Superb tackling from Jim Grossey and Ben Lock in particular stopped them from gaining the advantage for most of the half, and unlike the first half the play was all over the pitch, but the hosts managed to get through twice, with both tries being converted to give them the lead 14-12.

The final minutes of the game saw Chard camped on the home side's line, but they couldn't get the final move together to clinch a win, with a loose pass allowing the Barbarians to charge down the pitch and put the ball out of play. 

Chard were unlucky to lose and it could have been different if a few more regular 2nds players had been available, but all 15 on the pitch put in a solid 80 minutes. 

Captain Brian Sugar said that without doubt Aaron Lewis played a superb game and was the man of the match.

Chard 2nds return to action with a home match against Yeovil 2nds on February 17.

Chard 2nd XV: Aaron Lewis, Eric Singleton, Gavin Smillie, Paul Wright, Brian Sugar (c), Tom Hopkins, Ben Lock, Josh Moore, Jim Grossey, Ieuan Watkins, Stuart Sugar, Chris Doel, Gavin Watts, Joel Ingarfield, Michael Burden.