CULLOMPTON lost 42-0 at North Petherton in South West 1 (West) on Saturday.

Many of the skills and abilities that go towards making a good rugby union team were present in the Cullompton side which took the field at Beggar’s Brook but one of the missing factors cost them the game.

The lack of a back with real pace allowed the home side’s flying winger, Gavin Hancock, to run riot scoring four tries.

It proved to be irrelevant that Cully had the nudge on in the scrum, competed well in the lineout, put in their tackles and were in an end-to-end game.

Not for the first time Hancock, who combines speed with weight approaching 16 stones, was uncatchable, getting two tries in each half.

Turnover ball on the halfway line in the fourth minute for North Petherton was carried well into the Cully half by centre Chad Lowrie who passed to full back Harry Roberts to complete the break.

Lowrie who was on hand for the return pass, touched down and Roberts converted for an early 7-0 lead.

Cully were denied a quick repost three minutes later when No8 Josh Mammola collected a loose ball and made ground before laying it back.

Lock Matt Handford took it on right to the home five where his pass was cynically knocked on by a defender who was lucky not to see yellow.

Another deliberate knock-on a minute later did earn a yellow after Cully had elected to go for touch and the ball was moving along the home five with the offence denying winger Nathan Banks a try on the overlap.

After eight minutes of continual effort Cully’s offensive looked as though it was going to end in tears when the ball was turned over and Hancock appeared to be about to open his account until a great tackle by full back Alex Edwards stopped him just outside the visitors’ 22.

As the clock registered 25 minutes the score was still 7-0 and Cully seemed to be competing well.

Despite the absence of burly captain Sam Harris the Cully scrum was developing an edge, locks Handford and Adam Tregedeon were looking secure when lifted in the line and some good tackling was holding the line.

It was then however that Cully forwards managed to dismantle a North Petherton maul and as thorn-in-the-side flanker Sean Mardell was on the receiving end of verbal and physical rebuke from the opposition flanker on one side of the breakdown, Hancock was weaving through the Cully defence on the other for a try converted by Roberts.

Five minutes later the game looked to be slipping away from Cully when Hancock ran in another and Roberts converted for 21-0.

In the second half the story was a re-run of the first with Cullompton playing well in spells and North Petherton grabbing three more tries.

There were moments of excitement. Edwards went back into the in-goal area to rescue a grubber kick, ran the width of the pitch and set up a ruck clear of his 22.

Banks had a good break down his wing and Edwards again figured in a penetrating run into the opposition 22, handing it to centre Tom Harald who looked for a second as if he were going to succeed with an abrupt change of direction.

Hancock ran in two more tries and another was taken by flanker Aaron Gibbs proving to Cully supporters that the saying about the righteous inheriting the earth does not apply in rugby as it was Gibbs who on two occasions not only got away with breaking his binding in the scrum but then compounded the felony by whipping Cullompton ball out from in front of Mammola’s feet while the set piece was still in progress.