Western Counties W

Cullompton 8 Kingsbridge 41

SINCE Steve Luxon took the helm in November, player morale has given the Cullompton team a secure mid-table position after a shaky start.

It would be a pity to see complacency allow this new-found spirit to be sucked down in a whirlpool of defeats as the season draws to a close.

Unavailabilities and injuries led to a much-altered side to face top-of-the-table Kingsbridge last Saturday.

It took Cullompton a few minutes to raise their game to get to grips with the big athletic Kingsbridge players who initially made substantial breaks in the Cully defensive line.

But, with a strong breeze at his back, fly-half Alex Brooks was able to relieve pressure by dispatching the ball to the other end of the pitch every time his side got their hands on it.

On five minutes, Kingsbridge infringed and centre Adam Pearce slotted a penalty to take a 3-0 lead.

The visitors replied ten minutes later through flanker Matt Hamilton and 10 Ben Newman converted to take a 7-0 advantage.

This lasted only for four minutes until Cully full-back Marcus Busch won back the lead with a well-worked try for 8-7.

Down to 14 men with hooker Jeremy Turner’s yellow card, Cullompton still felt they were in with a chance, even after the visitors’ scrum-half, James Trout, slipped into the corner for a try in the 49th minute to send his side into a belated break 12-8 up.

Cullompton continued to compete well against the wind until Kingsbridge prop Buster James touched down at the back of a maul 15 minutes in.

Gradually, Cully players tired and James got another try followed by full-back George Banfield, who then laid on one for winger Alex Allen.

Flanker Ali Hamilton’s try wound up the scoring with two more conversions for Newman making it 41-8 to a good Kingsbridge side who should do well in South West One next season.

Luxon was not unduly worried by a loss to a good side as he felt Cully had competed with spirit and is looking forward to Saturday’s visit of Wadebridge.

On a happier note, Cullompton Colts beat Newton Abbot 31-17.