Running game tactic pays as Tics ditch kicking ploys
TORQUAY Athletic head for leaders St Austell this Saturday encouraged by a 33-26 win over Devonport Services.
The Tics only made the game safe with a stoppage-time try, although the balance of play was heavily in their favour.
The Tics had two possible tries ruled out – one for a knock-on, the other for a foot in touch – and were guilty of giving away too many penalties around the breakdown.
Having fluffed the game plan at Penryn seven days earlier, Torquay abandoned the kick-for-territory ploy in favour of a running game.
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Torquay had the benefit of an enlarged squad to choose from, despite losing scrum-half Ed Cribb to a thumb injury a week earlier.
Pre-season signing Joe Briggs had his League debut at centre after several weeks out nursing a cracked collar bone sustained playing rugby league.
Another debut was that of Jonathan Bourne, returning to the Club where he had featured as a Colt. Bourne last played regularly for Newton Abbot 1st XV in 2008 and captained them in their South West One days.
Finally ex-Cardiff Blue and U21 Welsh cap Matt Williams appeared at outside centre for the whole of the second half, with James Wood reverting to full back.
Williams has not played for several seasons but gave glimpses of what he can offer; in particular an ability to offload in tight contact situations.
Colin Whitford, the club's playing director, said the plusses clearly outweighed the minuses.
"The players turned up to the game with a better attitude and a desire to win," said Whitford.
"The communication was better and although not continuously there was a marked improvement in sticking to the game plan for longer periods. That was when we looked most effective."
Torquay led 20-10 at half time with Jon Woodhead and Alex Smith converting tries and Alex Jeffrey kicking both conversions and two penalties.
Tony McCrafty ran in for a try and Jeffrey slotted a penalty in a ding-dong second half which stood at 28-26 with four minutes to go.
Any doubts were dispelled when James Wood ran a diagonal line to score in the right corner.
Torquay Extra Firsts came away from the Services with a 34-12 win in the Merit Table.
On Sunday the Colts completed a clean sweep against Services when, with home advantage, they won 46-10 in the first regional round of the National Colts Cup.
KINGSBRIDGE, fortified by a 20-12 win at Wellington, are back at High House for a home game against Truro.
The Town were never behind at Wellington after Shane Hutchings put them ahead.
Duncan Lilburn (2) and Sean Woodland added further tries, neither of them converted.