Teigns go spying on Tiverton
TEIGNMOUTH have been doing their homework on promotion rivals Tiverton as the race for the top in the Cornwall & Devon Division hots up.
While Teignmouth were winning 48-8 at Withycombe last time out, director of rugby Andy Crossman was spying on Tiverton in their game against St Ives.
Tiverton are third in the table just two points behind St Ives and seven adrift of Teignmouth, although they have played one more game.
Crossman and Teignmouth know all about St Ives as they are the only side to beat the table-topping Teigns this season – and the second of those wins was less than two weeks ago.
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So, seeing Tiverton trounce previously unbeaten St Ives 41-12 will have set alarm bells ringing in the Bitton Park camp.
Teignmouth entertain Tiverton on March 2 and the last thing Crossman wants at this stage of the promotion race is a spanner in the spokes.
"St Ives will say they were not at full strength, but even so they were well beaten for a side that's second in the table," said Crossman.
"Clearly Tiverton have improved since we won up there earlier in the season – they had a few faces in the side we didn't see then – and it was good to have a look at what they have changed."
Teignmouth have more immediate business away to OPM this Saturday, a side they thumped by 50 points at Bitton Park back in September.
Teignmouth will be favourites to win at Elburton, but Crossman is just a little wary of them.
"OPM's home form is stronger than their record on the road – only St Ives and Tiverton have won there this season – so they won't be a pushover again," he said.
Three tries in 10 minutes before the half-time break gave Teignmouth the sort of lead they were never going to lose at Withycombe.
Dan Force put Teignmouth ahead with a penalty then Jamie Rudkin added a try while Withies were a man short with Mike Richards in the sin-bin.
Jack Pugsley cut the leeway with a penalty for the home side and it stayed at 8-3 to Teignmouth until half time was just around the corner.
Then Will Sowden, Chris Tidman and Aaron Kelly all scored tries in quick succession. Force added the extras to all three.
Tidman was soon over the line again in the second half, scoring under the posts for Force to convert.
Withycombe's Tom Steer bolted for the line and got over in the corner on 56 minutes, but the Teigns had two more tries to come.
Sowden got one and Jamie Gray the other while Teignmouth were a man down with Luke Pattison in the sin bin.