DEVON 39 SOMERSET 10
IVYBRIDGE’S Lewis Paterson was among Devon’s try scorers as they claimed their first County Championship win since 2010 by comprehensively beating Somerset at Teignmouth.
Paterson scored Devon’s sixth and final try as they boosted their hopes of a return to the top tier of county rugby.
Former Albion forward Dan Williams scored twice for the Green and Whites, with another ex-Plymouth man Steve Perry collecting their first, with Barnstaple’s Will Topps and Exmouth’s Dan Powell also crossing.
Somerset, whose squad was based around Hornets and Clevedon players, struggled on a hot afternoon, especially after losing number eight Jake Holcombe early on with a suspected broken ankle. Their only try came in injury-time after Devon were reduced to 14 men. It was scored for ex-Albion prop Tom Harrison.
Ivybridge’s director of rugby Paul Setter is part of Devon’s coaching staff.
He said: “I really pleased for the boys. They stuck to it. Hopefully, we can move on now. We’ve got North Midlands next week.
“This season is not going to be perfect because we have all come together very late. We’ve all dragged our players in and made them buy into it. It’s just simple systems, but it’s worked.”
Devon reached six County Championship finals between 2000 and 2008, winning the competition three times under Graham Dawe, but have struggled to for players since their relegation Division Two South in 2010.
The county hope if they can start winning again then more players will want to represent them.
“The key we said is that we have to make people want to do,” said Setter. “If they see us get a few wins then they will want to do it and be part of it.
“There’s some decent boys there and they are all gelling. They do play against each other week-in, week-out.”
Devon made a great start and experienced fly-half Perry gave them the lead in the fourth minute with a rare try, which his Barnstaple club colleague Jordan Petherbridge converted.
Somerset had the chance to hit back but Devon defended well and held them up over the line. The hosts then defended the five-metre scrum and a five-metre line-out before they did give away a penalty that Stuart Heal kicked to close the gap.
But Devon instantly responded. A great chase from the restart, led by Isaac Dalton, forced Somerset to concede a five-metre scrum and from it the hosts pressed and eventually the ball went wide to winger Topps to score and make it 12-3.
Petherbridge missed the conversion and a penalty on 27 minutes.
It looked like Devon might not get the points they deserved but a try and a penalty in first half injury-time gave them a deserved 20-3 lead at the break.
Exmouth full-back Powell went over on the right after Devon pressed from a scrum free-kick on the left and, with the last play of the half, Petherbridge kicked a penalty.
Devon upped their pace at the start of the second period and influential flanker Williams used his pace and power to scored two tries. The second one came after Ivybridge lock Dom Loomes, a replacement, had come close. Petherbridge converted both to put his side 34-3.
Ten minutes from time centre Paterson crossed after a good off-load from replacement forward Nigel Berry.
Paterson was only denied a second minutes later when the touchjudge ruled he had put a foot in touch.
In injury-time, Devon had captain Adam Thomas sin-binned for a high tackle and immediately Somerset took advantage with a catch-and-drive try from the penalty by Harrison.
From the restart Devon had Petherbridge and then Dean Avery sin-binned for professional fouls but Somerset could not take advantage.
Devon will face North Midlands away next week.
Devon: D Powell (Exmouth), W Topps (Barnstaple), L Paterson (Ivybridge), M Wathes (Exmouth), O Rice (Exmouth), S Perry (Barnstaple), J Petherbridge (Barnstaple), I Dalton (Exmouth), D Avery (Newton Abbot), M Dowrick (Newton Abbot), A Thomas (Brixham, capt), J Fahy (Exmouth), D Williams (Torquay), W Sprangle (Tiverton), S Thomas (Brixham). Reps: C Bryce (Brixham), N Berry (Exmouth), D Loomes (Ivybridge), A Smith (Newton Abbot), J Harris (Exmouth), D Squire (Brixham), G Meadows (Exmouth).
Scorers: Tries: Williams 2, Perry, Topps, Powell; Cons: Petherbridge 3; Pen: Petherbridge
Cards: Yellow: A Thomas, Petherbridge, Avery.
Somerset: C Nicholls (Hornets), C Carter (Hornets), T Thompson (Taunton), A Rice (Clevedon), J Oscar (Clevedon), S Heal (Taunton), J Mortimore (Clevedon), B Largenton (Clevedon), C Francis (Hornets), T Harrison (Darlington), E Hack (Dings), C Harris (Hornets), J Childs (Launceston), L Ercolani (Bridgwater), J Holcombe (Dings). Reps: J Gatford (Taunton), M Hudd (Dings), B Harvey (Taunton), D Ogden (Hornets), N Spellisey (Bridgwater), K Hill (Clevedon), J Bath (Barnstaple).
Scorers: Triy: Harrison; Con: Heal; Pen: Heal
Referee: A Leal (RFU)