Saltash beat cup specialists Withycombe to reach South West Counties Senior Vase final

Saltash Rugby

SALTASH have reached the South West Counties Senior Vase final by beating Withycombe for the second time within the space of seven days.

After overcoming the east Devon side 23-16 away in the Cornwall/Devon League last weekend, Saltash beat them 24-14 in the cup at Keyham on Saturday.

The Ashes were forced to move the match to the Royal Navy’s artificial surface in Plymouth due to a waterlogged pitch.

But forfeiting the comforts of their Moorlands Lane ground did not upset them and they knocked out cup specialists Withycombe.

Withy had been South West Senior Vase champions two years running and reached the national final at Twickenham last season, but now Saltash will have their eyes on a trip to English rugby’s HQ.

Their reward for Saturday’s win is a home South West Counties final against unbeaten Somerset Premier outfit Winscombe on February 25.

If Saltash win that clash they will again be at home in the South West Divisional Senior Vase final (the national quarter-final stage) against either Tadley or Swindon College Old Boys.

The Ashes looked to be cruising to victory on Saturday when they went 17-0 up within the first 35 minutes.

Number eight Steve Hillman gave them the lead with a try on 23 minutes after some good forward drives.

Seven minutes later prop Adam Coutts doubled their advantage after flanker Phil Eatwell put him in for a try.

A quick-tap penalty saw flanker Lewis Webb go over for a third try for Saltash, which Kieran Downs converted.

But Withycombe got back into the match with a converted try just before half-time courtesy of flanker Toby Papp.

And midway through the second half they closed to within three points with another converted try by Papp.

Withy then threw everything at Saltash but the east Cornwall side dug deep and right at the death prolific winger Will Morton sealed the match with a converted try.

Pictures from this match can be viewed HERE.

Ivybridge’s Devon Senior Cup quarter-final at Tiverton was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, as was Tamar Saracens’ Cornwall/Devon League match against Falmouth and St Columba & Torpoint’s Devon Two game against Dartmouth.

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