Gallery / Rugby

OPMs full-back Smale scores on Devon U20 debut against Cornwall

OPMs full-back Fred Smale was among Devon’s try scorers as they narrowly lost 25-24 to Cornwall at Camborne on Sunday in their opening Under-20 County Championship fixture.

The Devon squad also included Ivybridge’s George Montgomery and Jacob Winters, Devonport Services’ Oli Symons and Toby Lean and Marjons winger Fraser Felton.

Devon were leading 18-7 at half-time and were 24-18 up with seven minutes to go, but Cornwall dug deep to claim the victory.

Smale, Exmouth centre Sam Plumer and Cameron Grizzle-Johnson scored tries for Devon, who also had Brixham fly-half Bradley McKee converting all three and kicking a penalty.

Cornwall’s tries came courtesy of Lachan Surridge, Alfie Pilcher, Tyler Dower and Jack Davies, with Joe McCarthy adding a penalty and the final conversion to win the game.

Devon did have a chance at the death to snatch the win with a last-gasp drop-goal, but McKee’s kick fell short.

Smale, the only player from Devon One in the matchday squad, was delighted to represent his county and score a try, but disappointed not to be on the winning team.

“We battled them all the way and our defence was great,” said Smale. “They only scored out wide – they couldn’t get through the middle of us.

“We played really well through the centre and scored some good tries. I think we were unlucky with the result.”

On his early try, he said: “Five minutes in and I found myself on the end of a nice little inside pass from Cam (Grizzle-Johnson) and I was able to run in and score my first Devon points. It was a great feeling.”

But Smale had a not-so-great feeling just before half-time when he was yellow carded for what the referee deemed a professional foul. It came after Devon had given away a number of penalties on their line.

“I don’t think I was the tackler,” said Smale. “I think the ref saw loads of green shirts and just made a decision.”

Smale is now hoping to keep his place in the squad and that the team can progress through to the quarter-finals of the county competition by beating Dorset & Wiltshire at Ivybridge on February 27.

“We now have a month to train,” said Smale. “I think Cornwall have been training since the start of the year whereas we’d only had two training sessions. So to perform like we did was really good.

“We will dust ourselves down, get back to training and then in a month go again at Ivybridge.”

On how it compared to playing in Devon One, Smale said: “It is a different level. It is a lot faster pace, but I think I settled in quite well. All the lads get on in the changing rooms so it is a good experience.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Swipe to see full gallery. All pictures are low resolution and are protected by copyright.


Leave a Reply