Tribute South West one North Petherton 13

Okehampton 13

A FREEZING cold afternoon in Somerset saw Okehampton put in a committed performance against a far superior North Petherton front eight who also had the former Exeter Chiefs winger Nick Sesterat amongst their back division.

Playing down a slight slope but into the wind Okehampton started particularly well and a promising attack after five minutes was thwarted by a knock on. Despite dominating at scrum time the Petherton back line were spilling good ball.

A series of penalties from Okehampton resulted in the first scoring opportunity for the home side, but despite the helping wind the effort was pulled wide.

Okehampton were growing in confidence and midway through the half on 23 minutes were rewarded with a try wide out in the right hand corner after great interplay from the backs — Kev Dennis came up with the ball, scoring his fourth try in two games against them. Into a strong wind wide out the conversation was missed by Gary Sizmur.

From the kick off Petherton went through a series of phases taking them up to the Oke five metre line. Under pressure with the superior Petherton pack all over them, Rhys Palmer was penalised by the referee for not rolling away, which saw the Oke fly half take a breather for 10 minutes.

A series of mini attacks subsequently saw the ball moved out to the left corner and finished for Petherton’s first try of the afternoon. The resulting conversion was missed from wide out.

The remaining minutes of the half saw Oke defend stoutly, resulting in half-time arriving with the scores level 5-5.

North Petherton quickly asserted themselves again up front in the early exchanges of the second half but Richie Friend was alert to support Simon Cox who intercepted just outside the 22 taking Oke up to halfway to secure some respite in midfield.

A series of home scrums then started to take its toll on the Oke pack with prop Pat Nash being replaced through injury. Oke front row now contained Evans, Shinn and Terise on their own five metre line.

However Petherton made a mess of the scrum and Oke cleared up to halfway. The resulting kick was returned with interest as touch was missed. Some poor Oke tackling and good hands saw an attack down the wing result in Petherton’s second try of the afternoon. Again the conversation was missed and the home side lead 10-5.

This score seemed to galvanise The Oke 15 who after a series of confident phases in midfield, punched through the defensive backline. Gary Sizmur made a great line break and from close range Neil Perrot crashed over on the hour mark to level the match at 10 all. Sizmur’s conversion was again awry in these cold testing conditions.

North Petherton, however, are made of strong stuff and came rumbling down the hill to camp just short of the try line in the bottom right corner. The resulting maul saw Tom McGrattan make one of the steals of the season and the Okes were beginning to show how resilient this young side have become.

The resulting scrum saw Oke penalised. Petherton took the ball to the corner for a line out, the pressure was building with only 11 minutes left. The ball was eventually spilled in midfield by the home side leading to a scrum just outside the Oke 22. Oke secured the scrum but were eventually caught offside following a knock on by Gary Sizmur. The penalty was slotted and with eight minutes left Oke trailed again 13-10.

This Oke team never give up though, fitness perhaps was ensuring Oke finished on the front foot. In midfield the home team were penalised by the referee for being off their feet. Oke elected to kick to the corner where a vociferous home crowd were ensuring the atmosphere matched the finish awaiting. Despite having the throw, Okehampton contrived to knock on at the line out. The home side, however, could not clear their lines and with the seconds ebbing away, a penalty was awarded to Oke, North Petherton penalised for not rolling away. This left Okes with the decision to attack the line or go for the posts.

Posts were called and with the last kick of the game Oke’s Gary Sizmur composed himself and coolly slotted the three points! Leading the referee to blow full time with the score 13-13.

The home team will ultimately rue some missed chances in the second half but this was a well deserved draw for Okehampton in tough conditions against an experienced North Petherton team.

Devonport Services 0

Okehampton thirds 51

A great afternoon for the club as the seconds continued their fine run winning away at Devonport Services. Whilst a huge home crowd were treated to a superb performance as the thirds/legends took to the field for their fourth match of the season.

A thoroughly entertaining affair saw the Okes romp to a 51-0 victory before retiring to the bar to take in the Six Nations rugby.