Combe on the receiving end from Guernsey Raiders
WP 8 - Guernsey 39
Not a good result for Combe at home to Guernsey Raiders, who showed why they are at the opposite end of the league table. The visitors were comfortable in attack, on the counter-attack, and in defence. Combe were not out of it completely, they also showed ability and determination, but were kept at bay by the islanders’ defence, and lapses in concentration at times let the visitors in. Damp in the air, overcast, dull and cold. Not ideal conditions and testing too for the supporters on the rails.
Combe were off to a good start, putting the visitors under pressure and forcing a couple of penalties, the first of which Will Robinson put over. But a clean break by the Raiders outsides, pace and support saw their full-back over, for his first of the day. Try converted, ten minutes on the clock. Combe had their moments, a line-out drive came close, they also had to defend: Jordan Saunders and Jamie Forsyth combined to clear away from danger. Guernsey are beginning to get the hang of it: win the breakdown, pick up on mistakes and the spilled ball, and start the counter-attack. With half-time looming Guernsey pile on the pressure and from short range prop Layton Batiste forces his way over. For them a good time to score. No conversion, the visitors at half-time are 3-12 ahead. Combe have held in there but are short on points.
The second half for Combe starts well as Guernsey spill the kick-off, but Combe are unable to capitalise. Guernsey’s firm tackling forces errors from the home side, and wins them valuable ball at the breakdown. Guernsey kick a penalty to extend their lead, and quickly after, add another try from a counter attack catching Combe off guard. 3-22 to the visitors and half an hour to go. The game is won soon after when full-back Luke Sayer crosses for his second, but Combe are not done for. Thibaud Calohard counter-rucks, a turnover, a penalty, a drive, skipper Joe Bonner is over but held up. Combe’s scrum close to the try-line, No. 8 pick-up, re-cycled and moved left for Luke Delderfield to plunge over in the corner. Some reward for all that hard work. No conversion, 8-27, into the last quarter. Guernsey’s reply is all too immediate. Straight from the re-start, clean break, support and over. And time for one more, with a conversion, 8-39. Combe can take some positives from the game but for the time being not quite enough of them.
Next week Combe visit Southend who have similarly taken up a basement residence in Struggle Street, insofar as the league is concerned. This will be the last round of league fixtures when all the sides will have played each other. There is time for one more game before the Christmas break, when Combe are away to Sidcup on 16th December. Both games are scheduled for 2.00pm kick-offs, but check the web sites beforehand for confirmation.
Westcombe Park XV : B. Bateup; B. Saffery, S. Pursell, D. Bonner, J. Birch; W. Robinson, N. Hill; J. Saunders, J. Bonner, J. Forsyth, T. Calohard, T. Christopher, L. Delderfield, D. Fox, C. O’Sullivan.
Bench : J. Taylor, M. Nimmo, B. Young.
Match reporter - Bruce Mackenzie.