Grove (45) vs Devizes (14)
Grove hit the ground running providing a great first half display, achieving a 4 try bonus point within 20 minutes.
The first try came more or less from the initial kick off when following a quick catch and break from fly half Harry Carr, No. 8 Joe Bellinger was fed the ball who in turn passed to scrum half Joe Chilvers for the No. 9 to find rampaging outside centre Brendon White. With a devastating run White beat four men to feed supporting full back Henry Day who zoomed over with ease. Day then converted his own try for 7 : 0.
Grove followed this with a tremendous forwards display, destroying their opposite numbers with an immense drive, lock Rory Gratwohl and hooker Steve Dixey featuring strongly in particular. A Grove penalty attempt then went wide before Devizes launched a strong attack of their own. Bellinger saved the day battling out from his own try line until Grove were awarded another penalty which again missed its mark. Grove kept the pressure on and next it was inside centre Nick Sevier who danced his way to the Devizes line only to be thwarted by a dogged defender clinging onto his shirt tail.
The Grove pressure was now colossal with tremendous teamwork from the entire squad. White had another great run and with the ball slipped to Guy Nicholl the winger found Gratwohl lurking near the touch line and it was the lock who dived over for Grove’s second try. Carr’s superb touchline conversion put Grove 14 : 0 up with 16 minutes gone
Devizes then proceeded to the Grove 22 metre line but the ball was stolen by Joe Chilvers who found Nicholl as the overlap man and the wing simply sprinted to the other end of the field for Grove’s third try, again converted by Carr for 21 : 0. The ensuing drop out from Devizes was taken cleanly by White who found wing Tom Clipsham who himself delivered a powerful run before slipping the ball back to White who almost made it to the line only to be stopped by some illegal Devizes defence. From the ensuing penalty Chilvers fired the ball to Dixey who, seeing a gap, shot over for a try between the posts. Carr’s conversion was again successful and Grove were amazingly at 28 : 0 with a bonus point secured.
Despite this overwhelming onslaught from Grove, Devizes battled back but Grove’s defences were sound and it was not long before the hosts were back near the visitors try line, especially good work coming from flanker Dave Wells. It was then Nicholl who, with a great dummy pass, fooled his opposite number and went over for his second try of the day. Grove now going 33 : 0 up. Devizes tried to fight back with some particularly good running from their backs but Grove held strong and it was lock Paul Miles who began the recovery, supported by flanker Simon Peel, substituting for Cash Chilvers. With the ball being taken all the way back to the Devizes line it was Peel who was desperately unlucky not to score having made a clean break only to be adjudged to have touched the side-line with his boot before touching down.
The Grove forwards then exhibited phenomenal strength and technique, driving their counterparts from the Devizes 22 metre line all the way to the try line for the ball to be fed out to Sevier who completed the first half try scoring with a fine touchdown for 38 : 0. The Grove pack was now rampant destroying their counterparts with ease but half time arrived with no further scoring.
With the game already apparently won the second half became a different story with Grove seemingly losing concentration and discipline although they once again had more than their fair share of the attacking play and the Grove forwards continued to dominate. A series of penalties lead to Devizes first try with their left wing fooling the defence with a fine run to score between the posts. The quickly taken conversion made the score 38 : 7. The Grove backs tried to run the ball back at Devizes but made little progress due to handling errors and forward passes. Grove then lost Joe Chilvers to a head injury, Sevier moving to scrum half. Devizes used the strong wind well, kicking long, only for the ball to be fumbled and dropped by a Grove defender and with the ball spinning back over the try line the Devizes attacker had a gift 5 points handed to him. With the successful conversion it was now 38 : 14.
Grove hit back and the home pack once again slammed their opponents back to the try line for one of the defenders to receive a yellow card. Now with numerical superiority in the pack Gratwohl picked up and went over for his second try, Carr’s conversion Taking the score to 45 : 14.
Cash Chilvers was forced off with an injury and Jimmy Wallbridge substituted. 1st team debutante winger Will Workman also came on for Clipsham. Despite advancing to the Devizes line time and time again no further Grove breakthroughs could be achieved despite strong work by props Martyn Walsh, James Eckert and back row men Wells and Bellinger.
This much needed win moves Grove a further two places up the table where they are now in 8th position.