RUGBY: Witney 9 Devizes 7

First published in Rugby

DEVIZES slipped to their first South West One East away defeat since Sepetmber as they came out on the wrong side of a defence-dominated encounter in Oxfordshire.

In the first of three matches on the road for the Saddlebacks, it was the home side who had the better of the early exchanges, missing an early penalty.

From the restart, Devizes had their best spell of the first half, fly-half Rory Brown looking dangerous with ball in hand, but Witney too held firm.

The home side’s larger pack ensured they finished the opening 40 minutes better, Devizes’ Julian Taylor being sent to the sin-bin, but the visitors held out until the interval.

Witney continued to hold sway at the restart, but their efforts only brough the reward of a penalty by fly-half Phil Thomas.

Devizes though hit back with the only try of the game when a lineout set up an excellent platform.

Eventually, Brown jinked through the defence for his fourth try in two matches and slotted the conversion to put his side 7-3 in front.

Witney’s forwards got them back into it, earning the territory and a penalty that Thomas knocked over to cut the deficit to a point.

In the final ten minutes, Devizes winger James Last was sin-binned as he deliberately knocked a ball into touch after a kick and chase down the wing.

Witney regained the lead from the resulting penalty as Thomas converted to hand his side the four points.

MORE RUGBY REPORTS, REACTION & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD

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