Saturday, January 18

Tribute Cornwall/Devon League

Bude 38

WINGER Ryan Butler scored a hat-trick as Bude bounced back from their defeat at struggling Liskeard-Looe by thrashing mid-table North Tawton at Bencoolen Meadow.

After the visitors scored early through Matt Baker’s breakaway try, the home forwards got to work, causing mayhem on the way to a 21-8 lead.

Three further tries after the interval cemented Bude’s lead as they moved up to fifth, seven points behind Plymstock Albion Oaks, although they have a game in-hand which will be played at mid-table Topsham on Saturday.

Despite player/coach Angus Hodges being away and Joe Wilson only named on the bench due to having to work, the hosts were able to name a strong side, which included a first league start of the campaign for prop Simon Jeffery following injury.

However it was the mid-Devon club who started the brighter in front of the 200-plus crowd, as full-back Will Lethbridge slotted home a second minute penalty after Bude were caught offside in midfield.

Bude gradually got on top but were caught with a sucker-punch in the 11th minute as Baker intercepted a pass to run in 60 metres.

However the North Cornwall side have lost just once on home soil this term and hit back on the quarter-hour. As often is the case, a driving maul was set up, this time on the North Tawton 22, and proved impossible to stop. Scrum-half Olly Mounce was the scorer with Olly Denford kicking the conversion.

Bude dominated the rest of the half. They scored seven minutes later as another maul, this time set up in open play, was crashed over by Matt Williams.

Wilson came on at number eight after 25 minutes for Jeffery with Williams moving to prop, Joel Troke to lock and Warren Rumble to six. It took less than ten minutes for Wilson to make an immediate impact as a barnstorming run down the right-wing saw him make 45 metres. A tidy pass from Mounce found Butler, who had come off the opposite flank, and he crashed over. Denford slotted a difficult kick to give them a 21-8 lead.

North Tawton needed the next score but it was Bude who struck two minutes after the restart.

Onrushing full-back Brad Thomas took a pass 15 metres out after the ball was spread wide to go over in the left-hand corner. This time the difficult kick went wide.

Bude’s forwards proved too difficult for the visitors to deal with as they continued to make yards at will. However it was Butler who grabbed his second on 53 minutes after the ball was once again worked through the hands. Denford notched his fourth conversion.

North Tawton’s frustration was building which led to the two sides getting a bit fractious with each other.

However it was Bude who were penalised by the referee as they were shown three yellow cards in the space of three minutes. Mounce was caught deliberately obstructing his opposite number Jack Davey, Ed Hilliam-Cooke came in at the side of a ruck and Troke was deemed to not have released.

With just 12 players, it meant Bude had to scrap and they came out of the situation having conceded just the solitary try, which saw Baker score his second after charging through a gap from 15 metres.

Soon after, Davey was also yellowed for obstruction, giving Bude an ideal chance to notch a sixth try. That came in the 76th minute as Butler bagged his treble, again going over in the left-hand corner after more good play from the backs.

The rest of the game saw Bude play out time as they leapfrogged North Tawton in the table.

Bude —

Thomas, Goodenough, Denford (captain), Hilliam-Cooke, Butler, Watton, Mounce; Jeffery, Bolt, Sobey, Kingdon, Williams, Troke, F Fry, Rumble.

Replacements: Mead, Wilson, Innes.

Tries: Mounce, Williams, Butler 3, Thomas.

Convs: Denford 4.

Pens: N/A.

Bude’s man-of-the-match: Ryan Butler.