CULLOMPTON are looking to build on the success of their excellent Under-16 side by establishing a Colts team next season.
A last-minute penalty denied the Under-16s victory over Barnstaple in the final of the Fisherman’s Cup at Brixham on Saturday.
But they have plenty to look forward to next season as Kevin Walker has moved across from the senior coaching team to take over as team manager.
Walker said: “I could hardly wish for a better squad to work with than a group who have consistently been at or near the top of their age group rankings for a number of years.” Walker plans to start his tenure with a presentation evening the first week in July in hope of luring back some of the ‘lost’ second year colts who have drifted away from the club in the absence of a team this season.
The new manager has taken over from Ian Wood who is standing down after coaching the team for ten years to take up an administrative role.
On Saturday the teams were locked at 20 points all when Barnstaple hooker Matt Symonds ruined Cully’s afternoon with his first successful kick of the afternoon – from fully 35 yards.
The teams have been fierce rivals for several years and two years ago met in the final of Devon Under-14s cup when Cully came out on top.
Cullompton went straight for the jugular from the start racking up what looked like a decisive 14-0 lead after just 20 minutes.
From the back of a firm Cully scrum in their own half, against the heavier Barnstaple pack, scrum-half Tom Cole nipped around the blind side and showed great pace and agility to go through the opposition defence untouched for a try easily converted by centre Frank Rosenwald.
Rosenwald went on to add one of his own in the corner which he followed with a fine touchline conversion.
Almost immediately Barnstaple struck back with a touchdown for Will Harrison on the end of a break by Matt Morrish who went on to cross for one of his own just before half-time courtesy of a pass from Symonds.
The hooker was unable to convert either for 14-10 but did get near in the second half, hitting the post, when Billy Ashford put Barnstaple up 15-14 to lead for the first time with 20 minutes to go.
Cully retook the lead with a Rosenwald penalty only for Tom Clarke to score an unconverted interception try and put Barnstaple 20-17 up.
Another Rosenwald penalty left things all square with ten minutes remaining on the clock Both teams had their chances in the count down. Had the ball not evaded Rosenwald’s fingertips at his third attempt as he juggled to secure it, an interception try would have been his and the match would have been Cullompton’s.
But Symonds held his nerve to ensure it was Barnstaple’s day.