8:20am Friday 17th January 2014
DOGGED Evesham were knocked out of the National Colts Plate third round with an 18-7 defeat at Nuneaton.
With waterlogged pitches at Avonside, the fixture was switched to Nuneaton but, with 11 squad players unavailable, Evesham were missing too many key players to challenge.
Nuneaton’s set-piece domination gave them the upper hand but Evesham enjoyed control for the first 15 minutes.
The under 18s were helped by several mistakes under pressure, the first resulting in a penalty attempt narrowly missed by Mike Harris.
Evesham looked strong in midfield with centres Ash Icke and Wilf Watson running powerfully and flanker Ady Cook nearly turned one such burst into a score.
The visitors reaped their reward from the following scrum as clean ball enabled Harris to play in Icke, who nipped through to score.
Harris converted but Evesham never quite found the same level of quality again.
Instead, Nuneaton settled and grew in confidence with a distinct advantage in the scrum but they impressed most in the line-out.
It was several minutes before they found the try-line as forwards Martin Di Franco, Nat Bailey, Alex Stoddart, Fred Hopper and Cook all tackled well alongside backs Watson, Josh Perry and Icke.
From five metres out, Nuneaton caught a line-out and mauled the ball over the line.
Although the conversion Converted try is not enough in plate defeat EMAIL: SPORT@EVESHAMJOURNAL.CO.UK was missed, a penalty made it 8-7 to the hosts at the break with Harris just missing a long-range three-pointer at the other end.
Nuneaton used the same tactic early in the secondhalf to extend their lead with an unconverted try before Evesham lost captain Stoddart to injury.
With a dearth of substitutes, they had to field players out of position and the team seemed to tire as Nuneaton took advantage with a third unconverted try.
Evesham dug deep and the versatile Perry, filling-in at full-back for the first time this season, earned the player- of-the-match award.
Tempers frayed towards the end as Nuneaton lost a player to the sin-bin and Evesham saw one red-carded.
Evesham visit Bromsgrove in the North Midlands Under 19s Colts Cup first round on Sunday.
Evesham visit Kings Norton this Saturday and Pershore host Upton.
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