Reds give Camels the blues in opener
Wadebridge Camels 10, Old Redcliffians 11
WADEBRIDGE Camels will be keen to bounce back from a disappointing opening-day defeat when they visit North Petherton tomorrow (3pm) in South West One West.
While Petherton enjoyed a 32-22 victory over divisional newcomers North Dorset last weekend, Wadebridge were edged out by another of South West One West's new teams this season, Old Reds, who were relegated from National Three South West at the end of last term.
The match was dominated by the referee's whistle, littered with five yellow cards, and not helped by confusion over the correct implementation of rolling substitutes introduced to Level Five rugby and below this season.
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It was certainly the game that got away for Camels, even though they were playing against one of the sides fancied for promotion.
Camels president Andrew Hawkey said: "We had several chances to score but squandered them. However, Old Reds also defended fantastically well to keep us out."
The match could not have got off to a livelier start. Reds' No.8 Jed Hooper was sin-binned after only five minutes following a scuffle, and he was joined on a yellow card by team-mate and fly-half Ashley Groves three minutes later.
However, Wadebridge's two-man advantage was shortlived as, in the 12th minute, blindside flanker Mark Grubb became the third player given a 10-minute rest by the referee.
His indiscretion was punished by Reds' debutant scrum-half Jack Steer to make it 3-0, and when the hosts failed to deal with a long kick ahead, it opened the door for visiting full back Craig Owen to add a try for an 8-0 lead. Wadebridge fly-half Jamie Grubb slotted a penalty into the breeze to cut the deficit to five points, but that was cancelled out by Steer, who then missed another kick from in front of the posts.
A great run to the corner by home winger Dom Hawkey looked set to produce a try just before the interval, but he was hauled down just short of the line, and Camels trailed 11-3 at the break.
Camels, who welcomed former Cornwall back Sean Hawkey back to their line-up at centre, came out all guns blazing in the second period and spent an age in Old Reds' 22, but they could not turn their dominance into points.
They eventually got over the line through replacement hooker Miles Davey in the 60th minute, with James Grubb converting superbly from the touchline, and then went in search of the winning score.
Their cause was not helped by having replacement back Dan Briskham yellow carded in the 74th minute, but several chances went begging in the closing stages as they heaped on more pressure, including a missed long-range penalty by Grubb.
Deep into injury time, Old Reds' prop Lewis Wilson became the fifth player to see yellow, but Camels could not capitalise on their advantage, and had to settle for a losing bonus point.
Wadebridge: Pengelly, Lees, Sean Hawkey, Prout, D Hawkey, J Grubb, A Collings, Treleaven, Ballard, Bilkey, Lumb, Scott, M Grubb, Stone, Gynn. Replacements all used: Briskham, Davey, Cullis.
Wadebridge: Try: Davey; Con: J Grubb; Pen: J Grubb.
Old Reds: Try: Owen; Pens: Steer (2).