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Bideford let it slide again in Western Counties draw with Okehampton

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

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THINGS went downhill for Bideford on Okehampton's sloping pitch.

But despite letting a large lead slip for the second successive match, the visitors were not disappointed to leave Oaklands Park with a 27-27 draw.

They are only the second team, after leaders St Austell, to take points off Okehampton there in Tribute Western Counties (west) this season.

Dave Harris, the Bideford manager, said: "We're not despondent because last season we lost both league games to Okehampton.

"This time we have got an away draw, which shows an improvement. Not many teams will go there and get a victory.

"The pitch has a good bit of a slope and they know how to play it.

"They reckon the slope is worth 15 to 20 points but this week it was 27."

Two weeks after letting a 31-10 lead slip in a 33-31 defeat to Ivybridge, Bideford saw a 27-0 half-time advantage wiped out.

Olly Wickett, the fly half, kicked Bideford into an early 6-0 lead with two penalties.

He also converted two tries by Andrew Baxter, the first from a run down the wing and offload by James Buckland, the second from centre partner Andrew Loosemore's break.

Wickett also converted a penalty try, awarded after Chris Snell, the scrum half, kicked through and was tackled off the ball.

Bideford allowed the momentum to switch with a sloppy start to the second half.

"We knocked on from the kick-off," said Harris. "If we had cleared our lines and had ten minutes in the middle of the field it might have been different."

Craig Dennis knocked over two penalties and converted tries by Tom McGrattan, from a pushover, and Gareth Espin.

In the final seven minutes, Okehampton piled on the pressure at a series of scrums and eventually Bideford buckled, allowing Neil Perrot through for the try.

Dennis levelled the scores with his fifth successful kick and the teams in second and third place finished with nothing between them.

Bideford will be expecting a big crowd for President's Day at King George's Field on Saturday when they host Penryn.

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