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Rugby club reflecting on two glorious moments

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: April 23, 2013

By Richard Wevill

Action from the 1998 semi-final against Exeter United

Action from the 1998 semi-final against Exeter United

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LAST week's Memory Lane recounted the sporting success of Tiverton Town Football Club 20 years ago, but the town's rugby club were last week reflecting on their memorable anniversary.

On Saturday, April 13, the club marked not only the 15th anniversary of winning the Devon Cup but also the 125th anniversary of winning the trophy for the first and only other time.

A celebration match was held between a Club XV and a team featuring many of the players who were part of the cup-winning team of 1998.

In the final played on April 29, 1998, Tiverton defeated Torquay by 23 points to 14 with tries from Jim Dodds and Glen Hookins.

But the final itself doesn't tell the full story of an extraordinary giant-killing run which saw the Tivvy side humble the two biggest sides in county rugby in the two preceding rounds.

In the quarter finals, Tiverton were drawn against Plymouth Albion, then playing in the National 2 (South) division having suffered back to back relagations.

However, they were still two league levels above Tiverton and a formidable prospect for the Tiverton team.

After a shock win by a 15-point margin the task didn't get any easier for Tivvy in the semi-finals when they faced Exeter.

Though Exeter did not send their full side, they were represented by their United XV, a side which had finished top of the West of England Merit Table with a 100 percent record.

Tivvy scrum-half Keith Sampson was on good kicking form that night at Coronation Field, and the favourites were vanquished by 30 points to 13 points.

The victory meant that the scene was set for the club's second Devon Cup success, 110 years after their first, which happened in 1888, the first year of the cup's existence.

The recent anniversary match was also a chance for the club to say thank you to one of its longest-serving backroom staff.

Fiona Gerahty has been the club physio for 20 years, having started working with Tiverton RFC in the memorable 125th anniversary season of 1993-1994. when the team finished as runners-up in the Western Counties.

One of the reasons the team did so well during that great cup run four years later, the players believe was down to Fiona keeping them so fit.

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