Your try by try match report from St Austell RFC
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St Austell V St Ives
St Austell were left stunned after a controversial last minute penalty try handed St Ives victory in a thrilling Cornish derby at Tregorrick Park.
A hugely entertaining game was delicately poised at 32 all as St Ives made one last roll of the dice when man of the match James Martin scragged back the ball carrier by the scruff of the neck.
To the consternation of the Tregorrick faithful, the referee deemed the tackle not only to be high but one that prevented a clear try scoring opportunity. A penalty try was awarded and St Ives bagged the points to seal the victory. It was a shame that such an open and even game should have been decided in such circumstances but it is an encounter that will live long in the memory.
A beautiful sunny day, a gloriously lush playing surface and a referee determined to let the game flow made it a perfect afternoon for running rugby and both sides rose to the challenge. The first 40 minutes flew by in a blur of attacks and counter-attacks which at times had the feel of a basketball game rather than a rugby match. Both sides threatened menacingly with ball in hand but looked equally porous in defence and so a try fest ensured.
The Saints started at a blistering pace with the Hakes barely touching the ball in the opening 6 minutes. It was prop Hugh Noott who side stepped his way to mesmerise any would be tacklers before accelerating through a gap in the visitors’ defence to sprint in under the posts (7-0). St Ives hit back with two tries, first full back Lewis Thomas finished off a flowing move and then number 8 Archie McKay rumbled over from the back of a 5m scrum. The latter was converted by Jordan Gott to put the Hakes 7- 12 in front.
Back came the Saints and a great passage of play was rounded off by a debut try from centre Chris Ashwin (14-12). The lead was extended when winger Cavan Boyer went in out wide (19-12) but hopes this would give the home side a winning platform were soon dashed. Exploiting a turnover in midfield the visitors scored a well worked try through flanker Martyn Lawrance to tie thing up again at 19-19. With half time fast approaching the Saints upped the tempo with a series of searing rucks to pave the way for Chris Ashwin to touch down with his second try (24-19).
Half time brought a welcome respite from the action and a chance for players and spectators alike to catch their breath.
The second half began inauspiciously for the Saints who were hit by a stream of early injuries forcing winger Cavan Boyer and experienced forwards Mark Martin and Adam Pearce from the field. St Ives were quick to exploit the uncertainty in the home side with prop Ben Jenkins trundling over to restore the Hakes’ lead (24-26). The wise heads in the St Ives’ ranks decided now was the time for pragmatism and two Gott penalties stretched the lead to 24-32 and for the first time in the match the lead was bigger than a converted try.
Things were beginning to look ominous for the hosts until hope sprung eternal from Liam Freeman’s right boot. The full back’s magnificent 48m penalty closed the gap to 27-32 and it was game on again. Relentless Saints pressure was finally rewarded when flanker Jack Nelson went airborne to squeeze in at the corner to tie things up again at 32 apiece.
Tensions had already started to heighten as the game entered its finally stages and with several in the Hakes’ coaching team believing there was a foot in touch it was perhaps inevitable that emotions would run high. However, there can be no excuse for the abuse directed at a “volunteer” touch judge and a young referee. The fact that photos point to a correct decision being made emphasises the need for restraint and should make everyone involved in rugby pause for reflection.
The game now looked odds on to finish in a draw until St Ives made one last bid for glory and were rewarded with a penalty try (32-39) to take all five league points on offer.
After four bruising Cornish derbies on the trot St Austell will be glad of their Saturday off next weekend. They will climb aboard the bus for a soiree into Devon to take on Crediton (KO 2:30pm Saturday 22 October 2016).