MATCH REPORT – SATURDAY 6th OCTOBER 2018
PIRATES AMATEURS 15 v TORQUAY ATHLETIC 24
An important bonus point away win for Torquay Athletic in Penzance.
The foundation here was the work of the forward pack, especially in the set piece. Although playing at open side flanker Ryan Dunn (son of Tics' stalwart Maurice) took all lineout throws in the absence of normal hooker Carl Turner, who did not play following medical advice. A 100% success rate from fourteen throws was a remarkable performance, given the strong wind which blew the length of the pitch throughout.
This season's greater strength in player numbers was put to the test with only two backs from the previous narrow home loss to Penryn present in the starting XV; although wing Jonny Brown travelled as a replacement, despite carrying a knock from that match.
A dearth of options in the backs meant that Captain and normal back rower Jake Bury started at inside centre, whilst another preferred back row specialist, Ash Sharp, made his first start for the Chiefs this campaign on the right wing, before moving later to inside centre.
There was a First Team debut for young George Helmore at hooker, where he performed very well. Jon Woodhead travelled despite not being free from injury and played all but the final few minutes.
As befits a Championship Club's facilities (this is the home of Cornish Pirates) the Mennaye Field pitch was in good condition on a dry day with bright sunshine following morning rain.
Although kicking against the wind it was Tics' who troubled the scorer first in the seventh minute. However before that Player/ Forwards Coach Lewis Harben, out for four weeks with an ankle injury, succumbed to a re-occurrence of the same in only the second minute when taking contact. Joel Hempton came off the bench at lock with Tom Whitford moving from there to No. 6 and Shane Wakeham reverting to No. 8.
Pirates' shipped two early penalties allowing Torquay to kick to within 5 metres for an attacking lineout. A further home offence for pulling down the resulting maul saw a quick reprise of the lineout and this time Wakeham peeled off infield to cross the line. Mawgan Penrice's conversion against the wind hit an upright and bounced out so it was 0 – 5.
Showing confidence from this score Torquay counter attacked the re-start kick up to the opposition 22' where Amateurs conceded a fifth penalty, but Tics' were themselves pinged in offending when the maul split in two.
Fifteen minutes in and a second Tics' offence for coming in at the side of a maul saw the home side take full advantage: A kick to touch for a 5 metre attacking lineout produced good ball and then a well judged cross kick to the right allowed wingman John Tyler the space to collect and score, with Captain Steve Evans converting from wide out for 5 – 7.
Torquay then survived a scare as a high attempted clearing kick from defence blew back in the wind, followed by Amateurs securing a short range scrum put-in under the visitors' posts..However Tics' eight pushed Pirates off their own ball and secured a scrum penalty allowing the ball to be cleared. At the end of the first quarter Evans potted a penalty kick from the Torquay 10 metre line to extend the lead to 10 – 5. If anything the wind now seemed to be strengthening. The next penalty for Pirates was converted into an attacking 5 metre lineout, but a wayward throw meant Torquay were again able to clear.
Late on, as Tics' were being pinned back deep by Amateurs use of the wind an attempted clearance kick was charged down and the ricochet took the ball over the try line. In a close run thing the Referee, Mr. Conibeare, (who had a good and efficient game) decided that one of the Amateurs backs', Charlie Goldsmith, had been first to the touchdown and allowed the score. It was not a good time to go 15 – 5 down for the Tics' and matters were compounded when Penrice went off with a calf strain after prolonged treatment on the pitch.
Jonny Brown came on to the right wing with Sharp moving into inside centre and Bury to stand off.
There was still time for Evans to try his luck with a booming penalty effort from halfway, but fortunately for Torquay his shot thudded against the cross bar and bounced out – so it remained 15 – 5 at the break.
Tics' had gradually been gaining ascendancy in the set scrums and such became even more apparent early in the second half when Amateurs lost their tight head prop to injury.
However, before that another let off for Tics' came after three missed tackles allowed Pirates to stay in the visitors 22', where their pressure brought another penalty for offside. Evans managed only to hit the post from short range and again the ball bounced out.
Brown had taken on Tics' main kicking duties and after a Pirates high tackle he put the ball to 20 metres out on the left. From the resulting lineout Bury weaved a route close to the posts where Amateurs conceded for the third time in a nine minute spell, leading to inside centre and Skipper Steve Evans being shown yellow for the offence.
Two 5 metre attacking scrums followed for Tics.' Wakeham broke off the back, but when halted just short Bury was on hand to carry it over close to the posts, allowing Brown to kick the conversion for 15 - 12 after 50 minutes play. From the re-start a judicious grubber kick down the right flank by Brown put Tics' back in the Amateurs 22' before their tight head retired.
Another scrum and Tics' pushed their opponents back a full 15 metres before Wakeham picked up at the back. However when he was adjudged held up over the line Tics' packed down again and this time Tom Whitford was able to get over the try line to the satisfaction of the Referee. With Brown's conversion it was now 15 – 19.
There followed a period of loose play by Tics' backs when in possession, but such was hardly surprising, given how the personnel had changed so much.
Another Pirates offence on Tics' 10 metre line saw Brown put the ball to the home side's 22' once more with a secure touch kick. Another good catch and drive at the lineout gained 20 metres at pace until the home side were found to have pulled down the maul, with one of their forwards shown yellow.
Again Tics' elected for a 5 metre attacking lineout with Tom Whitford getting a second score for 15 – 24 after 65 minutes.
In a by now rare attack Amateurs had a chance to come back with their own attacking lineout inside the Torquay 22,' but they could not match Tic's accuracy and a mis-throw allowed Bury to kick clear as far as the opposite 22.'
In time added on Jon Woodhead retired with cramp. Because of the driving wind Amateurs had to rely on bringing the ball back through the hands when in possession, but Tics' backs were up to the task of defending comfortably and efficiently.
The last play saw Brown run from his own 22' down the right wing deep into the heart of the opposition 22,' beating several defenders on the way. However he was stopped short and that was virtually the last action. Final score 15 – 24.
15 – Tom Drake, 14 – Ash Sharp, 13 – John Berry, 12 – Jake Bury, 11 – Ed Bate, 10 – Mawgan Penrice, 9 – Josh Hunt,
1 – Liam Murray, 2 – Goerge Helmore, 3 – Josh Castleton, 4 – Jon Woodhead, 5 – Tom Whitford, 6 – Shane Wakeham, 7 – Ryan Dunn, 8 – Lewis Harben.
Replacements: Joel Hempton, Jonny Brown and Emmanuel Oyeneka (all played).
Next Saturday (13/10) is a free date, followed by a home combined League and Devon Cup encounter with mid table Plymouth Argaum at the Rec. on 20/10 – KO 3.00 pm.
A surprising result on Saturday was the away defeat of Honiton by Bude in a high scoring game – such giving hope to those (writer included) who thought that the East Devon Club might be a shoe in for promotion as Champions.
The Extras went to the top of DMTSW 2 League Table after three matches following a home fixture at the Rec. against previously unbeaten Kingsbridge Seconds. Despite winning their first two matches by huge margins Kings' could only muster ten players to travel.
Arising from this Tics' lent three players to get a thirteen a side game under way. Although Torquay actually lost the match they will secure five points for a notional 20 – 0 win and Kingsbridge will not be deducted any points for their player shortfall.
The Colts are making good progress under the tutelage of Adam Last and Drew Powell, who are getting valuable forward coaching help from Nick Gill. On Saturday they had a convincing win in the Devon Colts Merit competition at Clennon Valley, beating Paignton Under 18's by 43 – 0 and scoring seven tries in the process.
Two of the tries went to lock Ted Wynne to back up a very good personal performance. Also impressing was open side flanker Chris Brogden.