MATCH REPORT – SATURDAY 20th OCTOBER 2018
TORQUAY ATHLETIC 73 v PLYMOUTH ARGAUM 17
As had been recorded in the first match report of this season, following the 99 – 0 win over Hayle, Torquay Athletic Coaches had announced an intention that, where conditions allowed in Cornwall & Devon League, they would try and play as much high tempo attacking rugby as possible.
In the Hayle match thirteen tries were scored, followed by seven in the home defeat of Bude. On this day, when sunny, still and warm conditions favoured running rugby Plymouth Argaum were unable to cope when Tics' put pace on proceedings and so it was that another eleven tries resulted.
Long term injuries are still keeping prop Lloyd Penhalagan and back rower Lewis Harben on the sidelines. Centre Alex Brown was still a little way from achieving full fitness and so it was that Captain Jake Bury continued at inside centre, rather than in the back row. With Shane Wakeham absent, working away, Tom Whitford was moved from lock to No. 6. Although Bertie Turner and Alex Jeffery were available again both started on the bench following competent displays last time out in the bonus point win at Pirates Amateurs, by their replacements on that day – George Helmore and Josh Hunt.
Following his appearance in another away win in Cornwall left wing Ryan Hanauer was chosen to make his First Team home debut. He put in a very encouraging performance, with some positive hard running and intelligent positioning and timing. His 10 minute spell off the field for a high tackle on the half hour was perhaps unlucky, although at this level Referees have to make a snap decision on such things, without the benefit of umpteen video replays and the help of a TMO.
Tics' kicked off towards the Sea and eventually returned to their own half for a re-start kick in the 5th minute after not allowing Argaum out of their 22 during that whole period. The pressure of defending two close in lineouts and two five metre scrums found out the visitors when Tics' introduced additional tempo with a quick tap free kick and the ball released to Josh Mackin who ran over in the less populated blind side. A wide out conversion by Mawgan Penrice made it 7 – 0.
This quickly became 14 – 0 when Tics' scored again with a swift counter attack following a take of the drop out re-start by Jon Woodhead who switched the ball to the left into the hands of the threes'. Tom Drake ran a straight line to breach the defence and he fed Hanauer down the left wing, who made ground rapidly before recognising a supporting run inside by Jonny Brown, off his opposite wing, having scented a likely opening. He collected and ran in unopposed to dot down and Penrice again added the extras for 14 – 0.
Argaum then tried to tip the balance by scoring themselves in quick time following a high tackle penalty against Tics' and a close in attacking lineout by the visitors. Second row Dan Smith scored by running infield off third phase, but the conversion attempt was charged down by an alert Josh Hunt so it was 14 – 5 in the fifteenth minute.
Five minutes later Torquay were 21 – 5 to the good. A scrum on Argaum's 22' yielded a Torquay penalty kicked for touch 10 metres out. However Argaum manged to salvage the ball, but when their clearing kick for touched a Torquay hand a looped flight took the ball into the outstretched hands of Woodhead, who simply ran back down the touchline to score from just inside the 22.' Penrice drove the conversion from the touchline hard and it just had the legs to clear the crossbar.
Argaum then lost a player to injury and just prior to the half hour stage Hanauer departed with a yellow card, as described above.
Argaum were next to score after taking a quick tap penalty inside Tics' 22' for another offence. The scorer was No.8 Joe Walker, but the conversion attempt failed, so it was 21 – 10 in the 32nd minute.
Torquay then hit a purple patch to add three more tries prior to half time. First a double high tackle by Argaum was penalised, leading to an attacking Tics' lineout down the right eight metres out. A catch and drive saw Mackin get his second try and a yellow card for a visiting player who had tried to stop the drive with a blatant coming in at the side.
Again a good Penrice conversion from wide out on his “wrong side” made it 28 – 10. On the resumption a deliberate knock on on half way by Argaum took Tics' back into the opposition 22' and then great movement through three pairs of hands saw Wood put Brown away to score again on the left for 33 – 10.
The same player then scored from his natural right wing berth from the half way line. It followed more quick hands going left to right and then an inadvertent “tip-on” by Woodhead, which saw the ball loop into the quick reacting Brown's grateful hands. Penrice's conversion was the last action of the half making the score 40 – 10.
At the start of the second period Woodhead made way for Whitford, who moved up to lock with his No. 6 berth taken by Ash Sharp – another who had performed well at Pirates Amateurs.
Argaum started stronger and dominated possession inside Tics' half for the first seven minutes until a solid clearing kick by Penrice saw the ball land in touch on the Argaum 10 metre line. However a
breakout ensued from the lineout and possession was retained by the Plymouth side in a series of pick and go's with Dan Smith getting over again and replacement Tony Shepherd converting for 40 – 17.
This woke Tics' up and a minute later they had another score. A scrum 18 metres out and 15 metres infield was won. Both Tics' props lurked in the left wing channel and with a due element of surprise Wood threw a miss pass to one of them, Josh Castleton, who made ground and then slipped the ball to front row compatriot Liam Murray who got over in the corner for 45 – 17 in the 56th minute.
Turner then replaced Helmore and in an enforced change Woodhead resumed at prop in place of Murray who had a badly cut eye lid.
Woodhead duly announced his return with a second try after forward carries down the middle. He was fed and charged over under the posts, legally barging two defenders out of the way. A Penrice conversion kept the scoreboard moving at 52 – 17, as Jeffery was introduced at scrum half close to the start of the final quarter.
Then another good score with swift transfer of the ball. A decent run by Hanauer linked up with Brown, who found space to run infield and score under the posts. A routine conversion and it was 59 – 17.
Wood then took advantage of a visibly tiring defence by making a decisive break from inside his own half and linking with a long floated pass to the right touchline, where Whitford was stationed and the latter ran in to dot down in the corner.
Once again Penrice converted from the touchline for 66 – 17.
Argaum came back for a while as Tics' conceded three penalties in quick succession. However lacking the home side's accuracy in possession Argaum spilled the ball and were then pinged for holding on in the tackle.
There would be no more alarms for Torquay who scored another excellent try in a final flurry to close the game. Again the “hungry for work” Brown vacated his right wing to come left and create space as the ball was shipped along the backline. Both Brown with his pass and Hanauer with well timed acceleration created the score for the latter, who was able to get behind the last man and then run infield to under the posts. Penrice duly slotted the conversion – his ninth out of eleven attempts..............many from wide out. Final score 73 – 17.
Tics had thoroughly entertained the home support and whilst there may be those who point to the relative paucity of the opposition on the day it should be pointed out that mid table Argaum had won three out of their six previous matches this season.
Torquay scored tries through some great passing, good support and mutual understanding. Quite often after recording six tries in the first half there may be a temptation to show boat and for the temptation amongst individuals to grab any try scoring kudos; leading to a lack of discipline and loss of direction. Credit therefore lies in the fact that against Hayle, Bude and now Argaum this has not happened and the Team had very much managed to keep its shape.
If one were to be more forensic the Team management may wish to address how Plymouth Argaum managed to score three tries of their own and why, in such a dominant performance, Tics' were still found to collect eleven penalties against compared to Argaum's twelve.
Sterner tests lie ahead, starting with next week's visit to 100% win divisional leaders Plymstock Albion Oaks. Torquay will need to be at their best to hopefully record an away win, which would enable the Club to close the points gap at the top of the Table. Two Teams currently placed above Tics', being Penryn and Honiton, face each other in the Duchy on the same day and so the opportunity is there for Torquay to make headway in the right direction.
Kick off at Horsham Playing Fields, Staddiscombe, PL9 0DF is at 3.00 pm and the Club would appreciate support down there in numbers.
15 – Tom Drake, 14 – Jonny Brown, 13 – James Wood, 12 – Jake Bury (Captain), 11 – Ryan Hanauer, 10 – Mawgan Penrice, 9 – Josh Hunt,
1 – Liam Murray, 2 – George Helmore, 3 – Josh Catleton, 4 – Jon Woodhead, 5 Joel Hempton, 6 – Tom Whitford, 7 – Ryan Dunn, 8 – Josh Mackin.
Replacements: Alex Jeffery, Bertie Turner and Ash Sharp (all played).
Unfortunately the Extras were without a proposed home DMT2SW match, as Argaum could only raise a few players and no other replacement fixture could be found.
The Colts went to Crediton in the first game of the second stage of their Merit competition. The home side made it eight wins out of eight this season with a 35 – 10 victory.
Playing up a slope in the first half the young Tics' turned round 14 – 10 in arrears, following a try by Ben Thomas, converted by Louie Smith, who also added a penalty. However, in the second half the home side turned on the power and drew away in what Coach Adam Last described as a hard fought match.