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First XV - Match centre

Torquay Athletic
Sat 8 Dec 14:30 - South West Division - Tribute Cornwall/Devon Abandoned




This League match was not completed due to tragic circumstances. A Lanner Committee Member watching from the touchline collapsed with a suspected heart attack. He was immediately attended by Club Physios and a Lanner player, who is believed to be a paramedic. Two ambulance crews and an air ambulance were also very quick to respond. However the gentleman could not be revived.

It would be inappropriate to produce the normal detailed match report as the game has been declared null and void and will have to be replayed under League rules. The date of the replay will be announced by South West Leagues in due course.

However a briefer than usual description of the match is provided below in order to give due recognition to the extremely committed performance of Torquay's eighteen man squad. And to advise on the Colts and next Saturday's home League match against Honiton.

Lanner have lost only once at home this term,and that to Plymstock Albion Oaks who were Table toppers at that time. They include in their home victories a notable 20 – 19 win against a very good Honiton side.

Tics' travelled with five changes from the previous week's win at home to Withycombe; mostly in the pack, where previously ever present Captain Jake Bury was moving house and No. 8 Josh Mackin was a late absentee because of illness. Jon Woodhead and tight head prop Lloyd Penhalagan were also unavailable. All four of these players are normally prominent ball carriers, so those coming in to replace them had to add this element to their normal game – and did so outstandingly well.

This is the first season that Lanner's new home, shared with Mount Ambrose Cricket Club, has come into use, following major groundworks to convert from what was previously just a rough field. The pitch is shorter than most at approx. 85 metres, but the width is greater than that at Torquay Rec. Despite the recent wet weather the surface was firm and well grassed.

Torquay might have wished to use this width through their backs', as had been in evidence in recent matches. However opportunities to bring in the wide men proved few and far between. The reason was difficulty in looking after the ball in the conditions, which saw gale force winds blowing on a slight diagonal across the pitch. This regularly gusted to 50 mph or more.

In these circumstances both sides mastered lineout time remarkably well, assisted by some sympathetic, but fair, refereeing by the Cornish Official.

Hooker Carl Turner's accurate throwing was complimented by safe hands, notably from pack leader Tom Whitford and the lifters. His clean catches, communication and timing of release were all spot on.

Although troubled at the first two set scrums Tics' visibly lighter pack then established some parity at this set piece.

Lanner brought pressure in the first ten minutes, but Tics' defence was up to the task with good line speed and a strong “get in their faces” attitude nullifying Lanners' attacking intentions.

Tics' first visit to the opposite 22' had to wait until the fifteenth minute and overall Lanner dominated possession and territory during the first quarter. But thereafter Tics' gained a strong foothold.

Several attacking lineouts to the visitors came and went with Lanner holding out. However well chosen and well directed grubber kicks by James Wood found touch deep in the opposite 22' thus keeping the home side pinned back. Tics' were playing the conditions as well as was possible..

When Lanner conceded an eighth penalty the close in lineout catch and drive bore fruit this time with Turner peeling off down the narrow side, having recognised that there was space there to exploit. He managed to run round unchallenged in the shallow depth in goal area closer to the posts than where he had crossed the try line. Such made Wood's conversion directly against the prevailing wind more achievable and so it was 0 – 7 in the 37th minute.

However Lanner are an obdurate set of players and came back strongly, getting over in the corner from short range a minute from the end of normal time.

Seven minutes injury time was then played, reflecting a number of long stoppages for on field attention, including to Josh Castleton and Wood, both of whom were able to carry on. However following a twinge to a hand injury, which had kept him out for several weeks, open side flanker Ryan Dunn did not re-appear in the second half, nor did blind side back rower George Helmore, who had sustained damage to a shoulder.

With the slight end to end slope in their favour Lanner took the game to Torquay from the re-start.

It was very much backs against the wall for the visitors, who had to think quickly on their feet and react to deal with more injury setbacks. First Isaac Fahey, playing well in an unfamiliar role at No. 8, was removed as a precaution after taking a bang to the head. Fahey had produced a phenomenal tackle count. Later Turner needed a long spell of treatment but on a needs must basis elected to stay on.

Hopefully this stern test will prove good preparation for the potentially difficult home fixture against Honiton this coming Saturday (KO 2.30 pm). The Lacemen, using their first half advantage of playing down the slope in early October, had registered a five try and 31 – 0 points lead by half time in a match where the final result of 34 – 12 was Tics' worst reverse of the season so far.

Honiton have since proved invincible at home, dishing out some heavy beatings to establish an impressive points difference tally. However some comfort can be taken from the fact that the third placed side have sustained all of their three defeats on the road.


15 – Tom Drake, 14 – Jonny Brown, 13 – Nathan Pring, 12 – Alex Brown, 11 – Dan McKenna, 10 – James Wood (Captain), 9 – Josh Hunt,
1 – Josh Castleton, 2 – Bertie Turner, 3 – Liam Murray, 4 – Tom Whitford, 5 – Joel Hempton, 6 – George helmore, 7 – Ryan Dunn, 8 – Issac Fahey.

Replacements: James Davies, Ryan Hanauer and Dan Woods (all played).

The Colts at TVN played a friendly against a good Cullompton Under 18's (who had won four out of their five previous matches). The match was played with fourteen per side as Cully had only been able to muster that number to travel.

Win a Maximuscle training session with Anthony Watson

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Tribute Cornwall/Devon results

Plymstock Albion Oaks
Pirates Amateurs


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Honiton 25 104
2. Penryn 24 103
3. Bude 24 99
4. Plymstock Albion Oaks 24 85
5. Torquay Athletic 24 79
6. Liskeard-Looe 24 61
7. South Molton 24 61

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