MATCH REPORT – SATURDAY 5th JANUARY 2019
BUDE 7 v TORQUAY ATHLETIC 15
This was a really good win on the road for Torquay Athletic in the first of three consecutive trips to Cornwall – to be followed by a visit to second placed Penryn on 19/01 and then the re-arranged game at Lanner on 02/02.
Tics' had seen off Bude with some ease in the third week of September at the Rec; scoring seven tries in a convincing 43 – 13 win. However before that date and since the same Bude have won all of their other thirteen League fixtures, arsing from which they sat atop the League.
With a game in hand (at Lanner) on the four sides now above them in the League this win also re-ignites Tics' outside chance of challenging for one of the two automatic promotion places; given that all of those four sides still have to play against each other in return fixtures.
After the hard game against Honiton, Torquay travelled without hooker Bertie Turner and No. 8 Josh Mackin – both still nursing knocks from that very physically demanding encounter. Unfortunately the Boxing Day game also robbed Tics' of their Captain and prolific try scorer Jake Bury, who suffered a suspected dislocated elbow in that match. However the back row is an area of strength for Torquay this season, with Ryan Dunn and Lewis Harben deputising at open side and No. 8, respectively and Shane Wakeham returning via the bench after nine weeks out with a troublesome hand injury.
Dunn took over lineout throwing duties, as he has previously, and again did an excellent job at this set piece. Josh Castleton reverted to hooker and gave absolutely everything before getting a well earned rest very late on.
Due to work commitments centre Alex Brown was unable to travel, but after an absence stretching back to September Jack Barnes came back into the squad on the bench. Fit again Ryan Hanauer replaced Arron Graham on the left wing.
According to their supporters Bude were also missing some personnel; principally at prop. Their Manager stated in his public post match assessment that Bude have normally been able to boss their opponents up front, but this day was entirely different. Indeed no-one could have expected more in terms of effort and positive influence which the Torquay forwards brought to the game.
Played on a dry, cold and overcast day, with no appreciable wind the match was very much one of two halves. Bude had first use of the slight end to end slope, which becomes more pronounced approaching the try line at the end farthest from the Club House.
It was the home side which dominated territory and possession during the first forty minutes. It
was in the 11th minute that Torquay managed to get up to the opposition 22', but a forward pass then handed possession back to the home side: So back came Bude and secured three attacking five metre lineouts in quick succession. Apparently they pride themselves on success at short range rolling mauls, but found the Tics' defence well organised and secure.
However the Referee then decided to yellow card Jon Woodhead, who had been trying to extricate himself from an opponent who was holding on to his shirt. Up until this point in the nineteenth minute Torquay had managed not to concede and indeed managed to maintain the nil – nil scoreline whilst he spent the obligatory ten minutes in the bin.
Then, finally on the half hour Bude scored a try by moving the ball well from right to left along the backline following a scrum and a timely incursion by full back and Captain Ollie Denford created space for him to run through and then convert for a 7 – 0 lead.
Tics response was quick when Bude offended at the re-start and James Wood kicked to touch seven metres out on the left. The injected pace of a secure Tom Whitford catch and a rapid drive caught Bude wrong footed and with no time to form a defensive set. Even the home supporters were surprised at the speed and ease with which no. 8 Harben was able to touch down for 7 – 5.
Then in the 35th minute Tics' suffered a major setback when scrum half Josh Hunt dislocated his shoulder in contact and had to leave the field for a trip to Hospital. Wood moved from no. 10 to take his place, with Mawgan Penrice taking the ten shirt and Jack Barnes coming in to the centre.
There was one more scare for Torquay before the break as five minutes injury time was played. Bude secured another attacking lineout inside the Tics' 22', but knocked on and half time arrived at 7 – 5.
For almost the entire third quarter Torquay kept Bude pinned back in their own half and the home side were then hamstrung by Player / Caoch and No. 6 Angus Hodges being yellow carded for a high tackle on Ryan Dunn.
Wood took a pot at goal from the resulting penalty from wide out on the 10 metre line. His accurate kick rubbed salt into the Bude wound, allowing Tics' a narrow 7 – 8 lead.
Bude then paid their first visit of the half to the Tics' 22' as the game neared the start of the final quarter, but again they knocked on. However the home side managed to stay upfield and when Torquay were penalised for interfering with the catcher at a lineout Denford also decided to go for the posts, but his shot passed close to the outside of the right hand upright and the score remained the same with 10 minutes normal time left.
Torquay again worked their way downfield and Bude were pinged for a tip tackle on prop Liam Murray who was hurt but able to resume. Wood eschewed an easier kick for the posts by going for field position down the left. Again Tics' won the resultant lineout and when the maul went to ground patiently resorted to pick and go's, before Wood intelligently threw a dummy pass 5 metres out, creating enough space for him to snipe through to the line from behind the ruck. He then converted his own try for a lead of 7 – 15.
Tics' have often proved a bogey side for Bude, also winning 10 – 28 in September 2016 on their last visit to Bencoolen Meadows. Their players body language and the demeanour of their supporters suggested that Bude had accepted their fate – needing to score twice to get back into a winning position.
However what those on the sidelines did not know was that the Referee had advised on 10 minutes to be added on for a number of injury stoppages.
From the centre spot re-start Isaac Fahey took the game back to Bude with a long and penetrative run through the middle up to their 10 metre line. Bude then conceded a scrum penalty and in order to eat up time Wood elected to go for goal, but was unsuccessful.
Torquay then managed to give a small clutch of travelling Members and support staff some anxious moments as four penalties were conceded in quick succession. Fortunately strong defence again proved sufficient to prevent Bude getting into the red zone and they added to their undoing by being pinged for crossing; so Torquay were able to play out time for the win.
Returning to the post match comments of Bude's Team Manager he concluded that on the day Tics' had “wanted it more” and that had made the difference. It was a succinct compliment for him to pay, to which one might have added that Tics' also prevailed through some sensible on-field decision making.
Next up are Liskeard Looe, who Tics' beat away by 5 – 17 in late September. Kick off at the Rec. is 2.30 pm.
15 – Tom Drake, 14 – Jonny Brown, 13 – Nathan Pring, 12 – Mawgan Penrice, 11 – Ryan Hanauer, 10 – James Wood, 9 – Josh Hunt,
1 Liam Murray, 2 – Josh Castleton, 3 – Lloyd Penahalgan, 4 – Jon Woodhead, 5 – Tom Whitford, 6 – Isaac Fahey, 7 – Ryan Dunn, 8 – Lewis Harben.
Replacements: Jack Barnes, Shane Wakeham and James Davies.
The Extras were grateful to Exeter Athletic II's for stepping in late to replace scheduled opponents Cullompton Seconds in a home friendly. Both sides had a full squad and the Torquay outfit ran out comfortable winners by 48 – 10. The Colts had no game.