MATCH REPORT – SATURDAY 12th JANUARY 2019
By Website Admin
Torquay 36 Liskeard Looe 13
Torquay Athletic got what they most wanted out of this game, which was a four try bonus point win. Indeed, by half time those four tries were in the bag, when the score was 24 – 3 and the likelihood of Liskeard overhauling Tics' lead looked very remote.
However, it was somewhat patchy performance with the visitors probably edging possession and territory during the first quarter and again for periods of the second half.
Torquay had won the first League game on Cornish soil by 5 – 17 and in truth never looked likely to come out on the wrong side of the scoreline here. However, it was Liskeard who opened the scoring with an Ollie Aggis penalty in the eighth minute; although Tics' were ahead shortly afterwards with a Nathan Pring try started with a strong carry by Jon Woodhead, who set up field position inside the opposing 22. The backs were then employed and moved the ball swiftly and accurately right to left, creating a large enough gap for Pring to run through.
There were some enforced changes in the home lineup: Scrum half Josh Hunt dislocated shoulder is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season and during the week left wing Ryan Hanauer had suffered a double break of his collar bone in training.
Their replacements were Gavin Blacoe at No 9 and Luke Hedges at No 11; both equipping themselves with very competent displays. Player / Coach James Wood reverted to the bench because of a troublesome hamstring strain and was not called for over the eighty minutes. His place at No 10 was taken by Tony McCarthy, who is unable to commit to every game, but stood in to occupy this role when another “ten”, being Mawgan Penrice was ruled out with an abdominal muscle strain.
The day was mild and overcast on a dry pitch with a strengthening breeze, which blew down the pitch from the cricket square end.
Early exchanges involved the award of penalties to both sides, giving the opportunity to both to try the catch and drive, but on both occasions lineout ball was stolen by the opposition and Tics' were grateful to Woodhead for effecting one of these for his side before a penalty for offside was potted by visiting centre Aggis., after which came Tics' early response with the try described above made it 7 – 3 in the 12th minute following a McCarthy conversion from the touchline.
Liskeard returned to the Torquay half and the home side's attempts to exit were thwarted when two clearing kicks, aided by the breeze went dead, requiring a scrum back to the visitors.
But when Torquay did get field position it led to a second try after Liskeard were penalised for holding on to the ball on the ground and McCarthy kicked to 5 metres out on the left. The catch and drive was well executed with Lewis Harben getting the touchdown for 12 – 3 after 25 minutes.
An immediate opportunity for Liskeard to close the gap was not taken when Aggis missed a penalty in front of the posts.
They then lost their No. 10 Treve Hurly to a yellow card for a tip tackle. Some further Torquay pressure at an attacking lineout led to another yellow card for a visiting forward who sought to prevent a score by illegal means. The resulting penalty and close in lineout gave Harben his second try at the back of a maul, so it was 17 – 3 in the 37th minute.
From the re-start a lightning breakout by Torquay was stopped only by committed tackling back by the depleted visitors, but then Tics' scored a slightly fortuitous try when a knock on in the build up was not spotted and the ball was worked to Jonny Brown to stretch the defence by use of the wide channel; running round behind the posts to give McCarthy a routine conversion for 24 – 3, at which the score remained at the break.
Tics' attacked strongly on the resumption and although Liskeard were now back to a full compliment of fifteen they could not stop prop Lloyd Penhalagan crashing over from short range following driving play by the forwards. Another conversion made it 31 – 3 with Tics' seemingly now “out of sight.” Woodhead gave way to give game time to James Davies.
To their credit Liskeard did not lie down despite the deficit and in the 48th minute Torquay's defence dropped its guard allowing Aggis to run in from the home 22, although again he missed the conversion, so it was 31 – 8.
Tics' now seemed to lose momentum. They were penalised at a scrum and this allowed Liskeard to set up a promising attacking position, with a lineout at which Penhalagan was yellow carded for an offence. With Liskeard electing to scrum the resulting penalty and another shortly after Torquay decided to defend with only seven in the pack, but did so successfully, despite Liskeard getting a shove on
The came another swift Torquay breakout when the ball was switched to the right wing and Jonny Brown scorched his way to the opposite 22' before offloading inside to the supporting Harben, who ran in to touch down. A try hatrick for the back rower in only his second full game for the home side after a long and frustrating injury lay off. He also produced a prodigious tackle count in the Torquay cause.
It was now 36 – 8 with ten minutes to play plus injury time.
However further disruption occurred when Liam Murray was forced to leave the filed with a nasty looking eye injury; requiring Woodhead to return and replace him in the front row.
Tony McCarthy was then rested, requiring a re-shuffle in the back line with Shane Wakeham (already on in the back row as a replacement) going out to centre.
A by now rare Tics' attack once again using width was halted for a forward pass decision, which many supporters questioned. Meanwhile Woodhead was shown yellow for an alleged scrum offence.
The scoring concluded with a fine solo try by Aggis, although in trying to hurry his drop goal conversion from in front of the posts he missed once again.
Time was then played out, with the Referee adding some eight minutes play. During this period Tics' were pinged for various offences on five occasions, taking a hitherto modest penalty count from single figures to thirteen. A similar number had been conceded during the final throes of the valuable away win at Bude, although that was in trying to defend a lead which would deny Bude even a losing bonus point. Nevertheless perhaps the Coaches will need to address this rash of misdemeanours late in the game ahead of the difficult away fixture to Penryn next Saturday.
Penryn won at the Rec. in the first part of the season by 21 – 22 in somewhat controversial circumstances and now occupy the second of the automatic promotion places. Kick off is 2.30.
One more loss would appear to rule out Torquay from having any say in the promotion fight. Hence it would be extremely helpful to the side for maximum travelling support. The coach meets at the Rec. at 10.00 am and good space is available.
15 – Tom Drake, 14 – Jonny Brown, 13 – Nathan Pring, 12 – Alex Brown, 11 – Luke Hedges, 10 – Tony McCarthy, 9 – Gavin Blacoe,
1 – Liam Murray, 2 – Josh Castleton, 3 – Lloyd Penhalagan, 4 – Jon Woodhead, 5 – Tom Whitford, 6 – Isaac Fahey (Captain), 7 – Ryan Dunn, 8 – Lewis Harben.
Replacements” James Davies, Shane Wakeham (both played) and James Wood
The Extras travelled to Plympton Victoria in a DMT2SW game against opposition that they had beaten at home by 51 – 0 in September. Once again 'Victoria failed to register a point, but they are the only Plymouth based Team to have travelled up to Torquay in the League so far this season and for that our Club is most appreciative.
The game saw a return from injury for centre John Berry whilst Sean Dallow scored three tries from full back in a 0 – 31 win, which keeps the Extras in second place in this Merit Table behind leaders Salcombe, who visit the Rec. at the end of March.
The Colts lost a home Merit match played at Torre Valley North by 19 - 32 to Brixham Under 18's. Coach Adam Last said that the best side won on the day, although he praised his charges for making a competitive match of it despite going 5 – 25 down, after an early young Tics' try by Tom Roberts.
A Brixham sin binning together with a penalty try on the stroke of half time bringing a 12 - 25 scoreline gave Torquay some encouragement for the second half, which was very much an attritional 35 minutes. Brixham drew first blood in that period to go 12 – 32 up before the home side scored a late converted try for a one point bonus defeat