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First XV - Match centre

Torquay Athletic
Sat 19 Jan 14:30 - South West Division - Tribute Cornwall/Devon Full time




Torquay Athletic suffered their heaviest defeat of the season and the same effectively ended any lingering hopes of a swift return to Western Counties West. However the scoreline tells only a part of the story, as no-one could have anticipated the catalogue of injuries sustained during what was always going to be a tough assignment – Penryn have not lost at home this season and in somewhat controversial circumstances had secured a 22 – 23 win at the Rec. in late September, when a final minute try by Tics' did not yield the extra two points from a wide out conversion, which hit the right upright and bounced out, thereby denying a last gasp victory.

Torquay travelled short of recognised backs and as such started with two back rowers Shane Wakeham and Jake Bury occupying the two centre slots. Captain Bury had elected to play against advice, despite having dislocated an elbow only three and a half weeks earlier in the Boxing Day match.

Tics' started the game in positive fashion, with rolling touchline kicks by James Wood keeping the home side pinned back. Indeed it was eight minutes before Penryn found a way to exit their own half. It had rained heavily in Cornwall during the morning and the wet ball hampered Tic's progress with a number of knock-ons

When the Borough did break out pressure brought them two penalties in quick succession, the second under the posts when a Torquay player came in from the side defending a ruck. Penryn elected to scrum and then showed accuracy in spreading the ball wide right for wing Josh Chambers to squeeze over for 5 – 0 after 12 minutes play.

A long period of attention was then required to Wakeham, who had sustained a nasty open gash below his mouth in the tackle. His departure required an immediate Hospital visit resulting in seven stitches. Replacement Ben Spears is a centre and therefore ideally placed to fill in. Unfortunately however he suffered a hamstring strain within fifteen or so minutes of his appearance and would take no further part.

Good build up play led to a second home try in the 19th minute, with both backs and forwards involved before a decisive run through the middle opened up a gap and lock Steve Homer was on hand with a powerful run from the 22' to dot down under the posts, allowing Paul Saberton an easy conversion for 12 – 0.

When Penryn transgressed for the first time an attacking lineout for Tics' five metres out resulted. The catch and drive went well, but just as it seemed a score was inevitable Penryn managed a steal and cleared. The home side now numbers amongst its players the very experienced loose head prop Darren Jacques, freshly transferred from Truro to boost their promotion push.

Then another serious blow for Tics' as No. 8 Lewis Harben hobbled off in the 20th minute. A Hospital visit confirmed bad damage to two knee ligaments and an initial assessment is that such will keep the popular Player / Coach on the sidelines until well into autumn 2019. His man of the match performance the previous week had emphasised how Tics' had missed his presence during an already disruptive injury affected season for him.

From this point of the report details have been obtained from player recollections as the writer assisted in Hospital visits. Penryn added to their try tally twice more through flanker Goerge Jones and outside centre Sam Hitchens giving them a four try bonus point and a half time lead of 24 – 0 . In the meantime however Tics' pack required another re-shuffle when prop Josh Castleton retired with a shoulder injury, meaning that they reached half time with fourteen fit players on the park and started the second period in the same situation.

About half an hour's stubborn resistance either side of half time meant that Torquay conceded no more points, but scored their only try of the game when Jake Bury got on the end of a catch and drive. For 24 – 5.

Tight head prop Lloyd Penhalagan was then shown yellow for retaliation for what he deemed to be foul play against him. The Penryn player was also given a 10 minute break.

Finally Bury found a knock to the ankle too much to carry on and he had to retire, meaning that Torquay were down to thirteen players, following the end of the binning period. Penryn woke themselves up to finish with two late on tries, both scored by No. 8 Grant Randlesome and converted by Saberton.

Next week Torquay face Pirates Amateurs, who they overcame on Cornish soil with a 15 – 24 four try bonus point win in early October. Pirates have yet to record an away win this term.


15 – Tom Drake, 14 – Jonny Brown, 13 – Jake Bury, 12 – Shan Wakeham, 11 – Alex Brown, 10 – James Wood, 9 – Gavin Blacoe,
1 – Josh Castelton, 2 – George Helmore, 3 – Lloyd Penahalagan, 4 – Tom Whitford, 5 – Jon Woodhead, 6 – Isaac Fahey, 7 – Ryan Dunn, 8 – Lewis Harben.

Replacements: Ben Spears, James Davies and James Norrish (all played)

The Extras wanted to put right an away loss to St Colomba and Torpoint in a home DMT2SW game played at the Rec. and duly did so with a comfortable 31 – 5 win. This returns them to the top of that Merit Table, but with Salcombe hard on their heels only a point behind, with two matches in hand.

In April the two tops sides in DMT2SW and DMT2NE will contest semi finals with the top side in one League playing the second placed in the other League and vice versa. The likely date will be 20th April (Easter weekend) – to be followed by a Final between the two winners, probably to be played at Tiverton on 27th April for the Dave Butt Cup and an opportunity to secure promotion to DMT 1.

In the corresponding DMT2NE Sidmouth lead the Table by some distance,although behind them second placed Ilfracombe have some games in hand.

The Colts played an away Merit match and overcame Withycombe Under 18's by 7 - 17 with tries from Louie Smith, Aaron Hodson and Nathan Snape. It was a fine match played in a good

spirit throughout according to Coach Adam Last. After dominating in the first half the young Tic's still found themselves tying at 7 – a piece at half time. However they stepped up the pace thereafter to pull away with the best try coming from a catch and drive followed by moving the ball wide for Aaron Hodson to finish.

Withycombe came back in the latter stages, but Torquay's defence proved sound enough.

The Firsts were not the only side with a long away trip as a group of supporters and Officials travelled under their own steam to Penryn for an Under 13 curtain raiser to the Firsts Teams.

Despite a torrential downpour for the first 20 minutes the Torquay lads scored the first try of the game after continued domination with Marcus Griffiths crashing through the Penryn defence. Tics' then held off some sustained home side pressure, but finally succumbed to a well taken try. However thereafter the Under 13's upped their game and scored a good second half try by prop Seth McKay to make it 5 – 10, which remained as the final score.

It was described by Coach Tony Waring as great for the youngsters to be able to watch the Firsts play away and to form a guard of honour for their Senior counterparts at the start. Afterwards First Team lock Jon Woodhead made a presentation to Dominic Foulds for “man of the match.”

Tony remarked.............” I was really proud of the boys today for showing grit and determination whilst enjoying the day and learning a little about the fun of a long away trip. It was great to support the Seniors and to give our lads a little taste of things to come.”

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Tribute Cornwall/Devon results

Pirates Amateurs
Plymstock Albion Oaks


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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Honiton 26 108
2. Bude 25 103
3. Penryn 24 103
4. Plymstock Albion Oaks 25 89
5. Torquay Athletic 24 79
6. Liskeard-Looe 26 65
7. South Molton 25 61

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