Amateurs rue their luck as long wait for a win continues
Pirates Amateurs 20, Crediton 21
THE Amateurs gave an excellent account of themselves in this narrowest of defeats at the hands of a strong Crediton side who have lost only once in the league so far this season.
Crediton showed why they are among the front runners for promotion at times but they didn't have things all their own way as they were made to work extremely hard by an Amateurs side still without a handful of key players through injury, with skipper Ashley Weston, Ryan Forrester, Harry Hudson, Josh Oliver and Ben Brittain all missing,
There was, however, a comeback performance from veteran campaigner Ian James, making his first appearance in almost five years, while Leigh Edwards performed well on his return to the starting line-up and Danny Toolan and Steve Kent did well despite playing out of position at centre and scrum half respectively.
Fantastic offer at Swanson Ford, Newton Abbot. 3 Years FREE Servicing and 5 Years Warranty available on your BRAND NEW FORD FIESTA with the AWARD WINNING ECOBOOST ENGINE!!!
Terms: Limited stock available. Only whilst stock lasts
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Tuesday, December 24 2013
In a hard, physical encounter the Amateurs started the better of the two sides, keeping and recycling the ball well and being rewarded with the opening try after only three minutes by wing Aaron Hall which Kelvin James converted.
However, the physically stronger visiting side started to get on top and hit back with a penalty from centre Mark Lee after nine minutes. James soon restored the Amateurs seven point advantage with a penalty, but Crediton duly responded with a fine individual try by wng Jake Clark which was unconverted.
And five minutes before half-time Crediton moved into the lead with a try from Paul Turner which Lee converted to make it 15-10.
The Amateurs started the second half in similar fashion to the first and within two minutes Ben Noyce powered over the line from 15 yards for an unconverted try.
After a fairly even passage of play Crediton increased the pressure which led to Lee putting his side back in front with two quickfire penalties inside four minutes.
The Amateurs responded positively and after seeing two good scoring chances go begging they took advantage of Crediton having two players yellow carded when Kieran Brownfield powered over from wide out. The Amateurs needed the conversion to take the lead, only for the strong wind to take James's well-struck place kick agonisingly wide of the uprights.
It was a cruel blow for a gallant home side, who won't have to wait too much longer for that elusive first league win of the season if they can reproduce this level of performance in the weeks ahead, starting with a tough trip to Falmouth on Saturday (3pm).
Pirates Amateurs: K James, A Hall, N Hitchens, D Toolan, J Nicholas, A Snell, S Kent, K Brownfield, I James, M Nicholas, L Hollis, J Vosper, B Noyce, L Edwards, C Stevens (c). Reps used: B Eddy, M Osborne; not used: Scott Dugdale.
The Amateurs have suffered another bitter blow with the news that Jack Lugg has been forced to retire from the game due to a serious knee injury.
The 21-year-old hooker was taken to hospital after suffering a dislocated knee in the home match with Honiton last month, and was initially ruled out for the season.
Club chairman Paul Greaves said: "Everyone at the club feels for Jack as he's an absolutely smashing lad.
"We'll do all we can to support him through this difficult time and also encourage him to hopefully remain involved with the team in another capacity whenever he feels ready."
Newquay Hornets 20, Hayle 17
HAYLE could consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to return empty handed from an entertaining and evenly contested encounter at the Sports Centre on Saturday.
A penalty from fly half Sam Cullen earned the Hornets their third league victory of the season but defeat was hard to take for Hayle who had looked as if they had done enough to secure at least a share of the spoils.
The hosts looked keen to end a run of three straight defeats and made a bright start with No8 Tim Eustice crossing the line for a try which Cullen converted.
Hayle gradually gained a foothold in the game and replied with an unconverted try by flanker Rob Goodman following a long kick and chase downfield.
With the home side growing increasingly frustrated the visiting Lions took the lead for the first time when Martin Strick took a quick tap penalty and ran through to touchdown.
Hayle added another seven points before the break when the Hornets defence failed to clear their lines allowing Talan Daniels to score a try which Strick this time converted to give his side a 17-7 lead at half-time.
The Hornets improved after the restart and were soon back in the game when Cullen reduced the deficit by kicking a penalty. And it wasn't long before the home side were back on level terms when scrum half Connor Riley showed good strength to bulldoze his way over the line and Cullen was again accurate with the conversion to make it 17 points apiece.
It was anybody's game as the match entered the closing stages, but it was the hosts who were rewarded for a good late spell of pressure when they were awarded a penalty some 40 metres out, and Cullen continued his immaculate kicking display by slotting over the match-winning place-kick to make it 20-17 with only two minutes remaining.
Hayle meanwhile were left licking their wounds and will look to return to winning ways at home to Old Plymothian and Mannamedian on Saturday (3pm).
Scorers: Newquay: Tries: Eustice, Riley; Cons: Cullen 2; Pens: Cullen 2. Hayle: Tries: Goodman, M Strick, Daniels; Con: Strick.