Amateurs stun high fliers to ease their drop fears
TRIBUTE CORNWALL & DEVON
Pirates Ams 34, Withycombe 25
THE Amateurs produced their best result of the season so far as they overcame fourth-placed Withycombe on the Mennaye Nursery pitch on Saturday to record their second successive league win.
In an absorbing contest the Amateurs, playing with the slope in the first half took an eighth minute lead, when a clever switch of play by outstanding scrum-half Steve Kent created the opening for Aaron Hall to run in the opening try. Rhys Brownfield added the extras with a brilliant touchline conversion.
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Withycombe fought back with two penalties in as many minutes from Glenn Channing. And despite the home side being quicker off the line in defence and bossing the gainline in attack, it was the visitors who took a 12-10 lead into the half-time break after Channing kicked two further penalties in reply to Rhys Brownfield's second successful kick for the Amateurs.
However, the home side started the second half brightly and within three minutes some swift phase play led to Ryan Forrester picking up the ball in midfield and beating five defenders before going in under the posts. Brownfield converted for a 17-12 lead.
Channing responded with a penalty to keep Withy within reach, but the Amateurs struck the decisive blows after Withycombe's Mike Richards was yellow carded for a high tackle on 63 minutes, and with a one-man advantage another Brownfield penalty was followed by a superb try from Charlie Goldsworthy.
The home side soon scored another against 13 men after lock Jon Axon was also sin-binned for infringing at the ruck, and wing Jack Nicholas crossed for a try which Brownfield converted to make it 34-15.
Richards' reintroduction gave Withy the impetus they had lacked, but it was only in the closing stages that they started make serious inroads through the home defence.
No.8 Richards was first adjudged to have been held up over the line, before being awarded a try two minutes later following a two-metre pick-and-go.
Then with the last play of the game, the returning Jon Axon's line-out take set a driving maul which rumbled 20 metres for Richards to grab his second try.
Channing nailed the conversion to salvage a losing bonus point for Withycombe, who slumped to a third defeat in four games.
The Amateurs meanwhile earned their first four-try bonus point of the campaign which moved them to within two points of third-from-bottom OPMs ahead of Saturday's home match with Saltash (2.15pm).
Pirates Amateurs: S Osborne, A Hall, R Forrester, B Eddy, J Nicholas, R Brownfield, S Kent, L Edwards, C Goldsworthy, C Stevens (c), B Brittain, D Ross-Nicholl, M Nicholas, D Toolan, K Brownfield. Reps used: R Davies, I James; unused: D O'Hanlon.
Exeter Saracens 27, Hayle 8
HAYLE made the long journey home from Exeter empty-handed as they slipped to their seventh league defeat of the season at the hands of a Saracens side who bounced back from their heavy 50-point defeat at Falmouth the previous weekend.
The Lions matched the home side in an evenly fought first half and there was only a single score between the sides with 40 minutes played.
Saracens crossed the whitewash twice before the break with scores from half-back duo Andy Clarke and Tom Crook, with one converted by Adam Brereton.
All Hayle's points came before the break with an unconverted try from Neil Mitchell and a penalty from Dan Magee.
The Lions were unable to add to their tally in the second half, however, as Saracens put the game out of the visitors' reach with further tries from wing Darren Light and debutant Rob Wilmington, with a conversion and penalty from Nathan Clark completing the scoring.
Hayle are without a fixture this weekend, with their next league match away to Crediton on Saturday January 4.
Hayle: S Osborne, A Hall, R Forrester, B Eddy, J Nicholas, R Brownfield, S Kent, L Edwards, C Goldsworthy, C Stevens (c), B Brittain, D Ross-Nicholl, M Nicholas, D Toolan, K Brownfield. Reps used: R Davies, I James; unused: D O'Hanlon.