Borough snatch last gasp victory in derby thriller
Falmouth 17 Penryn 22
A TRY deep into stoppage time by Penryn prop Matt Williams earned the Borough bragging rights in their Boxing Day derby meeting against their local rivals.
With the score deadlocked at 17-17 and the game into the fifth minute of added time, Penryn gained possession and handled the ball well to the left for Williams to score a try worthy of winning such a close encounter.
The game attracted a large crowd for what turned out to be a close, competitive match with everything to play for right up to the very end and the players were applauded from the pitch for the performance they had produced in such poor conditions.
Just before the kick off the heavy rain and strong cross wind arrived to ensure that this was not to be an exhibition of silky handling skills and dancing footwork but more of a hard slog for possession and position with the intention of minimising handling errors.
Both defences held firm early on until Falmouth were reduced to 14 men by a sin-binning of one of their forwards for a technical offence after 23 minutes and Penryn made the most of their numerical advantage.
After sustained pressure on the Falmouth line by their forwards they moved the ball very slickly to the right for Josh Chambers to cut through and score near the posts. Jake Seviour converted to open a 7-0 lead for the visitors.
Falmouth needed to respond quickly and this they did through their forwards and their reward came just before the half time whistle when Rob Banks kicked a penalty to narrow the gap to 7-3.
In the second half, Falmouth had the advantage of the diagonal cross wind and right from the outset demonstrated their intention to kick for territorial position and drive on, while Penryn were more confident with the ball in hand and gained valuable ground through adept handling and elusive running over the muddy surface.
The Falmouth tactics brought the first score of the second half when their forwards won an attacking line out to drive the Penryn pack back over the try line and several hands claimed the touch down. Rob Banks added the extras to put Falmouth in front at 10-7.
As the weather conditions deteriorated even further, possession became an embarrassment for both teams at times as more handling mistakes crept in and territory was lost as a consequence.
Penryn made the most of such a situation when skipper Jordan Rose picked up and crossed for a well worked try after solid forward pressure on the Falmouth line. Jake Seviour slotted the conversion and then kicked an important penalty goal to put Penryn clear at 17-10.
This could have been the clincher, but Falmouth refused to buckle and worked their way back up to the Penryn line where their forwards once again repeated their well rehearsed catch and drive routine to score the try, which Rob Banks again converted to level the scores at 17-17.
And it looked as if that would be it until the visitors had the final word with that late Williams try.
Hayle 7 St Ives 7
HONOURS were even in the traditional Boxing Day derby between the two Cornwall and Devon League rivals in a game played in windy conditions and on a very wet and muddy pitch.
Only four days before, St Ives had beaten Hayle 18-13 in the league at Alexandra Road, but Hakes' head coach Joff Rowe decided to field a young development XV in the friendly fixture, with senior players sitting on the replacements' bench. Hayle began the game on the offensive and they turned pressure into points in the eighth minute with a pushover try from a five-metre scrum, and the successful conversion made it 7-0.
St Ives began to gel more as a team as they got used to their unfamiliar line-up.
As the half wore on, Hayle became frustrated as they failed to capitalise on their early lead.
They squandered a penalty chance in the 20th minute, and they had to content themselves with a 7-0 lead at the break.
The pitch conditions deteriorated even further in the second period, preventing both sides from using their backs effectively, but it was St Ives who were looking the more likely to score.
On the hour mark, young prop Tyler Gendall forced his way through a ruck of players to grab a try, and Jamie Prisk added the extras against his old club to level the scores up at 7-7.
The battle against the elements continued as both sides looked for the all-important breakthrough that would win the game, but both defences worked hard.
Hayle had a penalty chance eight minutes from time, but it went wide, as did a similar effort for St Ives with the last kick of the game.