Bude out of the Cornwall Cup but ready for kick-off
Bude 14 Truro 19
WITH the start of the league campaign only a week away, the St Austell Brewery sponsored Cornwall Knockout Cup provided the season's opener at Bude last Saturday.
And true to form, visitors Truro made off with the spoils, an away tie at South West One West side St Austell in the second round of the competition, after a compelling, but error-strewn game.
If the surroundings were unfamiliar – courtesy of the remnants of a recent Motor Caravan Rally on the main pitch at Bencoolen Meadow – it mirrored the team sheets for both sides that showed numerous changes since they last locked horns in the final league fixture of the 2012-13 league season.
However, if the personnel on show were different, the result was the same, a victory for the county's capital side, but both teams can be reasonably satisfied with the outcome and for the hosts they are now far more prepared for this Saturday's visitors Burnham on Sea than they might otherwise be.
Playing into a stiff headwind, the Seasiders opened strongly, showing good enterprise, but they were unable to break down a determined Truro defence and with 20 minutes on the clock, the scoreboard was unmoved.
However, on 22 minutes, replacement flanker Luke Wilson, on for Freddie Saxton who was receiving treatment for a knock, earned the referee's displeasure and ten minutes in the bin for careless use of the boot at a ruck and during his absence, the visitors took full advantage of their numerical supremacy to open the scoring with a well worked try from right wing Mark Lea, as the hosts were caught short on the blindside. Fly half Darryl Riches slotted the conversion and Truro were seven points up.
The city side were continuing to dominate, despite Bude being back to a full compliment and in the 34th minute left wing Luke Tidball polished off a swift attacking move to give the visitors a comfortable lead, which Riches extended to fourteen points with a second successful conversion.
Two clear scores adrift at the break, the Seasiders needed to respond quickly if they were to get back into the game. Sure enough, within a minute of the restart, it came and how.
Showing a maverick's touch, scrum half Adam Martin's beautifully weighted chip ahead with the outside of his right boot caught the visitors' full back Theo Gayton off guard and as the ball was spilt, his opposite number Olly Denford was on hand to claim the loose ball and fed debutant left wing Silas Keeling, who scorched past his marker and sped in under the posts to set the home crowd purring.
Denford added the extras and Bude were back in touch.
On 54 minutes, Keeling and No8 Joe Wilson combined well to shred Truro's defence, but with the try line beckoning, inside centre Jake Watts was unable to hold the final pass and the chance was gone.
Then, in the 73rd minute, after Martin had been forced to concede a five metre scrum, his opposite number Ricky Brandham took full advantage of a moment's hesitancy in the home defence and shot over for the clinching score, but this time Riches' conversion attempt was off target.
With the game now seemingly beyond them, Bude's pack was far from finished and from the last play, a strong scrum drive saw No 8 Wilson force his way over from close range and Denford added the conversion for good measure for a final scoreline of 14-19.
Bude: O Denford, B Wickett, L Seaton, J Watts, S Keeling, A Yates, A Martin, J Bolt, R Herzog, L Statton, W Kingdon, M Parsons, F Saxton, B Hancock, J Wilson. Replacements: L Wilson, R Butler, S Bromwich, L Mills.
Scores. Bude: Tries – Silas Keeling, Joe Wilson; conversions – Olly Denford (2).
Truro: Tries – Mark Lea, Luke Tidball, Ricky Brandham; conversions – Darryl Riches (2).
Referee: Andy Robinson (Newquay).