Rugby: Wadebridge Camels frustrated by referee at Camborne
Camborne 29 Wadebridge Camels 23
WADEBRIDGE Camels director of rugby David Elston felt two refereeing decisions at either end of the match cost his side victory in a hard-fought derby encounter at the Recreation Ground, writes Nigel Walrond.
The Camels felt aggrieved when Cornish Society referee Darren Curry marched under the sticks in the fourth minute after a driving line-out, and also at the end when Camborne lost two players to the sin-bin as their visitors piled on the pressure, but no penalty try was forthcoming.
Elston said: "The key turning points were the penalty try awarded to Camborne at the start of the match from a line-out, and not awarding Camels a penalty try from scrum offences at the end.
"As I always say, decisions normally balance out over the course of a season and hopefully we will get some lucky breaks in the future. If not, we will have to make our own luck."
Elston added: "Both teams will undoubtedly improve as the season progresses.
"Camels had the edge in the set pieces, but Camborne showed more composure when opportunities came their way and their defence worked very hard.
"Both teams had excellent kickers on show, and if the referee had wanted to, he could have awarded plenty more penalties to each team."
The controversial penalty try, converted by David Mankee, gave Camborne a 7-0 lead, before new Camels signing Ryan Johns (2) and Mankee exchanged penalties inside the first quarter to leave the hosts leading 10-6.
Midway through the half, Joel Matavesi and James Goldsworthy combined superbly well to send Camborne flanker Cameron Bone racing away for a try in the corner, and Mankee converted to give the Cherry and Whites an impressive 17-6 advantage.
Camels hit back with a crossfield kick putting in Will Pengelly for a try, converted by Johns, who added a well-judged third penalty before half-time.
And they then took the lead when winger Sean Johns crossed wide on the right after a blindside move by Ryan Johns and Richard Treleaven, with Ryan Johns maintaining his excellent goalkicking for a 23-17 scoreline.
However, Camborne responded after a quick tap penalty by David Roberts, with good hands from full back Matavesi releasing replacement left wing Grant Thirlby, who ran in from 20 metres to leave them trailing by only one point.
On the hour mark, Camborne got back in front when a powerful forward drive resulted in replacement prop Leigh Hocking claiming the bonus-point try under a pile of bodies, and another fine Mankee conversion made it 29-23.
That left 20 minutes for Wadebridge to bounce back, and they piled on the pressure in the closing stages, only to be kept out by some impressive defence.
Camborne lost two forwards to the sin-bin in the battle to keep their line intact, but they succeeded, to leave Camels with a losing bonus point but believing it could have been more.
Camels open their home campaign against Cullompton on Saturday.
Full fixture list, see Page 97.