Falmouth maintained their unbeaten home record and 4th place position in the Devon and Cornwall league with a last minute try in another nail biting match at the Recreation Ground, writes James Instance.
The club used the day to thank its sponsors and unveiled new players kit and the team played their part in the event by providing a thrilling spectacle. As the teams lined up for the kick off, it was easy to see how the Oaks have flourished since promotion, they are a big, physically intimidating team, as one spectator noted, “they’re like 14 rottweillers and a Jack Russell”.
The physical approach was immediate, Oaks fly half Richard West barrelling through to make a 30 metre break from his own half. With more tacklers being bounced off, it took the Eagles fifteen minutes to realise that they had to change their defensive approach and hit the oppositionearly, low and hard, Chris McColl leading the way. Plymstock dominated possession but the only score of the half came when Falmouth made use of the windy conditions with a long penalty kick deep into Plymstock territory. When the Oaks fluffed the clearance kick Matt Lea counter attacked with close support from man of the match Tom Spiller who crossed the line, Irons failing with the extras.
On a difficult day for kickers both teams missed penalty kicks at goal but Falmouth had one golden opportunity to increase the lead during the half, a penalty on the 22 could have been kicked but Justyn Irons saw a gap and tapped quickly, creating a clear overlap but the final pass was misplaced and the chance went begging.
Both sides missed further penalty kicks at the beginning of the second half before Plymstock opened their account. A penalty in their own half was kicked deep into the Falmouth 22 and Kirk Tunnicliffe marshalled the catch and drive to score, West successfully converting. The lead increased when West put over a penalty following a high tackle in front of the posts.
Using the favourable conditions and having taken the lead the Oaks looked favourites to cause an upset but the Eagles refocused their efforts and despite injuries to Kirk, Carne and Simmons, disrupted Plymstock possession with fierce counter rucking. With the front row of Searle, Pollard and Martin working hard to control the scrums and the introduction of Raphael Baragwaneth adding some attacking inspiration, the Eagles fought their way back into contention and dominated the final ten minutes.
Falmouth were awarded a series of penalties close to the Oaks line, they firstly kicked to the corner and attempted to drive across from the maul but were rebuffed, choosing to scrum with the next two penalties they were again held out. The Oaks defence seemed resolute, then with the last move of the match Irons took a quick tap penalty and found David Jones who dived inside the right hand touch flag to tie the score, Iron’s had the opportunity to win the match but in tough conditions the conversion fell short.
So how do you assess a home draw? after the match both teams were disappointed not to have won, Falmouth sit 4th in the table and Plymstock one place below, these are two decent, well matched teams, so all in all a fair result.
Falmouth next travel to Paignton, looking to keep their good run of form going.
Falmouth: Searle, Pollard, Kirk, Baglow, David, Carne, Simmons, McColl, Spiller, Irons, Lea, Edmonds, Jones, Rowe, Symons.
Reps: Martin, Ward, Baragwanath (all used)
Written by James Instance. Photo by Sunshine Tucker.