"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy", the military strategist Helmuth von Moltke noted.
Unbeaten St Ives arrived at Falmouth with a simple plan, their forwards would bludgeon Falmouth in the set piece and they would collect the points. However, on a blustery day at the recreation ground the Eagles had different ideas and after eighty minutes of pulsating rugby, rode home the winners 12 - 6, writes James Instance.
From kick off the Eagles made their attacking intent obvious, the backline interplay looked sharp with centre Jamie Caruana making several line breaks only for dropped passes stopping Falmouth crossing the try line. St Ives relied on a more direct approach, with occasional forays by scrum half Carter and wing Allen breaking the pattern of using the brute strength of Collins, Prisk, Bone & Corin to surge forward. The strategy working after 10 minutes with Falmouth infringing at the ruck to concede a penalty which Grant Thirlby converted for a St Ives lead.
Falmouth had to play the game fast and loose to compete and after 25 Minutes St Ives full back Thomas was caught in possession near the halfway line and turned over, two wide passes switched play quickly across the field to wing Jones who neatly chipped the ball through the St Ives defence, full back Josh Symons outpacing the desperate cover for Falmouth to take the lead, the coversion missed, 5 - 3 to Falmouth. A further fifteen minutes af Falmouth looking to use their backline and St Ives battering forwards produced stalemate, with no further scores.
With conditions in their favour, St Ives started the second half full of confidence, the sin binning of James Dobson after 5 minutes only aided their cause. After fifteen minutes Falmouth failed to clear their lines and the retreating defence were caught offside, Thirlby slotting the opportunity for the Hakes to retake the lead 6-5. Chances to extend the advantage were thrown away when speculative long passes were intercepted by Falmouth when the simple pass would have been the sensible option. So a new plan was hatched, with the St Ives scrum entirely dominant, they would drive Falmouth backwards and collect the penalties.
But The Eagles were inspired, the defence fierce, Chris McColl and Tom Simmons making vital turnovers, Alex Kindjarsky in the midfield made a series of hurtful tackles, always looking to counterattack the Eagle's Nick Carne and Josh Symons Particularly dangerous when running from the deep. St Ives, spectators noted, were feeling the pace, several limped off injured, others visibly slowing around the field.
With five minutes left on the clock, Falmouth produced the sucker punch. Chris McColl revovered the ball in his own half, made a move down the narrow channel near to the clubhouse, offloading to Jon Baglow who slipped an inside pass to support just as he was about to be driven into touch. The ball was spun across to Justyn Irons who burst through the St Ives defence to touch down beside the posts, converting his own try to extend the lead 12 - 6.
Stunned and with only two minutes left St Ives threw everything into a last attack. Falmouth conceded 3 penalties in their own 22, the Hakes chose to scrummage every time but the Eagles stood firm, resisting the pushover, the match finishing with Tom Spiller forcing a turnover on Luke Collins for a great Falmouth win. In Mike Tyson's words, "everyone has a plan, till they get punched in the mouth".
St Ives - 6 - G Thirlby - 2 Pens
Falmouth - 12 - J Irons 1 Try 1 Conversion, J Symons 1 Try
St Ives - Wheeler, Taylor, Thompsett, Prisk, Collins, Corin, Bone, Lawrence, Carter, Thirlby, Allen, Bristoe, Manna, Rowe, Thomas.
Replacements - Stevens, Chandler, Jenkins
Falmouth - Pollard, Carne, Searle, Dobson, Baglow, McColl, David, Simmons, Spiller, Irons, Jones, Caruana, Job, Lea, Symons.
Replacements - Kindjarsky, Martin, Rowe