Extreme endurance events seem to be in fashion at the moment but on occasion the traditional sports can still present a challenge to better any Tough Mudder, writes James Instance. On Saturday Falmouth Eagles spent 80 minutes at a windy recreation ground, in the cold, rain and mud with 15 opponents trying to batter them into submission but won through to record a bonus point victory.
Facing a challenging January, including matches against promotion chasing Bude and St Ives, coach Graham Whitmore was keen that the Eagles got back to winning ways.
Newquay are in trouble at the bottom of the league and while they battled all game, they lack a cutting edge and Falmouth scored seven tries in an impressive performance, from which they can only take confidence.
The first score came from a slice of luck, Justyn Irons dropped a pass but the referee adjudged it to have gone backwards, following the rule of always playing until the whistle blows, Tom Job picked up and weaved through the Hornets defence to score, Irons converting.
With every chance of the pitch deteriorating and an abandonment Falmouth made the tactical decision to collect points from every visit to the opposition 22, Irons putting over 2 penalties to extend the lead to 13 - 0.
Whenever they managed to keep the ball in hand, the Eagles threatened to score. They had a number of chances, firstly centre David Jones was hauled down just before the line, the clearance kick was partially charged down with Nick Carne collecting and making for the line, the Hornets foiling his attempt and Flanker Tom Simmons failing to collect his own chip kick.
The pressure had to tell and AJ Geach finally extended the advantage, crashing over from 5 yards, following a short pass from Tom Spiller, again converted by Irons, for a 20 - 0 half time lead.
The Hornets with the wind at their back started the second half brightly but with poor handling kept losing the ball only for Falmouth to capitalise. The Eagles benefitting from having genuine line breaking runners in Tom Simmons, Simon Bailey and Chris McColl.
Impressively in the conditions Falmouth put together 5 minutes of continuous possession, driving the Hornets back, Justin Irons scoring the inevitable try by skipping through a gap in the tiring Newquay defence and converting himself.
Newquay looked beaten, their scrum was being driven off every ball and with Whitmore urging his team to keep a high work rate, Falmouth increased the lead with the try of the match, Alex Kindjardsky driving upfield, the ball swiftly recycled and moved across the back line by Tom Edmonds and Josh Symons delivering the final pass for Tom Job's second.
Refusing to be outshone by the backs, prop forward and man of the match Dan Kirk showed his strength with a couple a barracking midfield bursts but it was skipper Irons who scored next after collecting a dropped Hornets pass and sprinting 50 metres under the posts, again converting.
Falmouth's sixth followed slick handling, Edmonds in the wide 5 metre channel outpacing the defence and running in from deep in his own half.
Near the end and with teams almost indistinguishable despite a change of shirts at half time, the Eagles completed the scoring with David Jones running a tight line on Irons shoulder and bursting through some weak tackles to score in the corner, Irons falling short with the conversion.
This was a timely return to form for the Eagles who face their next challenge with an away visit to Plymouth Argaum next weekend.
Searle, Geach, Kirk, David, McColl, Kindjarsky, Simmons, Bailey, Spiller, Irons, Baragwanath, Job, Jones, Carne, Symons.
Reps: Church, Baglow, Edmonds.
Written by James Instance. Photo by Sunshine Tucker.