Mon 11 Jun 2018 22:48

Falmouth RFC 2017-18 Season Reflections and Preview to 2018-19

I look back on what has been quite a remarkable season and the first thing I would suggest is that retaining our status in Western Counties West is possibly a greater achievement than winning the Cornwall and Devon league title last year.

The level of competition between all 14 sides has been particularly fierce and there has been little to separate many of the clubs throughout the season. Only 6 points finally separated 6 clubs, from Truro in 8th place to Torquay in 13th place.

A reasonable start saw us win 4 of our first 6 matches, which included the county cup win over Bude. Unfortunately, a run of 7 successive defeats had some of the doomsayers commenting that we were favourites for relegation.

What was quickly very evident was that any loss of concentration or individual error was being heavily punished and we had to work very hard to plug the holes in our defensive game. What was also evident was that we could not run tries in from all areas of the field as we had done the previous year. We had to develop a much more effective territorial game and in our talented youngster Mike Austin we found a player whose tactical kicking proved to be a major weapon in our game.

Four successive wins leading to February helped our cause and raised confidence, but we all had an eye on our run in to the end of the season where we were scheduled to play the top 6 sides in the last 7 matches, which was, to say the least, a daunting task.

Having been written off by many as a near certainty for relegation, the true resilience and character of the group shone through and we subsequently put in some spectacular performances against Devonport, St Austell, Wadebridge, Sidmouth and finally St Ives to avoid relegation by a small margin on the last day of the season. To pick up 11 valuable league points from those 5 matches was a reflection of the team spirit and the belief, determination and resilience of the lads to stay in the fight.

In the 26 league matches, we used an unprecedented 49 players and whilst such disruption through injury and unavailability of key players was undoubtedly a massive factor in our ultimate league position, to use that number of players and remain so competitive in so many matches is a huge testament to the ‘semi-retired’ players helping out and the development of our regular 2nd team players who willingly stepped in to play with such commitment to the cause.

The statistics tell us that in the league we won 9, drew 2 and lost 15 matches, finishing in 12th place in the Western Counties West league, recording the club’s highest ever league position.

In total we played 30 matches, including the Penryn and Old Dunstonians friendlies, alongside the county cup matches against Bude and Wadebridge and Tom Spiller and Ashley Searle made most appearances with 28. We scored 78 tries, with Justyn Irons top points scorer for the fifth successive year with 190 points. 17 year old Mike Austin was awarded the Ivan Winn trophy as top try scorer with 10, followed by Tom Edmonds with 7. 

In 4th place for the Players’ Player of the Year were AJ Geach and Tom Spiller. Tom Edmonds enjoyed an excellent season and was voted a well-deserved 3rd place. A clear two horse race emerged with only the smallest margins separating the hugely influential Tom Simmons in 2nd place and the winner Mike Austin, who has had such a profound effect on the team’s fortunes this season and who has the brightest of futures.

Tommy Tonkins was awarded the club Sportsman of the Year trophy, epitomising all that is good in the game, a man who has undoubtedly played the best rugby of his career and has lead by example both on and off the field.

Winner of the Christine Baker Trophy for Volunteer of the Year deservedly went to the charismatic Martin Webb, who has done so much to increase playing numbers and ignite the team spirit of the 2nd team this year.

This season saw the return to 1st team action of James Dobson, Tim Gay, Kieran Rodda and the perennial Steve Instance. We also saw the arrival of Kieron Vinson, Matt Horton, Colin Campbell, Javier Blanco, Piers Garway-Templeman, Tavis Dalton, Oscar Gay and the Truro School contingent of Mike Austin, Ollie Andrews, Dom Goodwin, Stan Somers and Johnny Wood.

On the representative scene, Tom Edmonds, Tom Simmons, David Jones, Matt Poole and Tom Spiller were invited to the Cornwall Development squad, whilst Dan Hubble, Ollie Andrews and Seb Firth played for Cornwall U20s that reached the Championship final at Twickenham. Mike Austin played for the South West division at U18 level and narrowly missed out on selection for the England Counties squad.

We also celebrate the retirement of Justyn Irons, Mark Lea and Paddy Varker. Justyn joined from Truro five years ago and has captained the side for the last four seasons. He has embraced the position of fly half and has without doubt been the most consistent goalkicker in the Cornwall and Devon league and Western Counties league during this time. He has also been the real architect of our ambitious attacking game, has been the heartbeat of the side and he will leave a huge hole in the club.

Mark Lea joined three years ago, having enjoyed a successful career with Truro and his reliable and consistent performances put him as one of the first names on the teamsheet each week. Mark is a great character and will be missed at the club.

A rejuvenated Andrew ‘Paddy’ Varker arrived at pre season and subsequently played his best rugby of his career. He has been a huge character on and off the field and has done much to build team spirit. In particular, his match reports and songs have been memorable and we all hope he continues his involvement with the club.

My reflections of the 2017-18 season are that of stress and exhilaration in equal measures and ultimately relief at the final outcome. To retain our status in Western Counties has been a huge achievement, but next season will be equally or indeed, more challenging. We have all learned a lot about ourselves and I am sure we are all relishing the challenge that now awaits us.

However, success should not just be measured on 1st team results and league status, but in respect of the journey we continue to undertake as a club. I truly believe we are fostering a strong, positive culture and values throughout the club, from the Eagles to the ‘One and All’ (2nds), to the developing Colts and the junior section where increasing numbers of youngsters are now aspiring to play for the senior sides. Above all, it is so important that we continue to build on our growing reputation as a warm and welcoming club to all prospective members, supporters, sponsors and visitors.

My thanks go to all players, both senior and junior, for their huge commitment, to our army of dedicated volunteers quietly going about their business behind the scenes, our faithful supporters who have given such encouragement even during our more difficult times during the season and to our talented coaches of our all-important junior sides.

In particular, I thank Chris Morgan who has done so much to develop so many players during his time with the club and a man who has the brightest of futures as newly appointed coach in the professional game with the Cornish Pirates this coming season.

We look forward to welcoming current and new players to both senior and junior sides for the 2018-19 season. Pre-season training for our senior players starts on Tuesday 10th July and continues on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week through the season at the club from 7.15pm to 8.45pm.

Graham Whitmore

Falmouth RFC Director of Rugby

gcwhitmore@yahoo.co.uk

Mobile: 07811253711

Season Stats

Falmouth 1st XV 2017-18

Played 30; Won 11; Drawn 2; Lost 17; Pts for 581; Pts Against 702

78 Tries; 52 Conversions; 29 Penalties

 

Western Counties West League

St Ives (H) (Lost 15-30): Kindjarsky T, Poole T, Irons P, C

Tiverton (A) (Lost 12-27): Carne T, Hubble T, Irons C

Torquay (H) (Won 18-0): Poole T, Firth T, Irons C, 2P

Truro (A) (Won 22-17): Gay T, Edmonds T, Humphreys T, Irons 2C, P

Burnham (H) (Won 25-5): Carne T, Irons C, 6P

Chard (A) (Lost 21-24): Gay T, Firth T, Irons C, 3P

Crediton (H) (Lost 7-22): Bailey T, Irons C

Devonport (A) (Lost 10-33): Irons T, C, P

Kingsbridge (H) (Lost 25 -43): Lea T, Job T, Simmons T, Brewer T, Irons C, P

Wadebridge (H) (Lost 16-33): Geach T, Irons C, 3P

St Austell (A) (Lost 12-22): Andrews T, Austin T, Irons C

Sidmouth (H) (Lost 19-24): Job T, Varker T, Cock T, Irons C, Edmonds C

Paignton (A) (Lost 8-27): Firth T, Irons P

Tiverton (H) (Won 19-17): Spiller T, Job T, Geach T, Irons 2C

Torquay (A) (Won 33-29): Edmonds 2T, Firth T, Simmons T, Irons T, 4C

Truro (H) (Lost 14-26): Simmons T, Austin T, Irons 2C

Burnham (A) (Won 38-12): Firth T, Geach T, Simmons T, Poole 2T, Job T, Edmonds 4C

Chard (H) (Won 29-15): Edmonds 3T, Spiller T, Irons 3C, P

Crediton (A) (Lost 0-33)

Devonport (H) (Won 12-8): Geach T, Lea T, Irons C

Kingsbridge (A) (Lost 0-36)

Wadebridge (A) (Lost 35-48): Austin 2T, Dalton T, Job T, Edmonds T, Irons 5C

St Austell (H) (Draw 12-12): Andrews T, Poole T, Irons C

Sidmouth  (A) (Draw 39-39): Austin 2T, Simmons T, Geach T, Rodda T, Irons 4C, 2P

Paignton (H) (Won 18-11): Rodda T, Austin T, Irons C, 2P

St Ives (A) (Lost 29-43): Austin T, Rodda T, Carne T, Goodwin T, Irons 3C, P

 

Bude (H) (County Cup) (Won 46-12): Carne 3T, Simmons, Bailey, Irons T, 5C, 2P

Wadebridge  (H) (County Cup) (Lost 16-26): Bailey T, Searle T, Irons 2P

 

Penryn (A) (Boxing Day Friendly) (Lost 5-7): H. Williams T

Old Dunstonians (H) (Easter Friendly) (Won 26-21): Goodwin T, Austin 2T, 3C, Vinson T

 

1st XV Player Statistics 2017-18

 

Player

Appearances

Points

Tom Spiller

 

28

 

2 Tries (10 points)

Ashley Searle

 

28

 

1 Try (5 points)

 

Justyn Irons

 

27

 

3 Tries; 44 conv; 29 Pen (190 points)

 

Seb Firth

 

25

 

5 Tries (25 points)

 

Jon Baglow

 

24

 

 

AJ Geach

 

23

 

5 Tries (25 points)

 

Tom Edmonds

 

23

 

7 Tries; 5 conv (45 points)

 

Brad Cock

 

23

 

1 Try (5 points)

 

Tom Simmons

 

21

 

6 Tries (30 points)

 

Trev Ward

 

21

 

 

Paddy Varker

20

 

1 Try (5 points)

 

Mike Austin

 

18

 

10 Tries; 3 conv  (56 points)

Tommy Tonkins

 

18

 

 

Mark Lea

 

17

 

2 Tries (10 points)

 

Simon Bailey

 

17

 

3 Tries (15 points)

 

Tommy Job

 

15

 

5 Tries (25 points)

 

Dom Goodwin

 

15

2 Tries (10 points)

Lee Humphreys

 

15

1 Try (5 points)

Nick Carne

 

12

6 Tries (30 points)

David Jones

 

11

 

Dan Hubble

 

10

1 Try (5 points)

Stan Somers

 

9

 

Steve Instance

 

9

 

Ollie Church

 

9

 

Tim Gay

 

8

2 Tries (10 points)

Matt Horton

 

8

 

James Dobson

 

8

 

Matt Poole

 

7

5 Tries (25 points)

Kieron Vinson

 

7

1 Try (5 points)

Alex Kindjarsky

 

7

1 Try (5 points)

Alex Bullock

 

7

 

Cam Bullock

 

7

 

Ollie Andrews

 

6

2 Tries (10 points)

Matt Brewer

 

5

1 Try (5 points)

Phil Morgan

 

5

 

Colin Campbell

 

4

 

Kaden Cobb

 

4

 

Kieran Rodda

 

3

3 Tries (15 points)

Matt Biggins

 

3

 

Johnny Wood

 

2

 

Nev Curnow

 

2

 

Oscar Gay

 

2

 

Hugo Page

 

2

 

Tavis Dalton

 

1

1 Try (5 points)

Henry Williams

 

1

1 Try (5 points)

Ben Ackner

 

1

 

Javier Blanco

 

1

 

Rob Fitzpatrick

 

1

 

Piers Garway-Templeman

1

 

Scott Dunstan

 

1

 

George Light

 

1

 

Callum Penry

 

1

 

Ollie Williams

 

1

 

 

Some of Neal Johnston's photos from throughout the season. Thanks very much for these as always.

 

news articles

  • 2018/19 Season Training

    Mon 11 Jun 2018 22:53

    We look forward to welcoming current and new players to Falmouth RFC for the 2018-19 season. Pre-season training for our senior players starts on Tuesday 10th July and continues on … view

  • Eagles swoop to safety

    Mon 23 Apr 2018 17:31

    By Joseph Macey Falmouth scored a vital bonus point to secure their safety in the Tribute Western Counties West Division in a high scoring 43-29 loss against league winners St Ives. … view

  • Bodmin 2s 0 Falmouth 2s 40

    Mon 23 Apr 2018 14:08

    Falmouth 2XV secured their first league win this Saturday away to Bodmin. In hot and sticky conditions Falmouth played a good brand of running rugby and three first half tries by … view

  • Sidmouth 39 Falmouth 39

    Tue 10 Apr 2018 18:13

    Falmouth came back to collect a desperately hard-fought three points in an actioned packed final 20 minutes in Devon. Both teams picked up three points and with Falmouth in 13th it … view

Facebook