Falmouth Eagles were edged out by a superb St Austell second half display, in a pulsating local derby at Tregorrick Park. A result which saw the hosts move close to the top of the Western Counties league while Falmouth slip into the bottom two.
Recent form and difference in league position led many to believe this result to be a foregone conclusion but Falmouth belied recent form to threaten an upset. Taking the lead after five minutes when Justyn Irons chipped through for Ollie Andrews to rush ahead and touch down.
The Eagles scrum held firm against the normally brutal Saints pack and disrupted the hosts lineout, with veteran Steve Instance in control. Andrews, Simon Bailey and new Spanish signing Xavi Blanco were busy in the back row as the visitors began to dominate territory. The lead deservingly extended later in the half when scrum half Mike Austin spun off the back of a ruck, misfooting the Saints defence and crossing under the posts, Irons converting.
St Austell claimed a crucial foothold in the game with a penalty with the final kick of the half, to reduce the arrears to nine points.
Falmouth needed to keep their composure to give themselves a chance of a shock victory but let themselves down through a series of avoidable errors. Poor kicking, knock ons and losing the ball in the tackle gave the host plenty of possession and territory and the pressure began to tell.
From a series of pick and drives, Pete Rowe burrowed over the line, Liam Freeman converting. Falmouth immediately gave back possession from a kick straight into touch and were again forced on the defence.
The Eagles looked to break upfield following a Bailey turnover but lost the ball themselves, Saint's Chris Ashwin kicking ahead for Cav Boyer to collect and score, Freeman again converting. The Eagles were forced into a a punishing period of defence, Saints veteran Adam Kellow running strongly but held out firm and had their own opportunity, to score from a five yard lineout but were held out.
With Falmouth struggling to relieve the pressure, the Saints added the final score after 73 minutes when another Ashwin kick was chased down by CJ Boyce, Freeman failing with the conversion.
Falmouth were desperately unlucky to not collect at least a bonus point from this match and find themselves towards the bottom of the league table but if they demonstrate this attitude in their matches in December, they have the capability to move themselves towards safety.
Report by James Instance, photo by Ellie Mears.