Forward power secures important win
St Austell secured a much needed win against Penryn in an entertaining game played in front of a large derby day crowd at Tregorrick Park.
CRFU Chairman Denis Preece and RFU representative David Martin were the guests of honour at the pre-match lunch and it proved to be the perfect occasion for the visiting dignitaries as they witnessed a fine encounter. With St Austell and Penryn finding themselves at the wrong end of the table this was a crucial game for both sides who gave their all in the search for vital league points as well as the local bragging rights. The home side forwards had the edge throughout to help the Saints gain the lion’s share of possession but Penryn’s well marshalled defence meant progress was always hard work.
The visitors had first use of the gusting wind but it was the home side that started the stronger and it was no surprise when Dan Jane scooted over on 12 minutes. It was the young scrum half’s first ever senior try and it crowned a prolonged spell of home pressure (7-0). Borough hit back almost immediately using the wind to camp in the Saints 22. The home defence proved equally determined forcing the visitors to settle for 3 points from the boot of Jake Sevior (7-3). The remainder of the half was high on drama but surprisingly low on clear cut chances. Fine runs from centre Shane Johns and winger Konnor Ewudzi had the home crowd on their feet in anticipation on several occasions, but strong defence kept the hosts at bay. Right on half time Andy Ashwin slotted over a penalty after a deliberate knock on by the Borough defence prevented an overlap from being exploited (10-3).
With the wind now at their backs there was an air of expectancy around Tregorrick that Saints would go on to win convincingly in the second half. Another Andy Ashwin penalty added to the belief with the home side continuing to enjoy the balance of play (13-3). Despite dominating possession and to a degree territory, Penryn’s resolute defence continued to frustrate the Saints by preventing any significant progress beyond the 22m line. It took until the 75th minute for St Austell to make the game safe but it was a try well worth waiting for! Andy Ashwin kicked a penalty to touch to set up a line out 30m from the Penryn try line. A metronomic catch and drive had the visitors retreating at a rapid rate before quick hands by the half backs put Shane Johns in space. The hard working centre still had much work to do as he powered his way to the posts for his first ever senior try. Andy Ashwin’s conversion made it 20-3 with just 3 minutes left on the clock ensuring a valuable home victory to ease the pressure on the home side. The Saints were perhaps guilty of taking their foot of the pedal too early as they allowed the visitors to build up a head of steam. An extended phase of play just 5m out eventually saw centre Alex Ducker squeezed over for a consolation score deep into time added on. The conversion triggered the final whistle and a 20-10 victory that saw the Saints shoot up to eighth place after a run of defeats had seen them drop precariously down the table.
Boosted by the return of some experienced heads the home side delivered a composed performance where the result in truth was rarely in doubt. Next week the Saints play their final game of 2015 with a tough trip to second placed Exeter University (KO 2:15pm).
Saints’ Man of the Match: Andy Ashwin – Returned to the fly half position, Andy Ashwin delivered a masterclass in game management and crucially took the points whenever they were on offer. With the home pack having the edge he kept them on the front foot with an impressive range of touch finding kicks. His pass to Shane Johns for the winning try was exquisite!
1 George Knowles; 2 Miles Davey (Capt.); 3 Mark Martin; 4 Rob Jeffs; 5 Josh Phillips; 6 Andrew Inch; 7 Will Gilder; 8 Adam Kellow; 9 Dan Jane; 10 Andy Ashwin; 11 Ben Chenoweth; 12 Shane Johns; 13 Sam Rhodes; 14 Konnor Ewudzi; 15 Callum Wilson
Peter Rowe; Jack Grigg; Peter Tuckley
Tries – Dan Jane (12); Shane Johns (75)
Cons – Andy Ashwin (12; 75)
Pens – Andy Ashwin (39, 53)
Drop Goal –
Tries – Alex Ducker (80+2)
Cons – Jake Sevior (80+2)
Pens – Jake Sevior (15)
Drop Goal –
St Austell: Rob Jeffs (27) Jack Grigg (77)
Penryn: Phil Hinchley (27); Grant Randlesome (74)
St Austell: None
Referee: Mr I Pengelly (Cornwall RRS)