1st XV 'Saints'
Sat 04 Nov 2023  ·  Regional 1 South West
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: D Tyrrell (2), R Jago, P HarrisConversions: M Shepherd (2)
Dan the Man!

Dan the Man!

Paul Hayes5 Nov 2023 - 13:11
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Two Try Tyrrell helps Saints overcome stubborn Matson to secure bonus point win

It was St Austell who came out on top in the battle of the Regional One SW new boys in a pulsating and highly physical encounter at Tregorrick. The Saints were ahead by a point at the interval after a highly entertaining first half that delivered five tries. The second period was a much cagier affair with the home side dominating territory and possession against a determined and well organised Matson defence. Try as they might, the Saints just could not carve out an opening in the black wall and there was always the fear that the Gloucester side might launch a counter attack or kick a long-range penalty to steal the win. It was not until the 77th minute that the home side made sure of the win when winger Dan Tyrrell chased down the fourth try to the obvious relief of a delighted large home crowd.

The Saints got off to a blistering start launching a fast-paced backs move from a scrum in front of the stand on the halfway. Half backs CJ Boyce and Chris Ashwin used the decoy runs from the centres to feed Max Bullen who had come in off his left wing. A surging run took play into the Matson half before linking with Matt Shepherd whose quick hands put right winger Dan Tyrrell hurtling towards the try line. There was still work to do but the pocket battleship forced his way over along with two black shirts to open the scoring with barely a minute on the clock (5-0). Matson applied pressure in the Saints half and fly-half Connor Gwilliam opened their account with a well struck penalty after the home side strayed offside (5-3).

The Saints were soon back on the front foot and looking to run the ball whenever the opportunity allowed. Matson defended hard but were starting to resort to infringements to break up the rhythm of the home side. The Saints spurned two kickable penalties and their enterprise was eventually rewarded when flanker Rory Jago finally muscled over the line. Matt Shepherd’s conversion stretched the lead to 12-3 but any thoughts that the home side would go on to build a big score were soon dispelled when Matson scored two tries in the space of four minutes. A penalty took the visitors into the Saints 22, the home side thwarted the attempted driving maul, so Matson spun the ball wide. The move looked to have been stifled until a superb reverse pass from centre Joshua Locke found winger Ryan Woodhouse who finished in the corner. Connor Gwilliam’s touchline conversion suddenly had Matson breathing down Saints’ necks again and matters were about to take a turn for the worse. An exchange of kicks after the restart saw Matson full back Max Knight collect the ball on the halfway line. While the Saints will be hugely disappointed at the poor attempts at tackling, there can no doubting the skill and poise of the thoroughbred 15 who scythed through the home defence before feeding Ryan Woodhouse for his second try. Matson had entered the Saints 22 three times and scored on each occasion to lead 12-15 leaving the home side scratching their heads. The visitors then enjoyed their best period in the game looking to exploit the self-doubt that was creeping into the Saints players. The Cornishmen doubled down on their defensive duties to restrict Matson to a single penalty (12-18). With halftime looming, the Saints were awarded a penalty for a high tackle but rejected the chance of pulling back three points by kicking to the corner. Lock Joe Maunder supplied the ball and the Saints pack drove forward towards the try line. The Matson defence splintered under the pressure, and it was hooker Peter Harris who touched down. Matt Shepherd’s conversion gave the home side a narrow 19-18 lead at the break.

The Saints were in the ascendency for most of the second half but found Matson stoic and determined in defence. Several opportunities went begging with the ball proving hard to handle at crucial points in the wet conditions. The forwards pounded away in the 5m zone for prolonged periods and were deemed to have been held up on two occasions. The backs just could not find that gap when the ball went wide and there was a growing sense of frustration that the dominance was not being translated into points on the board. That nagging fear that Matson would find a way to overturn the one-point gap nearly came to fruition with ten minutes to go. Enjoying a brief respite outside their 22, the visitors were awarded a penalty when the Saints handled in a ruck. Connor Gwilliam lined up a 55-metre kick and there was a collective holding of breath across Tregorrick. The aim was true, but the kick fell agonisingly short to the relief of the home supporters. The breakthrough finally came with just three minutes remaining, a thumping tackle from Sam Parsons dislodged the ball from the hands of his opposite number. The Saints centre showed great awareness to stroke the ball ahead with Dan Tyrrell first to react setting off in hot pursuit. A fly hack allowed the Saints wingman to outpace the cover and touch down his second try of the day to secure the bonus point win (24-18).
A thoroughly entertaining game from two sides still adjusting to the rigours of life at Level Five. While the Saints were deserved winners, Matson worked hard in defence and that resilience earned them a losing bonus point. The win takes the Saints up to 9th position in the league and next week they travel to 8th place Okehampton. The Devonians endured a difficult start to the season with three straight defeats but are now in a good run of form with just one defeat in five. Another big test awaits at the Showground on Saturday 11th November 2023.

Saints Star Man Peter Harris: While Dan Tyrrell’s finishing was excellent, any win against Matson must be earned up front. Tom Daniel was an exemplar of controlled aggression and Kyle Marriott was calmness personified in the forwards cauldron, however it was hard to look beyond the contribution of Cornwall U20s hooker Peter Harris. He never shirked from the physicality offered by the Matson forwards, the lineout throws were laser sighted and Peter was an eager ball carrier throughout the contest. A great individual performance was capped off with a try just before the half time whistle.

1 Matt Boothby; 2 Peter Harris; 3 Charlie Nicholson(Captain); 4 Joe Maunder; 5 Tom Daniel; 6 Rory Jago; 7 Cam Taylor; 8 Kyle Marriott; 9 CJ Boyce; 10 Chris Ashwin; 11 Dan Tyrrell; 12 Sam Parsons; 13: Konnor Ewudzi; 14 Max Bullen; 15 Matt Shepherd

Reps (All used):
Mark Vian; Dan Job; Ben Plummer

St Austell:
Tries – Dan Tyrrell (1, 77); Rory Jago (15); Peter Harris (38)
Cons – Matt Shepherd (16, 39)
Pens –
Yellow card – None

Tries – Ryan Woodhouse (18, 22)
Cons – Samuel Brown (19)
Pens – Connor Gwilliam (5, 36)
Yellow card – Dario Lanciano (37)

Match details

Match date

Sat 04 Nov 2023




Regional 1 South West

League position

St Austell
Team overview
Further reading

Team Sponsors

Kit & Matchday Sponsor - Sharps Molson Coors
Player Sponsor - Coastal Building and Joinery LTD
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