1st XV 'Saints'
Sat 18 Nov 2023  ·  Regional 1 South West
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: K Marriott, C Taylor, M Bullen, R Daniel, D TyrrellConversions: C Ashwin (4)Yellow Carded: P Harris
Saints make it three from three for November

Saints make it three from three for November

Paul Hayes20 Nov 2023 - 10:13
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A second successive away win over the Tamar in another nerve jangler

St Austell fought back from 20-7 points down to secure a bonus win on their first ever visit to Weston-super-Mare. The North Somerset side belied their lowly position to prove a real handful with what most home supporters agreed was their best performance of the season. The Saints had to dig deep to overcome a sluggish and error strewn opening quarter that gave the hosts a dream start to the game. The Cornishmen tenaciously clawed their way back into the contest but still gave their travelling support the jitters with a nail-biting finish to the game.

On a gloomy but dry afternoon on the Somerset coast the Saints got off to what should have been a routine start. Awarded a penalty from the kick off for a high hit from an over eager tackler, the line-out on the 40m should have been a formality. However a miscommunication on the long throw saw the ball intercepted by the Weston number eight. Bursting through a gap, Jay Davis then went on a storming run to give the home side the perfect start (7-0). A George Nuttycombe penalty compounded the visitors’ woes to put the home side 10-0 ahead with just six minutes on the clock.

The Saints mustered themselves and finally applied some pressure and number eight Kyle Marriott showed all his experience to score a poacher’s try with the home side pinned on their line (10-7). The visitors were then reduced to fourteen men when hooker Pete Harris was shown yellow for preventing a quick penalty. George Nuttycombe added the three points, and the home tails were now up as they looked to press home their numerical advantage. The Saints withstood the onslaught and when they turned over the ball in the 22 they looked to counter attack rather than take the safer option of a kick to touch. A wild pass was intercepted, and home hooker Josh Mynett gleefully ran in unopposed. The conversion put the home side 20-7 ahead at the end of the opening quarter.

Matters seemed to take a turn for the worse when centre Sam Parsons was forced from the field with a shoulder injury, but the setback only served to galvanise the Saints. A lineout catch and drive was finished off in style by flanker Cam Taylor (20-12) and the Saints continued to apply the pressure. Stubborn defence by the home side kept the visitors at bay initially but their patience eventually paid off with a well worked try. A series of driving rucks tied the Weston defenders in before the ball was released wide, full-back Archie Bees timed his incursion into the line perfectly to create the extra man. Winger Max Bullen applied the finishing touch with a darting run to the corner. Chris Ashwin added the extras with surgical precision from the touchline (20-19), no one knew then just how valuable those two points would ultimately prove to be! There was still time for Weston to add a penalty to knock some of the gloss off the comeback (23-19), but in truth the Saints were delighted to be just four points down at half time after playing so badly in the opening 20 minutes.

Bolstered by the hard running of replacement Rhys Daniel, it was a much more purposeful Saints that started the second period. Weston were having to defend deep as the visitors pressed and probed, a promising move was stopped by a late tackle. Second row Tom Rugg was sent to the sin-bin and the Saints kicked for the corner. Their enterprise was rewarded when a thunderous driving maul allowed Rhys Daniel to crash over, the conversion by Chris Ashwin put the Saints in front for the first time (23-26). The lead was short lived when the ever-reliable George Nuttycombe kicked a long-distance penalty to tie things up at 26-26 with fifteen minutes remaining. Despite the setback the momentum had swung towards the visitors as they searched for a winning score. Some good play saw the Weston defence stretched and tested but not breeched, it took a route one approach to finally restore the lead. A spiralling old fashioned “up and under” was backed up with an aggressive chase, with Cam Taylor’s thumping tackle dislodging the ball from the unfortunate receiver. Winger Dan Tyrrell was first to react, as he gathered his fly hack ahead and shot off at a rate of knots leaving the home defence in his wake. A flying finish and Chris Ashwin’s conversion put the visitors seven points clear with seven minutes remaining (26-33).

Hopes that the Saints could calmly manage the game to a conclusion were soon dispelled when a lapse in concentration allowed Weston to score a well worked try by Dominic Marshall in the corner. George Nuttycombe was unable to match Chris Ashwin’s touchline kicking heroics and the missed conversion meant the Saints were still ahead by a slim margin. It was a nervy final two minutes, but the Saints held on to win 31-33 and bring all five points back to Cornwall.

Three wins from three in November and taking fourteen points and a possible fifteen has pushed the Saints into the mid-table pack as the half-way point of the season approaches. With no game next week it means a well-deserved rest for the Saints ahead of a tough December schedule when the Saints face the top three. Second placed Barnstaple RFC are the visitors on Saturday 2 December 2023 (KO 14:30), that is followed by a trip to Bristol where leaders Chew Valley await before third placed Devonport Services come to Tregorrick. The pressure is off and it will be interesting to see if the Saints can pick up some points against the best in the league.

Saints Star Man: Max Bullen – Diligent in defence, strong in the tackle, hard on the chase and a great all-round performance that was rewarded with an excellent try.

1 Dan Job; 2 Peter Harris; 3 Charlie Nicholson; 4 Joe Maunder; 5 Mark Vian (Captain); 6 Rory Jago; 7 Cam Taylor; 8 Kyle Marriott; 9 CJ Boyce; 10 Chris Ashwin; 11 Max Bullen; 12 Sam Parsons; 13 Ben Plummer 14 Konnor Ewudzi; 15 Archie Bees
Reps (All used):
Matt Boothby; Rhys Daniel; Dan Tyrrell

St Austell:
Tries – Kyle Marriott (10); Cam Taylor (22); Max Bullen (35); Rhys Daniel (51); Dan Tyrrell (72)
Cons – Chris Ashwin (11, 36; 52; 73)
Pens –
Yellow card – Peter Harris (12)

Tries – Jay Davis (1); Josh Mynett (18), Dom Marshall (77)
Cons – George Nuttycombe (2, 19)
Pens – George Nuttycombe (6, 13, 39, 65)
Yellow card – Tom Sugg (50)

Match details

Match date

Sat 18 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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Player Sponsors - Paul & Jan Hayes
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