1st XV 'Saints'
Sat 02 Dec 2023  ·  Regional 1 South West
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: B PlummerConversions: M ShepherdPenalties: C AshwinYellow Carded: M Vian, M Shepherd
Saints Hit a Barn Door

Saints Hit a Barn Door

Paul Hayes4 Dec 2023 - 15:26
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A bonus point is the reward as Saints push league leaders Barnstaple all the way

A pulsating game saw a defiant St Austell finally succumb to Barnstaple’s powerful forwards in the second half. It was all square at the interval with the home side coming the closest in a scoreless first half, but Barum dominated the third quarter to put themselves in front with two unconverted tries. The tenacious Saints fought back to make it 10-8 to set up a tense final quarter in which both sides had opportunities to score. The Devonians snatched a third try and managed to keep the home side out in a frantic finish.

The early morning frost had disappeared by kick-off in one of only two Regional One South West games not to fall victim of the cold snap. A cagey opening saw the visitors prod and probe but unable to make any significant ground against a diligent and focused Saints defence. The game was largely being played between the two 22s with the Barum forwards having the edge in the tight, but the more mobile Saints were making progress out wide. Neither side was able to fashion any clear-cut opportunities in the opening quarter, Saints full back Archie Bees almost sliced a way through on 15 minutes but Barum’s scrambling defence managed to halt the incursion and prevent the pass from reaching winger Dan Tyrrell who surely would have scored if the ball had gone to hand.

Barum’s frustrations spilled over, and former Cornwall Captain Ben Hilton was shown a Yellow Card as the penalty count starting to tick over too quickly. The Saints were unable to take advantage of their depleted opponents in an increasingly physical contest. Tempers spilled over on 35 minutes with a brief melee at a lineout, with order restored referee George Berry decided that Saints skipper Mark Vian and Barum lock Matthew Gohl both needed to spend 10 minutes cooling off in the sin bin. It felt a little harsh on the Gorran Lighthouse who was more sinned against than sinner, but in the context of the game it was the right decision with both sides settling down.

The Saints finished the half on top and really should converted the 5m pressure into points. Barum’s defence held firm to keep the home side out and ensure a rare 0-0 scoreline at the break.

The Saints were left to rue those missed opportunities as Barum immediately imposed themselves from the start of the second half. The visitors used their big pack to great effect to put the Saints under intense pressure in their 22. Frantic defence kept Barum at bay but at the cost of a yellow card for fly-half Matt Shepherd to reduce the Saints to 13 men. The visitors opted for a scrum and the forceful surge allowed scrum-half Ben Beattie to skip through the blindside gap to open the scoring (0-5). Barum continued to turn the screw and five minutes later repeated the formula to score a second with number eight Brandon Moore peeling off the scrum to touch down in the same blindside corner (0-10).

You would have been forgiven for thinking that would signal the end of the Cornish resistance, but the Saints are made of sterner stuff. The response was immediate putting their illustrious foes onto the backfoot, flanker Cam Taylor was prevented from winning a turnover by Barum hands. Back chat moved the mark forward 10m and Chris Ashwin despatched the kick with aplomb to secure three points (3-10).

The confidence returned to the Saints as they upped the tempo of the game putting Barum under real pressure. A string of penalties eventually led to another yellow card with visiting centre Daniel Johnson sent to the sidelines. A lineout in Frostie’s corner was driven forward by the Saints, Barum held out but the home side patiently grinded the phases before the ball went wide. Chris Ashwin’s masterful side step got him behind him the first up defence before the ball was pushed out to centre Ben Plummer who finished the move in style (8-10). With the game back in the balance both sides had opportunities to score but it was Barum that took theirs to win the contest. A brilliant offload to William Topps just gave the winger enough room to squeeze in at that corner to make the final score 8-15.

After three wins from three games in November, the Saints faced the challenge of the league leaders with confidence. Barum used their streetwise experience gained through playing at National Two to great effect, exploiting their edge at the scrum to score two tries and deservedly win a tight contest. A losing bonus point was the least the Saints deserved for their efforts, and they can be proud of their progress at the halfway point in the league season. Next week they head to the outskirts Bristol to face second placed Chew Valley (Saturday 9th December 2023).

Saints Star Man: Cam Taylor – A stirring performance from the Saints openside who was a constant defence thorn in the Barum attack and key trigger for Saints’ attacks.

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 Matt Shepherd ; 11 Max Bullen; 12 Ben Plummer 13 Konnor Ewudzi; 14 Dan Tyrrell 15 Archie Bees

Reps (All used):
Matt Boothby; Rhys Daniel; Chris Ashwin

St Austell:
Tries – Ben Plummer (60)
Cons – Matt Shepherd (61)
Pens – Chris Ashwin (55)
Yellow card – Mark Vian (35); Matt Shepherd (43)

Tries – Ben Beattie (45); Brandon Moore (53); William Topps (66)
Cons –
Pens –
Yellow card – Ben Hilton (26); Matthew Gohl (35); Daniel Johnson (58)

Referee: George Berry (Gloucesteshire RRS)

Match details

Match date

Sat 02 Dec 2023




Regional 1 South West

League position

St Austell
Team overview
Further reading

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