1st XV 'Saints'
Sat 09 Dec 2023  ·  Regional 1 South West
Chew Valley
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: P Harris, M BoothbyConversions: M ShepherdYellow Carded: M Shepherd, P Rowe
Saints Bite Off More Than They Can Chew!

Saints Bite Off More Than They Can Chew!

Paul Hayes11 Dec 2023 - 11:29
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No points but a battling performance on the outskirts of Bristol keeps pride intact

Events seemed to conspire against the Saints in the build up to arguably the toughest assignment of the season with a trip to the outskirts of Bristol to take on league leaders Chew Valley. The heavy rain during the week disrupted training, while injuries and unavailability meant significant selection headaches that delayed confirmation of the squad until Friday evening. To cap it all a mechanical issue on route meant an unscheduled stop at Exeter Services and the initial prognosis was a prolonged delay. Thankfully an alternative vehicle was identified by the Coach company that was heading to Exeter Christmas Market, a swap was made, and the Saints were back on the road leaving a group of bemused festive shoppers waiting for a mechanic!

The Saints started the game in the face of a force 7 gale sending gusts of 50mph down the length of the pitch. Not surprisingly the visitors were under territorial pressure from the off but a determined defence limited Chew Valley to just two penalties from full back Tom Bryan after the first quarter (6-0). Having successfully frustrated the home side, the Saints thought they had snatched the lead when flanker Cameron Taylor finished off a catch and drive routine in the Clubhouse corner. However the score was chalked off with the referee spotting that the ball carrying pod had briefly detached before rejoining the lineout, small margins and Chew were able to use the wind to send the exit kick 60m down the field. Saints continued to harry and harangue the home side who were struggling to impose their bigger forwards on the game. With the half hour mark approaching the Saints gained a foothold on the home 5m line and pounded away for 15 phases. Chew showed great discipline in defence to keep the Cornishmen at bay until they were forced into a penalty.

Unfortunately the Saints execution of the lineout was again flawed with the visitors being penalised for crossing, giving Chew a huge let-off. To make matters worse for the Saints, a monstrous wind-assisted clearance kick gobbled up the metres of the short length pitch to put Chew deep into the opposition 22. A line-out routine was finished off by centre Charles Shallcross and converted by Tom Bryan (13-0). With half time approaching it was Chew’s turn to lay siege to the Saints line and with the clock in the red, winger Joseph Webb dived over. Bryan’s conversion made it 20-0 at half time, the scoreline was harsh on the visitors but Chew gave an object lesson in taking your opportunities.

With the wind now at their backs the Saints would have hoped to make some inroads into the deficit, but handling errors allowed Chew in for a third, and in truth match defining try (25-0). Chew were now dominating possession with their pack gaining a clear edge at scrum time and it was no surprise when they stretched their lead on 60 minutes with a pushover try (32-0). Saints ran the changes bringing one debutant off to bring another on, lock Jake Arms had acquitted himself well on his first team debut and flanker Kaydan Michael has been knocking on the Saints door all season with some starring roles for the Sinners. The visitors dug deep to rally themselves to force the home side back with a series of drives with Rhys Daniel and Kaydan Michael chief amongst the ball carriers. Cornwall U20s hooker Peter Harris had battled hard all afternoon and showed great determination to force his way over for a try (32-5).

Hopes of any sort of comeback were given short shrift when Bryan and Webb combined to immediately score although the Saints felt aggrieved that a high hit on Cam Taylor at the restart was missed (37-5). Undeterred the Saints came again and finally got their catch and drive back in sync after an excellent driving maul travelled 15m before Cornwall U20s prop Matthew Boothby touched down (37-12). In time added on Chew added a sixth try to make the final score 44-12.

There is no doubt that Chew Valley were worthy winners, a large pack of aggressive and physical forwards pack with willing and skilful runners outside they will take some stopping to prevent them going up in April 2024. That said, the Saints can consider themselves unfortunate not to have gained a bonus point, handling errors and a lineout that misfired on three crucial moments prevented them taking some of the opportunities created. There will also be delight at the performances of Peter Rowe, Jake Arms and Kaydan Michael who all stepped from the Sinners to more than hold their own at level five.

Next week the Saints play their final game of 2023 when third placed Devonport Services come to Tregorrick. It will be the final leg of a testing December against the best three sides in the division. The Saints have acquitted themselves well against the top two and go into the final challenge of the year in confident mood (Saturday 16th December 2023).

Saints Star Man: Mark Vian – An excellent performance from the Gorran Lighthouse on his 150th appearances for the Saints. With the scrum under pressure a supply of quality ball from the lineout was essential and the skipper did not disappoint. Cool-eye Peter Harris’ throws were on point allowing Mark the chance to pluck the ball from the skies. Great aggression and leadership around the pitch in a physical contest played in difficult conditions.

1 Matt Boothby; 2 Peter Harris; 3 Charlie Nicholson; 4 Jake Arms; 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):
Peter Rowe; Rhys Daniel; Kaydan Michael

St Austell:
Tries – Peter Harris (70); Matthew Boothby (75)
Cons – Matt Shepherd (76)
Pens –
Yellow card – Matt Shepherd (40 +1); Peter Rowe (58)

Chew Valley:
Tries – Charles Shallcross (30); Joseph Webb (40+1, 71, 78); M Dailly (45); S Parsons (59)
Cons – Tom Bryan (31, 40+2; 60; 79)
Pens – Tom Bryan (5, 8)
Yellow card – Charles Shallcross (16); Matthew Dailly (65); Ryan Parfitt (75)

Referee: George Berry (Gloucesteshire RRS)

Match details

Match date

Sat 09 Dec 2023




Regional 1 South West

League position

Chew Valley
St Austell
Team overview
Further reading

Team Sponsors

Kit & Matchday Sponsor - Sharps Molson Coors
Player Sponsor - Coastal Building and Joinery LTD
Player Sponsor - River Valley Holiday Park
Player Sponsor - Chris Powley Electrical Services
Player Sponsor - Davey Digger Hire
Player and programme Sponsor - The Hewas Inn
Player Sponsor - Duke of Cornwall Supporters Club
Player Sponsor - Rebellion Roast House & Moonshine Bar
Player Sponsor - The Polgooth Inn
Player Sponsors - Paul & Jan Hayes
Player Sponsor - JAWS
Player Sponsor - P.C.Tonkin & Son
After Match Shirts / Player  - Adam Kellow Plastering
Player Sponsor - D Nottle Scaffolding
Pitchside/Programme/Matchday Sponsor - River Valley Garage
Kit Sponsor - Build Cornwall
Senior Kit Sponsor  - D Nottle Scaffolding
Kit Sponsors - Cornwall Mortgages
Player Sponsor - Duke of Cornwall Pub
Player Sponsor - Top Notch Joinery
Senior Shirt Sponsor & Pitch side Board Sponsor - Gripsure UK
Player & Kit Sponsor - The Par Inn
Senior Shorts Sponsor - CraneTec
Kit Partner - Samurai
Shirt Sponsor - Build Cornwall
Senior Shirt Sponsor - Cornwall Mortgages
Senior Kit Sponsor - Noott Marine