1st XV 'Saints'
Sat 16 Dec 2023  ·  Regional 1 South West
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: D TyrrellYellow Carded: S Pearce, R Daniel
Devonport Services
Saints end successful year with a heavy defeat

Saints end successful year with a heavy defeat

Paul Hayes18 Dec 2023 - 07:49
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Services underline their promotion credentials to run riot in the final quarter

The challenge of facing all the Regional One top three sides on successive Saturdays through December took its toll on St Austell and this felt like a game too far. Injuries and unavailability meant resources were stretched and a rampant Devonport Services took full advantage with four tries in the final ten minutes with the home side reduced to 13 players to inflict a rare heavy defect at Tregorrick. The Saints competed well in the first half, but the visitors made the most of their opportunities to secure a slightly fortuitous 15-0 lead at the interval. Two tries in five minutes for Services at the start of the second period effectively killed the game off as a contest and although the home side initially rallied bravely, they were blown away by the visitors’ pace and power in the final quarter.

Services got off to a dream start with a try straight from the kick-off, fly-half Matthew Neyle-Opie received the ball and skipped through some lacklustre tackling to run the ball back down Saints throats (0-5).

The home side responded well with some aggressive defence to unsettle the visitors and they started to exert some pressure on Services. With 20 minutes gone, the Saints laid siege to the visitors’ line retaining possession well to string together a prolonged set of drives. The Services defence was outstanding, keeping their structure, preserving their concentration and maintaining discipline to keep the Saints out. To make matters worse for the home side, when Services finally lifted the Saints blockade they launched a counterattack with centre Thomas Davies finishing under the posts (0-12). The Saints scrum was coming under increasing scrutiny from the Services pack and the home side were punished by a Neyle-Opie penalty as half time approached (0-15).

Tregorrick was left reeling by two converted tries in the space of five minutes at the start of the second half (0-29). The Saints managed to regain some level of composure to retain the ball and secure good field position in the Services’ half. A series of rumbling phases had the desired effect of narrowing the defence, Matt Shepherd spotted the width out wide he sent an astute cross field kick that was gathered by Dan Tyrrell to score in Apples Corner (5-29). The Saints looked to build on the foothold they had gained in the game, but unforced errors were generating more scrums and with Services now dominating the set piece it meant territory and possession were being cheaply conceded. A tiring Saints defence was further exposed when their numbers were reduced by two yellow cards.

Replacement prop Scott Pearce was sin binned for a late tackle, rather less straightforward was the card for Rhys Daniel. The flanker’s powerful tackle was deemed to be high but with the opponent first dipping and then slipping it is hard to understand exactly what the tackler was meant to do to avoid the collision. Services took full advantage to stretch their lead to make the final score 5-60 and jump to the top of the league.

It was a tough day for the Saints, but that one result does not define or dilute what has been a year of outstanding achievement on and off the pitch. At just over the half way point in the league campaign, the Saints are currently tucked in at 8th place. Two of the three promotion hopefuls are now completely out of the way, with only Barnstaple away left to face in 2024. The Saints have demonstrated enough in the first half of the campaign to feel they are capable of picking up enough points across the remainder of the season to maintain their mid-table status.

The league restarts after the Christmas break with a trip to Exmouth in the New Year (Saturday 6th January 2024).

Saints Star Man: Archie Bees
– The Cornwall U20 player was given a tough test with his first start at fly half. With the set piece struggling against a powerful Services eight, Archie did well to receive the ball under the pressure of a rampant backrow.

1 Matt Boothby; 2 Peter Harris; 3 Peter Rowe; 4 Jake Arms; 5 Mark Vian (Captain); 6 Rory Jago; 7 Cam Taylor; 8 Kyle Marriott; 9 CJ Boyce; 10 Archie Bees; 11 Dan Tyrrell; 12 Matt Shepherd 13 Ben Plummer 14 Konnor Ewudzi; 15 Max Bullen

Reps (All used):
Rhys Daniel; Scott Pearce; Peter Tuckley

St Austell:
Tries – Dan Tyrrell (50)
Cons –
Pens –
Yellow card – Scott Pearce (67); Rhys Daniel (72)

Devonport Services:
Tries – Matthew Neyle-Opie (1); Thomas Davies (28); James McFarlane (43); Harrison Coonick (46); Freddie Davies (58, 62, 76); Matthew Gregory (68); Daniel Goldstone (74)
Cons – Matthew Neyle-Opie (29, 44, 47,59, 75, 77)
Pens – Matthew Neyle-Opie (36)
Yellow card –

Referee: Drew Meakin (Hampshire RRS)

Match details

Match date

Sat 16 Dec 2023




Regional 1 South West

League position

Devonport Services
St Austell
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