1st XV 'Saints'
Sat 13 Jan 2024  ·  Regional 1 South West
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: B Plummer, M Bullen, K MichaelConversions: M Shepherd (2)
Saints unable to get clear from the Ivy

Saints unable to get clear from the Ivy

Paul Hayes15 Jan - 10:31
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Second successive narrow defeat leaves Saints frustrated.

A breakaway try three minutes from the end meant for the second week running the Saints narrowly lost a game they will feel they should have won. Despite again outscoring the opposition in terms of tries scored, the home side were the wrong side of the number of kicks converted. There was much to admire about the Saints performance, but ultimately they paid the price for not turning the pressure into more points and questionable game management at key moments in the contest. Matters were made worse when the game ended with two serious injuries in a freakish 15 second period, Skipper Mark Vian suffered a dislocated shoulder and flanker Rhys Daniel dislocated his hip.

While Mark was able to join his teammates in the Clubhouse, Rhys required the attentions of the Paramedics. Thankfully the Air Ambulance that landed on pitch two was not required, but he endured an uncomfortable night in hospital. Both players are now home and nursing difficult injuries, our thanks go to physio Lukas Neikes, SW Ambulance Trust and the support from the Ivybridge RFC medical team for their expert care.

The game kicked off under gloomy grey skies in chilly conditions with virtually no breeze. The Saints exerted the early pressure against a well organised and committed Ivy defence. The home side elected to send two kickable penalties into touch but failed to convert the catch and drives into points. The visitors took a more pragmatic approach with centre Matthew Grieveson kicking over their first sight of the posts when Saints strayed offside on 17 minutes (0-3). The home side response was swift with full back Archie Bees almost through a gap, with the danger snuffed out the visitors took play back up field. A series of phases was testing the home defence and lock Jack Skinners suddenly found himself in open space and showed a clean pair of heels to score under the posts (0-10).

This time the Saints did hit straight back, winger Dan Tyrrell was held up in Apples Corner and the forwards did well to recycle the ball infield to allow scrum-half CJ Boyce to pick out centre Ben Plummer on the perfect line to crash over (7-10). The home side were pinged at the restart allowing Ivybridge to add another three points (7-13). For the remaining ten minutes of the half the Saints pushed hard, Rhys Daniel looked to have scored but there had been a knock on in the build-up. With the clock ticking over into the red the Saints pounded away within sight of the try line. Ivybridge were resolute in defence, but the Saints kept their patience and discipline to keep the ball alive knowing one slip would bring the half to a close. The ball was eventually released wide and quick hands from Ben Plummer gave winger Max Bullen the chance to step inside and dot down to make the half time score 12-13.

The Saints started the second half at the same ferocious pace as they ended the first, and another sublime pass from Ben Plummer allowed Archie Bees to burst through the gap. It looked like he was going all the way but was caught 5m out, spinning out of the tackle the Saints full back found flanker Kaydan Michael in support who powered over for first Saints try. Matt Shepherd’s conversion put the Saints 19-13 in front.

The home team then applied long periods of pressure but just could not find that little bit of composure to add more comfort to the scoreline. The vulnerability of the lead was underlined on 56 minutes when the Saints looked like they were about to score only for the ball to be kicked through. Ivybridge winger James Pullan countered with a mazy run out of defence, and it needed an excellent covering tackle from Dan Tyrrell on halfway to prevent him going the length of the pitch.

The tension amongst the crowd was now palpable as a succession of chances went begging. Hooker Miles Davey nearly caught the stoic Ivy defence with a deft kick ahead but did not quite have the pace to outstrip the visitors’ full back. On 66 minutes the Saints had a 5m scrum under the shadow of the posts, a mighty surge had the Ivy eight back peddling with the pushover try seemingly inevitable. Somehow the Saints lost control of the ball and it shot out on the Ivybridge side who gleefully cleared. A pivotal moment in the game, and although prop Dan Job almost squeezed in at the corner, clear cut opportunities were now becoming a rarity.

With three minutes remaining Ivybridge turned the tables with a break out of defence, Matt Shepherd was caught up in the tackle area. The visitors were quick to spot the gap and attacked through the number 10 channel to score in the corner. A deathly silence hung over Tregorrick as Grieveson addressed the ball, his sweetly struck conversion put Ivybridge back in front by a single point (19-20).

There was still time for Saints to strike but those hopes were cruelly dashed as first Mark Vian injured his shoulder tackling the restart receiver. Play went on with the skipper lying prone on the floor, Rhys Daniel picked up the ball and went on the charge only to fall awkwardly and displaced his hip.

While the Saints remain eighth in Regional One SW, the defeat means the gap with Ivybridge in nineth place is now closed to a single point. Of more consequence is the loss of two key players who will join an already large group on the sidelines. It remains to be seen if they will be able to play a part in the remainder of the season.

Next Saturday is a free weekend for the Saints ahead of the big Cornish derby at Polson Bridge against Launceston on Saturday 27th January 2024, 2:30pm kick-off.

Saints Star Man: Kaydan Michael – All action performance on his home debut for the Saints. Outstanding first half where he was at the heart of all the forward drives, rewarded for his hard work by being on the shoulder of Archie Bees to score an excellent try.

1 Matt Boothby; 2 Miles Davey; 3 Dan Job; 4 Jake Arms; 5 Mark Vian (Captain); 6 Rhys Daniel; 7 Cam Taylor; 8 Kayden Michael; 9 CJ Boyce; 10 Matt Shepherd; 11 Dan Tyrrell; 12 Ben Plummer; 13 Jamie Stanlake; 14; Max Bullen 15 Archie Bees

Reps (All used):
Konnor Ewudzi; Charlie Nicholson; Tom Daniel

St Austell:
Tries – Ben Plummer (28); Max Bullen (40 + 2); Kaydan Michael (43)
Cons – Mat Shepherd (44)
Pens –
Yellow card –

Tries – Skinner (25); Garner (77)
Cons – Matthew Grieveson (26, 78)
Pens – Matthew Grieveson (17; 32)
Yellow card –

Match details

Match date

Sat 13 Jan 2024




Regional 1 South West

League position

St Austell
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