1st XV 'Saints'
Sat 03 Feb 2024  ·  Regional 1 South West
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: C Boyce, M ShepherdConversions: M Shepherd (2)Penalties: M Shepherd (4)Yellow Carded: T Daniel, D Job
Saints hang on for vital win

Saints hang on for vital win

Paul Hayes4 Feb - 11:02
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A stirring second-half comeback by Lydney falls just short in a Tregorrick classic.

There was a palpable sense of relief around Tregorrick when the final whistle went on a perfect example of the proverbial game of two halves. The Saints were imperious in the first half scoring 26 points without reply and indeed they probably should have added to that total such was their dominance. It was a different story in the second period with Lydney gradually gaining control in a cagey third quarter. After a run of six defeats and a horrendous injury list, it was perhaps understandable that the Saints’ confidence would be a little fragile, and the nerves started to jangle as the momentum shifted. The penalty count rose and Lydney ruthlessly exploited the space provided by two yellow cards to score four tries in the final twenty minutes. The home side just about held on to secure the win but there is no doubt the Tregorrick faithful were relieved that the time was up.

The Saints applied the early pressure with Lydney quickly being put through their defensive paces. A goal line drop-out was caught on the 40m line by Matt Shepherd. The full back’s jinking run left a string of would-be tacklers in tangled legged heaps before a deft off load gave CJ Boyce an easy finish under the posts (7-0). The home side continued to press and in a change to previous policy they elected to take the pragmatic approach by taking the points as they came on offer, rather than kick to touch in search of the tries. Matt Shepherd slotted two penalties to tick the scoreboard over, making it 13-0 on twenty minutes.

A powerful surge by flanker Rhys Daniel and a sublime pass wide sent Konnor Ewudzi flying from 22m out. The winger stepped inside his opposite number and looked to have touched down in the corner but unfortunately it was ruled as held up by the Referee Daniel Evans. Two more Shepherd penalties, including one from 45m, pushed the Saints to 19-0 with the interval approaching. There was still time for the Saints talisman to rip the ball from a Lydney forward on the halfway before sprinting away to finish under the posts. The fullback converted his own try to make it 26-0 at the break and a very satisfying first half for the Saints.

Both sides took a cautious approach to the opening exchanges of the second half, the drop in tempo seemed to impact the Saints the most as they lost their fluidity and were no longer able to stretch the play. Lydney were benefiting from the tighter nature of the game and denied of quick ball, the Saints were a shadow of their first half selves. The penalties were ticking up with lock Tom Daniel the unlucky recipient of a team yellow card. Lydney were quick to exploit the numerical advantage with number eight Reilly Scriven picking up from the back of a scrum (26-7). Quick hands across the back line allowed winger Alex Nelmes to squeeze in at the corner to take the score to 16-12 with fifteen minutes left. Lydney tails were up, and they continued to apply the pressure, with advantage being played fly-half Drew Roberts, chipped a “Hail Mary” into the Sports Hall corner. Winger Conal Mills rose the highest and managed to ground it under pressure in the corner.

Despite the protestations of the crowd and the Saints Captain Ben Plummer, Drew Roberts was able to move the mark from the 5m channel to the 15m line, his conversion made it 26-19 with nine minutes to go. To make matters worse prop Dan Job was shown a yellow card for an infringement prior to the try and the Saints were again down to 14 men. Back came Lydney in search of another score to complete a remarkable comeback. The Saints seemed to have withstood the onslaught until the ball was spun from a ruck, and Alex Nelmes again finished in the corner. This time the mark for the conversion was in the right place, Drew Roberts struck the ball well, but the kick strayed wide and landed just short (26-24).

The Saints survived an almighty scare to secure a crucial win as they look to build up a points tally to keep them out of the Regional One SW relegation mire. Matson’s win at Okehampton brings them level on points with the Saints and the two sides meet up in Gloucester in two weeks’ time for what will undoubtedly be another physical encounter.

Saints Star Man: Matt Shepherd – Back to his influential best with a try and an assist. Shep also had his kicking boots firmly on with a “six from six” record of four penalties and two conversions

1 Matt Boothby; 2 Miles Davey; 3 Dan Job; 4 Joe Maunder; 5 Tom Daniel; 6 Rhys Daniel; 7 Cam Taylor; 8 Kayden Michael; 9 CJ Boyce; 10 Chris Ashwin; 11 Dan Tyrrell; 12 Ben Plummer (Captain); 13 Sam Parsons; 14 Konnor Ewudzi; 15 Matt Shepherd

Reps (All used):
Peter Harris; Max Bullen; Archie Bees

St Austell:
Tries – CJ Boyce (4); Matt Shepherd (39)
Cons – Matt Shepherd (4, 40)
Pens – Matt Shepherd (16, 18, 23, 25)
Yellow card – Tom Daniel (58); Dan Job (68)

Tries – Reilly Scriven (60); Alex Nelmes (65, 78); Conal Mills (70)
Cons – Drew Roberts (61; 71)
Pens –
Yellow card –

Referee: Daniel Evans (Somerset RRS)

Match details

Match date

Sat 03 Feb 2024




Regional 1 South West

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St Austell
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