1st XV 'Saints'
Matches
Sat 23 Mar 2024  ·  Regional 1 South West
Barnstaple
31
17
St Austell RFC
1st XV 'Saints'
Tries: M Bullen, M BoothbyConversions: M Shepherd (2)Penalties: M ShepherdYellow Carded: A Knight, H Hutchinson
Spirited Saints fall short of an upset

Spirited Saints fall short of an upset

Paul Hayes24 Mar - 08:36
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Two late tries from high-flying Barum secures the win on the North Devon coast.

St Austell pushed second placed Barnstaple all the way in a game dominated by the referee’s whistle. A penalty count of 34 evenly split evenly between the two sides meant it was a stop-start affair on the banks of the River Taw. The Saints backline were at their menacing best whenever the game was allowed to flow but in truth it was the hosts that benefited the most from the penalties. It allowed Barum to kick deep into Cornish territory to use their deploy their powerful catch and drive to deliver four of their five tries.

The visitors overcame an early setback to score a well worked try that featured a delightful offload from flyhalf Chris Aswhin enabling winger Max Bullen to scorch in under the posts with thirty minutes gone (5-7). Sustained forward pressure following a line out put the home side back in front (12-7) but the Saints response was instant. Cornwall U20 hooker Pete Harris dented the Barum defence and swift hands allowed young prop Matt Boothby to power over. Matt Shepherd’s conversion gave the visitors a well deserved 12-14 lead at half time.

The Saints dominanted the third quarter of the game but would live to regret not taking their opportunites against a resolute Barum defence. Dan Tyrrell was nearly through only to be taken down in the shadow of the posts. Jamie Stanlake forced his way over but was denied by some scramabling defence that held him up. In the end the Saints only had a single Matt Shepherd penalty to show for their efforts (12-17) as the heavens let loose a heavy hailstorm on the hour mark. An offside on halfway led to a Barum lineout deep in the Saints 22. The driving maul rumbled over and the home side were back in front with their first significant visit to Saints territory of the second half (19-17). The contest was now finely balanced but once the visitors were adjudged to be not rolling away the outcome felt inetiavble. Barnsaple slickly repeated the routine with a kick to touch and another powerful drive to bag the decisive try (26-17). With the clock approaching the red, the Saints were now forced to chase the game and a risky pass was intercepted by winger William Topps to exploit the empty space behind to put some gloss on the scoreboard.

The final score of 31-17 did not reflect the Saints performance who pushed their illustrous hosts all the way. The players who stepped up from the Sinners gleefully took their opportunity and would have learnt a lot from the experience. The long injury list has meant that more players have been blooded at Level Five which will only help to raise the strength of depth across the senior squad.

There is another two week break before the Saints welcome Brixham to Tregorrick for the final game of the league season (Saturday 6th April 2024, kick-off at 3:00pm). It seems an age since the Saints took on the Fishermen in the opening fixture of the season. A hugely entertaining game ended with honours even in a 34-34 draw, and the Saints will hoping to go one better to finish the league season on a high.

Saints Star Man: Matt Boothby – The Cornwall U20s prop has held his own against bigger and more experienced opponents throughout the season. Another good performance featuring some tenacious tackling and rombustious carries, was rewarded with a try.

Saints
1 Matt Boothby; 2 Pete Harris; 3 Scott Pearce; 4 Joe Maunder; 5 Tony Knight; 6 Henry Hutchinson; 7 Cam Taylor; 8 Kayden Michael; 9 CJ Boyce; 10 Chris Ashwin; 11 Dan Tyrrell; 12 Ben Plummer; 13 Sam Parsons (Captain); 14 Max Bullen; 15 Matt Shepherd

Reps (All used):
Jamie Stanlake; Charlie Nicholson; River Nowell

St Austell:
Tries – Max Bullen (29); Matt Boothby (38)
Cons – Matt Shepherd (30, 39)
Pens – Matt Shepherd (47)
Yellow card – Henry Hutchinson (33); Tony Knight (74)

Barnstaple:
Tries – Ryam Smale (8); Brandon Moore (33); Martinas Dromantas (62, 74) William Topps
Cons – Jacob Murphy (34); Tyler Gordon-Oke (63, 75)
Pens –
Yellow card – George Snell (36, 56)

Referee: Ciarán Elster (Bristol RRS)

Match details

Match date

Sat 23 Mar 2024

Kickoff

TBC

Competition

Regional 1 South West

League position

2
Barnstaple
8
St Austell
Team overview
Further reading

Team Sponsors

Kit & Matchday Sponsor - Sharps Molson Coors
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