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First XV - Match centre

Sat 5 Dec 14:15 - South West Divsion - Tribute Western Counties West Full time

Penryn 29 Saltash 24

Borough have to win it twice!

Penryn made it two bonus point wins from three games with a second successive home victory against newly promoted Saltash in a dramatic and thrilling clash. The Borough who were 11 points from safety prior to kick off, have closed the gap to just six following a late Alex Ducker try which rescued all five points, despite Penryn leading 19-0 at one stage. It may have only been round 11 of 26 in Western Counties West, but the visit of Saltash to the memorial ground was quite clearly a must win game for Penryn who started the game at the bottom of the table. The home side with only two wins so far in the league were desperate to make that three by the end of the afternoon, knowing full well they could ill afford to lose further ground on their fellow strugglers.

Penryn began with purpose and were soon in the ascendancy, imposing their game plan and executing it well. With excellent go forward Penryn struck, Alex Ducker pouncing for his second try in two weeks following his return. The conversion was added by another familiar face, in the shape of fly half Jake Seviour. The confidence was flowing in the Penryn ranks and they continued forward with menace. Ducker cut an excellent line to go in for his second virtually unchallenged. Seviour again converted and Penryn led 14-0. The home sides dominant display was even more impressive considering the strong wind they elected to play into during the first half and things continued to get better. Winger Mitchell Vague made an excellent break down the grandstand touchline and seemed destined to score but was hauled down following some desperate defence. It was in vain for the visitors though, as Grant Randlesome mopped up and dived over. Seviour couldn’t convert but it was one way traffic with Penryn 19-0 to the good.

Arguably it was Penryn’s best half of the season to date and a bonus point looked to be a formality, but for a spirited Saltash comeback. The visitors who hadn’t given a great account of themselves in the first half hit back with their first try just before the break, to remind Penryn that they weren’t going away quietly. The conversion was wide and at half time it was 19-5 to the Borough. Now playing with the wind at their backs it seemed as if the second half would be academic, but it was anything but that. Instead it was Saltash’s turn to dominate playing into the wind. The razor sharp Saltash backs were beginning to enjoy themselves, and under the influence of Cornwall full back Max Venables, they begin to make use of the wide Penryn pitch. The visitors closed the gap to just two points with two long range scores, giving the Borough plenty to think about.

Seviour did slot three points from a penalty to calm things down for Penryn, but it was Saltash in the driving seat and they were threatening to run riot. The away side launched another attack from their own five metre line, with Venables instrumental again and in the blink of an eye were under the posts once more. A bonus point try for Saltash and with the conversion good, they had the lead for the first time in the 76th minute. A shell shocked Penryn had looked nailed on for a bonus point win, but were left with the real possibility of only a losing bonus point to take away, which would have been a real dent to their survival hopes. There was time for one final late twist however. Saltash opted against the pragmatic approach and continued to run from deep, but this time a loose pass was snaffled by Ducker who completed his hat trick, secured Penryn a try bonus point and put them back into the lead. Seviour’s conversion made it 29-24. The Borough had one final attack to snuff out, but with Saltash penalised the Borough ran down the clock and secured a vital and dramatic win. Penryn travel to fellow strugglers St Austell in a huge Cornish derby this Saturday.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. St Austell 26 58
9. Devonport Services 26 55
10. Wadebridge Camels 26 53
11. Sidmouth 26 49
12. Crediton 26 49
13. Penryn 27 38
14. Saltash 25 32

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