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First XV - Match centre

Sat 2 Sep 15:00 - South West Division - Tribute Cornwall Devon Full time

Red Hot Second Half Secures The Win

Ross Hancock reports on Penryn's opening win against Tavistock.

Penryn recovered from a shaky start to record a bonus point win in the opening league fixture of the campaign against Tavistock. The Borough were left shell-shocked as the visitors raced into a 17-0 lead, but recovered to score 43 unanswered points.

After a pre-season full of promise for Penryn and the dawn of a new era about to begin, there was cause for optimism which was mirrored by a healthy home crowd. That optimism may not have lasted long though, as the Borough endured a torrid opening quarter. Tavistock took the lead early with what the hosts would have classed as a soft try and if the first try was soft, the next two were equally as poor from a Borough perspective. Penryn faced a mountain to climb at 0-17.

That climb began just before the half time break as the home side eventually got the kind of ball they had been starved of for such long periods. With Penryn making their way into the 22, good phases allowed a walk in on the far touchline for replacement winger James Salisbury. A missed conversion meant a half time score of 5-17, with Penryn just about still in it.

Penryn v Tavistock - 2nd Sept 2017 by Ross Tembridge
16 photos

The visitors remained stubborn and survived wave after wave of Penryn attack after half time, but their resistance would be short lived. Penryn squandered a couple of chances near the line, but made no mistake when scrum half Tomas Oliver went over from short range to close the gap to a converted score. Penryn were level soon after, to the delight and relief of the home crowd, when centre Andrew Seviour powered over and Matt Horton converted.

The bit was firmly in the teeth for Penryn at this stage and it seemed only a matter of time before they would take the lead for the first time. The patience Penryn had shown to get back in the game was matched by their composure and execution – something that had eluded them earlier in the game. It returned in spades as they began to turn on the style. Horton secured the bonus point try and gave Penryn the lead by converting his own score following some more flowing attack play.

Keen not to take their foot off the gas, the tries continued to come for Penryn who had finally found some rhythm. Lock Ross Hancock was given a short range walk in to extend the lead, before two long range efforts put real shine on the performance. From kick off Penryn recycled the ball well and moved it wide to a backline that was now terrorising the Tavistock defence. Seviour collected in his own half and set off on a thrilling 60 metre dash which he finished superbly, to well and truly put Penryn out of sight. Horton added the extra two. 

Penryn struck from kick off again and it was another try owed to a clicking backline. The Borough fliers weaved their magic through countless defenders once again to send Oliver in for a second and Penryn 43-17 to the good, following another Horton conversion. A game that Penryn looked like they had given themselves too much to do in had now turned on its head as the home side looked towards the half century. It was perhaps fitting though that the visitors had the final say at the death, as they went in for a fourth try of the game to take a bonus point with them on the journey back to Devon. The day though belonged to Penryn, who next face a trip to newly promoted Torrington this Saturday.

Looking back at yesterday's game, Ian Morgan said: "The first half resembled nothing of pre-season - it was a nervy and over-excited team. Tavistock settled very quickly, and to their credit they took a deserved lead after some terrible defensive work from 'The Borough', which had been a strength in the three pre-season games.

Morgan highlighted that the interval saw a period of regrouping: "To the credit of the lads though, we had a quiet chat at half-time about our composure and game plan, and within minutes of the restart, we looked a different team."

The former Cornwall coach observed that, looking back, the disappointing first half showing could be a blessing in disguise long term: "I have to say that this was probably the game we needed early doors, to make us realise that it won't be plain sailing this season. The pleasing part was our ability to play for eighty minutes, and that literally blew Tavistock away. Hopefully we will continue to improve and get better. I know that the lads have more to give, and they do to."

PENRYN: Horton, Saberton, Johnson, Simmonds, Mitchell, Seviour, Oliver, Patterson, Degenhardt, Goldsworthy, Hancock, Followell, Howson, Gibson, Randlesome REPS: Oldfield, Stanfield, Salisbury
TRIES: Oliver (2), Seviour (2), Hancock, Salisbury, Horton

TAVISTOCK: Webber, Toll, Hadfield, Oner, Turpin, Friend, Glover, Charlton, Kerswill, Hair, Griffiths, Jones, Langton, Budden, Schuttkacker REPS: Martin, Cann, Mills.

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# Team Pl Pts
1. Wellington 26 118
2. Saltash 26 109
3. Penryn 26 108
4. Honiton 26 94
5. Bude 26 84
6. Lanner 26 67
7. Withycombe 26 63

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