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First XV - Match centre

Sat 23 Sep 15:00 - South West Division - Tribute Cornwall Devon Full time

Penryn Pipped By The Post at the End!

Ross Hancock reports on Saturday's game at Wessex

Penryn came within inches of snatching victory, after a penalty in the final play came back off the upright, as they played out a 24-24 draw at Wessex. In truth, to even leave with a draw was in the balance for the Borough at times, who despite also scoring four tries and securing a bonus point, found themselves under pressure for large spells.

It was a first clash against newly promoted Wessex and the Borough travelled to Exeter hoping to preserve their 100% start. The Wessex result from the previous weekend had raised eyebrows in Cornwall and Devon, but they were always likely to be much stronger at home and so it proved. Wessex flew out of the blocks to take an early lead after some fierce carrying around the fringes to shock Penryn.

The early blow rocked Penryn, as did losing hooker Kyle Gatrix after just two minutes. As Penryn looked for a way back into the game, the misfiring set piece made life difficult. Penryn barely touched the ball in the opening quarter, but when they did, they made it count. James Salisbury finished an excellent move up the touchline and Penryn had finally got going, though they still trailed by two following Mitchell Vague’s missed conversion.

Wessex were still very much in this game though and got themselves further ahead after Penryn lost skipper Grant Randlesome to the sin bin. It was a similar story as the home side crashed over following a powerful spell close to the Borough line. At 12-5 there was concern, but no panic for Penryn and they hit back again. This time it was the away forwards who were making inroads and AJ Stanfield was the man to get another unconverted score. Penryn trailed 12-10 at the break and would have the wind at their back in the second half.

There was a spring in the Penryn step going into the second half and they took the lead for the first time in the game. Again the forwards rumbled and again it was Stanfield credited with the score. Vague’s conversion making it 17-12 early in the second half. Just as it seemed Penryn had wrestled back the initiative, they were again undone by their own errors. As Wessex pinned Penryn back with a routine kick, a fumbled ball and the quick reaction from the home side to dive on the loose ball levelled things up.

The Borough went behind soon after. A spell of intense Wessex pressure had been repelled by Penryn who seemingly would get themselves out of their own 22, where they had spent much of the previous 10 minutes. A loose pass and unkind bounce however brought the home side their bonus point try as they regained the lead. As play entered the final quarter Penryn again had to chase the game, but it brought arguably their best spell.

There was much more urgency about the Borough now and as Wessex clung on and became increasingly nervous with possession, Penryn upped the ante. They went close on a number of occasions, but eventually forced their way over when Grant Randlesome cut an excellent line to give Vague an easy conversion to level. There was still time and there proved to be a final twist. Penryn harassed the home side into giving away a kickable penalty with the last action of the game, giving Vague an opportunity at an unlikely win. The tricky wind however hijacked the simple looking kick and it cannoned off the post as the home side gladly cleared. A steep learning curve for Penryn, who remain unbeaten and host Bude this Saturday.

Speaking after the game, Penryn coach Ian Morgan admitted that: "It was not the result we would have wanted yesterday, but we need to dust ourselves off and pick our chins up."

He explained that, ultimately: "We are still unbeaten in the league and we will learn from things like this, sometimes about ourselves and sometimes about the team. We'll train well this week, so we can keep improving and bounce back this weekend with a decent performance against Bude. It would be easy to rant that we should have done this and should have done that, but it wouldn't change the result or the performance, so draw a line under it and we work together as one big squad to put it right this week."

PENRYN: Simmonds, Paine, Hitchens, Seviour, Salisbury, Vague, Oliver, Patterson, Gatrix, Goldsworthy, Nelson, Hancock, Stanfield, Followell, Randlesome reps: Degenhardt, Trevaskis, Strick
SCORERS: TRIES: Salisbury, Stanfield (2), Randlesome CONVERSIONS: Vague (2)

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League table

# 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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