Revenge is sweet for in-form Eagles
6:04pm Tuesday 12th March 2013 in Sport
FALMOUTH EAGLES 37
Falmouth’s game against Saltash on Saturday began on a poignant note as supporters and players alike gathered in the sunshine to observe a two minute silence in memory of former player Derek George, who passed away last week, writes Hugh Murton.
Then, with flags at half-mast, the teams got down to the business of playing rugby.
Unlike the away fixture both sides started at a fast pace and with the first scrums of the game it was obvious that the visitors were going to have a torrid afternoon as they were being shunted back in the scrums and losing their own ball.
On the third scrum of the day the home team duly pushed them off their ball and captain Simon Bailey picked up, bursting clear before off-loading to Tom Spiller, who scored near the posts. Surprisingly the conversion attempt failed.
A similar situation on 15 minutes allowed Bailey to pick up once more, and draw in the full back before releasing Billy Burner who burst over the line under the posts. Paul Saberton converted to give Falmouth a 12 point advantage.
But the visitors woke up, and moved the ball across the field to score a well-worked try in the corner by winger Rupert Allen. Max Venables converted from the touchline to close the gap to five points.
Shortly after the score, injury forced Falmouth to move Richey Bray to scrum half and introduce Rob McIntyre on the wing.
The home side began to use their backs to good effect, with Gareth Leaver breaking through and only good defending by the visitors holding him up on the line.
The home side were passing the ball around in fine style, and more excellent handling by the backs helped create a gap for skipper Bailey to charge through and score near the posts. Saberton’s conversion attempt come back off the post.
Saltash refused to buckle and some good open play caused alarm bells to ring in the home defence.
But in an attempt to force an opening a Saltash centre attempted to arm wrestle Gareth Leaver for contol of the ball and the muscular Eagles centre ripped the ball out of his hands before accelerating through the now-unguarded gap for a 50 yard score. Saberton converted and Falmouth were 17 points clear as the first half came to an end.
After the break both sides cancelled each other out with good handling, but with each defence holding firm the game was being played in the middle of the pitch.
The home team brought their forwards into the picture, moving the ball with breathtaking style, bringing applause even from the more cynical supporters.
Scrum power again caused the visitors more pain as they were forced off their own ball, allowing Tom David to take advantage and dive over. Once again the conversion failed.
The home forwards now took complete control, and one almost felt sorry for the visitors when they were forced into a scrum.
Falmouth won possession, and some quite wonderful passing among almost every player gave Leaver and winger Dan Roberts the chance to create a gap for Leaver to go over again in the corner. This time Saberton made no mistake from the touchline, and Falmouth were 36-7 up.
The visitors displayed some good handling of their own, and with quick thinking Venables scored a well-worked try in the corner only to fail with the conversion.
The home team seemed to fall asleep in the sunshine, allowing the visitors to run at them. But once more the tight forwards decide to pick up the action and started to control the game again.
The last action of the day underlined the superiority of the forwards as the visitors were given a scrum within 5 yards of the Falmouth line in the middle of the park - a perfect position to attack with their own good back division. But with almost contemptous ease they were pushed off their own ball and the danger was cleared.
The final whistle blew to end a performance that suggests perhaps more people should come to see this Falmouth team, who are producing some parkling rugby that even an old cynic like me can appreciate.
Falmouth: A Searle, AJ Geach, H Martin, J Dobson, J Stephens, T David, R Fitzpatrick, S Bailey (captain), B Burner, T Spiller, M Biggins, G Leaver, D Roberts, R Bray, P Saberton. Subs: Paddy Varker,Dan Lowe and Rob Mcintyre.