Penryn 33 Torquay Athletic 33
Penryn and Torquay played out one of the most entertaining clashes of the season, as the two slugged it out for a share of the points and ten tries.
It was a close and tense affair for the second time this season. Torquay pinched a late victory up in Devon earlier on in the campaign, but it was Penryn who had to strike late on this time out.
Both sides had injury problems heading into the game, with Torquay bringing two young inexperienced props, to match Penryn’s mounting list of injured senior players. Both sets of players ignored their potential shortcomings and put on a spectacle for the watching crowd, yet no doubt causing plenty of stress for the respective coaching teams.
The two week break from Penryn’s last outing on Boxing Day seemed to energise the home side, as they started with real tempo and purpose to test the visiting Devonians.
The pack laid a solid platform and the slick backs created ample room for Mitchell Vague to dot down.
Matt Horton missed the tough kick.
Penryn were soon back in enemy territory following the restart, as this time the forward pack surged forward with great menace.
The backs played their part, but it was flanker Phil Hinchley who claimed the score.
Horton missed once more.
Penryn were in complete control, when against the run of play a loose ball from the scrum found itself in the arms of Torquay scrum half Alex Jeffery, who fed Rupert Edwards to score, with Jeffery adding the extras.
The away side had been given a glimmer of hope in a game they had offered little in, but Penryn and Horton had a chance to make amends. The winger kicked two penalty goals in quick succession to give the Borough a 16-7 half time lead that was much more reflective of the half that had played out.
The Borough are renowned for upping the tempo going into the second half, but on this occasion they were pegged back by the Tics.
Excellent field position for the visitors gave lock forward Jonathan Woodhead the space he needed to crash over, with Jeffery closing the gap to just two points. It was at this point, that chaos descended.
With the game finely poised, Penryn took the lead with a mixture of fortune and brilliance.
An overthrown lineout landed in prop forward Matt Williams’s hands, who beat three defenders to run in unopposed from 25 metres out to the delight of the home crowd and his fellow team mates.
Horton failed to convert but the drama was only just beginning. The next score was a real cracker, surging breaks from Ben Trevaskis, replacement Dan Kirk and flanker Adam Hughes were roared down the touchline side by the home crowd and Horton finished off the move for a Penryn bonus point try.
In a melee including several players as the try was scored though, Penryn captain George Jones was singled out and sin-binned and the away side were awarded a penalty at the re-start. The try stood but the conversion was wide.
From the ensuing penalty, Torquay drove their way over the line to close the gap immediately after Penryn scored, through Tom Whitford.
The scuffle after the last try hadn't been forgotten, though, and Woodhead was binned, this time with Penryn getting the penalty at the restart.
Jeffery added his third conversion to make it 26-21. There was a third sin-bin in as many minutes soon after, as Penryn centre Lewis Vague was rather puzzlingly shown a yellow.
Down to 13 men, Penryn were exposed and Torquay finished off a simple overlap to level the scores. The faultless Jeffery made it 28-26 to the visitors.
The Borough who had led by two clear scores less than five minutes earlier were now searching for a way back into the game and as they forced the ball wide, the away side picked off a simple interception.
Jake Bolton had done all the hard work in racing some 90 metres to the line, but in an attempt to get closer to the posts a phenomenal double chase by Horton and Ollie Evans held Bolton up and saved the day for Penryn, who cleared their lines.
With all sin-bin periods having ended the game was finely poised going into the final moments.
The returning Woodhead looked to have snatched it, scoring from another powerful drive in the 77th minute, but the previously faultless Jeffery’s missed conversion proved costly.
As the visiting Torquay supporte were celebrating what seemed a certain bonus point away victory, Penryn desperately threw the ball wide and after some very calm build up play Horton set up the latest of late dramas.
The winger raced down the touch line chipping and chasing over the full back before collecting and touching down to score, setting up a conversion to draw the match.
Despite two tries and two penalties, the pressure was on Horton following four previous missed conversions, but he held his nerve from out wide to bring his tally to 18 and more importantly to bring Penryn level.
There was time for one last play, but when the ball didn't go ten, the referee signalled the end of a breathless encounter.
Penryn travel to local rivals Truro this Saturday, kick off 2.30pm.