Falmouth 15, St Ives 30

In their first ever Western Counties match Falmouth Eagles battled hard but ultimately were found wanting as they were overpowered by a juggernaut St Ives pack.

The sense of occasion was heightened by a large Recreation Ground crowd, who were treated to a true local derby at the recently renovated venue.

The Eagles adopted the wide flowing game that had brought them success last season, taking the lead after 15 minutes through a penalty from skipper Justyn Irons, extended within minutes as following a smart touch finding kick by Tom Spiller, Alex Kindjarsky punched a hole through the St Ives midfield to score under the posts, Irons converting, for a ten-point lead.

Moving the ball around the field had many of the big St Ives forwards blowing and they conceded penalties, Irons had another opportunity which fell short but brought a five yard scrum opportunity for the Eagles. However, ex Pirate Rob Elloway marshalled his forwards and shunted the Eagles back, clearing the danger.

This marked a turning point in the match as momentum firmly switched to the visitors, taking possession of the ball for long periods, they drove off the back of rucks and mauls, forcing Falmouth into tiring defensive play.

When penalty opportunities arose, St Ives kicked to the touchline and opted to attempt the catch and drive. The Eagles resisted twice before the Hakes were forced to opt for the points with Rhys Brownfield putting over a kick.

The Hakes pack looked ominous and with a continuing strategy of opting for the line out, the pressure eventually told as yet another catch and drive attempt proved successful, Brownfield again converting to level the scores. In the dying seconds of the half, a missed touch kick, gave the visitors another attacking opportunity and Falmouth conceded a needless penalty, Brownfield taking his chance to put the Hakes in the lead.

Falmouth struggled in the set piece, outgunned by the much larger St Ives pack, they managed to just about secure scrum possession but Tom Simmons was doing so always on the retreat and the Eagles began to lose their own line out. One bright spark was Ollie Andrews who, on debut, impressed with some powerful runs.

The second half started poorly for the Eagles, another missed touch kick allowed St Ives to attack and after three driving phases, Jamie Prisk powered over the line, Brownfield converting, Falmouth looked ragged. The situation looking worse when number 8 and man of the match Martin Lawrence picked up from the scrum to begin a move which culminated in him touching down 20 seconds later. The Eagles had conceded 25 points in 20 minutes.

The Eagles demonstrated their fighting spirit when substitute Matt Poole made a shattering tackle on the halfway line, dislodging the ball from his opponent, he regathered and sprinted to score. This lifted the home team and the crowd and when Seb Firth and Poole delivered a huge hit following a kick chase, it seemed Falmouth may still have a chance. However, St Ives had the vital component for victory, a decisive pack and following another turn over of an Eagles line out moved the ball across the line for wing Palmer to complete the victory and secure the bonus point.

This was a great test and introduction to the higher league for the Eagles, it is obvious that St Ives will be having a tilt at promotion this season, Falmouth have the motivation of establishing themselves in the league, they will learn but need to quickly.

Falmouth: Cock, Bullock, Searle, Ward, Baglow, Andrews, Brewer, Simmons, Spiller, Irons, Hubble, Kindjarsky, Jones, Carne, Edmonds. Reserves - C Bullock, M Poole, S Firth.