PENRYN College’s footballers christened the school’s new sports pitch with an exciting match against Plymouth Argyle on Monday night.

The Year 11 team took on the academy side of professional side Plymouth under the floodlights of their newly re-laid 3G pitch to mark the first time it had been used since its refurbishment.

The Penryn boys eventually lost 7-5 in a thrilling game watched by former pupil and current Argyle first-team striker Luke Jephcott, who was the guest of honour and presented a shirt to the school before kick-off.

Team coach and Penryn College teacher Jake Ash said: “It’s great to use the pitch and their staff [at Argyle] said it was a great surface to play on. It looked awesome, it was really nice and a really special night.”

The pitch was first installed in 2008 to coincide with the completion of Penryn’s new main school building, which opened in September that year.

With an estimated lifespan of ten years for this particular type of artificial pitch, it meant an update was due.

To cover the £700,000 cost of the upgrade, the school put a sinking fund in place to fund the replacement, with sports charity the Football Foundation, who funded the original one in 2008, also contributing to the cost.

Mr Ash said: “The Football Foundation have been really kind and seen that the school are really proactive with their football and reinvested in the facility to give us what we’ve got.

“We’re really lucky that they’ve supported it because it’s not cheap!”

The pitch is used for several sports, including football, rugby, American football and lacrosse, and is also home to several community groups, including women’s football and rugby teams, university clubs and Falmouth United.

All of these groups and the students at the school will be looking forward to getting back on the pitch again, with the benefits of health and fitness now being championed more than ever given the current global health crisis.

“We’ve been so lucky that the school are really encouraging of kids carrying on being active and carrying on with clubs whereas lots of schools have stopped,” Mr Ash said, “which is absolutely fair enough because there are so many things that you have to consider, but the school have been really positive about carrying on having sport in their lives.

“Whether it’s been rugby on here or football, it’s been really well used in the school. The kids have said it’s lovely to be out on such a great surface.”

Penryn’s footballers made a flying start to the match, with Connor Hurrell scoring the first two of his incredible five-goal haul, netting his first early on with a deflected strike before doubling the lead after 15 minutes.

Argyle hit back soon after to halve the deficit from close range before scoring a penalty to level the scores. The visitors edged then ahead for the first time on the half-hour with a lovely shot into the far corner, only for Hurrell to complete his hat-trick with a super strike that flew in off the underside of the crossbar.

It stayed 3-3 at the break but Penryn restored their advantage early in the second half when a lovely through ball allowed Hurrell to score again, before another Argyle goal levelled matters once more.

The pendulum swung the home side’s way again with ten minutes left with another finish inside the box from Hurrell – his fifth of the night – putting them back in front, but Argyle equalised once again almost immediately.

There was time for what would be a decisive sixth goal for the academy team, before adding a seventh in the final minute as Penryn opened up and pushed for a dramatic equaliser.

Mr Ash said: “The boys have been lucky enough that we’ve been able to train at school during this period, but they haven’t had the opportunity to play any games. We weren’t allowed to during this second lockdown.

“For a lot of those boys they’ve just restarted their club football so that would have felt like a long old game tonight for 80 minutes against a good team, so I think there will be a few stiff legs tomorrow [Tuesday] when they all come into school!"