THE Falmouth Eagles 1XV faced off against the St. Ives Hakes in a thrilling match that left both teams and their supporters on the edge, writes Danny Trick. 

The ground was sodden from the rain, but the spirit of the fans remained high, hoping for the Eagles to rise above the muddy conditions. From the outset, the Eagles dominated the first half, displaying their attacking prowess and coming close to scoring on multiple occasions.

However, the scaly defence of St. Ives proved to be a formidable opponent, denying the Eagles any breakthroughs. Despite this, Falmouth remained calm and composed, utilizing their strong forward play to push deep into the Hakes' territory. It was during this intense battle that Finn Deavin, seizing an opportunity from a St. Ives goal line dropout, attempted a daring drop goal. Unfortunately, his attempt fell wide.

Nevertheless, the Eagles continued their relentless pursuit for a win at the Rec, with Seb Firth showcasing his explosive breaks and gaining valuable yards for the team. Although Firth's efforts were initially unrewarded, his determination eventually paid off when he burst through from the halfway line, put boot to ball with a grubber in which Tom Townsend chased to set up Harvey Penhallurick to score in the corner.

Despite the try, Harvey was unable to convert. The Eagles continued to apply pressure throughout the remainder of the half, but the final pass proved to be their downfall, as they opted for an expansive game plan.

Special recognition must be given to Rowan O'Regan and Phill Hinchley for their outstanding defensive efforts, preventing the taller and bulkier Hakes from breaching the Eagles' defensive lines. Hinchley's exceptional performance earned him the well-deserved Man of the Match title. As a result of Falmouth's defensive intensity, the Hakes only real activity in the first half came from a penalty kick, which they missed, leaving the score at 5-0 at halftime.

Falmouth Packet: The Eagles 1XV dig inThe Eagles 1XV dig in (Image: Neal Johnston)

As the second half began, the Hakes seized the opportunity to take the lead, capitalizing on the Eagles' momentarily vulnerable defence. A simple pass and catch in the middle of the pitch resulted in an Eagles' knock on, granting St. Ives a rare chance to penetrate their opponent's half. A well-placed volley behind the advanced Falmouth back three forced them to scramble back into position, A failed kick to touch allowing St. Ives to score and convert under the posts untouched, making it 5-7.

Frustration grew within the Eagles' camp as St. Ives successfully converted a penalty kick moments later, extending their lead to 5-10. The experienced St. Ives forwards now began to dominate, exerting immense pressure and seeking any advantage at every breakdown with arms floundering to gain any advantage they could from the ref. This pressure eventually paid off, as the Hakes secured crucial decisions in their favour. A storm was brewing on and off the field.

During a tense period, keen-eyed spectators might have noticed a moment of exchange between the referee and the Falmouth coaching team. Despite their frustrations, the Eagles had to accept the decisions, suck on their Murray mints and push forward.

This was becoming a test for the stand-in captain Alex Bullock to regain the front foot. As the final nail-biting minutes unfolded, Falmouth launched waves of attacks, desperately seeking a comeback. However, mishaps in the lineouts and handling errors proved costly, leading to their eventual defeat.

The Hakes emerged victorious, leaving the Eagles to reflect on what could have been a well-deserved win, well within their grasp. Overall, it was a hard-fought battle between two determined teams and despite the difference in league positions, there was small margins separating the two out on the field. Although the Eagles fell short, their relentless efforts and promising performances of late offer hope for future triumphs which must be on the horizon.

Final score: Falmouth Eagles XV 5 v 10 St. Ives Hakes

This Friday the Eagles 1XV are away to Pirate Amateurs for an evening kick off 19:30 at the Mennaye Field on Alexendra Road, Penzance.