FALMOUTH Eagles were overpowered in an impressive display from league leaders Plymstock Albion Oaks at The Recreation Ground on Saturday. 

Going into the game, Head of Rugby Tom Spiller said that the coaching staff were looking to get an extra few per cent out of the squad to overturn recent narrow losses. The biggest loss at the Rec this season has been five points, but this week’s fixture against seven wins from eight Oaks would be the biggest test yet.

Early kicks were misjudged by the home side and Oaks took advantage, showcasing a dynamic set of backs that carried much more weight than the young Falmouth opposite numbers. Oaks put some decent phases together before conceding a penalty for sealing the ball on the Falmouth 5-metre line. After relieving the pressure briefly through a couple of territory-gaining penalties, Oaks attacked again, this time scoring under the posts through tight head Matt Finn. Fly-half Lewis Patterson adding the conversion.

Falmouth used the regrouping under the sticks well and started to balance out the Oaks threat - overall the first 25 was quite balanced. The game changed on two key moments around the 30-minute mark however, with the visiting 10 Patterson going off with injury and lock Niall Davies-Hale receiving an unlucky yellow card for a split-second high tackle.

Oaks began to look dangerous again with the extra man, especially through Ben Turua on the left wing and it wasn’t long before outside centre Duncan Bibby broke through to score in the left corner. Replacement kicker Pete Keanie, stepping up from Number 8, missed the tricky kick to leave the score 0-12 to the visitors.

Soon after, kicks from Falmouth again were left to the mercy of the strong wind and Oaks capitalised. Lock Ollie White eventually battering down the door and Keanie converting. It was looking like a 0-19 halftime score for the Eagles.

Falmouth Packet: Falmouth Eagles were overpowered in an impressive display from league leaders Plymstock Albion OaksFalmouth Eagles were overpowered in an impressive display from league leaders Plymstock Albion Oaks (Image: Neal Johnstone)

The Eagles were starting to look dangerous before the break however through a Callum Penry break that led to a five-metre Fal line out. This didn’t go to hand and closed off the half, but Spiller’s side had proven that they could penetrate the strong Oaks defence in the second half.

Gathering the kick well off the kick-off, the hosts were bundled straight into touch and a lapse in concentration meant that Keanie’s break and pass to Tom Richards on a good line was left unchallenged. Falmouth were now looking at a 26-point deficit. 

Perhaps now with nothing to lose, the Eagles started to apply pressure in the right areas, Penhallurick putting Nick Carne away down the right wing from the 22, only to be met with a booming tackle into touch from the Oaks lock 10 yards out. In the next play however, Penhallurick shrewdly used a switch to put Carne through a hole to score under the posts. Points were added by the assister. 7-26.

The Fal pressure was starting to whip up the fans as the hosts were really starting to dominate now. Could the comeback be on? The previous week away at Pirates Amateurs has shown that this young squad were capable of long periods of territory and possession against teams in the top half of the Tribute Western Counties West league. 

Unfortunately, though, the game began to echo the week before as long periods of control did not lead to points. Falmouth to unlucky to not have a man advantage after constant penalties in scoring areas but they could not get over the line. If line outs did go to hand, unforced errors would occur out wide, or line breaks would be unsupported by teammates. Falmouth will again be disappointed to not get on the scoreboard in the first 30 minutes of the second half as they did all the hard work to get in the right places.

Towards the end of the game, Oaks began to get the better of the scrum, gaining several penalties and eventually breaking off a ruck to score through Miti Caqara to leave the final score 7-33.

Despite the largest home loss of the season, the boys will be proud of their dominance in the second half against an opposition that has trounced other teams in the league. They will take a week off to group and target a big win to bottom of the league Wiviliscombe away in 2 weeks' time