Saltash 30, Penryn 14

Penryn relinquished top spot in the Cornwall and Devon league, losing their first game of the season at new table toppers Saltash.

The game was a tight affair throughout and remained close until the final quarter, where the home side pulled away to register a crucial bonus point victory.

Such is the close nature of this league, Penryn now slip down to third despite their unbeaten start and setting the pace for most of the season.

There was a healthy crowd to see the top two square off and the game started with Penryn in control of possession, a theme that was not to be replicated for large parts of the game. The ashes dominated possession for much of the 80 minutes, with Penryn’s much vaunted defence receiving a vigorous workout.

The Borough were equal to the task for the majority of the first half, but the home side's dominance had to tell at some stage and did, when Phil Eatwell dived over in the clubhouse corner for an unconverted try.

In a game of such magnitude, a Penryn response was imperative and that’s exactly what they produced. The set piece was an area of Borough dominance throughout and it was no surprise to see a penalty try awarded from a scrum after a series of Penryn pressure.

The home side thought quickly though and with no conversion required for a penalty try, they raced to halfway for a quick restart and forced Penryn over their line for a five metre scrum to the home side. Penryn defended manfully and eventually won a turnover, but Saltash were soon back on the attack and won a penalty, which was kicked by Kieran Down to give the home side a slender half time lead at 8-7.

Saltash picked up where they left off after half time, kicking another penalty to extend their lead to 11-7. The game remained in the balance until the final quarter and it was then, that Saltash pulled away. Penryn forays into Ashes territory were few and far between, with the away side defending for large part. With advantage being played for the home side, a speculative cross field kick was plucked out of the air by Will Morton for a second Saltash try, which was also unconverted.

Penryn would have to score next if they were to get back into the game, but unfortunately it went the way of the home side. It was another piece of rotten luck for the Borough, as harmless kick bounced kindly into Morton’s arms at full tilt to put the game beyond Penryn. Another try from close range for Ollie Mulberry completed a potentially crucial bonus point victory as Penryn were stunned by a ten minute blitz.

Penryn’s response to the damaging 10 minutes was admirable though and they did have the last laugh. Playing not only for pride but momentum to take into the coming weeks, the Borough strung together 26 phases of attack to see Sam Hitchens over the line. Mitchell Vague converted the try to add respectability to the score line, but it was game over. Penryn will be looking to bounce back this weekend at home to Torrington.

Penryn: Bradley, Salisbury, Hitchens, Seviour, Saberton, Vague, Strick, Patterson, Birkett, Goldsworthy, Hancock, Trevaskis, Jones, Stanfield, Randlesome. Reps: Degenhardt, Wilkinson, Wilmott.

Tries: Penalty, Hitchens

Conversion: Vague