Lanner 8, Penryn 29

In what could prove to be a decisive day in the race for promotion in the Cornwall and Devon league, Penryn struck a telling blow by recording a vital bonus point win at Lanner, writes Ross Hancock.

With promotion rivals Honiton and Bude facing off, Penryn knew a win would be enough to take them back into the top two regardless but that an extra point could end up being crucial. Big games against both teams are looming on the horizon, but the focus this past weekend was on the task at hand.

Penryn swatted Lanner aside earlier in the season, chalking up 70 points in the process – something the home side will have no doubt remembered as too would their supporters, who turned out in force at a busy Mount Ambrose. It was the first time the Borough had played at the venue, on what can only be described as a postage stamp of a pitch. Penryn wouldn’t have the space they did at home earlier in the campaign, but they prepared for such eventualities and shuffled the pack in selection. It was never going to be an easy game for the visitors and the battle lines were drawn early, in what would be a physical afternoon.

Andrew Seviour opened the scoring with a typically strong effort that was unconverted, but the Borough would lose the influential centre to a broken jaw mid-way through the half which comes as a huge blow, with everyone at the club wishing him a speedy recovery. The home side were strong in the set piece throughout and their aggressive pack got them back into the game, tying the scores with their first try. It was a real arm wrestle at times, but Penryn very much played their part in the physicality stakes, highlighted no more so than by Chris Hellier powering over for the second try which Tomas Townsend converted. Lanner did manage a penalty goal before the break to make the score 8-12 in the visitors favour at the half.

The home side were very much in the game as the action entered the second period and it was up to Penryn to take it away from Lanner, especially considering their superior possession and territory. Thankfully, from a Penryn perspective, that’s exactly how things played out. It was the forwards who took control in the second 40 and soon after the break Hellier had his second and Penryn’s third. Townsend converted and the Borough had a crucial bonus point in sight. Considering the importance of the fourth try there was a sense of inevitability about it and despite Penryn being repelled on several occasions, they simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. Skipper Grant Randlesome did extremely well to pick up at the back of a retreating scrum, to blast his way over the line for the all-important fourth score. It wasn’t converted but Penryn looked more than safe at 8-24.

With job done for Penryn and little hope of a way back for Lanner, it was hardly surprising given the physical nature of the contest that the spark in the game began to fizzle out. Penryn had looked comfortable in defence for most of the game and without showing too much attacking flair on the small pitch, they had done more than enough. There was still time for replacement Ed Glyn to show good pace to finish off a nice attacking move, to bring an end to the scoring with an unsuccessful subsequent conversion attempt.

Penryn have a two-week break from league proceedings now, but face a mouth-watering national cup tie against Honiton on Saturday. The two are separated at the top of the table by point’s difference only, so it should be a cracker. Come and support the boys from 2.30pm!

Penryn: Townsend, Bradley, Hitchens, Seviour, Wilmott, Wallace, Strick, Goldsworthy, Gratrix, Pellow, Hughes, Wilkinson, Hellier, Jones, Randlesome. Reps: Glyn, Cockrell, Hinchley

Tries: Hellier (2), Seviour, Randlesome, Glyn. Conversion: Townsend (2)