The sun shone at Clifden Park as Cornwall League 1 runners-up Bodmin held off a determined second half challenge from Devon League 1 runners-up Totnes in this play-off match for promotion to the Tribute Cornwall and Devon League to clinch their spot at the higher level next season by 17-15.
The win and second successive promotion for the Bodmin club delighted Chairman Dave Saunter. He said after the final whistle. “A great day for the club and for Bodmin, we have worked towards this for the last ten to fifteen years, through our youth policy of bring players through the club.
“We were disappointed a couple of seasons ago when we were relegated into Cornwall 2 but having won that league last season and then having another great season this time finishing runners-up to our friends from Liskeard-Looe and now the play-off against a valiant Totnes side we are delighted to be playing next season at our highest ever level in the current league structure.
“As a club we are in a good position for the step up, we own our ground we are financially stable and have some great sponsors who I must thank for their support and hopefully they and others will continue to support us again next season.”
It turned out to be a proverbial game of two halves with both sides playing the better rugby when playing up the slope and into the stiff breeze.
Crucially Bodmin scored three first half tries and were able to withstand a sustained assault by their opponents during a nail-biting second half.
Totnes had the first chance of points with just two minutes on the clock but their goal kicker full back Scott Hingston’s effort was well wide.
Bodmin looked menacing with the ball in hand with flanker Ollie Wendon a constant threat along with the centre pairing of Paul Carter and Andrew Coad.
It was Carter who scored Bodmin’s first try on eight minutes as the home side broke the game line with a cross-field kick from which play put the centre in.
Winger Cody Armstrong couldn’t land the extras in the tricky wind.
Totnes soon registered their first points when Hingston kicked a monster penalty with the aid of the wind from 40 meters.
The same player missed with a further penalty attempt before being forced to leave the field with an injury.
Bodmin kept up the pressure to score a second un-converted try on 20 minutes, through Armstrong as the ball was again moved wide.
As the half drew to a close, Bodmin scored a vital third try from fine combination play between forwards and backs Carter scoring crucially under the posts making the conversion a formality for Armstrong and a 17-3 half-time lead.
Totnes looked a different team after the break and good pressure from the visitors saw their No. 8 Gareth Williams score a good try which was converted by fly-half Andy Rive to cut the deficit to just seven points after 51 minutes.
Totnes continued to have the lion share of possession; however Bodmin defended like demons to keep them out.
With five minutes remaining Totnes, who had just moments earlier seen a try disallowed for a double movement, scored a second try through winger Callum Douglas. The score was in the corner and Rive crucially couldn’t add the conversion to tie the scores and send the game into extra-time.
Bodmin saw out the final moments and when they were awarded a final penalty booted the ball into touch to confirm their second consecutive promotion.
After the final whistle Bodmin skipper Lee Taylor couldn’t contain his delight. “A great win for Bodmin and a massive boost for the town and rugby in the area. I am very proud of my team and their performance. We had great support here this afternoon which hopefully we will see again next season to prove that Bodmin can sustain rugby at this level.”
Bodmin 17 pts
Tries – Carter, Armstrong, Coad, Conversion – Armstrong
Totnes 15 pts
Tries – Williams, Douglas, Conversion – Rive, Penalty – Hingston
Bodmin: D Pooley, A McPhee, P Carter, A Coad, C Armstrong, M Trevarthen, S Helgessen; G Taylor, S Williams, J Rutty, L Thomas, J Day, O Wendon, M Orton, L Taylor (Capt)
Replacements (all used): A Trevarthen, D Cullip, A Pengelley, M Cunniffe
Totnes: S Hingston, O Tregellis, J Michelmore, R Smith, C Douglas, A Rive, A Bartlett; T Woodward, J Ruddock, T Edmonds (Capt), M Shackelton, S Edwards, B Pountney, E Browse, G Williams
Replacements (all used): A Shore, J Nash, C Browse, J Green
Referee: Mr R Watt (Somerset RRS)