REDRUTH 25 – 14 BLAYDON (HT 8-7)
By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.
A disciplined performance as called for by head coach Nigel Hambly during the week helped Redruth win this crucial encounter with fellow strugglers Blaydon at the Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon. The Reds were unlucky not to claim the try scoring bonus point, however they will be satisfied that their opponents got nothing points wise from the match.
The major talking point in the crowd prior to kick-off was the presence of former Cornish Pirates head coach Jim McKay who will be assisting the Reds’coaching set-up until the end of the season “Jim is a great friend and I thank him for making himself available to the Reds until the end of the season” declared Hambly.
Redruth made a couple of changes from the defeat at Wharfedale skipper Craig Bonds missed the game being replaced by Paul Thirlby whilst elder brother Rob came back in pace of young Sam Parsons on the wing. The captain’s armband passing to talismatic Kiwi No8 Mark Bright.
Blaydon flew down on the morning of the match their side strengthened in recent weeks by the arrival of several players from Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.
Redruth kicked off playing up the slope, fly-half Luke Cozens spurned an early penalty chance for the home side. Blaydon looked sharp as they looked to spin the ball wide with scrum-half Hall Charlton catching the eye, in response Cozens kicking getting good field position for the Reds. The opening score came after 18 mins, Lewis Vinnicombe fielded a clearance kick sending out a long pass to Rob Thirlby who flew off at speed towards the Blaydon 22, a brilliant step brought him that extra metre to take the move deep into the 22 before feeding inside to centre Rudy Meredith who scored in the Strawberry Lane corner of the ground. Cozens was un-successful with the conversion but made amends after 25 mins with a penalty. They should have had another penalty just before that following a dangerous looking tackle by former Pirates’ second row Dave Whitehead on Meredith. Skipper Bright was leading by example getting through a tremendous amount of work around the park. Redruth began to take the upper hand but couldn’t turn their possession into points, almost on the stroke of half-time Blaydon scored a well worked try through winger Andrew Fenby in the Piggy Lane corner, which was converted by Daniel Kyle.
Blaydon put the Reds under tremendous pressure early in the second half, stout defence kept their line intact. After 47 mins Cozens increased the Reds’ lead with a second penalty. A second try for Redruth came soon after, prop Darren Jacques feed scrum-half Mark Richards, whose break took him up to the Blaydon 22, Vinnicombe, who picked up the Reds’ man-of-the-match award was on hand to finish off the move in Hell Fire corner, Cozens added the conversion.
Rob Thirlby looked to have scored a third try but lost control of the ball as he crossed the line. Further pressure did bring that third try through hooker Glenn Cooper from a forward drive following a line-out on 65 mins, Cozens conversion took the Reds to 25-7. Redruth continued to search in vain for the elusive fourth try, instead it was the visitors who had the final say when they scored a second try through centre Adam Dehaty, Kyle again adding the conversion.
After the match Hambly was full of praise for his players, “I am relieved, we had the jitters at half-time when they scored to make it 8-7, the boys really responded well during the second half with a big performance. Hopefully we can take it on to next weekend at Westcombe Park.”