Redruth had to settle for a losing bonus point with fly-half Aaron Penberthy’s final penalty kick at the end of an absorbing National League 1 encounter with high-flying London Scottish.

It was a game that ebbed and flowed with both sides having periods of domination, however the Scottish exiles’ ball retention proved superior when they strung together multiple phases of play, with giant locks Andy Newman, Josh Brown and influential No. 8 Willie Lipp they had powerful ball carriers to get them over the game line also in scrum-half and former England 7’s star Simon Amor a scrum-half capable of getting a lively backline on the front foot. At the end of the day London Scottish were relieved to get a win in a fixture, which former Redruth player Lewis Calder, who was thrilled to be back in Cornwall, acknowledged to be their toughest away fixture. For the former Scotland U.20 captain it proved to be a bittersweet return to the Recreation Ground, scoring his side’s opening try and then collecting the first of his sides’ three yellow cards towards the end of the second half as a rampant Redruth racked up the pressure.

Redruth especially in the forwards gave the visitors a game to remember typified by a man-of-the-match performance by prop forward Peter Joyce, who at times was like a rampaging bull around the park. Fellow prop Darren Jacques battle scared features at the final whistle, testament to the ferocity of the forward exchanges.

The Scottish exiles took the field to the swirl of the pipes, closely followed by a determined Mark Bright leading out the Reds. The home side kicked off playing up the slope with a strong breeze at their backs. Scrum-half Mark Richards soon settled into his kicking game with some good kicks pinning the exiles back in their own twenty-two. From a scrum near the visitors line the ball was moved right with winger Sean Hawkey making a strong run down the touchline towards the scoreboard corner, the forwards re-cycled the ball with full-back Paul Thirlby squeezing over for the opening try, Penberthy couldn’t add the extras in the tricky conditions.

Despite this early setback London Scottish stormed back at Redruth in impressive fashion, the Reds defence held firm with Bright putting in a bone-crunching big-hit on centre Ben MacDougall.

Eventually the pressure told and following a series of pick and go’s near the Redruth line Calder was driven over by his fellow forwards, fly-half James Brown kicked the conversion for a 7-5 lead after 22 minutes. Five minutes later the exiles doubled their score, Redruth pulled down a powerful maul from the visitors, Brown kicked the ensuing penalty to the Piggy Lane corner, another drive from the lineout saw Lipp crash over the whitewash, Brown’s conversion leaving the visitors 14-5.

Redruth enjoyed a good period of pressure prior to half-time, but just couldn’t find a way through the well organised Scottish defence, with Joyce Chris Fuca, Steve Wood, Sam Parsons and Nathan Pedley all sniffing a chance before the door was slammed shut. Penberthy was left with a drop-goal option, which flew past the upright.
Playing down the slope second half Redruth needed an early score, there was an early score, but it didn’t go the Reds’ way. Another scrum near the Redruth line saw the irrepressible Lipp pick up and stretch his big paw over the line for his second try of the match, once again Brown was able to add the extras and the Scots seemed set fair at 21-5.

To their credit Redruth raised their game putting the Scottish exiles under severe pressure, the Reds got over the line but Richards was held up. Bright went close on two occasions shortly afterwards but lost the ball over the line and then knocked on near the line. Scottish were clearly infringing under the intense Redruth pressure. Eventually referee Mr. Davies had enough sending both try-scorers Calder and Lipp to the bin in the space in the space of a minute. With a two man advantage Redruth finally got some reward from Mr. Davies as he awarded a penalty-try with Penberthy adding the conversion.

Scottish cleverly managed the remaining time they were short of players with Brown also missing a penalty shot at goal. Bright had a storming run down the grandstand touchline only to be hauled down by winger Tim Holgate. Fresh legs gave Redruth renewed impetus with Nick Simmons on for Richards making a good break into the exiles twenty-two, which lead to a third yellow card for the exiles for replacement hooker Craig McGrath and Penberthy the chance, which he took, to claim a losing bonus point for his side’s brave display against one of National League 1’s front runners.

Redruth 15 pts
Tries – Thirlby, Penalty-try, Conversion – Penberthy, Penalty – Penberthy
London Scottish 21 pts
Tries – Calder, Lipp (2), Conversions – Brown (3)
Yellow Cards – Calder (64), Lipp (65), McGrath (79)

Redruth: P Thirlby, S Hawkey, S Parsons, N Pedley, M Bowden, A Penberthy, M Richards (N Simmons 69); D Jacques, R Brown (M Gidlow 57), P Joyce, D Cook, L Collins, C Fuca, S Wood (O Hambly 57), M Bright (capt)
Replacements (not used): J Wright, S Kenward

London Scottish: J Bordiss, T Holgate, B MacDougall, G Trueman (capt), D Howells, J Brown, S Amor (O Walbyoff 63); A Clarke (M Johnson 57), T Standfield (C McGrath 57), A Fahey, A Newman, J Brown, B Lonergen (M Soden 75), L Calder, W Lipp
Replacement (not used): A Karonias

Referee: Mr. Phillip Davies
Crowd: 775
Redruth man-of-the-match: Peter Joyce

Redruth Reaction
Whilst disappointed not to have won the game Redruth’s Director of Rugby Daveid Penberthy was nevertheless happy to have got some reward from the match “Yes I am pleased we have got some reward, I think our performance especially in the second half was outstanding, every player who took the field for Redruth gave their all. We talk about working for each other playing to the top of your individual game if we do that then the performances will come, to restrict them to four (points) and to come away with a losing bonus point ourselves is bit of a moral victory. Don’t get me wrong we are not happy to have lost, but we need to look at our first half performance and dissect that, but overall I think we are moving in the right direction, there are a lot of sides who have to come here and if we perform like today then I think we can beat them.

Penberthy was especially pleased with his side’s defence “They were a very good side well organised and that comes from a professional outfit, when you can work on these things day in day out then you have got a massive advantage on other teams. They were well organised in defence and pulled as around the field in the first twenty minutes when we conceded two soft tries, the first was almost inevitable as we were at that point under so much pressure, then to concede another just after was disappointing. After our half-time chat I really can’t fault anybody, our heads never dropped even when we conceded a third t, we rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in. In the second half we obliterated their scrum Peter Joyce and Darren Jacques were immense. Sean Hawkey certainly showed some good form today and Sam Parsons continues on the comeback road, showing glimpses of the form when he was with us on loan a couple of seasons ago, Nathan Pedley is as always solid and dependable. Mark Richards and Nick Simmons both gave us plenty of forward momentum. We forced them to infringe and they paid the price with two men in the bin and we took advantage so fair play to us, both sides defended really well but on the day they were just that little bit more clinical.

“When Aaron had that kick at the death my thoughts went back to the Cambridge game when he missed a similar kick to get us a point, but I think today shows just how far he’s come along since that set-back and that goes for the rest of the side too, so overall I think you can say that there is light at the end of the tunnel”.

Posted in Bill's Blog

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