Roseland Battle Valiantly

A report written by T.O.G Corner regular Nick Sylvester.

Roseland 10 – Newquay Hornets 20

Roseland welcomed Newquay Hornets to Philleigh last Saturday with the home side determined to avenge defeat following a close encounter at Newquay back in September. This was the third of a particularly tough run of fixtures with Roseland determined to return to winning ways. Although the pitch was inevitably heavy and energy sapping, the rain at least relented in time for kick-off.

The early exchanges suggested that it was going to be another close run contest. Although both teams played with attacking intent, the first 20 minutes or so remained scoreless with Newquay failing to convert a penalty kick at goal early on. Roseland, playing downhill with a keen breeze at their backs, started to gain some territorial advantage which led to the opening score, a penalty converted by Matt Eddy after 25 minutes.

Roseland’s lead was short lived as the Newquay scrum half broke up the blind side to score what proved to be a significant try in the top corner. Although unconverted, it was a “cheap” score from a Roseland perspective due to uncharacteristic lack of tackling.
However, now trailing 5-3, Roseland responded well in realisation that it was essential to reach half-time with some sort of lead before a second half playing against the elements. After a period of concentrated pressure the breakthrough finally came when full back Andy Harris darted over in the corner in first half injury time. Matt Eddy converted from near touch, a real bonus given underfoot conditions, making the score 10-5 at the break.

Despite Newquay being bolstered by a strong forwards replacement bench, the early second half exchanges were fairly even until the visitors were awarded a very kickable penalty opportunity after 10 minutes, thereby reducing the Roseland advantage to just 2 points. Thereafter, Newquay pressure started to build and only some courageous Roseland defence kept the visitors at bay. The heavy pitch and breeze was making it increasingly more difficult for Roseland to escape their own 22 for any any extended time period. There was no doubt that Newquay fresh legs in the forwards was having an effect with Roseland having no such available luxury.

With 15 minutes left, Newquay finally managed to break the resistance with their No 8 crashing over from short range. With the conversion missed Roseland were still well in the contest but in the final minutes Newquay sealed the win by winning the touchdown race from a through kick. That try, together with the conversion took Roseland out of losing bonus point territory, which was rough justice in itself, although great credit should be taken for denying Newquay a 4 try bonus point.

The full time whistle followed a few minutes later to end an excellent contest which, despite the far from ideal playing conditions, provided excellent entertainment that was certainly appreciated by the Philleigh faithful. Buoyed by the performance Roseland can certainly look forward to the next challenge with confidence, a trip to Veor on Saturday 3rd February (kick off 2.30).