Roseland maintain 100% league record: Roseland 11 – St Just 8

In what was being billed as the game that defined both teams season it was safe to say this epic top of table clash lived up to the hype.

St Just arrived at Roseland on the back of some decent performances but also nursing the wounds still of there agonising loss to Roseland back in November.

Roseland on the other hand although had a decent win the previous week were short on match practice and fitness but also carrying the tag that a win today would all but seal top spot in Cornwall Two and seal promotion to Cornwall One.

On a glorious but albeit breezy day Roseland kicked off playing against the slope and the wind and got off to the worst start when the kick off went out on the full. An agonising groan swept the field from the players and the large crowd that had turn up to watch. Hopes were this wasn’t a sign of things to come. Sadly for Roseland players and fans alike the first 20 minutes were nearly all St Just. Roseland just couldn’t hit their straps, if it could go wrong it went wrong, missed tackles, dropped passes, not straight throw ins, it all went against Roseland but credit to St Just they came with a game plan and it worked to start with. They opened the scoring with a penalty kick and they also seemed intent on kicking all their penalties from anywhere inside the Roseland half as they learnt from the previous fixture to take points when offered. However all other kicks were unsuccessful but they did score a lovely try straight off the training ground when off first phase ball they spread the ball wide and scored in the corner.

After this score Roseland woke up and despite the difficultly to clear their lines against the wind they done well to peg St Just back and almost created a scoring opportunity for themselves but a dropped pass 5m out let St Just off. During the first half Roseland loss full back Davo Williams to a hamstring injury and also improving winger Matty Willsher to a nasty leg injury that required the game to be delayed while he was treated and moved, he was replaced by Mike “Legs” Rushbridge.

The Roseland pack also started to dominate at scrum and maul time producing good ball of their own and pressurising the oppositions.

The half ended with neither side on top and the score still 8-0 to St Just. Roseland were confident of overturning the deficit knowing they had use of the slope and wind and the fact it was there home paddock.

Unlike the first half Roseland were straight into their stride at the start of the second half. With backs and forwards alike making inroads into the opposition defence. The powerhouse engine room of Will “Figgy” Martin and James Palmer started to produce clean lineout ball and kept the scrums moving forward and as ever both put it about in attack and defence alike. The front row of Martin Kneebone, Ant Thomas and Jake Flamank put in a monster shift in the scrum. The back row of skipper Andrew “Starky” Stark, No8 Nathan “Chappers” Chapman and man of the match Will Rundle were efficient and direct with their ball carrying and, Rundle in particular, nuisances of themselves in defence.

The Roseland lineout and rolling maul really started to hurt St Just and kept them on the back foot creating quick ball for the backs to attack with centres Simon Strong and Matt Eddy running strong and direct at their opposite numbers giving Roseland an attacking platform.

The halfbacks, scrum half Tom Day and fly half Shaun Eamer, kept St Just pinned into the bottom corner with some astute tactical kicking and directing the operations of their fellow team mates.

Compared to their busy first half the back 3, wingers Sammy Glanville, “Legs” Rushbridge and Ali Hill, had little to do in the second half but all made key contributions and but for some dodgy footwork “Legs” Rushbridge could of scored a vital try when put clean through on the full back.

With all this Roseland clawed their way back into the game and from one lineout created a rolling maul that drove them over the line and score a vital try. Scrum half Day getting up from the pile of bodies to claim the score. Eddy missed the conversion but Roseland were back and the score was 5-8 to St Just.

St Just just couldn’t get their hands on the ball and when they did stern Roseland defence kept them at bay. Also any loose kicks that St Just out through were punished by Roseland who drilled the ball back deep into St Just territory.

With the frustration mounting in the St Just ranks penalties started to be conceded. From one such penalty centre Matt Eddy struck over the kick to level scores at 8-8.

With Roseland high on confidence, having the ascendancy upfront and sensing victory they pushed hard for the opportunity to create the chance for what could be the winning points. With play deep inside the St Just 22 and Roseland in possession and searching for an opening the chance came when an over zealous St Just flanker was penalised for going off his feet. Matt Eddy, with 14 team mates and a large Roseland crowd watching on, held his nerve to slot the penalty goal that put Roseland 11-8 up.

With time ticking by and Roseland adamant that St Just wouldn’t win they attacked again. After several strong scrums late in the second half had seen Roseland gain good ground it was a shame when 5 minutes from time the scrums had to go uncontested due to an U18 propping for St Just. However with the scrum threat now taken away from Roseland they still felt another score was possible and kept battering away at the St Just line but a combination of solid St Just defence and some inaccuracies from Roseland prevented any further scoring.

When the final whistle blew all the players and the spectators knew they had witnessed or participated in an excellent game of rugby by two teams going hard, strong and fair at each other.

Although Roseland were again victorious they knew that they could just have easily been on the losing side.

Roseland are now 7 points clear at the top of the table with 2 league games to play.

Next week they travel to Liskard to complete their round of group matches in the Tribute Cup.