Roseland Suffer Shock Home Defeat

Another fine report by T.O.G. Corner regular Nick Sylvester.

Roseland 22 St Agnes 29

At last the heavens provided some dry weather for this eagerly awaited Sponsors Day fixture against St Agnes while presenting an excellent opportunity for Roseland to build on last week’s away win at Illogan Park. Although the visitors have already failed to fulfil a couple of league fixtures in 2018, Roseland were well aware that St Agnes still possess plenty of talent and experience from within their small squad, having suffered a home defeat back in October.

The early exchanges suggested that an even contest was on the cards. However, as St Agnes started to make better use of possession, aided by the advantage of the slope, their opening try in the bottom corner came within the first 10 minutes. Shortly after the restart, a Matt Eddy penalty reduced the arrears to 3-5. Midway through the first half, by which time St Agnes were camped deep into Roseland territory against a home side that really hadn’t got going, a further converted try and penalty extended the margin to 3-15 in favour of the visitors.

A more even period of play followed during which two well struck Matt Eddy penalties made it 9-15. This score remained as we entered the last five minutes of the first half with St Agnes pressing hard for further advantage. Significantly, two more St Agnes penalties a third try with the last play of the first were forthcoming which stretched the visitors advantage considerably to 9-26 at the break. The scoreline was probably a fair overall reflection given superior possession, territory, handling and better control at the breakdown.

It was clear that a much improved second half performance was needed if Roseland, with the advantage of the slope, were going to get themselves back into the game. Things started well with another Matt Eddy penalty only to be nullified by a St Agnes reply soon after. Then followed a period of fifteen minutes or so with neither side threatened tries although there was the beginning of signs that the Roseland pack, fronted by Andrew Stark in particular, were finally getting themselves going after a subdued hour. By the 67th minute, home team pressure led to Stark piling over in the corner for an unconverted try which provided some much need belief.

More concerted Roseland pressure followed and Christian Bembow went over in a second unconverted try in the bottom corner with five minutes of normal time remaining. At 22-29, a tense finale followed with St Agnes defending manfully while Roseland squandered opportunities . The final breakthrough that might have forced a draw was not forthcoming as Roseland continued to concede turnover ball at important times, a theme that ran throughout the game.

On reflection, most of the Philleigh faithful would agree that St Agnes had done enough for the first hour to merit their victory leaving Roseland to reflect upon what might have been had they put together a full 80 minutes performance. On to next week and it’s a tough assignment away to all conquering Liskeard as the Cornwall Division 1 reverse set of fixtures begin.