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.

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St Just 7- Roseland 10

Epic battle at top of the table

On a wet and windy day Roseland traveled “down west” to St Just for a top of the table game. Although the rain relented before the start of play the pitch was still wet and with a reasonable wind blowing down the pitch.
Both teams have successful starts to their respective league campaigns and both sides felt this game was the real litmus test. Roseland know that not many teams travel to St Just and come away with the points, something they have discovered themselves over the years. St Just were also confident having turned around there fortunes from last year. A mixture of youth and some older heads pulled from retirement have created a formidable side confident of beating any side on their own paddock.

With the availability of a bus Roseland traveled with not only a strong side but also a reasonable amount of support on the sidelines, and this was much appreciated by the boys when they had to dig deep.

Roseland kicked off the game playing with the wind and knew that a good half with a couple of scores was vital. The game started well for Roseland who gained an early turn over and worked the ball wide for winger Sammy Glanville to try his luck, however he was well marshalled and the ball was taken into touch via St Just though who ripped the ball in the tackle before landing in touch so still Roseland maintained possession.

The early jousting by both sides was spent between the 22s with neither side capable of retaining possession either via turnovers at breakdowns or through spilt ball due to the wet conditions.

Roseland used the wind sparingly to pin St Just back. However, to St Just’s credit they generally returned the ball well, keeping Roseland honest.

St Just made several visits to the Roseland 22 and despite winning several penalties they either opted to run or kick for touch and only some resilient defence, led by skipper Starky, playing in the unaccustomed position of second row kept St Just at bay.

With play inside the St Just half Roseland were awarded a penalty and kicked for the corner. From the resulting line out the Roseland pack kept the ball tight and drove for the line. St Just illegally collapsed the maul and from the free ball the pack picked and went a couple times before talisman and number 8 Nathan Chapman spotted a gap and drove himself over to dot down for the try. Centre Matt Eddy slotted the conversion and Roseland were up and running 7-0.

This was to be the only score of the half from either side. Despite some good breaks from Legs Rushbridge, Sammy Glanville, Simon Strong and Matt Eddy the next score was illusive. With both sides playing good rugby, last ditch defence and handling errors from both teams meant no scores were possible.

With half time Roseland were unsure if the one score was going to be enough so knew that a huge effort was required for the second 40. Much like the first half the game spent a lot of time between the 22s. Roseland made several breaks into the St Just 22 with clever breaks from fly half Shaun Eamer, and centre Simon Strong, both ending with kicks ahead deep into opposition 22 only for the defence to recover.

Mid way through the second half Roseland were awarded a penalty on St Just’s 10m line and about 20m in from the left hand touch line; given the distance and the conditions of the day skipper Starky took the brave decision to kick for goal. Eddy stepped up and nailed the penalty straight through the middle of the sticks and with distance to spare. Starky’s brave decision was vindicated and Roseland were now 10-0 up with just the smallest of breathing space.
St Just rallied and kept possession of the ball for a sustained period and pinned Roseland back in their own half. Whenever Roseland got possession they failed to clear their lines adequately enough against the wind and invited the pressure back on from the St Just pack. With the pack producing the ball the young St Just backs showed some good running skills and it was from one such attack that they scored their well deserved try.

After Roseland spilled the ball, while trying to create space to clear their lines, from the resultant scrum the St Just pack created quick ball for their number 8 to break and give a little offload to their centre who hit an excellent line, at pace, to go between two defenders and step the last man to waltz in under the posts, the conversion was a formality and we had a 3 point game with about 10 minutes to play.

The final 10 minutes were breathless to say the least, and that’s just the words from the supporters on the sidelines. Both sides went hell for leather at each other. St Just were desperate to grab the score that would sneak the win and Roseland were desperate to get a score to pull themselves away by the skin of their teeth. During this period St Just had the better chances. With the play mostly between the 10m and try line of Roseland any kickable penalty would surely be taken. St Just won a penalty right in front of the sticks and for all its worth Roseland thought the game was to be a draw but St Just decided to run it and then from another penalty kicked for the corner. Each time Roseland repelled St Just and even won their own penalties but again the wind prevented any meaningful clearance kick.
With a mere 60 seconds on the clock Roseland had a scrum that they won and cleared to just outside their 22 and held their breath for the whistle but it never came. The ref called the line out the last play so both teams dug deep. St Just won the line out and threw everyone into the maul, equally the Roseland pack worked really hard to disrupted the maul, legally, by driving it towards touch and a couple of players managing to get hands on the ball to slow it down. The maul broke down and several players tumbled into touch, including the ball carrier, the final whistle blew and the Roseland players celebrated whilst the St Just players were gutted.

Both teams were out on their feet and both had thrown everything into the game. It might not of been a classically high scoring affair but it was definitely a game for the purists.

So after 3 league games Roseland are top with 3 wins from 3.

League rugby takes a break now for a fortnight with Roseland turning there attentions to the Tribute Cup with a home fixture v Camelford on Saturday (21st) before visiting Lankelly-Fowey on the following Saturday (28th).