Spirited Saltash miss out on reaching their first Twickenham cup final

SALTASH’S dreams of reaching their first Twickenham cup final ended at London Three South West champions Farnham on Saturday.

Farnham, who have only lost once this season, claimed a 32-21 home win to reach the RFU Senior Vase final at English rugby’s HQ on May 6, where they will meet Droitwich.

It was gutting for Saltash to lose at the semi-final stage, but they have done themselves proud in the competition, beating Withycombe, Winscombe and Swindon College Old Boys to reach the last four.

It was always going to be a tough task for them going to Wilkinson Way, where Farnham are unbeaten this season, but Saltash did show plenty of spirit, particularly late in the game.

In the end it was the Surrey club’s impressive first half display that saw them home.

In front of a large crowd, the home team stormed into a 17-0 lead. First, Ben Jones went over early on, before Gabe Hill crossed in the left corner on 30 minutes after some good pressure by the home side.

Toby Comley added a third try for Farnham, which Mike Salmon converted, before Saltash got a try back just before the break courtesy of centre Shaun Crawford, which Harrison Reuben converted.

However, on the stroke of half-time Salmon kicked a penalty for Farnham to give them a 20-7 lead at the interval.

And they went 32-7 up with a try from close range by Jason Crab after Ed Weeks had just been held short and a further touch-down and conversion by Salmon.

But then Saltash took the game to their hosts. Ryan Cruickshanks reduced the gap after Greg Eatwell put him in. Reuben converted.

And late on Greg Eatwell, who was in the squad alongside his brother Phil and dad Rob, added a third try, which Kieran Downs converted.

Meanwhile, Saltash’s second and third teams still have the chance of some silverware this season.

Their seconds play Devonport Services’ seconds on Wednesday night in the RNEC final, while the following week their thirds will play in the Ellis Trophy final against Plymouth University fourths.

Some pictures of Saturday’s RFU Senior Vase semi-final can be viewed HERE. 

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