Tavistock make hard work of beating OPMs to win the RNEC Cup

TAVISTOCK made hard work of seeing off lower league side OPMs on Wednesday night to win the RNEC Cup final at the Rectory.

The Cornwall/Devon League club narrowly triumphed 9-6 in a game that was decided in the final couple of minutes.

Tavistock dominated possession and territory but just could not score a try. They dropped the ball a number of times with the try line within sight and OPMs, who defended brilliantly, nearly made them pay.

The Devon Two club could have won the game at the end. With the contest level at 6-6 they were awarded a penalty two minutes into injury-time. Sammie Matts went for the long-range kick, but his effort was just wide and from the resultant drop-out, OPMs knocked the ball on and then gave away a penalty that Mark Webber put over to win the match for his side.

“When you come off the field the initial reaction is upset,” said OPMs captain Henry Matthews. “But I am sure in time we will re-evaluate and go forward.

“We can take a huge amount from that. I said it last week, but there’s not a lot of difference between Devon & Cornwall and the top of Devon Two.

“Credit to Tavvy, they dogged it out and got the win. Our inexperience showed when we made three mistakes in a row to let them back in it. We missed a kick and they took one within seconds.

“It is a shame, but we enjoyed it. I said to the boys before that the most important thing was that we went out and enjoyed the game and we did that.”

Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill said: “We knew OPMs were better than Devon Two and that is one of the best defensive efforts we have come up against all year.

“They didn’t commit at the breakdown much and their line speed was good from minute one to 80, even when they were under the cosh.

“But we didn’t back ourselves enough. We still lack a bit of confidence with a ball in hand. We do seem to hope that Schooie (Andrew Schuttkacker), (Martin) Budden, Friendy (Mark Friend) or someone will do something and someone will click on to the end of it. We need to back ourselves to move the ball before contact.

“But they (OPMs) were really, really good.

“The really positive thing about the day was that we had 42 players involved in two games. There was also myself and two others who were injured.”

Tavistock had a lot of early pressure but could not turn it into points and on 16 minutes OPMs had the chance to go ahead, but they missed a penalty.

Friend had a great 50-metre run six minutes later, but he was just stopped 10 metres from the try line before Jack Easton missed a penalty for Tavistock.

OPMs’ tackling was outstanding and they kept forcing their higher league opponents into mistakes.

And with the last play of the half, OPMs actually took the lead when they were awarded a penalty after Tavistock tried to run the ball out of their own 22 and Matts kicked it to put his side 3-0 up at the break.

Tavistock wasted a three-man overlap at the start of the season half before missing another penalty.

They really should have scored on 46 minutes but somehow dropped the ball right on the try line.

However, they did level the match on 55 minutes when Webber kicked a penalty. He then added another six minutes later to put his side in front.

But that lead lasted only seven minutes as Matts kicked a long-range penalty on 68 minutes.

It looked like if Tavistock could just get one try they might go on and score more but they just could not find a breakthrough. OPMs stopped them time after time with great tackling.

And Tavvy’s failure to take their chances looked like it might come back to haunt them when OPMs were awarded a penalty two minutes into added-on time, but Matts’ kick was just wide. They then gave away a penalty from the drop out, which allowed Webber to put Tavvy in front.

However, there was still one last chance for OPMs. They were awarded another penalty, this time out wide. They opted to go for the corner and put the ball close to the flag, but they lost the line-out and Tavistock kicked the ball out to win the match.

Meanwhile, Plymstock Albion Oaks suffered disappointment in the semi-finals of the Devon Intermediate Shield. They lost 33-5 away at Withycombe, who will now play Honiton in the final.

Oaks, though, will play in the Lockie Cup final next weekend and their second team will also be the Ellis Trophy final. Their opponents in both matches will be Devonport Services.


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