In front of a good crowd, Tavistock had gone 31-13 up with just over 15 minutes to play, but Saltash finished really strongly with two late tries and then came close to snatching victory with the very last play.
“As I said beforehand, it was never going to be a 9-6 dull affair,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy. “And it certainly turned out to be anything but dull. Everyone was entertained.
“Anyone who wasn’t a coach would have enjoyed it!”
He added: “We managed to stay ahead of them but in that last five minutes we really did come under the cosh.
“But it is good to win – I am pretty chuffed. The lads did well.”
“I think if we had managed to close that gap a bit earlier, it might have been a different story.
“But it was a really good final. They (Tavistock) were good. They shepherded our backline really well, which is our strength, so they had obviously done their homework. We struggled to break until near the end and their forwards fronted up and they probably just had a bit more weight in the pack.
“We had a few injuries and had to make some changes, but I really can’t complain about what our boys did.
“I am gutted for them, but I am also immensely proud. They have done Saltash really proud.”
Hall felt an interception try just before half-time and then a yellow card midway through the second half were the two key turning points in the showpiece final.
Saltash, who went into the final on a six-game unbeaten run, did not have much luck before kick-off.
Their regular goalkicker Kieran Down could not make the midweek game and they then lost second-row Liall Honey late on due to illness. Head coach Steve Down also tested positive for Covid so could also not make it and they then lost winger Jay Moriarty at the beginning of the match due to injury.
But, despite their problems, they took the lead in the 13th minute with a try in the left corner by Cornwall flanker Lewis Wells, who showed his experience in the final.
But Tavistock, who have guaranteed themselves a top six finish in the Cornwall/Devon League with some strong recent form, quick hit back with a try from second-row Seb Cox, which was converted.
With Kieran Down missing, Saltash’s goalkicking duties were handed to promising teenager Kristian Davis. He should have put the Ashes back in front in the 29th minute with a penalty but somehow the ball blasted off the upright.
Tavistock, who also suffered a blow before kick-off with their goal-kicking star scrum-half George Hillson having to pull out with illness, then missed a kick at the other end, which showed that it is not always easy to kick under floodlights and in a cup final.
Tavistock, with Tom Pearson coming in at nine, then moved seven points clear with a try by back-rower Jamie Legg in the 38th minute.
It did look like the half-time score would be 12-5, but in first half injury-time, Saltash had a pass intercepted in midfield by Tavistock centre Jake Le Gassick, who ran in under the posts for an easy conversion for Jack Easton.
That left Saltash with a lot to do, but they got it back to a one score game with a Davis penalty and then a second try by Wells early in the second half.
But Tavistock then started to turn the pressure with their scrum and that weapon helped them get on the front foot and allow centre Le Gassick to score his second try of the night and make it 24-13.
If that was not bad enough for Saltash, they then had Danny Snook yellow carded for a high tackle and Tavistock took full advantage of the extra man to score a fifth try through powerful centre Andrew Craddock from another move from a good scrum.
The well-refereed final looked all over at that point, but suddenly Saltash really came to life.
They came close to scoring a couple of times before front-rower Adam Coutts finally got the ball down from close range and Snook added the conversion.
Then, with time almost up, they scored the try of the night. After some good passing in their own 22, Will Morton broke from deep in his own half before off-loading to Ryan Cruickshanks. The Saltash full-back still had a lot to do but he managed to out-pace a Tavistock player and get the ball down in the corner just before going into touch.
They could not add the conversion, but there was still time for one more play – and one last chance to try and sneak it.
And hardly anyone in the Rectory could believe it when they ran 70 metres down the left wing from the kick-off. Only a last-gasp tackle stopped them from going all the way and Tavistock then did brilliantly to turn the ball over in their own 22 and kick it out for the win.
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