Services hit back to give leaders Saints a big fright
St Austell…26 Devonport Services…20
DEPLETED Services gave leaders St Austell a run for their money with a storming comeback in the last 10 minutes.
Saints went 8-0 up, but Services struck back with a Niall Oakes try, converted by the reliable Matt Anstis to bring the fifth-placed visitors back to within a point of their hosts.
St Austell grabbed a couple of fortuitous tries and Anstis landed a penalty as the leaders went 16-10 up at the break.
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The home side, despite being under an intense examination by the Services attack, broke out to add another unconverted try for a 21-10 lead with 10 minutes left.
Services refused to buckle and centre Ratu Panupanu went over for a try, converted by Anstis which left the city side four points adrift with five minutes to go. Saints had a man binned, but as Services went in for the kill, the Cornish team broke out for an unconverted try which guaranteed them the victory.
Devonport, however, got their losing bonus point thanks to an Anstis penalty from the last play of the game.
"We knew we had people missing and I asked the guys who stepped in to take their chance." said Services director of rugby Dave Oakley.
"They certainly did that, which is going to make selection this week difficult.
"Jason Stead (prop) came in and had an awesome game.
"I am more than happy with the way things are going and where we are at the moment.
"The second half of the season is going to be easier for us, as we now play the top sides at home and we're getting stronger and stronger."
NEWBOY Jay Geraty scored on debut as Ivybridge's comeback kids grabbed two points in a tight, South Hams derby.
Forward Geraty, signed from Devonport Services, scored the Bridgers' second try in a game which the visitors could have snatched at the death.
Kicker Adam Bradley hit a conversion attempt which appeared good to Ivybridge senior coach Neil Thomson, but not to the touch judges. Earlier, Luke Martell had landed an unconverted try as the visitors staged their fightback.
"I'm pleased with the two points, but we could have won it at the end if Adam's kick had been over," said Thomson. "It looked okay to me, but not to the judges.
"We were 12-0 down at half-time and (head of rugby) Paul Setter and I didn't have to say anything to the players – they were the ones saying how we were going to put it right. We made a few changes in the second half and it worked. We will take the two points from the game – and we've got Kingsbridge to play again at home."