Mon 24 Apr 2017 16:29

Winter was in the air, cold and blustery, it had been raining and the World Cup semi final was on, even die hard fans sometimes find an excuse not to travel on days like this but not Chris, she would have been there, as she had been for over 25 years, wrapped up in her waterproofs, smiling, magic sponge at the ready, supporting 'her chaps'.

Christine Baker, physio, first aider and much more besides had been laid to rest the day before this away match at Bodmin and Falmouth RFC had sadly said farewell to one one of Its greatest ever friends. Touchline conversations focussed on the previous day before moving onto whether the Eagles could continue their current run of form and manage five wins out of six.

The Eagles made a perfect start, a long kick off put into touch by Bodmin, from the line out the ball was crisply sent along the line from right to left with wing Ian Rowe crossing the whitewash, converted by Justin Irons, 7 - 0.

With the back row of Simmons, McColl and Bailey combining effectively, Falmouth adopted a high tempo game, handing the ball with confidence throughout the team, further scores looked likely and after 10 minutes a catch and drive close to the line allowed Chris Pollard to anchor the maul to touchdown, Irons making the score 14 - 0.

Bodmin bounced back when a swirling cross field kick from Fly Half Jamie Taylor was misjudged by Rowe and wing Morgan Cope pounced on the bouncing ball to score, Taylor converting.

Falmouth maintained their rhythm and when, in the 25th minute, Justyn Irons fed Simon Bailey and the number 8 ran in unopposed from the 22, a routine victory looked likely.

However, Bodmin determined to establish a foothold, spearheading their revival through dominance in the scrum, Falmouth narrowly avoiding a pushover score by hacking the ball downfield to safety, the half finished 21 - 7 to Falmouth.

Coach Graham Whitmore said the Eagles had been "on fire" for the first 25 minutes but they burned themselves out during the second period. The first score after halftime was critical, the Eagles could have put the game to bed after 3 minutes but spilled a pass two yards from the tryline. The tempo which had brought reward in the first half began to slow and Bodmin seized the initiative, lively centre Andrew Cole breaking through on several occasions with only last ditch defence by Full back Josh Simmons preventing scores.

The momentum shift was rewarded when Cole, a back running at forwards in space, spotted the missmatch, he stepped through the defence to score, Jamie Taylor converting. Bodmin continued to press, choosing to scrum when presented with a close range penalty, Number 8 Lee Taylor scoring a pushover try, the conversion hooked wide.

Sensing victory, Bodmin surged onwards, a series of driving mauls inched them forward through the wearying Falmouth defence, creating an overlap on the wing, Falmouth deliberately knocked on, Taylor kicking the penalty to put Bodmin ahead, 22-21, with time running out, they looked good value for the win.

The Eagles managed their first period of controlled possession, with 5 minutes left, Bodmin conceded a penalty and Irons opted to kick. Against a strong wind, the ball was sent high over the right hand post, the linesmen consulted and raised their flags, Falmouth had retaken the lead 24-22.

From the restart the ball was secured in the pack until the final whistle. Falmouth's encouraging start to the season had just been maintained.

So a win but ultimately, over a season of many league, cup and friendly matches, this scoreline will fade from the memory, however, to everyone at Falmouth RFC this week only one statistic really matters, Christine Baker 1953-2015.

Teamsheet:Symons, Rowe, Jones, Kindjarsky, Baragwanath, Irons, Spiller, Pollard, Carne, Searle, Dobson, David, McColl, Bailey, Simmons.
Subs: Baglow, Martin, Bullock.

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