Grizzled veterans who have watched Falmouth for many years were scratching their heads trying to remember a game which featured so little rugby but ended in such a nail biting finish.
The fact that the referee awarded Fourteen penalties in the last twenty minutes goes some way to explain the lack of flow in the match but also the excitement as the lead changed hands 5 times in the final 10 minutes. Justyn Irons kicking the winning penalty, in the seventh minute of extra time to maintain the Eagles unbeaten start to the season and taking them to second place in the Devon and Cornwall league.
Opening exchanges were physical, with both packs slugging away at each other, probing for weakness, Eagles veteran Steve instance using his bulk to good effect. The deadlock was broken in the eighteenth minute, when following a Falmouth kick straight to touch, a Plymouth line out provided quick ball for a charge into the midfield, reversed back to centre Courtney Richards who broke through several tackles to score, the conversion was missed.
The next play foreshadowed the pattern for the rest of the match, from kick off, Argaum conceded a penalty for offside and Justin irons slotted the first of his eight kicks. Argaum immediately repeated the offence, irons stepped up and Falmouth were 6-5 ahead. Pressure told, with a series of attacks on the tryline and after 25 minutes Argaum conceded a penalty 5 metres from the tryline, winger Raphael Baragwanath taking a quick tap penalty and outpacing the cover defence offloaded to Kieran Rodda to score in the corner, Irons converting.
As was becoming the norm, one score led to another, Falmouth conceded a penalty from the restart, Tom Richards taking his opportunity to pull his team back within touching distance of the lead. Then, the Plymouth line out, delivered a catch and drive 15 metres up the field, Falmouth illegally encroached and Williams bagged another penalty, 13-11.
Inevitably the resulting kick off was misjudged by Argaum, the referee blew his whistle and irons slotted the penalty, half time, 16-11 to Falmouth.
In the opening minutes of the second half a rugby game threatened to break out, Argaum launched a series of attacks surging through the Falmouth defence on numerous occasions, with only desperate tackles from Tom Edmonds and Simon Bailey preventing scores. However, the retreating defenders were often in illegal positions and penalties ensued, Williams kicking to make the score 16-14. Then in the 50th minute a penalty kick to the corner, followed by a catch and drive put Argaum into a prime position, from the ensuing ruck the ball was passed to Tom Williams who ran in beside the posts, converting his own try to retake the lead.
Ten Minutes of stalemate followed with both sides launching fruitless attacks, Nick Carne threatened but Plymouth's defence held firm and Baragwanath, in particular felt the impact of an immensely hard tackle. The referee maintained a steady stream of whistle blasts, stopping all momentum. Irons scored the only points to close the gap to 19-21 halfway through the second period.
Then bizarrely, a game which had resolutely refused to shift out of second gear became truly riveting. The Eagles regained the lead in the 75th minute with another Irons penalty following foul play at a line out. 77th minute, Falmouth strayed offside, Williams kicks the goal, Argaum regain the lead, their spectators jubilant, Falmouth downcast. 80th minute, a feeling of deja vu, Argaum stray offside, Irons converts metres, Falmouth 25-24 ahead. 84th minute, straight from the restart Falmouth offside again, this time Ashley Searle the culprit, the terrible sound of the whistle, Williams slotting the goal from 40 metres, 25 -27 to the away team, surely the game was done?
Cometh the hour cometh the man, with 6 minutes of extra time already played and the referee instructing the teams that this was the last play of the match, Irons restarted, James Dobson charged forward, catching the drop out and driving at the heart of the Plymouth defence, the ball was recycled and with Falmouth lining up in attack, an Argaum forward dived into the side of the ruck, Falmouth spectators screamed for the penalty, the whistle sounded, the referee's arm slowly raised, penalty to Falmouth, Irons coolly converts his eighth kick of the match. One final whistle blast, jubilation, tears of joy, howls of indignation from the Argaum coaches.
Final score Falmouth 28 Plymouth Argaum 27.