Wadebridge Camels 5, Cleve 29
WADEBRIDGE Camels president Andrew Hawkey praised groundsman Dale Cook and his helpers for enabling Saturday's home league game with leaders Cleve to take place.
While many games in the county were called off due to waterlogged pitches after the deluge of rain during the week, Molesworth Field was ready for action and in remarkably good condition.
Hawkey said: "Lots of matches in Cornwall were called off, so it was great work by the groundsman and his team."
He explained the club had been helped by having no games on the pitch for three weeks over the festive break, and the fact no further rain fell on Friday night.
Despite the groundstaff's heroics, Wadebridge were unable to end a poor run of form that has now seen them win only once in 11 league and cup games to drop them into potential relegation trouble in South West One West.
It was also their fifth successive league defeat at home and they now face a crucial match on Saturday away to Clevedon, who are one place and six points above them in the table.
Hawkey said: "We regrouped over Christmas, but found ourselves up against one of the top teams in the league on Saturday."
Fly half Danny Thomas missed an early penalty chance for Camels, before Cleve scored the game's opening try.
Nathan Huntley chipped out of defence, the ball was hacked on by Marcus Brooker, and again by Anton Welling, who scored the touchdown to put Cleve into a 5-0 lead.
Wadebridge enjoyed a good spell of pressure, but they failed to break their points duck, and were thankful to full back Will Pengelly for a superb try-saving tackle five metres out after an excellent burst by Cleve on the stroke of half-time.
However, the reprieve for the Camels was shortlived, as in first-half injury time, flanker Neil Evans sidestepped his way to a try under the posts, converted by Hall, to give Cleve a 12-0 interval lead.
Hall stretched the gap by another three points with a penalty early in the second half, while Thomas suffered an ankle injury for Wadebridge.
Cleve then grabbed their third try of the game through centre Brooker, converted by Hall, to give them an almost unassailable lead at 22-0.
Camels finally got some points on the board when a spell of pressure in Cleve's 22 saw tight-head prop Jack Scott peel away to score a try, but Jake Grubb missed the conversion.
Cleve managed to get their bonus-point fourth try right at the death with a fine individual score from Hall, which he converted himself from the touchline, with the ball bouncing over off the crossbar.
Wadebridge: Pengelly, Jake Grubb, Miskowicz, Kempthorne, D Hawkey, D Thomas, Humphrey, Treleaven, M Tarby, J Scott, Wilce, Lumb, Angwin, B Thomas, M Grubb. Replacements: Gynn, Stone, Burnard.
Wadebridge: Try: J Scott.
Cleve: Tries: A Welling, Evans, Brooker, Hall; Cons: Hall (3); Pen: Hall.