Ivybridge 18 St Austell 24
A REAL nail biter between two excellent attacking sides was a spectator's delight.
St Austell arrived the firm favourites but the largely young Ivybridge team didn't bother to read the form book.
Possession flowed back and forth with St Austell getting the better of it for the first quarter, but the Bridges absorbing their efforts.
Just after the 20 minute mark, the Saints drove into Ivybridge's 22 but conceded a lineout. The defenders won the lineout itself but spilled the ball, which Matt Shepherd scooped up and touched down.
Working off a lineout and a fast attack down the right wing, Jordan Anderton equalised in the 33rd minute.
Five minutes later, a similar attack saw Ivybridge unpick the Saints' defence, with the honours going to George De Mendonca and the conversion from Luke Martell.
After half-time, the Saints struck back hard and fast. The two sides exchanged kicks but the Saints' Matt Shepherd caught the ball, ran it back at Ivybridge, offloading to Treve Murley, who made an even better timed offload to allow Sam Tank to score in the corner.
Again, the Saints continued to pile on the pressure and Ivybridge stepped up to counteract it. Again two more Saints' breakthroughs were undone through handling errors.
Ivybridge found the overland route to the Saints' try line resolutely barred, so settled for a beautiful drop goal in the 56th minute from Martell to make it 15-10.
Still the Saints went forward. A few minutes later, Ivybridge spilled the ball near their 22, Andy Ashwin secured it and attacked down the five-metre channel. The linesman mis-signalled that he had gone out of play, so the Saints were awarded a scrum.
Shortly after Saints conceded a penalty, but once again Shepherd caught the kick setting up an attack that saw Ben Chenoweth score despite having Ivybridge defenders hanging off him. Shepherd followed up by converting.
Three minutes later a series a quick passes saw Stephen Howorth break through and score under the posts. Shepherd again added the honours. The fourth try also gave St Austell a bonus point.
But Ivybridge weren't finished. The Saints got careless and conceded penalties at an increasing rate in the last 10 minutes. Tommy Newman slotted one of these over the posts in the 71st minute to make it 24-18.
More infringements saw yellow cards for Shepherd (77) and Tom Cotton (79) but even with the resulting penalties and Ivybridge setting up home in the Saints' 22 wasn't enough to break the red and white wall.
In the very last play, the Saints turned over the ball less than five metres from their line and kicked it out of play to finish winners against an Ivybridge side that never once failed to look dangerous.