REPORT: Tavistock lift Lockie Cup
TAVISTOCK have clinched the Lockie Cup following a thrilling 31-26 victory over Saltash in last night’s final.
Having only won the semi final on Saturday – running in 80 points against Devon One side OPMs – Tavistock treated their supporters to a fine display against local rivals Saltash.
The Moorlanders had already been victorious in the two league meetings between these sides this season, but Saltash went in to the final in a rich vein of form having won their last six matches.
Tavistock were also dealt the blow of losing their talisman and captain George Hillson to a sickness bug on the morning of the final.
Fortunately, they were able to call upon the scrum-half services of Tom Pearson who gave a fantastic display of passing and running rugby.
Nevertheless, it was Saltash that started the stronger and they scored wide out on the left wing in the opening 10 minutes.
Tavistock held their composure and with Pearson and fly-half Jack Easton moving the ball nicely a series of phases saw the ball came to second row Seb Cox, who drove over the line. Easton added the conversion.
Although the lineout wasn’t as slick as it has been this season, Tavistock started to build a bit of momentum as the half wore on.
Centre Jake Le Gassick started to make ground with the ball in hand and he broke clear to add Tavistock’s second.
Saltash came back at the Moorlanders and their strong running back-rowers and talented backline kept the pressure on.
Tavi’s defence held out with flanker Jamie Legg and centre Andrew Craddock leading the defensive effort.
With the clock in the red this defensive press paid dividends, with Le Gassick intercepting and racing in from just inside the Saltash half to score a fine solo try. Easton added the conversion to give Tavistock a 19 to five lead at the interval.
An exhilarating second half saw both sides throw everything at it. Saltash missed a penalty kick but did add a try shortly after.
Hallam Bourton came off the bench for Tavistock and made an immediate impact with a lineout steal.
Tavistock’s back three of Rob Grove, Connor Packwood and George Cole all made metres with the ball in hand, and while the lineout stuttered, the powerful front row of Darren Guppy, Hammy Kerswill and Josh O’Neill started to dominate the scrum.
The game ebbed and flowed with one side scoring only for the ball to go to the other end and the other side to score.
Tavistock managed to stay two scores ahead for the majority of the half and their forwards showed great fitness and determination to keep coming back at a powerful Saltash side.
Second row Charlie Brown carried strongly in midfield while subs Richard Cann, Jack Lewis and Rob Hockin all came on and kept Tavistock on the front foot.
Some more good handling from the backs saw Craddock burst clear and score under the posts, before Jamie Legg showed his strength and scored Tavistock’s fifth.
With only five minutes remaining Tavistock were 11 points ahead and looking like they had done enough to secure the victory, but still Saltash kept coming and they scored a classy try after some neat back play.
This meant a tense finish for the Tavistock supporters and the final play of the game saw the Saltash centre break clear down the left wing.
Fortunately the Moorlanders’ scramble defence worked well and the ever-present Guppy secured the crucial turnover enabling his backs to clear the ball and end the game.
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