The expectant crowd standing on the bank in the Truro sun could hear the Former Pupils dulcet tones echo a rendition of “who are we?” from the changing sheds. I am unsure if this frightened or encouraged our 1st team squad. Either way they soon knew it was a serious encounter with the likes of the ball carrying Andrews, big hitting Allothman and the ever-growing Austin strolling up Trennick Lane onto their sacred school 1st team pitch for the last time. Once on the pitch the anticipation continued to grow, the spectators were treated to Tom Weightman leading a well-choreographed routine from the Former Pupils akin to the New Zealand Haka.
Truro received the kick-off, carried hard into the first collision. They tried to take on the Former Pupils up front, bad idea! Allothman was over the ball quicker than Ollie Andrews to the Dining Hall, and he got the turnover. The Former Pupil team played some real Barbarian rugby with off-loads sticking, rucks being hit hard and Captain Mikey Austin able to get the ball down into the Truro 22 for a Truro lineout.
The pressure was on, Ollie Pugh to throw in against his old team mates, aiming at the imposing figure of Alfie Burns who was hoisted high into the Truro skyline…missed! Another turnover to the Former pupils. It would be a long day at the office for the Truro School 1st XV if these little mistakes continued. The Former Pupils rumbled forward with carries from Weightman, Page and Ellis. The pressure continued for 5 minutes against the Truro School team who found it easy to stay onside with the try-line as a suitable guide. Whom do you need in times like this? Your Captain that’s who!! Charlie Armstrong comes up with the ball, another brilliant turnover in what was becoming a close game.
Having spent the first 10 minutes camped in their own half Truro School worked hard to keep the ball and go through a number of phases, and finally reached the Former Pupils half. Penalty! Penry stepped up to punt the ball deep into the Former Pupils 22m. Pugh makes a mends for his missed lineout earlier and nails the throw, Truro set up a maul and set of in pursuit of the whitewash. Former Pupils rallied, pushed, grunted and down fell the maul. Penalty? Surely? No! A scrum to the Former Pupils, who cleared well through a bit of phase play and a brilliant kick by Mr Austin Jnr.
Truro came back again at the Former Pupils, pushing and probing for any gap or player out of position. The frantic pace of the game was taking its toll on the Former Pupils who gave away another penalty and Penry happily drilled the ball back to the corner for another lineout 5m out from the Former Pupils try-line. Pugh confident after his last throw found Alfie Burns, another maul, another drive, another view of the line that would give 5 points, another collapsed maul…Penalty? Surely this time! No! The Former Pupils had defended well and the ref sided with them, Mikey Austin happily cleared his lines.
The rest of the half continued to ebb and flow, the crowd were treated to the full array of rugby action turn-overs, line breaks, hard tackling, big carries, knock-ons and controversial decisions. How the first half stayed 0-0 I will never know, but it did.
The second half…
…Truro came out a different side. Their phase play seemed to get moving towards the Former Pupils 22m much more easily. They moved the ball well away from contact. Reed and Purchas using footwork usually seen by wingers, gaps were appearing in a tiring Former Pupils defence.
Truro needed better territory so tried a kick down the right hand channel, Former Pupils saw their opportunity with a broken kick chase. Mikey Austin, Who else? Scampered 50m down the touchline to get the first points of the game, against the run of play but did they care? Not a jot! Jubilation, celebration and a lot of happy faces! Mikey also nailed the ball between the sticks to add another 2 points to the score.
The play continued to be dominated by Truro School with the Former Pupils finding it hard to exit their own half. A series of knock-ons and turnovers gave the Former Pupils a little rest from tackling but were soon under pressure again. The ball rarely got wide but now the Former Pupils long summer was beginning to show, gaps appeared, slower defensive runs and weaker tackles let Truro gain some promising momentum. “Overlap! Overlap!” shouted Mr.Hatfield. They saw it and the ball was shipped through the hands towards an expectant Ollie Lucas. Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No, it was Max Fairfield plucking the ball out of the air and galloping 60m to touch down for the second try of the afternoon. Jumping, shouting, singing, no wonder Mikey missed the kick, albeit narrowly.
Could Truro claw back a 12 point deficit? They would give it a go, they fought hard and had a number of opportunities. A yellow card for Ollie Page, unlucky to be him as it was for repeated dangerous tackles. Penry happily slotted the ball between the posts to give the boys a glimmer of hope. The Man down in defence allowed the Truro School Boys to put more pressure on their mates. Notably a rumble of pick’n’go’s in front of the posts got hem close to scoring but the only affect the attack had was on Toby Haywood’s head as it collided with the Post, Claret dripping from his head he came off the field, much to his disappointment.
Next up, in the closing couple of minutes was an attack down the right hand side, Brocklebank must score. His dummy that normally fools the most concentrated defender, not the Former Pupils though. They’ve seen it all before!
Full time, a very deserved 12-3 to the Former Pupils who defended extremely well throughout the game and in their tiredness they dug deep to come out victors. Well done lads! Enjoy the rest of your rugby careers!