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April 25, 2001

RNEC Final: Dev Services II 15 Chiefs 6

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RNEC Cup Final: Devonport Services II 15 Argaum Chiefs 6
(April 25th 2001, k.o. 19:30
The Rectory)

Yet again Argaum finish runners-up in a Cup Final, but there was plenty of positives to take away from this match. After such a disrupted season and a generally poor showing in the league the Chiefs held up the honour of Devon Two by producing a performance full of pride, commitment and no little skill.

Against a very experienced Services side Argaum soaked up a lot of first-half pressure with the sort of defending which has been a hallmark of the season. Trailing by a single penalty goal at the interval, they took the game to Services in the second period and the pressure applied resulted in penalty goals for Darren Wills and Dominic Hill. Going in to the final quarter 6-3 up Argaum had one hand on the cup. It wasn't until the last quarter, when Services' Fijian substitute Serau was introduced, that the balance of the game tipped in the home side's favour and they ran in 2 late tries to kill off Argaum's Cup hopes for another year.


The Evening Herald Match Report :

A commanding second-half display from Devonport Services seconds saw them lift the RNEC Cup at The Rectory last night. Opponents Plymouth Argaum battled bravely but, ultimately, Services thoroughly deserved their 15-6 triumph. In an uninspiring first half, Tom Longstaff's penalty for Services was the only scoring action of any description. Earlier, Services' Danny Brown had come close to a try, but generally both sides looked short of ideas as defences ruled at either end. Services captain Emmanuel Samuel appeared the most likely source of inspiration, but Longstaff had an opportunity to increase his side's lead late in the first half. However, he was wide of the mark with a penalty attempt. A spell of concerted pressure from Argaum immediately after the break eventually led to Dominic Hill levelling matters with a penalty. And things just got better for Argaum when Darren Wills put over another penalty shortly afterwards.

Playing his last competitive game for the club, Paul Collins takes good ball at the front of the lineout

But Argaum's joy – and lead – were shortlived as Services raced ahead after a superb try from Brown. A flowing move saw the ball eventually fall to Brown on the right wing, and he had the easiest task to run in unchallenged and score. However, Longstaff missed the conversion to leave a scoreline of 8-6 in Services' favour. A few minutes later, a show of dissent from within the Services' ranks saw the referee move the play forward 10 yards, giving Hill the chance to put Argaum back in front with a penalty. But he missed, and it wasn't long before Services had one hand on the cup when Fijian Serau dived over for a try underneath the posts. Services' Danny Stockdale made no mistake in adding the extras to leave Argaum with a mountain to climb – and time against them. Nine points behind, Argaum never looked capable of hauling themselves back into the contest. And Services were beginning to produce flowing rugby, with Brown almost grabbing another try as the seconds ticked away.
Devonport Services seconds: M Brough, J Dowse, G Dunn, N Martin, S Muddiman, N Wakem, D Stockdale, C Rowland-Stewart, A McBeath, A Stewart, E Samuel (c), S Nicholson, T Longstaff, D Brown, B Ratawmai. Replacements: Rawamila, C Dunn, Serau, J Josee.
Plymouth Argaum: R Belli, M Foster, D Truscott, P Collins, M Richardson, N Pinder, L McDowell, P Venkort, D Morgan, A Critchley (c), P Hall, D Wills, P Morgan, D Hill, S Tomlinson. Replacements: A Rees, M Louise, W Moulder.

Argaum Scorers : Pens: Wills, Hill.


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