It was the 1923-24 season when Argaum beat Devonport Services A in the Lockie Cup so you could say with some conviction that tonight's win over a spirited Oaks side at Brickfields was well overdue. True, there were many years when the club either did not enter the local competitions or entered their second string so who knows what might have been. Nevertheless it should not be underestimated how significant this win was to the club at this time, particularly celebrating its 125th year.
As the scoreline suggests the game wasn't a classic feast of open rugby, the monsoon conditions throughout the day saw to that, but there was dogged determination and great spirit on display. Cup Finals are always tense affairs and a youthful Argaum side, with many in their first season of senior rugby, were up against a more experienced outfit with a good cup pedigree. It was Oaks who took an early lead with a 25m penalty before Argaum responded with their best spell of rugby. Good interpassing between the forwards gained field position and after putting Oaks on the back foot the ball was sent swiftly through the hands to winger Jared Williams who scampered round under the sticks for what was to be the only try of the game. Jake Turfrey converted and added a further penalty as Argaum started to take control of the match. Oaks came back and used their heavy pack to dominate the scrum, however several drives for the line were kept out by disciplined Argaum defence.
At the interval coach Dave Sansom asked his players to relax and play some rugby as it seemed a further score could kill off the game. Despite looking dangerous on the break however they weren't able to establish a platform for long enough to get that vital score and the remainder of the second half became increasingly nervy. While Oaks had the upper hand in the scrum they were never able to breach the watertight Argaum defence with the back row of Jamie Venner, Kev Anderson and Sid Sidebottom in their faces and the likes of Dan James and Ciaran Bennett hitting big in midfield. Inevitably as the half wore on some ill-discipline crept in as first Dan Smith and then Mason Edwards saw yellow cards for infringements but in truth the whole team put in a tremendous collective defensive effort. As the final Oaks attack broke down Ben Glanfield scooped up the ball and cleared to touch in front of a large gathering of jubilant Argaum supporters to seal the victory that means so much to this fantastic old club.
As they have shown this season Argaum know they can play a lot better and it is hoped that this will now be a springboard for the whole club to push on from here. But as any runner up in the previous Combination Finals will tell you (and this author is one of them), cup rugby is all about winning, and that's the feeling that Nick Hancock and his team had tonight.
DVDs of the final are available from Gareth 'Chuggsie' Jones at the cost of £5, visit www.podtc.co.uk or call 01822 618861 for more details.