Penryn Athletic 1 Launceston 2
RGB Cornwall Senior Cup First Round
Saturday. October 8, 2016
Cup magic moment: A lovely piece of humour in the heat of a tight cup battle. A Penryn midfielder headed a more or less free header from a Launceston goal-kick straight out of play. Obviously frustrated, he yelled at his team-mates: “Time, time, tell me time.” A couple of seconds later, into the silence as the ball was being retrieved for the throw-in, came the gentle call from somewhere within the home side’s ranks: “Time.” Well, we thought it was funny on our side of the pitch.
I MADE a promise to myself at the start of this season. I vowed that, rather than just sticking to matches close to home, I would try to spread my wings a bit wider for this campaign, to search out new grounds, to seek new competitions, to boldly go where no cup football blogger has gone before.
So, on this particular Saturday, I ignored all of that and walked twenty minutes up the road to see my hometown club in action.
To be fair to me, there was a good reason. Penryn has been a town “en fete” this year, with 2016 marking 800 years since the granting of the town’s charter. My fellow townsfolk, as a general rule, don’t need much excuse for a party, and this year there has been just one excuse after another for dancing in the streets.
We have had a proper Bake Off competition with a real Bake Off competitor; we have had a Burger of the Burgher of the Borough competition where the maker of the best burger became a burgher of the borough; we have had a revived old-fashioned May Day festival, complete with maypole and funny hats; we have also had a “Mock Mayor” elected for the first time in more than 120 years, which seemed to involve people in strange clothes parading through town and a lot of rotten veg being thrown; there was a truly stunning son et lumiere show telling the story of the town; and, on the day of this match, we had the “Kemeneth” festival, which involved stalls and music and acting in the streets, plus lots of bands in a big tent in a field in the evening.
All of these were accompanied by much feasting and quaffing of ale, not to mention the occasional Cornish maid dressed in a wench costume. Why would I want to leave town?
With the Borough boys at home in a cup game, it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. So I wandered through the stalls and the music in the morning, walked up to the football and back in the afternoon, and then spent the evening in the music tent. That was even close enough to home for me to walk back and make myself a nice cup of tea between acts. Hardcore.
It was also a big day for footballing reasons. Penryn had been managed for nine years by Steve Jewell but he had decided that now was the time to step down to look after his growing business. He had guided the Rynners to several top four finishes in the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League Division One West, as well as to the final of the Cornwall Charity Cup, so would be a hard act to follow.
Paul Murray was the man handed that task and I felt it would be interesting to see how he fared at the start of a new era. And it was also a good opportunity to see a possible cup upset. Visitors Launceston play in the Peninsula League Premier and would not have been fancying their tough trip to Kernick Park.
So they were all good reasons for going to the game. But the main reason was that it was an absolutely glorious day for football, with the October sunshine bathing the ground in beautiful autumn light. Even this blogger’s ubiquitous hat was nowhere in sight – so I managed to get a slightly sunburnt head (There’s always a downside).
Now, I have made a point when doing this blog of being strictly neutral, or at least trying to be. This time, I didn’t even bother to try. Although I have a lot of time for Launceston, and have enjoyed several games there over the years, I was a definite Rynner this time. Come on the Borough!
Steve Jewell always had his side playing tidy football, trying to pass their way out of trouble before using their pace and power in attack. Paul Murray looks set to continue that approach but, as a nervous Penryn fan, can I ask him to ask his players not to play pretty passes IN THEIR OWN PENALTY AREA!! It gives me palpitations.
Mind you, my own touch was in good nick, probably inspired by Penryn’s neat style. My first of no less than six touches in the first half (yes, I was counting) was the perfect trap of a high, spinning ball. Rolling back the years!
In action actually on the pitch, the first half was a tense and tight affair, more intriguing than thrilling, and with no discernible difference in standard between the two sides.
The big incident came in the 34th minute when I felt a Launceston player was very lucky to stay on the pitch when he only saw yellow rather than red after a reckless challenge in midfield. It’s amazing what being a supporter rather than a neutral observer can make to your judgement!
A five-minute spell midway through the second half saw the real key passage of play in this tie. Launceston took the lead in the 69th minute when a low ball from the left was guided in, and they doubled their lead in the 74th minute when they broke away after Penryn had lost the ball from their own throw-in midway through the Launceston half.
The Premier Division side had been better after the break, with their subs making a real impact. The Clarets’ management team deserves lots of credit for making changes that made a difference.
Mind you, they had to endure a nervy final few moments after Penryn pulled a goal back with a free header from a corner in the 86th minute. The home side huffed and puffed after that, and put Launceston under severe pressure, but the equaliser wouldn’t come and Penryn’s Senior Cup party was over.
All very upsetting for a Borough fan, so I had to spend the rest of the evening drowning my sorrows while gently bopping along to some lively festival tunes. That was great fun. Let’s hope it’s not another 800 years before Penryn’s party people get to strut their funky stuff again. Somehow, I don’t think it will be!
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