A LATE Henry Matthews penalty secured OPMs a narrow 25-24 victory over city rivals Tamar Saracens at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday.
OPMs, having been 22-12 up mid-way through the second half, found themselves trailing 24-22 going into the dying minutes, but Matthews put them back in front. However, Saracens still had a late chance to win the game, but the hosts desperately managed to keep them out right at the death.
“It was a hard-fought win,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “We really made hard work of it. Our discipline in the first half was good, but we fell off second half. A yellow card got them back into the game.
“There was a scary point at the end when we’d just gone down to 14 again and they put a nice kick in, but we managed to come through and get the win. That’s two out of two now in Devon One.
“But we do have to focus on tackling as I think there was about 23 missed tackles out there.”
Tamar Saracens were unhappy with some decisions which went against them.
“We’re gutted,” said spokesman Marc Cioffi. “It was a tough pill to swallow, especially considering I felt we played the better rugby.
“A few silly decisions cost us the game.
“There was that controversial penalty near the end, but we still came back fighting.”
Sarries took the lead in the first minute. OPMs failed to gather the kick-off and gave away a penalty. The visitors went for the line-out and from it prop Adam Coutts scored and Lewis Swatton converted.
Both teams were making silly mistakes but as the half wore on OPMs began to settle and they pulled level on 25 minutes. After some good play to get into Sarries 22 they were awarded a penalty. They went for the corner and from it Garratt was driven over. Pete Regan converted to equalise.
And almost straight away, OPMs added a second try when fly-half Regan scored on the left after some good play. He also converted to make it 14-7.
Regan increased their lead with a penalty on 37 minutes before Dan Best scored in the right corner to reduce the gap to 17-12 on the stroke of half-time.
OPMs went 22-12 up in the 57th minute when Matthews broke down the blindside to score in the corner.
But the match changed when OPMs had Ben Hooper yellow card on 64 minutes. Straight away, Sarries made the extra man tell with Fraser Tatchell crossing on the left.
And four minutes later, Sarries went ahead when flanker Josh Heath scored a great try which saw him outrageously dummy two OPMs players. Swatton added the conversion to put his side 24-22 ahead.
With time running out, OPMs got a penalty, which was moved forward 10 metres for back-chat. That extra 10 metres made it a far easier kick for Matthews to edge his side back ahead in injury-time.
However, there was plenty of injury-time to add on and OPMs again made a mess of taking the kick-off and gave away a penalty. Sarries opted not to go for goal and instead went for the line-out. Although they lost that, they kept the pressure on and right at the death Swatton nearly scored when he kick over the defence and the ball bounce away from two OPMs players but they somehow managed to stop Sarries from scoring.