Argaum run into Squall on North Coast
By Richard Belli
An under-strength Chiefs battle bravely against the elements and strong opposition in first defeat of 2018.
Plymouth Argaum suffered their first defeat of the 2018 when they were beaten by 27 points to 9 at Bude. After a couple of weeks of inactivity there was concern that another fixture could fall foul of the weather, but a 9:30am pitch inspection deemed the pitch fit. Whilst other matches went that way again yesterday, the Argaum management will be glad that at least they do not have another fixture stacked up later in the season.
With a number of players unavailable Argaum knew it was going to be a stiff test against a Bude outfit that don't lose many at home. However this wasn't just a damage limitation exercise and the Chiefs took the game to their opponents with a very strong wind at their backs. A couple of early infringements saw Jake Turfrey knocking over a couple of penalties as Bude struggled to come to terms with the elements. The hosts dispensed with longer range passing in favour of using their large pack, and after retaining the ball for numerous phases eventually broke the Chiefs defence for the opening try.
Chances are at a premium at this level but Bude capitalised on any defensive error and their strong running centres made the most of any gaps. They worked the ball wide on a couple of occasions to score in the right hand corner, neither of which were converted. In between these tries Turfrey had slotted another penalty, whilst Dan James had come very close to scoring after losing control of the ball over the whitewash. Trailing 15-9 at the interval, Argaum were still in the game but knew they had to face the biting wind that seemed to be increasing in strength.
Kicking into the wind was futile and Argaum kept the ball in hand as the second half started. However they soon learned that there was danger when putting width on the ball and after a spilt pass in midfield, Bude intercepted to score under the posts to secure the bonus point, the conversion straightforward. The home side had their tails up and backed by a large 'Farmers Day' crowd put the game beyond doubt with a fifth try, with the extras again added.
At this stage it seemed that a large score was possible but this Argaum side is made of sterner stuff. The fact that there was no more scoring was a testament to team spirit and good defensive organisation. Bodies were certainly put on the line to prevent the line being breached. It was not just attrition though as when Argaum did get hold of the ball they showed what dangerous runners they have and with a little more luck could have got something out of the game. Whilst lineouts were a lottery for both sides, the Argaum scrum remained solid throughout and Bude will certainly know they've been in a game with some of Argaum's defensive hits.
As captain John Ireland said in the clubhouse, the scoreline probably didn't reflect the game and whilst there wasn't much between the teams, results in the Cornwall & Devon League hinge on such fine margins. Ultimately the players who came in put in a great shift and the team can be proud of their effort on the North Coast. The focus must now be on securing Cornwall & Devon League status in the coming weeks.
Argaum: Pen x 3 (Jake Turfrey)
Man Of The Match: Dan James