Last-gasp try ends Twickenham dream

Liskeard-Looe 26, Lowestoft & Yarmouth 19Lowestoft and Yarmouth's dreams of playing in a final at Twickenham ended in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday when a last-gasp try condemned them to defeat in the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Vase.

Liskeard-Looe 26, Lowestoft & Yarmouth 19

Lowestoft and Yarmouth's dreams of playing in a final at Twickenham ended in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday when a last-gasp try condemned them to defeat in the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Vase.

The visitors appeared to be making light of a daunting journey into deepest Cornwall when they moved 19-7 ahead midway through the second period, courtesy of some good kicking from Russ Chapman and tries from Scott Nelson and Matt Howell.

But Liskeard-Looe refused to buckle, and with a partisan crowd of about 1,000 roaring them on, hit back in superb style, clinching victory with a converted try deep into injury time, which extended to 17 minutes due to numerous stoppages.

The Cornish side now have a final date with Brighton at Twickenham to look forward to next month - while the Lowestoft and Yarmouth players can only reflect on what might have been - but team manager Matt Jary said every member of the squad should be holding his head high after reaching the last four of a national competition.

“The lads were gutted at the final whistle, having gone so close, and there's no doubt it was a heartbreaking way to lose such an important game,” he said.

Most Read

“But they had gone 14 months without defeat in any competition and did superbly to get this far in the first place.

“It was a great achievement and all the lads should be proud of themselves.

“They gave it a really good go but came up against a side who were just a little bit stronger, especially up front, and deserved to win on the day.

“We may have lost the game but it was a memorable trip for all of us, a bit like a mini-tour, and we all enjoyed ourselves afterwards, even though we had lost.”

Having made the 400-mile trip on Friday afternoon to ensure they were fresh for the game, Lowestoft and Yarmouth suffered an early setback when their hosts scored a converted try.

But they then took what seemed a vice-like grip of proceedings, piling up 19 unanswered points.

A Chapman penalty quickly reduced the arrears before Shaun Woodhouse made a 40-metre break and fed the ball to Chapman, who set up Scott Nelson to go over in the corner. The try went unconverted but another Chapman penalty put the Eastern Counties Division One leaders 11-7 up at the break.

Chapman's third successful penalty further improved their position before Scott Nelson combined with his brother Kris to find Howell, who went over near the corner to make those Twickenham dreams look like reality.

Sadly it was not to be. In the second period Liskeard-Looe were playing towards the stand where most of their fans were housed and responded to some tremendous support to push Lowestoft and Yarmouth back towards to their own line for the remainder of the match.

Injuries to Chapman, Lewis Davey and Chris Howe didn't help the cause, but the home side were well on top now and reduced the deficit with a penalty try awarded for persistent infringements as the visitors desperately defended their line.

Lowestoft and Yarmouth put up some heroic resistance but the loss of Woodhouse and Graeme Newton to the sin-bin were further huge blows and an unconverted try in the corner duly brought the hosts level.

The second half seemed to go on for ever and the Cornish outfit finally broke through for a converted try deep into extended injury time, with the final whistle sounding soon after Lowestoft and Yarmouth had restarted the game.

Jary's men will now turn their attention to their remaining league matches, with the manager insisting they will face that challenge in good spirits despite the lack of a day out at HQ.

“This has been a great adventure for us but now it's time to move on,” he said. “We have got four more league matches to play and it goes without saying that we want to win all four to maintain our 100pc record.”

This weekend they visit a resurgent Woodbridge team before next week's last home game against Fakenham and two reorganised games away to Wisbech and Newmarket.