In mythology a Griffin is a legendary creature with the body, tail and legs of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. It is thought to be an especially powerful and majestic creature.
St Dennis striker Richard Griffin might not be all of the above, but he came pretty close as star of the show in the Q Cornwall Leisure Veterans League Cup Final, grabbing a hat trick and having a hand in all of the goals in a comprehensive 7-0 victory over the highly fancied Saltash United.
Griffin was a constant thorn in the Ashes backline. He went close to opening the scoring on 12 minutes, but was denied by a last ditch tackle by Jamie Manuel. A few minutes later a ball over the top saw Griffin bearing in on goal, but his effort went over and just before the 20-minute mark Saltash ‘keeper Andrew Hatch pulled off a fine save to deny another Griffin attempt.
28 minutes into the match Saints took the lead and it was no surprise that Griffin was the man to break the deadlock. He cut inside onto his left foot and his low shot went through a defender’s legs giving Hatch no chance.
Saltash were enjoying a good share of possession without really troubling a resolute St Dennis backline. Indeed, the game was 35 minutes old before they had their first attempt on goal. Mike Dingle’s effort though failed to trouble Billy Davies in the Saints goal.
At the other end Hatch once again had to be alert to keep out a Wayne Hoole attempt just before the break.
After what most would have deemed a reasonably even first half with Griffin’s strike edging the contest, no-one could have predicted what was to happen in the first five minutes of the second period.
Two minutes into the half, James Olsen’s looping header from a Griffin cross crept over the line despite Hatch’s attempt to keep the ball out. A minute later Hatch impeded Griffin in the box and Hoole converted the resulting spot kick. And with the half less than five minutes old Saints were 4-0 up. This time Graham Rule found the net at the second attempt. Again Griffin the provider after another strong run.
Shellshocked Ashes tried to get back in the game and like the first half were seeing plenty of the ball, but could find no way through. They had to wait until the 73rd minute before they could muster a shot on target. Justin Dudley’s long range effort though was easily dealt with by Davies.
Any hopes of a Saltash comeback were extinguished with 12 minutes left when Griffin latched onto a through ball, rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into an empty net.
Griffin in search of his hat trick went close on 84 minutes, Hatch again saving well, but a minute later Griffin was once again the provider, putting in a cross for the evergreen Stuart Bell to expertly volley home.
Griffin wasn’t to be denied his hat trick though although he will have the officials to thank as his 87th minute strike looked to be from an offside position. No flag came from assistant referee George Wright and the goal stood. As it was it made no difference to the final outcome and St Dennis ran out convincing 7-0 winners.