Like a man sinking in quicksand whose hand is gripped at the last moment the Cornish All Blacks lived to fight another day with a thrilling 27-5 victory over the Newbury Blues at Polson on Saturday. The five-point haul lifted the Cornish side off the foot of the table five points away from Sedgley Park and safety.
It was one of the Cornish All Blacks’ recent loan signings from Worcester Warriors No8 Gavin Quinnell who was driven over for the opening try after only five minutes. Full-back Jon Fabian made up for his earlier conversion miss to stroke over a penalty after 15 mins. He was on target again on 32 mins as he converted centre Peter Fisher’s try after 32 mins , which left the home side 15-0 up at the break.
Just two minutes after the resumption it was the club’s top try-scorer this season winger Matt Jess who raced in for his side’s third try. Fabian was once more on target with the extras. Newbury briefly rallied scoring a try through winger Tom Tombleson. The bonus point try came courtesy of Jess who scored his 13th league try of the season to no-doubt rekindle the interest other sides are showing in the Heamor-Flyer.
After the brilliance of their win over Doncaster at Camborne last Sunday the Cornish Pirates found Rotherham Titans less to their taste as they surprisingly slumped to a 20-10 loss at Clifton Lane. All the Pirates points came from their Exeter Chiefs bound duo fly-half Gareth Steenson and flanker Chris Cracknell. Doncaster leap-frogged the Pirates once more into fourth place following their 11-3 win over Bedford.
In National League 2, Redruth gave the leaders Otley a mighty tussle only ceding in the 10th minute of time added on to an Otley penalty, which gave the Yorkshire side a 20-18 win. The losing bonus point earned together with Nuneaton’s win at Dry Leas over Henley Hawks ensures Redruth will once again be playing at this level next season. All action flanker Steve Wood scored a fine first half try, which fly-half Gareth Griffiths converted to add to an earlier penalty to leave the visitors 10-7 up at half-time. Griffiths kicked a second penalty and winger Rob Thirlby a try to put the Reds 18-17 up with time running out, Robin Kitching’s late late strike snatched the win away from the Cornishmen.
Mount’s Bay made the long journey to North Walsham’s Scottow ground a real pleasure as they recorded a 20-5 win, which now leaves them within touching distance of winning National League 3 South and promotion next season. Saturday week’s encounter at the Mennaye against Cinderford will in all likeliness be the decider and will no doubt draw a large crowd to see the Penzance based side make that final push. John Marlin, Darren Semmens and Tyron Child scored the tries with Lee Jarvis kicking a penalty and conversion. Belated congratulations to the Bay for their fine win on Easter Monday over a Cornish All Blacks XV in the final of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Super Cup, the first leg of another double.
In Tribute South West 1, St. Ives long season at the foot of the table will soon be at an end as they lost for 18th time 28-10 at Coney Hill. Chinnor look to be heading back to National 3 South after their 39-17 win over 2nd place Bracknell who will play-off with the runner-up from London 1 for the remaining spot.
Tribute South West 2 West saw Camborne slip to another defeat 41-0 at Torquay Athletic, Western Counties West beckons for the “Town” next season, as they will look to re-build. Exmouth wrapped up the league title with Barnstaple in the play-off berth.
Tribute Western Counties West has seen some cracking performances from our North Cornwall clubs this season with two games to play Wadebridge and Bude lie in 3rd and 4th places a real credit to rugby in that part of the Duchy. However the big question in recent weeks has been Hayle’s fight against relegation. Twelve months ago the “Lions” were contemplating facing Barton Hill in the play-off for a spot in South West 2 West. Well Hayle played the side above them Withycombe last Saturday in a game they had to win, they did, 7-3. Adam Redgrave was the Hayle hero scoring and converting his try to give his side a lifeline.
Wadebridge Camels warmed up for their Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup final next Saturday with a 29-12 win over Ivybridge. Despite going 12-0 down the Camels gave their Devon opponents the hump scoring tries through Alasdair MacLennan, Gary Gynn, Ollie Hawkey, Jake McCarroll and Sam Stone.
Opponents next Saturday Bude warmed up with a good 26-3 win over Devonport Services. Dave Risdon, Ollie Denford and Rob Uglow (2) scored the tries with Paul Williams kicking a couple of conversions.
Penryn travelled to table toppers Paignton and found the South Devon side to hot to handle as they lost 72-3. Paignton remain top one point ahead of local rivals Sidmouth.
In London 3 SW, London Cornish slumped to a 20-10 defeat at home to Tottonians in what Director of Rugby Dickon Moon described as “a very poor performance”. Dickon’s report is available in the link.
The champagne corks can’t pop just yet but Newquay Hornets are also in touch of a second successive promotion, only Tavistock who have a game in-hand can spoil the party but they will have to take maximum points and the Hornets none to upset the promotion party. Newquay ran up a big score at bottom of the league Teignmouth in the Tribute Cornwall & Devon league encounter winning 64-5. Cullompton who are one point ahead of Newquay are defiantly up.
Truro enjoyed a good win at Honiton winning 24-5 with tries from Owen Hambly, Luke Trescothick, Ross Martin and Scott Martin. Falmouth got no joy from their longest trip of the season to Wellington losing 10-3.
This Saturday as has already been mentioned see’s the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup Final when two former winners of the Junior Cup meet for the first time in the senior final Wadebridge Camels taking on Bude at St. Austell RFC with a 5pm kick-off. In the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup that precedes it Saltash play Newquay Hornets, kick-off 2pm.