Top Scrum-half Greg Goodfellow gets the ball away v Herts. Bottom Left Fly-half Paul Thirlby claims Cornwall’s final try. Bottom right Lock Damian Cook on the charge against Hertfordshire – Photos Simon Bryant/Iktisphoto. Mobile: 07990592945.
CORNWALL will contest the final of the Bill Beaumont Cup next Sunday against old rivals Lancashire at Twickenham.
It follows Cornwall’s magnificent win on Saturday against reigning County Champions Hertfordshire by 41-29 at Camborne.
It was a game and occasion that matched the heady days of the late 80′s and early 90′s when Cornwall graced HQ’s hallowed turf.
Not since 1999 have Cornwall played in a County Championship Final and that famous win against Gloucestershire.
Cornwall took to the field to the strains of “Trelawny”, and huge cheers from a packed West Bank and around the ground.
However, it didn’t begin too brightly, as Cornwall fell behind to an early try scored by Hert’s centre Sam Winter who made the most of some poor defending by Cornwall. The centre picked his way through the Cornwall line to score near the posts. Full-back Richard Gregg added the conversion.
Cornwall hit back almost immediately as flanker Sam Hocking picked the ball up from a ruck as Hertfordshire hesitated before galloping in from 35 meters to score in the Park Gate corner. It was his third try in as many matches for Cornwall this season in the Championship. Thirlby couldn’t add the difficult conversion.
Gregg increased the visitor’s lead with a penalty, before Cornwall’s scrum-half Greg Goodfellow snipped from a ruck to run in Cornwall’s second try after 17 minutes under the posts, Thirlby’s conversion putting Cornwall 12-10 ahead.
Despite Herfordshire being reduced to fourteen men when Gregg was sin-binned for a professional foul, Cornwall couldn’t take advantage. Two Thirlby penalty attempts sailed wide as Stefan Liebenberg got the first of his three tries from a quick tap. Jimmy Speirs adding the extras.
Cornwall laid siege to the Hertfordshire line as the half came to an end but couldn’t force their way over, it remained 17-12 to Herts at the break.
The Black & Gold’s got off to a great START at the beginning of the second half with a penalty from Thirlby being just what was required early doors.
Cornwall then launched a great attack in which Chris Fuca, Darren Jacques and Hocking were involved, the ball was moved right with centre Nielson Webber putting winger Richard Bright away to finish in style in the scoreboard corner for 20-17.
Cornwall then came again, a great run from centre Steve Johns was taken on by skipper Ben Hilton and Goodfellow before full back Jake Murphy rounded off the move with the all-important fourth try for Cornwall. Thirlby having missed with his previous attempt struck the conversion sweetly for a ten point lead 27-17.
Back came Herts as we knew they would with Liebenberg grabbing his second and Gregg the conversion.
Cornwall piled on the pressure near the Hertfordshire line with the Cornwall scrum utterly dominant referee Shane Lewis awarded the home side a penalty-try, which Thirlby converted to stretch Cornwall’s lead to 34-24.
Liebenberg completed his personal tally of tries with another short-range snip from a penalty, however Gregg crucially missed the conversion to leave Cornwall still five points to the good.
Despite missing with a drop-goal attempt, Thirlby was on-hand to score Cornwall’s sixth and final try as the forwards notably Darren Jacques and Richard Brown, drove up to the Hertfordshire line, his conversion sealed a great win and a day at Twickenham next Sunday.
At the final whistle Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas paid tribute to his team and the magnificent Cornish support. “It was an emotional day, the ground was packed! I haven’t seen a crowd like this at a Cornwall game for many years. They were fantastic and lifted the boys at crucial times to secure the win. All credit to them, but also the boys who played, they really played out of their skins.
Thomas felt that the early scores at the beginning of the second half was key to the win. “We had our tails up in the second half and getting those early scores was vital. We put them under tremendous pressure, it’s very hard playing out of the West Bank corner and we came away with the ball which made a huge difference.
“It’s Lancashire once again in the final, memories of our narrow defeat to them in 1992. What a day out for all the boys, this is what they aspire to, to play on the Twickenham pitch in front of hopefully a good Cornish crowd.
Sam Hocking who scored Cornwall’s opening try was equally thrilled at the prospect of a Twickenham trip. “Absolutely thrilled to be going to Twickenham next Sunday with Cornwall. I was pleased with my try, the longest one of the year, I was struggling to recover from that run in.”
Hocking also paid tribute to the Cornish support. “The crowd was massive for us today, we defended will for the first half to keep them to just 17-12 and then we were able to get the early scores in the second half to dictate play.”
Hocking had a final plea to the Cornish support. “Please come along next week at Twickenham your support will make a huge difference to the team. You were all magnificent today.”
CORNWALL 41 pts
Tries – Hocking, Goodfellow, Bright, Murphy, Penalty-try, Thirlby, Penalty – Thirlby, Conversions- Thirlby (4)
HERTFORDSHIRE 29 pts
Tries – Winter, Liebenberg (3), Penalty – Gregg, Conversions – Gregg (2), Speirs
Yellow Card- Gregg (32)
Cornwall: Jake Murphy; Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Rhodri McAtee (Plymouth Albion); Paul Thirlby; Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Hocking (unattached), Barrie Chapman (Cornish All Blacks)
Replacements (used):Tom Rawlings (Cornish All Blacks), Ashley Lawton (Camborne), Matt Shepherd (St Austell), Lewis Paterson (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman (Redruth).
Replacements (not used): Ben Priddey (Redruth & Royal Navy), Jon Drew (Redruth)
Hertfordshire: Richard Gregg (Old Albanian), Tom Newton (Tring), Sam Winter (Bishop’s Stortford), Dom Regan, Jimmy Spiers, James Shanhan, Stefan Liebenberg (all Old Albanian); Jim Remfry (Barnes), Jared Saunders (Saracens), Sam Staff, Ross Hamilton (both Old Albanian), Craig South (Hertford), Brett McNamee, Capt, Rob Fahrenheim, Matt Chambers (all Old Albanian)
Replacements (used): Aaran MacDougal,Andrew Abraham, Rob Schillaci (all Old Albanian), Liam Chennals (Tring)
Replacements (not used): Tom Mowbray (Chinnor), Charlie Hughes (Old Albanian), Laurence Tausaosi (Tring)
Referee: Shane Lewis (RFU)
Cornwall man-of-the-match: Sam Hocking