Despite outscoring their hosts on the try front by four to three, Cornwall were beaten at Hertford on Saturday in their second County Shield match by 31-26. Meanwhile at Chinnor, Eastern Counties won their second match against Oxfordshire 18-14 and will travel to Camborne next Saturday knowing that a draw will be good enough for them to win the group, promotion and go to Twickenham!
It all started so well for Cornwall, prehaps too well as fly-half Mark Scrivener opened the scoring after 2 minutes with a try, which he converted. Hertfordshire replied with a try from scrum-half Ryan de la Harpe before Cornwall stretched their lead with winger Matt Jess scoring the first of two tries, which Scrivener was unable to convert. Cornwall then came under intense Hertfordshire pressure as their skipper and England Counties player No 8 Dave Archer scored two tries before half-time both converted by Richard Gregg for a 19-12 advantage.
Gregg kicked an early second half penalty, before Jess scored his second try with Scrivener adding the extras. Gregg kicked two further penalties as Cornwall were left to play catch up rugby. A late try by Ryan Westren converted by Paul Thirlby brought Cornwall back to within two points, a fourth Gregg penalty left Cornwall looking for a converted try to win the game and despite a long period of time added on they couldn’t score again.
So it’s all to play for at Camborne next Saturday, a Cornwall win will see them through thanks to their massive points difference from their first game, unless of course Hertfordshire also score a hatfull of points against Oxfordshire. Eastern Counties know that a draw will be good enough for them.