By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer
Cornwall go into Sunday’s Bill Beaumont Cup Final knowing they will need to create a little bit of history if they are to lift the trophy.
The Black and Golds will be looking to be crowned for only the fourth time as County Champions following their successes in 1908, 1991 and 1999.
For Lancashire, playing in a sixth consecutive final and seeking a twenty-third County Crown, they will travel south in the knowledge that in three previous meetings with Cornwall in the final, 1969, 1992 and last season, they have triumphed on each occasion.
Last year’s defeat 35-26 on a hot day at Twickenham saw Cornwall having to play catch up rugby for most of the game despite taking an early lead via a Paul Thirlby penalty. Errors were to prove costly as Lancashire capitalised with their swift backs to score tries through Ben Royle (2), Dominic Moon and Ben Rath. Each time Cornwall pulled a score back Lancashire scored again to keep their noses ahead.
Cornwall’s tries came from Nielson Webber a penalty try and Lewis Vinnicombe with Thirlby adding a conversion and three penalties.
In the second –half the momentum was with Cornwall as the pack took control but it was sadly too tall an order having to play catch up rugby on such a hot day.
It was Lancashire fly-half Chris Johnson who controlled the game with his touch kicking and three conversions, two penalties and a drop-goal.
Now another chance to add to Cornwall’s one major win over the red rose in 1958 when Cornwall won a thrilling semi-final at Redruth 14-8.
The game was nip and tuck until a penalty from Harold Stevens and a try scored by Ken Abrahams gave Cornwall a six-point margin. Lancashire threw the kitchen sink at Cornwall in a bid to turn the tide, but they foundered on the Cornish defence and Cornwall went through to the final against Warwickshire which they lost at Coventry 16-8.
For Cornwall RFU President Kenny Plummer a member of the side that lost to Lancashire in 1969 he hopes Cornwall can turn the tables at long last. He said. “A superb advert for Cornish rugby, the boys played with heart and passion in front of a mainly Cornish crowd in Hertfordshire. Now we travel to Twickenham next weekend where I want revenge. Revenge for the game I played and lost in, and revenge for our defeat last season, both against Lancashire. Boys go and play your hearts out in one of the best stadiums in the world for rugby, many dream of, but few ever, have the opportunity to play there.”
PHOTO – HEAD COACH GRAHAM DAWE MAKES A POINT IN TRAINING
Cornwall’s head coach Graham Dawe knows too well that the pressure will just continue to grow in the build up to Sunday’s game. He said. “This match was always going to be a real battle, and today the Cornish lads certainly earned their battle colours!! Good defence, a strong forward pack, exciting backs all contributed to the victory. Hertfordshire are a very strong team and we knew we must not only win, but dominate certain areas of play. We have some tired bodies now, but when you see the front row play the full 80 minutes, that’s what it means for them to play in this shirt. Now we work hard this week and prepare for the ultimate test Lancashire. We will train before selecting the match day squad which will be a real headache for us due to the quality and commitment of the squad who have played, and are on the fringes.”
PHOTO – SKIPPER BEN HILTON WITH PROP JESS TOMPSETT
Whilst Cornwall’s skipper Ben Hilton said. “We went to Hertfordshire with a game plan and stuck to it even though the weather changed so much prior and during the game. The guys knew what we had to do it was not as high scoring or with as many tries as are previous games, but getting the win was the important factor and takes us our second successive Twickenham appearance. He further commented; – What can I say about the support, magnificent as always and thank you everyone who made the effort to attend today’s match. The crowd was just over 550 and I think 500 of them were wearing or cheering the black and gold, absolutely awesome. Now we need to get the rallying call going out all across the Duchy for next weekend. All roads lead to Twickenham where we face the team that beat us last year Lancashire. It would be great if we could see that stadium turn black and gold.”
PHOTO – CORNWALL LOOKING SHARP
Speaking at the first training session held on Tuesday evening at Camborne RFC, assistant coach Ian Morgan having had time to further reflect on the Hertfordshire game summed up his feelings. He said. “We went up there to do a job and got it done. We knew we had to stop them playing and take the chances that came our way.
“I think we could have had further tries through our mauls but the referee had other ideas, at the end of the day we are pleased with the performance a win on the road is always great it may not have been pretty but hey ho we’d have take 3-0!!
Defence was key to Cornwall’s success on the day. “That’s what we worked on last week, we knew that was the key to winning the game. Our forwards gave us the platform to set up our driving mauls which killed Hertfordshire.
PHOTO DAVE & MORGAN ON THE BALL
Turning his thoughts towards Sunday and Lancashire Morgan said. “We are not too bothered about last season’s result, the past is the pass, there will be no talk this week about revenge or anything like that, we will concentrate on this as our next game and formulate our game plan that we believe will win us the game this is game number four if we get our game plan right on the day then we will cause them problems.
“Lancashire have had some close calls in their games on the road to Twickenham they scrapped through against both Yorkshire and Cheshire they have had a couple of close calls and will have to look at why that is.
“We have got some real selection issues this week with everyone available and raring to go, but I wouldn’t expect too many changes going into Sunday.”
Cornwall will train Thursday this week at Camborne RFC.
Team news from both camps when announced.