JASON LEONARD CUP
U.20 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP
CORNWALL 0 – 48 GLOUCESTERSHIRE
By Bill Hooper at Tregorrick Park, St. Austell.
Cornwall Under 20s were given a sharp lesson by their Gloucestershire opponents who dominated the game from the first whistle to the last.
On the day Cornwall had no answers to a side that was quicker in thought, deed and utterly clinical in execution.
With wing Rueben Edwards forced to withdraw from the side during the warm up, there was a late call up for Falmouth’s Alistair Harding, sadly neither he nor Charlie Levick on the other wing so much ball for eighty minutes.
Gloucestershire elected to play with the strong breeze first half and they made the best use of it running up 22 points for a healthy half-time lead.
Cornwall lost their skipper Torin Clarke after just six minutes with a nasty gash to the forehead, which resulted in a trip to the local hospital for eight stitches, resulting in Falmouth’s Harry Somers coming off the bench.
That was the first of a string of injuries that Cornish players picked up throughout the game.
Gloucestershire used the wind well pinning Cornwall deep in their twenty-two, scoring a first try after just seven minutes when wing Brandon Pettitt forced his way in at the corner.
Play was scrappy but the Cornwall pack was in difficulty at scrum-time as Gloucestershire put the squeeze on to good effect.
Following a quick tap the visitors got a second try through lock Sam Gregory with fly-half Tom Price adding the first of his four conversions.
Gloucestershire maintained the tempo adding further tries from Pettitt and skipper Adam Hopkinson before half-time to wrap up the bonus point.
Cornwall needed a quick start to the second half, cruelly the wind dropped in it’s intensity and the pain continued as replacement hooker Spencer Miller drove over for his side’s fifth try as the visitor’s stranglehold continued.
Cornwall could not break the line despite efforts from centres Jake Penprase and Connor Gilbert in mid-field, whilst the support was too often lacking.
Instead, the Gloucestershire continued with further tries from the excellent Tom Knight at scrum-half, and a brace late on from replacement back Nathan Brookes to complete their win and book a home tie with Kent in the last eight.
The Cornish pack battled away gamely but with too many key players picking up injuries they couldn’t make any headway.
James Tucker showed some good touches at fly-half late on as Cornwall tried to salvage some pride but it all came to nothing.
The result means that Cornwall must now travel to face Hertfordshire in the last eight on Sunday 31st March at Cheshunt RFC with a 1 pm kick-off.
Cornwall’s backs coach Richie Kevern was very disappointed with the performance of his side. “It’s certainly not the result we wanted today, it was a catalogue of errors, we looked flat, we couldn’t string any phases of play together. We didn’t play into the wind very well first half whilst Gloucestershire used it very well and punished us. I have to say hats off to them for the game they played.
Head coach Josh Lord echoed the thoughts of Richie Kevern. He said. “It was massively frustrating watching that game, we were outplayed and out performed in all areas of the park. We looked flat out there, hopefully this will shake any complacency the lads might have had after their win at Hampshire out of the system. They need to go away and realize what level of performance will be required when we go to play Herts, they have to have a good look at themselves and sort it out, I am sure there will be a reaction from the lads after that performance today and we will see a different side against Herts.”
Cornwall: A. Simmonds (Redruth), A Harding (Falmouth), J Penprase (Bath Uni), C Gilbert (Redruth), C Levick (Penryn Colts), W Trewin (Cardiff Met), O Davey (Truro); J Hodge (Redruth), R Mead (Bude), C Jenkins (Launceston), D Goldsmith (Launceston), M Osborne (Pz& N Colts) T Clarke (Launceston, Capt), E Hall (Pirates Amateurs), J Eddy (Redruth).
Replacements: L Barnes (Redruth), C Worley (Unattatched), S Somers (Falmouth), H Lightfoot (Launceston), J Murray (Redruth), B Plummer (St. Austell), J Tucker (Redruth).
Gloucestershire: B Dunn (Spartans), W Bawden (Cinderford), J Guy (Newent), T Hargan (UWE), B Pettitt (Avonmouth OB), T Price (Cleve), T Knight (O. Patesians); K Wilson (Thornbury), J Jackson (Dings), B Phillips (O. Patesians), J Holliday, S Gregory (both Cinderford), B Davies (Royal Agri Coll), J Du Plessis (Avonmouth OB), A Hopkinson (Gloucs Uni, Capt).
Replacements: S Miller (Gloucs OB), E Manley, J White (both Gloucs Uni), J Du Plessis (Avonmouth OB), T Broady (Spartans), N Brookes (Newent), G Sanderson (Gloucs Uni).
Gloucestershire scores: Tries, Pettitt 2, Gregory, Hopkinson, Miller, Knight, Brookes 2, Cons, Price 4
Referee: Dan Driscoll (Devon RRS)