CORNWALL 24 – 12 DEVON
By Bill Hooper, at Tregorrick Park, St. Austell
Despite a cold blustery evening, and the game being live-streamed on the internet, a good crowd turned out to see Cornwall win the Tamar Cup for a seventh successive year.
It was not all plain sailing, Devon gave a good account of themselves and served notice that they will be tough opponents when the sides meet again in the Bill Beaumont Cup on May 12th, however as with the scones in pre-match buffet, the cream was very much on top!
Camborne’s James Goldsworthy had to withdraw, so Jamie Hoskin (St. Ives) came into partner Jack Heazelton in the second row.
On the bench Dom Conner, Fraser Honey and Jack Simmons had to drop out, indeed Simmons only failed a late fitness test, I spoke to him before the game and he was very disappointed.
Rhodri McAtee came in as did two local favourites Matt Shepherd and lock Mark Vian.
Speaking after the game Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe was satisfied with his side’s performance. “I was really pleased with the performance and endeavour shown, a few new lads came in and treated the shirt with a lot of respect, we tackled hard and unlocked their defence at times, so overall pleased.
“I was pleased with number of our new faces Ben Humber, Jack Hazelton, Lewis Wells and Jamie Hoskin all worked hard and showed what they are about.
Dawe feels that the bulk of the side on display at St. Austell will make the championship squad. “We are where, where we are, you always want more experience but you have play the hand you’re dealt with, but these lads tonight have shown great spirit and that counts for a lot.”
Much of the first quarter saw Devon camped in the Cornwall half as they had the best of the wind. Cornwall put in some big tackles notably from Ben Humber and BJ Chapman, whilst skipper Jake Murphy got through a lot of work in defence as well.
Eventually Devon pressure told as they scored off a catch and drive with no.8 Martin Browne getting the unconverted try.
Cornwall stormed back with a couple of tries before half-time, a good break from full back Mitch Vague brought Murphy into action his pass almost put winger Will Morton in. From the ensuing ruck Humber got over for Cornwall’s first try, converted by scrum-half Dave Mankee
Good play from wing Kyle Speare, Murphy and replacement Taron Peacock helped set up Humber for his second try of the night again bettered by Mankee for a 14-5 half-time lead to the black and gold.
Both Rob Elloway and Matt Shepherd came on for the start of the second half and both were soon in thick of the action.
Devon still looked threatening with good runs from both Charlie Briant and Matt Crosscombe. Eventually they did score a second try through the forwards when prop George Snell crashed over, fly-half Cameron Setter popped over the extras.
Cornwall’s fitness told in the final ten minutes when both centre Jon Dawe and Speare went over for unconverted tries to confirm the Cup staying this side of the Tamar for another year.
Cornwall: M Vague (Penryn), W Morton (Saltash), J Murphy (Barnstaple, Capt), J Dawe (Launceston), K Speare (Barnstaple), R Kevern (Redruth), D Mankee (Camborne); A Zacharovas (Camborne), M Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), J Drew (Camborne), J Heazelton (Truro), J Hoskin (St. Ives), BJ Chapman (Newton Abbot), B Humber (Wadebridge Camels), G Randlesome (Penryn).
Replacements: R Elloway (St. Ives), Z Cinnamond (Launceston), M. Vian (St. Austell), D Cook (Camborne) L Duke (Launceston), L Wells (Saltash), T Peacock (Camborne), J Champion (Camborne), R McAtee (Camborne), D Pearce (Launceston), M Shepherd (Plymouth Albion).
Cornwall scores: Tries, Humber (2), Dawe, Speare, Cons, Mankee (2)
Devon: C Briant (Ivybridge), M Crosscombe (Plymouth Albion), R Palmer (Okehampton), M Grieveson (Ivybridge), K Browne (Newton Abbot), C Setter (Plymouth Albion), J Nash (Brixham); G Snell (Bideford), A Crouch (Barnstaple), W Vermingle (Exmouth), T Coates (Plymstock AO), G Wilson (Ivybridge), D Abrams (Okehampton), T Gratton (Okehampton), M Browne (Okehampton).
Replacements: C Bryce (Tamar Saracens), A Taylor (Plymstock AO), M White (Exmouth), A Northcott (Ivybridge), B Watts (Ivybridge), L Paterson (Ivybridge)
Devon scores: Tries, M Browne, Snell, Con, Setter
Yellow Card: Crouch (77)
Referee: Iain Kiy (Dorset & Wilts)
TASC Paul Bawden Man-of-the-Match: BJ Chapman, a fine performance from BJ who put in a lot of big hits on the opposition worked hard in rucks and mauls.