Cornwall ready for Herts test

Photo – Redruth’s Chris Fuca going through the moves watched by Tommy Phillips and James Goldsworthy

By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

Cornwall take on Hertfordshire in a game that will see the winners travel to Twickenham to contest the final of this season’s Bill Beaumont Cup at mid-day on Sunday 31st May.

Hertfordshire will be looking to avenge their defeats of the last two seasons, 13-9 at Hertford in 2014 and 41-29 at Camborne in 2013. Both those wins helped to book Cornwall a place at the Twickenham show-piece, only to suffer heartbreak on each occasion at the hands of the Red Rose of Lancashire.

The Herts team will arrive at Redruth on the back of two bonus point wins, however despite scoring more points than Cornwall they have conceded far more resulting in Cornwall having a marginally better points’ difference. That said Herts can afford to draw, Cornwall on the other-hand must win.

Both sides have overcome Gloucestershire and Kent to set up this virtual semi-final clash and on paper both sides would appear evenly matched.

Cornwall’s coaches and selectors have made just one change to the starting XV with Cornish All Black winger Jon Dawe coming in on the wing in place of Max Venables (Saltash), who has not recovered from a knock. Otherwise continuity is very much the word, as Cornwall look to keep a settled side for this vital clash.

Cornwall’s head coach Graham Dawe felt that the Kent game was ideal preparation for this weekend’s big clash: “They pushed all the way in that game, though we had a lot of field position and opportunities to score which we didn’t always take so if there is a lesson to learn we must nail our chances when they arise. We had a few issues last weekend but having reviewed the game I don’t think the referee got much wrong so we will have to be much smarter this week.”

Photos – Cornwall’s coach Graham Dawe calls the shots at Wednesday’s training, whilst skipper Kyle Marriott prepares for the tackle

Asked if he was concerned that his side wasn’t as prolific in try-scoring as Hertfordshire have been so far, Dawe was unequivocal: “You win games on pressure, field position and taking your scoring opportunities when they arise, you also have to be tenacious and I feel that this side has those qualities.

“We have got a very young back three, the Launceston pair of Billy Searle and Jon Dawe plus Redruth’s Robin Wedlake, but I’ll challenge anyone to find me a more talented trio in Cornwall that’s available to us. These boys have got a very bright future ahead of them, they are a pleasure to coach and if they are playing winning rugby then that’s all that matters.”

Dawe is looking forward to a big crowd on Saturday to get behind the boys: “Redruth is a special ground. I’ve played against the All Blacks here in front of 15,000 and the atmosphere was terrific. If we can have a good crowd here then that will lift the boys, seeing all the black and gold around the side of the pitch.”

Fellow coach Ian Morgan was just as enthusiastic about the forthcoming battle and relishing the chance to take on Hertfordshire: “It’s a shoot-out between the two sides, the winner gets to go to Twickenham, and that’s a big prize for any player. There is no question that Herts will be up for it and they have got a strong side, you just have to look through their side and see the quality they have.

Photo – Backs coach Ian Morgan getting his point across

“I think our defence has been very good this season and it will need to be top notch against this side that can score tries, but we know that we can score tries too, and the side with possession will win the game. Discipline will be key. Not giving away penalties like we did in Kent will be vital and making sure we are on the same wave-length as the officials this week.”

Morgan was asked about the walking wounded: “Lock Damien Cook will train tonight and we will assess his fitness ahead of announcing the bench. We are excited about the team named for Saturday.”

And of the crowd for Saturday he also echoed Dawe’s hopes for a big turnout; he said: “There is no doubt that a big crowd decked out in black and gold will lift the Cornish team. To run out at Redruth to a huge roar of cheering fans can really fire up the boys and is worth at least a score to us.”

Cornwall: B Searle, J Dawe, J Murphy (all Cornish All Blacks), N Webber, R Wedlake (both Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd (Cornish All Blacks); R Freestone (Clifton), J Salter (Cornish All Blacks), C Williams (Redruth), T Whittle (Camborne), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements:  C Judge (Cornish All Blacks), T Phillips (Redruth), D Cook (Redruth), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), BJ Chapman (Cornish All Blacks), S Parsons (Redruth), D Mankee (Camborne).

Herts (to be confirmed)

Referee: Veryan Boscawen (RFU)

No official Hertfordshire team news, below the team that played Gloucestershire, would expect few if any changes to this line up.

Hertfordshire: Henry Robinson (Darlington Morden Park); Nick Hankin (Bishop’s Stortford), Sam Winter (Bishop’s Stortford), Dan Watt (Old Albanian), Jimmy Spiers (Old Albanian); Tom Coleman (Bishop’s Stortford), Michael Sargent (Hertford); Ralph Adams-Hale (Old Albanian), Brett McNamee (Old Albanian, capt), Billy Walken (Bishop’s Stortford), Rob Conquest (Darlington Morden Park), Ross Hamilton (Old Albanian), Oliver Cooper-Millar (Old Albanian), Nick Stevens (Old Albanian), Steve Ball (Bishop’s Stortford).

Replacements: Will Roberts (Loughborough Students), Oliver Walliker (Hartpury Coll), Charlie Hughes (Old Albanian), Harry Green (Tring), Sam Lunnon (Old Albanian), Elliott Reeder (Old Albanian), George Elliott (Hertford)

Posted in Bill's Blog

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