If only Cornwall could play all her matches in the grand old Duchy……… Once again Cornwall came unstuck away from home this time at the home of rugby Twickenham at the ridiculously early hour of 10 am.
Whereas Cornwall looked to be suffering from a severe form of collective jet lag or coach lag, Northumberland started with a bang, which apart from a short spell during the second half, they didn’t let up until the final whistle.
Despite the early hour there was a fantastic turn out of Cornish supporters gathered in the Lower West Stand at Twickenham led by the Falmouth Marine Band to greet the team as they ran out onto the pitch.
All too soon play was settling down towards the Cornish 22 as Northumberland looked for early points, those points came after 10 mins of pressure as Cornwall missed a tackle allowing full back Jack Smales to score in the corner, Newcastle Falcons academy player Gavin Beasley missed with the conversion, frustratingly for the Northern county he only managed two successful kicks all morning. Beasly did kick a penalty to stretch his side lead to 8-0 after 19 minutes as Cornwall continued to struggle to find any pattern to their game, loose passes, far too much ball turned over at the breakdown, basic errors did nothing to help calm the nerves of the Cornishmen. Mark Richards for one was putting in some try-saving tackles as the defences creaked under the pressure. Mark Scrivener managed to get Cornwall on the board with a penalty,it got worse on the half-hour mark as winger Lewis Vinnicombe made a hash of a clearence from near his own line, his sliced kick falling into the grateful arms of prop Jonathan Williams who fed Beasley for a simple score. Poor Lewis, it brought back memories of Barry Trevaskis’ mistake against Durham in 1989, Beasley couldn’t add the extras, whilst Scrivener pulled three points back before half-time to leave the northeners 13-6 up. Both sides stayed out on the pitch for half-time as some bright spark at Twickenham decided to regal us with Blaydon races on the tannoy!
Cornwall badly needed to get the first score in the second half, but it was more of the same as Northumberland continued to dictate, indeed they added a third try following a fine pass from Beasley found prop Rupert Harding who passed to lock Andrew Murray to score, at 18-6 the game looked beyond Cornwall. To their immense credit and sheer pride, Cornwall spent the next ten minutes having a good go at Northumberland, Richard Carroll leading the charge, with No 8 Sam Hocking not far behind. The long hard season was beginning to take it’s toll on the Cornish lads, but then there was a glimmer of hope, Jamie Semmens went to ground just meters out from the corner, luckily Paul Thirlby was on hand to dive over and score Cornwall’s try, at 18-11, Beasley’s misses at goal gave Cornwall a sniff, only for it to be snuffed out moments later as Beasley’s cross-field kick fell invitingly into the arms of winger Peter Cole who scored Northumberland’s fourth try, Beasley finally kicked a conversion and although Cornwall battled bravely to the final whistle, Northumberland were clearly several lengths ahead at the finishing post. For Cornwall it was another defeat at the home of rugby, however we did win the singing in the lineout bar post-match!
NORTHUMBERLAND 25 PTS
Tries- J. Smales, Beasley, Murray, Cole, Conversion – Beasley, Penalty – Beasley
CORNWALL 11 PTS
Try – Thirlby, Penalties – Scrivener (2)