Cornwall got their County Championship campaign at under 20 level off to a great start with an impressive 51-16 win over Somerset at Camborne, reports Bill Hooper.
Despite trailing at half-time 15-16 when playing into the wind, Cornwall stepped up a gear during the second half scoring thirty-six unanswered points to the delight of their coaches Tom Rawlings and Ryan Westren.
Cornwall got off to a fine start with Redruth’s Tom Notman scoring the opening try after just 5 minutes with an arching run following a scrum in the Somerset 22. Aaron Penberthy who had travelled back from Redruth’s National League 1 defeat at Tynedale overnight was on cue with the conversion.
Cornwall were then rocked from the restart as Truro lock Ben Kemp was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle. Somerset’s Brad Barns was unable to find the target with his penalty effort , but was on cue moments later as he converted his own try following a lineout near the clubhouse corner, the fly-half saw a gap and dotted down.
Penberthy nudged Cornwall ahead again with a penalty from in front of the posts as Somerset went off side.
Cornwall were taking the game to their opponents especially through the forwards with Kemp now restored to the fray making some telling breaks along with his backrow of skipper Jordan Rose (Penryn), James Goldsworthy (Camborne) and the excellent Adam Lewarne (Redruth). In the front row Matt Williams (Penryn) and the Redruth duo of Ben Gregor and Peter Jenkin were giving their Somerset opponents a torrid time.
Further pressure from Cornwall saw them score a second try down in the Park gate corner with Williams coming up with the ball from a forward drive.
Somerset were reduced to fourteen men as flanker Arthur Taylor was yellow carded as his side continued to infringe at the breakdown. Cornwall – who lost full back Luke Davidson just before half-time to injury – couldn’t capitalise, instead it was the visitors who troubled the scoreboard in the lead up to half-time with two further penalties from Barns to go into their half-time huddle 16-15 up.
Barnes missed with an early penalty attempt at the start of the second half, as Cornwall again found themselves down to fourteen men as hooker Ben Gregor was deemed to have transgressed. Spurred on Cornwall then took the game by the scuff-of-the-neck with an excellent try from No.8 Lewarne cutting back after taking a pass from scrum-half Luke Ashbridge to score near the posts.
A powerful forward drive down towards the scoreboard corner was heading for the line, however referee Chris Newton had no hesitation in awarding a penalty-try as Somerset infringed.
As the rain began to pour, Gregor now back on the field charged over for Cornwall’s fifth try, all three second half scores were converted by Penberthy who also landed a penalty to put Cornwall well in command at 39-16.
Cornwall were then able to put the icing on the cake with two further tries before the end from replacement Gavin Laycock in the clubhouse corner and finally from Notman who claimed his second of the match with Penberthy adding his fifth conversion.
Afterwards joint-coaches Tom Rawlings and Ryan Westren were both full of praise for their players “The boys were superb today, said Rawlings. “They have had only a couple of training sessions and they really put the effort in, we instilled them with a game plan during those sessions and today they have operated the style and structure we wanted to them to play, the result of that hard work was shown in their performance”.
Rawlings also had a special word for lock Ben Kemp “He was immense carrying ball for fun, he was looking for the holes he ran at people, a tremendous performance. The front row were also tremendous, we gave the man-of-the-match award in the post match huddle with the players to prop Matt Williams, we thought he was simply outstanding this afternoon”.
Cornwall’s next match is against Devon at Ivybridge on Sunday 7th March.
Cornwall 51 pts
Tries – Notman (2), Williams, Lewarne, Penalty-try, Gregor, Laycock, Conversions – Penberthy (5), Penalties – Penberthy (2)
Yellow Cards – Kemp (5), Gregor (48)
Somerset 16 pts
Try – Barns, Conversion – Barns, Penalties – Barns (3)
Yellow Card – Taylor (23)
Cornwall: L Davidson (Wadebridge Camels), T Notman (Redruth), L Yeo (Wellington), M Fittock (Penryn), R Vassel (Notts Uni), A Penberthy (Redruth), L Ashbridge (Truro); M Williams (Penryn), B Gregor, P Jenkin (both Redruth), M Grubb (Wadebridge Camels), B Kemp (Truro), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), J Rose (Penryn, captain), A Lewarne (Redruth)
Replacements (all used): R. Brown (St. Austell), H Morcom (St. Austel), J Scott (Wadebridge Camels), J Wilson (Bude) J Taylor (Wadebridge Camels), K Spear (Cornish All Blacks), G Laycock (Penryn)
Somerset: D Wheatley (Wells), R Johnston (Castle Cary), N Bradley (Bridgewater & Albion), M Fairless (Keynsham), M Knight (Avondale), B Barns (Oldfield), M Skinner (N.Petherton); S Hegerty (Hornets), J Pullen (Castle Cary, captain), N Berry (Exeter Coll), O Jones, R Thompson, T Wain (all Clevedon) A Taylor (Frome), S Butler (N Petherton)
Replacements (all used): A Foster (Keynsham & Glamorgan Uni), A Parfitt (Midsummer Norton), S Russell (Bridgewater & Albion), C Wake (Castle Cary), J Nowell (Broad Plain), C Beavis (Keynsham)
Referee: Mr. C Newton (Devon RRS)
In the other match in Cornwall’s group Gloucestershire defeated Devon by 29-12