By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer
Cornwall had their final training session at home before embarking on Saturday morning to their base near Twickenham in readiness for Sunday’s Bill Beaumont Cup Final. It’s is this season the 125th year of the venerable County Championship.
Cornwall coach Graham Dawe was in upbeat mood on Thursday night as he prepares once again for a County Championship Final his ninth as either a player or coach and his third with Cornwall following those of 1989 and 91.
PHOTO – GRAHAM DAWE & IAN MORGAN CORNWALL’S COACHES
“We should be ready after tonight we’ve ticked all the boxes so hopefully we should be in good order going into Sunday. The boys have trained well this week with good intensity, we had good numbers though Craig Williams didn’t train which was a bit of a worry, but I would expect him to be OK for Sunday, he’s been one of our big performers over the whole of the campaign, but we have got options with Jamal Ford-Robinson and Rupert Freestone.
Dawe has the utmost respect for Sunday’s opponents. “Lancashire are always a tidy side with good players, I’ve had some good tussles with them over the years. They have a good base of National League 1 players and I know their coach Mark Nelson well, a very passionate coach who always gets the best out of his team.
“Having played in last year’s final will help the players as they will know what to expect, I remember the experience of having played against Durham in 1989 helped us greatly when we beat Yorkshire in 1991, if I can instil some clarity and composure in their performance then that will help them through the occasion.”
Playing in his first game ever at Twickenham on Sunday will be Cornwall’s fly-half Lewis Webb. Having missed last season’s campaign when away travelling Webb is keen to run out on the Twickenham turf. “I am really looking forward to Sunday I was gutted to miss it last year hopefully this year we can take that extra step and win it.
PHOTO – CORNISH ALL BLACKS FLY-HALF LEWIS WEBB WAS FORMERLY WITH PENRYN
“Graham and Ian coming in has made a big impact this year adding a bit of professionalism to us as a squad, Graham is very good with the forwards and is good with his tactical play and has a hard edge, whereas Ian takes a slightly different approach, he doesn’t mince his words and has a real passion for the side.”
Cornwall’s hooker Jamie Salter is also raring to go on Sunday. “It’s the second time I’ve been to Twickenham with Cornwall having played in the County Shield Final against Northumberland in 2007, but this time it’s the main event. I was disappointed to miss out last season but I am really looking forward to Sunday. We set out with the goal of not just to get to Twickenham but to bring home the cup.
PHOTO – JAMIE SALTER & TOM RAWLINGS CONGRATULATE LEWIS VINNICOMBE
After the County Final Jamie will be off with the England Counties squad to Georgia. “I am really proud to have been selected it’s nice to get the recognition but it also reflects on how well Cornwall have done this season with four of our squad making the team. My focus first and foremost is with Cornwall then after Sunday I’ll think about the tour to Georgia which will be a massive challenge.
Cornwall’s winger Lewis Vinnicombe another to make the selection for England Counties, his first call up since playing in France in 2006, has happy memories of last year’s final having scored one of Cornwall’s three tries. “I am looking forward to returning to Twickenham to play on that big pitch in front of a huge crowd is pretty exciting and hopefully the game will go our way this year. Last year I was pleased with my try but that’s my job to finish off moves and cross that whitewash.
“The Counties call up came as a pleasant surprise and I am chuffed to get the nod, I played against France in 2006 and we won that day so hopefully we can repeat the performance out in Georgia, they are renowned to being a big solid side with very much a forward orientated game so it should be interesting.”
The Cornwall team to play Lancashire, sees the return of winger Lewis Vinnicombe, whilst Darren Jacques keeps his starting place at loose-head prop. Jamal Ford-Robinson returns to the squad after his run out last Saturday for England Counties Under 20’s against the Georgians.
Lancashire again captained by England Counties fly-half Chris Johnson have no less than nine players from Bill Beaumont’s club Fylde in their starting line up with a further three on the bench.
CORNWALL: Kieron Lewitt (Cornish All Blacks), Lewis Vinnicombe (Truro), Ryan Westren, Nielson Webber (both Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman (Redruth), Lewis Webb (Cornish All Blacks), Greg Goodfellow (Redruth); Darren Jacques (Truro), Jamie Salter (Cornish All Blacks), Craig Williams (Reduth), Ben Hilton (Cornish All Blacks, Capt), Damien Cook, Chris Fuca (both Redruth), Tom Rawlings, Barrie-John Chapman (both Cornish All Blacks)
Replacements: Richard Brown (Redruth), Jamal Ford-Robinson (Cambridge), Bryn Jenkins (Cornish All Blacks), Tony Whittle (Falmouth), Steve Johns (Birmingham & Solihull), Sam Parsons (Redruth), Matt Shepherd (St. Austell).
Travelling reserves: Rupert Freestone (Clifton), Joel Matavesi (Camborne)
LANCASHIRE: Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers), Warren Spragg, Chris Briers (both Fylde), Matt Riley (Sedgley Park), Oli Brennand), Chris Johnson (Captain), Ryan De La Harpe; Adam Lewis, Mark Rylance (all Fylde), Ben Black, Louis McGowan (both Sedgley Park), Gareth Gore (Fylde), Gareth Rawlings (Longton), Evan Stewart (Fylde), Matt Lamprey (Sedgley Park).
Replacements: Simon Griffiths (Fylde), Peter Altham (Preston Grasshoppers), David Fairbrother (Fleetwood), Paul Arnold, Tom Burtonwood (both Fylde), Phil Baines (Preston Grasshoppers), Steve Collins (Sedgley Park)