Thanks to Nigel Walrond at Polson Bridge
CORNWALL won the Tamar Cup for the first time in four years with a comfortable victory over old rivals Devon at Launceston last night.
The Duchy had a far stronger team on paper, with Devon not selecting any Exmouth or Brixham players prior to Saturday’s county cup final, and the visitors can be proud of their efforts to keep the scoreline pretty respectable, despite playing 20 minutes with only 14 men.
That extra Duchy strength was evident as early as the fifth minute, when back rower Mike Rawlings claimed a five-metre line-out, and his Cornish All Blacks team-mate Ben Hilton was driven over for a try to celebrate his appointment as Cornwall captain. Redruth full-back Brett Rule slotted the simple conversion.
Six minutes later, Rawlings turned creator again, with a burst down the right touchline before feeding the ball outside to All Blacks winger Richard Bright to race in at the corner.
Two Rule penalties in quick succession then put Cornwall 18 points up in almost as many minutes.
Newton Abbot fly-half Rob Avery-Wright broke Devon’s duck in the 22nd minute with a 30-metre penalty, and it got even better for the visitors just moments later when Barnstaple full-back Will Topps latched onto a bouncing ball and raced 40 metres to score in the corner to make it 18-8.
Rule punished Devon once more with his third penalty of the game after replacement lock Sam Harris had been sin-binned for hands in a ruck.
Devon briefly threatened, before the catch-and-drive line-out proved effective for the Duchy once again, with Redruth’s Chris Fuca claiming the throw-in and All Blacks flanker Tom Rawlings finishing off at the back of a powerful maul.
Rule converted superbly from the touchline to give the hosts a 28-8 interval lead.
Devon made four replacements at the break, with three of them in the pack, and it seemed to have the desired effect as they spent a period of time early in the second half pressing the Cornwall line, but the home defence held out.
Man-of-the-match Rule continued his impressive kicking form with his fourth penalty to take Cornwall over the 30-point mark and his personal tally to 16, but with changes aplenty on both sides, the match became pretty disjointed.
Rule then missed a relatively long-range penalty effort, but Devon continued to infringe, and referee Carl Bennett yellow-carded Plymouth Albion flanker James Harris.
Cornwall quickly capitalised on their one-man advantage, with a sweeping move rounded off in the right-hand corner by replacement winger Tom Notman after good work by Lewis Paterson.
Devon finished brightly though and managed a late consolation try through Avery-Wright, who returned to the pitch after being replaced at half-time to intercept a pass from Murphy, and added the conversion.
Cornwall 36 pts
Tries – Hilton, Bright, T Rawlings, Notman; Conversions – Rule (2); Penalties – Rule (4).
Devon 15 pts
Tries – Topps, Avery-Wright; Conversion – Avery-Wright; Penalty – Avery-Wright.
Yellow cards: Devon: S Harris 34, J Harris 66.
Cornwall (Cornish All Blacks unless stated): B Rule (Redruth), R Bright, L Paterson, J Murphy, A Struminski, L Webb, S Hawkey (Wadebridge Camels), D Jacques (Redruth), J Salter, C Williams (Redruth), B Hilton (capt), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), M Rawlings, T Rawlings, T Duncan (Redruth).
Replacements: C Fuca (Redruth) for M Rawlings 22 mins, S Parsons (Redruth) for S Hawkey 47, P Joyce (Redruth) for Williams 47, J Mann (Penryn) for T Duncan 47,
T Notman (Redruth) for R Bright 54, T Hurdwell for J Salter 57, M Shepherd (St Austell) for L Webb 66.
Devon: W Topps (Barnstaple), O Mulberry (UWIC), M Lee (Plymouth Albion), N Webber (Barnstaple), M Busch (Cullompton), R Avery-Wright (Newton Abbot), C Setter (UWIC); L Radford (Newton Abbot), S Roberts (Barnstaple), H Weekes (Cullompton), J Tripcony (Cornish All Blacks), BJ Chapman (Newton Abbot), W James (Barnstaple), P Mortimer (Newton Abbot, capt), S Richardson (Sidmouth).
Replacements: S Harris (Cullompton) for BJ Chapman 32, M Manton (Plymouth Alb) for H Weekes ht, T Channon (Bristol) for S Roberts ht, R Toms (Cullompton) for R Avery-Wright ht, J Harris (Plymouth Alb) for W James ht, T Whelan (Sidmouth) for N Webber 57, J Smith (Newton Abbot) for M Busch 57.
Referee: Carl Bennett.
TASC Paul Bawden Cornwall man-of-the-match: Brett Rule