Cream of Cornwall tops Devon



By Bill Hooper at Cross-in-Hand, Ivybridge, Photos courtesy of Simon Bryant Iktisphoto

Cornwall ran in eight spectacular tries as they defeated Devon with something to spare to set up a final pool game decider at Camborne next Saturday against Hertfordshire who beat Gloucestershire 46-19 at Hertford.

The win delighted Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe. “It was a good win, pleasing to come to Devon and get a result, it wasn’t our best performance but we had enough to win. Fair play to Devon they challenged us and put their bodies on the line, they made it awkward for us in the first half before we broke free in the second to score five tries.


Photo: Robin Wedlake led Devon a merry dance

Dawe praised his whole squad. “The quality we have throughout the squad was evident today, we are able to maintain the same intensity and pressure for the whole eighty, the boys that came on certainly added zip and power, I thought Sam Matavesi showed what a fine footballer he is.

Dawe’s thoughts now turn to Hertfordshire next Saturday. “Our battles against them have been tight affairs in recent seasons and I expect nothing less on Saturday. We will keep our feet on the ground this week and work hard in training, there is always work tom be done and make sure we are both mentally and physically fit for a hard game with hopefully a big crowd at Camborne to support us.”

Roared on by the huge Cornish contingent the black and golds got off to a great start. Fly-half Dave Mankee kicked an early penalty and then added the extras to centre Robin Wedlake’s interception try as Cornwall raced to a 10-0 lead.


Photo: Camborne prop Andrius Zacharovas rampaged all afternoon

Devon got back into it when Cornwall had a clearance kick charged down in their twenty-two allowing Devon centre Ollie Rice to pounce on the ball and score, fly-half Tom Whelan’s conversion struck the posts.

Cornwall were getting good possession from the lineout through lock Bryn Jenkins, whilst Camborne prop Andrius Zacharovas was like a rampaging bull in the loose. No.8 BJ Chapman also made a lot of ground with his surging runs.

Cornish pressure told when full back Matt Shepherd scored a second try following scrum-half Jack Oulton’s quick thinking from a tap penalty allowing Mankee another simple conversion.

A couple of penalties from Whelan saw Devon claw their way closer on the scoreboard but their momentum was stopped following an injury to their skipper James Harris who felt the full force of Sam Matavesi’s knee in an attempted tackle.

Cornwall then finished the half the stronger, Shepherd made a great break down the wing and when the ball was recycled hooker Richard Brown burrowed over for try number three again bettered by Mankee, who added a penalty soon after.

Devon thought they had scored a second try but it was ruled out for a double movement by the officials and Cornwall led 27-11 at the break.


Photo: Sam Matavesi gets his pass away despite attentions of Devon’s Lewis Paterson

Cornwall then secured the important bonus point soon after halt-time when winger Lewis Vinnicombe was put away by Wedlake.

Matavesi was having a storming game and it was no surprise that the Fijian international went over for Cornwall’s fifth try near the posts, Mankee added a fourth conversion before making way for youngster Joe Elderkin.

Wedlake and replacement hooker Matt Ballard were involved in the build up to winger Tom Notman’s try, converted by Shepherd.

Wedlake then mesmerised the Devon defence with his balance and running to score a wonderful try from distance to cap his fine performance.

As they tired visably, Devon lost centre Lewis Paterson to the sin-bin for a professional foul. Penryn’s George Jones had the final say as the flanker scored Cornwall’s eighth try to complete a fine win.


Devon (Ivybridge unless stated): C Briant, W Topps (Barnstaple), O Rice (Exmouth), L Paterson, T Scoles, T Whelan (Sidmouth), C Setter (Plymouth Albion); R Morris (Brixham), A Crouch (Barnstaple), M Finn, M Richards (Exmouth), G Wilson, M Harvey (Brixham), J Harris (Exmouth), (capt), S Thomas (Brixham).

Replacements: A Taylor, I Dalton (both Exmouth), M Dowrick (Newton Abbot), T McGratton (Okehampton), R Dingle, J Bond (Newton Abbot), M Pinkus

Devon scores: Try, Rice, Pens. Whetton (2)

Yellow Card: Paterson (80)


Cornwall (Redruth unless stated): M Shepherd (Plymouth Albion),  L Vinnicombe,  R Wedlake (Plymouth Albion), J Murphy (Barnstaple) (capt), T Notman, D Mankee (Camborne), J Oulton; A Zacharovas (Camborne), R Brown, C Williams, B Jenkins (Barnstaple), T Whittle (Camborne), G Randlesome, G Jones (both Penryn), BJ Chapman.

Replacements: T Phillips, M Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), B Howe, C Fuca, S Matavesi (Camborne), S Raumakita (Plymouth Albion), J Elderkin.

Cornwall scores: Tries, Wedlake (2), Shepherd, Brown, Vinnicombe, Matavesi, Notman, Jones, Cons, Mankee (4), Shepherd, Pens, Mankee (2)

Referee: Robbie Bourke (RFU)

Crowd: 1,025

Cornwall-man-of-the-match: Hard choice so many standout performances but Robin Wedlake played like a man on fire, high skill set allied with his formidable pace, his second try will live long in the memory.

Standings after round 2

Up North, Lancashire are on 10 points after two wins but face last season’s beaten finalists Cheshire at Sale in their final game. Yorkshire are also unbeaten but only on 8 points, their final game is against Eastern Counties, who have lost their two games so far, at Hull Ionians.

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