JASON LEONARD CUP
DEVON U20, 35 – 29 CORNWALL U20
By Bill Hooper at Brickfields
Cornwall came up just short in their opening Under 20 County Championship game against Devon, despite outscoring the hosts on the try front. The difference came down to kicking with Devon’s fly-half Giles Clarke kicking 17 points.
The win also saw the Brunel Cup wrested from Cornish hands, Cornwall having been inaugural winners last season at Camborne.
Ideal playing conditions saw Devon kick-off and earn an immediate penalty on the twenty-two which fly-half Clarke pushed wide of the sticks.
Cornwall got into the game, good lineout ball from Lock Joe Maunder set up a good Cornish move culminating in scrum-half Ben Rosevear scoring. Nat Dart added the extras.
A loose kick from Cornwall gave Devon full-back Fraser Felton the chance to run from deep, Cornwall dropped off the tackles allowing the play to be carried on by the Devon backs before flanker Jacob Gaskin finished off the move for an unconverted try.
Gaskin was catching the eye for Devon and proved a handful at the breakdown, whilst for Cornwall Falmouth’s Matt Pritchard at hooker had a fine game notably in the loose.
A penalty by Clarke on the half-hour mark nudged Devon ahead, before a strong finish to the half saw Devon go through the phases before lock Liam Bayley crashed over. Clarke’s conversion giving the hosts a 15-7 half-time lead.
Spectators had barely time to take their seats after the break when Cornwall wing Lewis Bostock seized on a ball and hared down the touchline to score in the corner for an unconverted try.
Cornwall continued their purple patch Pritchard, charged forward before slipping a pass to wing Lachlan Surridge to dive in at the corner.
The seesaw nature of the game continued, another penalty from Clarke regained the lead for Devon, before Cornwall’s skipper Joss Pascoe sliced through to dot down a score converted by Dart.
Cornwall should have looked to control the game, instead they allowed Devon back when Elliot Fielding scored with Clarke again on the money with the extras.
Surridge went over for Cornwall’s fifth try to snatch back the lead, it proved short-lived as Devon prop Harvey Courtis powered over from short-range for their fourth try.
Clarke added the conversion and then a final penalty near the end to confirm Devon’s win.
After the match coach Richie Kevern was naturally disappointed. “We left too many chances out there today. I thought we should have been ahead at half-time on the balance of play. Unfortunately we didn’t take them and we were punished for that.
“I cannot fault our effort, in the second half we fought back and showed spirit, today was a big learning lesson on taking chances and then controlling the game.
“A couple of poor kick chases from us and Devon have run them back and scored is a coach killer, but we will learn and look to make amends against Gloucestershire.”
Cornwall will look to re-group against Gloucestershire at Camborne, on Sunday 9th April.
Cornwall U.20: (Falmouth, unless stated): H Penhallurick, L Bostock (Truro), J Pascoe (Truro), J Stanlake (St. Austell), L Surridge (Camborne), N Dart (Camborne), B Rosevear; M Cardwell (Pirate Ams) M Pritchard, M Boothby (St. Austell), J Maunder (St. Austell), W Perkin (St. Ives), G Blacklock (Newquay Hornets), F Trewin (Penryn), J Peck.
Replacements: W Eddy (Pirate Ams), A Williams (Penryn), A Harris (St. Just), R O’Regan, J Statton (Launceston), J Walker, F Deavin.
Cornwall scores: Tries, Rosevear 6, Bostock 41, Surridge 48, 67, Pascoe 54, Cons, Dart 7, 55.