Photo Graham Walker: Declan Matthews on the break
JASON LEONARD CUP UNDER 20 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP POOL 4
CORNWALL 25 – 22 HAMPSHIRE (HT 12-5)
By Bill Hooper at Tregorrick Park, St. Austell
Time added on proved dramatic indeed as Hampshire scored a fourth try to level a pulsating game, the conversion was missed after the ball toppled over and the Hampshire player was forced to make a drop attempt into a biting easterly wind.
There was still time, from the re-start, Cornwall managed to win a penalty allowing fly-half Reuben Edwards to split the posts and keep Cornwall on track for the quarter-finals with a 25-22 win.
Speaking after the game joint Cornwall coaches Matt Shepherd and Josh Lord were happy with the result. Shepherd said. “I was pretty happy with our first half performance we played the game in the right areas of the pitch, we went in having played into the wind 12-5 up. I thought we could go on and dominate the second forty but it didn’t quite work out that way which was a little disappointing.
“We encourage the lads to play an expansive game, sometimes you have to be more street-wise with what’s in front of you. Heads could have dropped when they levelled it near the end but all credit to the boys for working to get that final penalty to get the win.
Josh Lord was pleased with the way his forwards played. “I thought our pack looked good and went well, we dominated in the set-piece, although at times the line out was a bit of a lottery in the wind. It’s a young side these guys are still learning the game. There are still things to work on but I can’t fault the lads’ commitment.
“Torin Clarke played well for us today, as did the whole of the back row, we have got some great talent there and he leads by example. The whole squad works hard not just those in the match day twenty-two but those who turn up for training and are knocking on the door.”
Despite the bitterly cold weather there was a good crowd at Tregorrick Park as both sides took to the field. Interestingly last season’s Trelawny’s Army Cornwall Under 20 player of the year Will Gilder was an assistant referee, part of the trio of officials from Gloucestershire, Will now studying at Hartpury.
Photo credit Graham Walker: TASC Chairman Phil Trevarton presenting match ball to Matt Shepherd assisted by Bernie Shepherd & players of St. Austell Angels RFC
Cornwall began well making some good early breaks and with barely two minutes on the clock one such break by centre Connor Gilbert almost saw the Redruth player make the line, however winger Jake Penprase was in support to score in the corner an unconverted try.
It was just the start Cornwall would have hoped for, however despite dominating the first quarter they couldn’t add to the score.
Hampshire came more into it, from a penalty kicked to the corner by fly-half Harry Johnstone from the resulting line out drive, skipper Josh Moore crossed to level matters.
Cornwall certainly looked the better side during the first half with the forwards driving well and the backs looking very threatening.
Their endeavours were rewarded before half-time when skipper Torin Clarke drove over after a series of pick and goes near the Hampshire line, Edwards adding the extras for a 12-5 half-time lead.
The second half began much as the first as Penprase intercepted a pass running hard for the line cutting inside the last defender to score nearer the posts allowing Edwards to convert for a handy 19-5 lead.
Hampshire replied almost immediately when following a kick chase by centre Russell Bennett fellow centre Eddie Jenkinson scored a try converted by Johnstone to bring them back into it.
Despite losing prop George Cotterell to a yellow card Hampshire maintained their pressure when following a good burst from No.8 Pita Koroi led eventually to an unconverted try scored by lock Rob Cuffe from close-range, leaving Hampshire only two points adrift.
Cornwall got back downfield to earn a penalty in front of the posts, Edwards making no mistake with his kick with some 18 minutes to play.
Hampshire threw everything at Cornwall, as the game moved into time added on, Johnstone made a fine break eluding tackles to score in the corner and tie the scores.
However, Edwards second penalty of the half made the game safe for Cornwall much to the relief of the Tregorrick crowd.
Onwards to Dorchester and Dorset & Wilts on March 18th. See Kevin Bishop’s video highlights
Cornwall U.20: E Tyler (Penryn), J Penprase (Bath Uni), C Gilbert (Redruth), D Matthews (Camborne), J Carr (St. Austell), R Edwards (Launceston), N Nash (Brixham); R Bentham (Launceston), L Barnes (Camborne), K Gratrix (Penryn), D Goldsmith (Launceston), D Reed (Wadebridge Camels), T Clark (Camborne), W Gibson (Cardiff Met), T Clarke (Launceston,capt).
Replacements: H Lightfoot, C Jenkins, R Cinnamond, B Rowley (all Launceston), D Hubble (Falmouth), C Boyce (St. Austell), K Bradley (Penryn)
Cornwall scores; tries, Penprase (2), Clarke, cons Edwards (2), pens, Edwards (2)
Hampshire U.20: T Jennings (Portsmouth Uni), A Gooch (Chobham), E Jenkinson (Birmingham Uni), R Bennett (Wild Geese), J Rudder (Havant), H Johnstone (Cardiff Met), J Prior (Wimborne); M Gorry (Oxford Uni), S North (Hartpury Uni), G Cotterell (Bracknell), R Cuffe (Havant), T Warburton (London Scots), M Whitehead (Havant), J Moore (Swansea Uni, capt), P Koroi (London Scots)
Replacements: A Hankins (Portsmouth Uni), A Warner (Wild Geese), W Owen (Havant), S Rai (Camberley), O Cook (Winchester), S Bloomer (St. Mary’s Uni), C McGuigan (Havant)
Hampshire scores: Tries, Moore, Jenkinson, Cuffe, Johnstone, Con, Johnstone
Yellow Card: Cotterell (51)
Referee: Astie Bolton (Gloucs RRS)
Match balls sponsored by Trelawny’s Army Supporters Club