JASON LEONARD CUP UNDER 20 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTER-FINAL
HERTFORDSHIRE U.20 28 – 19 CORNWALL U.20
By Bill Hooper
Cornwall’s quest for a return to Twickenham was extinguished at Cheshunt as the hosts booked a home semi-final against Lancashire.
Cornwall’s preparations were hampered by injury and unavailability and were further hindered on the morning of the game when full-back Reuben Edwards failed a fitness test necessitating a re-shuffle of the back-line.
Hertfordshire made a fast start scoring a couple of converted tries in the opening fifteen minutes. The first came from strong forward play with hooker Steff Jones going over, then the backs got involved with centre Joe Hall scoring. Both tries were converted by fly-half Luke Bouchier.
Cornwall needed a reply and it came with a try scored by centre Connor Gilbert on the half-hour mark.
Jake Penprase was full of running for Cornwall looking dangerous on the break.
Hertfordshire then got a third try from further forward play when lock Matt Holmes crossed with Bouchier again on the money with the extras.
Cornwall continued to show good spiirt and got their reward just before half-time when No.8 James Eddy their second try with James Tucker adding the extras to leave them 21-12 down at the break.
After half-time Hertfordshire scored their fourth try through winger Tommy Reilly again bettered by Bouchier to seal the result.
Cornwall didn’t let their heads drop battling away for Gilbert to score his second try of the game with Tucker adding the conversion.
Under enormous pressure in the closing stages from Hertfordshire Cornwall’s defence held firm to deny the hosts another score.
Cornwall’s coaches, Josh Lord and Richie Kevern whilst disappointed with the loss were much happier with the performance of their side compared to the Gloucestershire game.
The other semi-final sees Gloucestershire host champions Yorkshire.
Herts Stags U.20: Euan Rees (Royston), Cairo Sango (Notts Trent), Joe Hall (O Albanian), Harry Collins (Oxford Brooks Uni), Tommy Reilly (O Albanian), Luke Bouchier (Notts Trent), Caswell Parks (York Uni); Matt Ramzan (O Albanian), Steff Jones (Cardiff Uni), Dan Hood (Uni of Surrey, Capt), George Carter (Notts Trent), Matthew Holmes (Barnet), Oliver Moody (Uni of Surrey), Josh Milton (Welwyn), Brad Etherington (Bishop’s Stortford).
Replacements: Callum McDermott (Royston, Chris Enslin (Tring), Steve Mackenzie-Cardi (Fullerians), Jacques Hladkhu (O Albanian), Connor Mak (Bishop’s Stortford), Curtis Woodham (Fullerians), Rohan Finnegan (Portsmouth).
Herts Stags scores: Tries, Jones, Hall, Holmes, Reilly, Cons, Bouchier 4
Cornwall U.20: James Tucker (Redruth), Ben Plummer (St. Austell), Connor Gilbert (Redruth), Isaak Welch (Truro), Jake Penprase (Bath Uni) Will Trewin (Cardiff Met), Owen Davey (Truro); Luke Barnes (Redruth), Rory Mead (Bude), Chae Jenkins, Dan Goldsmith (both Launceston), Mawgan Osborne (PzN Colts), Torin Clarke (Launceston, Capt), Aden Brassington (St. Ives), Jamie Eddy (Redruth).
Replacements: Harry Lightfoot (Launceston), Cain Worley (Unattached), Eddy Hall (Pirates Ams), Alex Bartlett (Launceston), Stan Somers (Falmouth), Tom Wallace (Penryn), Adam Long (Camborne).
Cornwall U.20 scores: Tries Gilbert 2 Eddy, Cons, Tucker 2