Big hit from BJ Chapman Photo – John Beach
Craig Williams scores Cornwall’s second try – Photo John Beach
Cornwall made an almost perfect start to their Bill Beaumont Cup campaign with a hard-fought win over old rivals Gloucestershire at Cinderford’s Dockham Road ground.
A fourth try would have secured the Duchy a try-scoring bonus point, however this was a win to savour and it sets Cornwall up for another trip on the road when they travel next Saturday to Medway RFC to take on Kent, who were defeated in their opening match by reigning county champions Hertfordshire 50 – 26.
Cornwall had a couple of late changes as Martin Rice (flu) and Darren Semmens had to pull out on the eve of the game. Cornish All Blacks Tom Hurdwell was drafted into a six man bench.
Despite a crowd made up mostly of Cornish supporters, Cornwall got off to the worst possible start as some slack tackling allowed Gloucestershire’s captain lock Will Warden to gallop in for an opening try, which fly-half Mike Wilcox converted.
This set-back gave Cornwall a jolt and they soon roared back to level the scores when flanker Sam Matavesi claimed Cornwall’s first try following a powerful drive from the black and gold forwards. Paul Thirlby kicked the conversion.
Gloucestershire continued to dominate proceedings; however Cornwall’s defence had stiffened up following their early lapse, eventually Gloucestershire found a breach as winger Lloyd Stapleton kicked over the cover to gather and score in the corner for an unconverted try to lead 12 – 7.
Thirlby reduced the deficit with a well-struck penalty. Cornwall then enjoyed a period of domination leading up to half-time. Accidental off-side denied Cornwall a certain try, then Thirlby missed a penalty attempt to leave Cornwall trailing just 12-10 at the break.
Cornwall made a perfect start to the second half scoring a second try as prop Craig Williams powered over with Thirlby again on cue with the extras.
Trelawny’s Army was now in full cry sensing a famous win could be on the cards.
Cornwall then lost skipper Ben Hilton to the sin-bin and this gave Gloucestershire an advantage that they exploited following a drive from a line-out the ball was moved wide for centre Barney Pascall to score and Wilcox to convert for a 19-17 lead.
Again roared on by the marvellous travelling support Cornwall piled on the pressure near the Gloucestershire line. Winger Nev Codlin was shown a yellow card for a professional foul and Cornwall took full-advantage. From a scrum No.8 Sam Hocking picked and drove over for Cornwall’s third try. Thirlby once again kicked a fine conversion for a five point lead.
Gloucestershire looked to come again as Mr Kitt played almost 10 minutes of time added on, but Cornwall held on despite losing Ben Priddey to the sin-bin in the dying moments.
The Cinderford clubhouse echoed to the strains of “Trelawny” after the final whistle.
After the game Cornwall coach Dave “Benji” Thomas gave his reaction. “I think that was an awesome performance, everyone who came on the field today gave their all, they played with fantastic pride and passion and that made all the difference”.
“Gloucestershire had a lot of possession but our defence was good, the boys tackled their hearts out, I know we conceded a couple of soft tries, but our defence won the game today”.
“Despite conceding that early try the boys picked up their game and showed character in the end our picking and driving game wore down Gloucestershire and in the end our fitness told. Sam Matavesi is a very strong young man and when he’s got the ball and he’s on the charge he takes some stopping. However it was a fantastic team performance and the boys can go away with a lot of pride today”.
“We have got some work to do, the line out never really functioned and no doubt Alan Paver (forwards coach) will look at that this week before we travel to Kent”.
Trelawny’s Army are running a coach to Medway RFC next Saturday for the game against Kent. Contact Bryan Llewellyn on 01209 213959.
For those travelling be aware of major road works on the M 25 near Gatwick, allow extra time for travelling.
Gloucestershire 19 pts
Tries – Warden, Stapleton, Pascall, Conversions – Wilcox (2)
Yellow Card – Codlin (67)
Cornwall 24 pts
Tries – Matavesi, Williams, Hocking, Penalty – Thirlby, Conversions (3) Thirlby
Yellow Cards Hilton (55), Ben Priddey (80)
Gloucestershire (Cinderford unless stated): Chris Hawkins, Nevaro Codlin, Barney Pascall (Richmond), Kai Done, Lloyd Stapleton, Mike Wilcox, Sam Arnott (Southend); Chris Bundy, Sam Wilkes (Moseley), Mark George (Stourbridge), Will Warden, Capt (Richmond), Joe Joyce (Bristol/Dings Crusaders), Will Foden, George Evans.
Replacements: Joe Smart, Nick Selway, Dale Critchley, Luke Allen, Danny Pointon, Liam Hemming (Old Centralians), Spencer Sutherland (Esher)
Cornwall: Jake Murphy; Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman; Paul Thirlby; Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Matavesi (Plymouth Albion), Sam Hocking (unattached).
Replacements: Ben Priddey (Redruth & Royal Navy), Tom Hurdwell, Barry Chapman, (both Cornish All Blacks), Ashley Lawton (Camborne), Matt Shepherd (St Austell) Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth).
Referee: Rowan Kitt (RFU)
Cornwall’s man-of-the-match: Sam Matavesi