Kent trip will be no picnic!

Photo – George Jones enjoyed another fine game for Cornwall at Cinderford

Cornwall make two changes to starting XV to face Kent at Gravesend

By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

Cornwall will go into their second County Championship game at Kent this Saturday with confidence.

Their opening day win at Cinderford, against a Gloucestershire side keen to get revenge for last season’s loss at Camborne, was built on a powerful forward game allied with some stirring defence when needed.

Kent, who lost their opening fixture at Canterbury to Hertfordshire 31-19, despite going behind to two early scores and trailing 21-7 at the break, Kent rallied to within two points of Herts before at late converted try and penalty saw the visitors home.

Kent’s head coach Chris Wilkins was pleased with aspects of his side’s performance and will look to build against Cornwall at Gravesend on Saturday. He said: “I thought the set-piece and breakdown were excellent, as was the leadership and work-rate. It was great to see the pride the lads have in playing for Kent and our defence showed this as well, with everyone scrambling very hard.

“Having fought our way back to 19-21 down with 10 minutes left, the game was there for the taking. Unfortunately a few basic errors cost us dearly, as did a couple of 50/50 calls at the breakdown not going our way in the final quarter.

“We are all looking forward to working hard to improve our game for the tough challenge of Cornwall at Gravesend on Saturday, as we know that we will need to be at our best to get the result we desperately want.”

There is no question that Kent will be battling hard on Saturday, as a second defeat will see them needing to win at Cleve against Gloucestershire to have any hope of staying up.

Photo – Two-try hero Robin Wedlake will be hunting more tries on Saturday

Whilst Cornwall will be hoping for more of the same, with the team bringing the intensity and passion that characterized their performance against Gloucestershire.

Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe said after the game: “It was a very rewarding result for us really as we had been quite apprehensive in our approach to the game.

“What pleased me the most was that everyone in the squad bought into what we were trying to achieve. We have been together all through the winter at St. Austell on a Monday night and that has really benefited us as a group.

“We did very well to hold Gloucestershire out early on, despite the conditions, and took the game to them really.

“It’s very hard to pick out individuals, but there were a couple of guys making their debuts who played very well. It was an all-round team performance, although the front five did drive and scrum very well and controlled large parts of the game. But overall everybody was outstanding from 1 to 15.”

Cornwall make just two changes to their starting line up, with Max Venables coming in for the unavailable Steve Johns on the wing and Jamie Salter taking over hooking duties from Richard Brown, whilst on the bench Mark Grubb (Wadebridge Camels) comes in as does Redruth’s Sam Parsons.

Cornwall coach Ian Morgan knows Cornwall must be on top of their game on Saturday: “Although we won the match against Gloucestershire, there were areas of our game that we need to work on during this week. We had much of the play up front and a good defensive pattern, however we know we still need to improve our game to beat a well-drilled Kent team. It was good for us to introduce some new young faces into the match day squad with 7 guys earning a tie for their first senior appearance along with Matt Shepherd and Jake Murphy earning their county caps. Nobody should be complacent over their place; we have a number of good quality players to select from for the next games.”

Photo – Cornwall skipper Kyle Marriott – players respond to fans

Whilst Cornwall skipper Kyle Marriott said: Pulling on the Cornwall strip is a real honour for these guys and the scars and tiredness of the domestic season seems to fade away. It is also so pleasing that players from the different clubs join together at the end of each season to become team Cornwall. I want to thank the guys who are on the fringe, but turn up and train or travel with us as reserves.” He had this to say about Cornwall’s loyal fans: “The guys really appreciate the very loyal and large number of people who turned up support the team. The players really respond to the fans, and thanked them for attending and urged them to come along and support the team at the remaining games.”

Kent: K Leeper (Westcombe Park), R Fuller (Richmond), B Hough, D Bonner (both Westcombe Park), T Okenla (Gravesend), A Gallagher (Blackheath), C Edwards (O. Elthamians); J Green (Canterbury), J Bonner (O. Elthamians), T Read (Charlton Park), R Cadman (Canterbury), G Oram (Blackheath), T Bird (Gravesend), H Barton (Westcombe Park, capt), M Avaris (Westcombe Park).

Replacements: N Wakefield (Canterbury), R Nanson (Aylesford Bulls), A.N. Other, D Bellinger (Westcombe Park), S Eydmann (Blackheath), G Montgomery (Gravesend), T Chapman (Blackheath).

Cornwall: B Searle (Cornish All Blacks), M Venables (Saltash), J Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), N Webber, R Wedlake (both Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd (Cornish All Blacks); R Freestone (Clifton), J Salter (Cornish All Blacks, C Williams (Redruth), T Whittle (Camborne), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements: M Grubb (Wadebridge Camels), T Phillips (Redruth), C Judge, BJ Chapman (both Cornish All Blacks), J Goldsworthy, (Camborne), R Friend (Cornish All Blacks), S Parsons (Redruth)

Travelling Reserves: D Mankee (Camborne), J Drew (Redruth), J Dawe (Cornish All Blacks)

Posted in Bill's Blog

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