LONDON CORNISH 36-0 WEYBRIDGE VANDALS
By Ben Gilby, Press Officer LCRFC
The Exiles opened their London Two South-West league season with a comfortable win over Weybridge Vandals at The REMPF.
On a mild afternoon with an occasional stiff breeze, it was Cornish who started the strongest, earning a penalty within the opening forty seconds of the game. Luke Spells kick was good, and The Exiles had their first points of 2014/15. Vandals hit back and earned a penalty, and James Parker got excellent distance on his kick to find touch just five metres out, but Cornish’s defence drove hard and forced a penalty to clear their lines.
It became obvious early on that the Black & Golds’ pack had the advantage, and with seven minutes gone, a giant rolling maul made over twenty metres, with Ciaran Acford grounding the ball. Spells’ conversion was good and it was 10-0. Just three minutes later, Cornish launched a dazzling attack; Tim Homan found Craig Chatley on the left. His ball inside found Mark Osei-Tutu who reached for the line, but Vandals’ scrum-half Dave Parker stole the ball to clear.
Weybridge earned a period of possession, but a combination of handling errors and choosing the wrong option prevented them from getting on the scoreboard. Cornish came into it once more as the game neared the twenty minute mark as Spells made a break, and offloaded to Bond, who in turn found Harry Somers. Vandals were penalised, but Spells kick at goal missed. Another chance was lost shortly afterwards when Heymann found Hakes. The ball then came to Joe Skinnard, but the move ended when the ball was knocked on.
The final ten minutes of the half was generally error-strewn with typical opening day handling errors. Cornish had one further chance before the half-time break when Nigel Johnston’s injection of pace carved through the Vandals defence. Homan and Bond combined, but the ball ended in touch. At half-time, the score was 10-0 to Cornish.
Pic Ben Gilby Mark Osei-Tutu makes a break
The second half was just two minutes old when The Exiles increased their lead. Mark Osei-Tutu picked up the ball from the back of the scrum and made fifteen metres on a storming run. From the resulting ruck, Weybridge turned over the ball, but another Vandals error saw them lose possession immediately to Matt Hakes, who sprinted down the left hand side to ground the ball. Spells’ conversion attempt missed.
The following period of the match was punctuated by constant penalising of both teams, but it was now becoming abundantly clear that Cornish had more in the tank, and with 57 minutes played, Matt Hakes intercepted a Vandals pass and cut in from the left to dot the ball down under the posts. Luke Spells’ conversion extended the home side’s lead to 22-0. The Exiles now had the bit between their teeth and were threatening constantly. A great move at pace between Johnston and Heymann, saw the ball fed to Dave Theobald, but play was stopped due to an injury to Weybridge’s Craig Decoteau.
Cornish kept going, and it was only a matter of time before the bonus point try arrived. Just three minutes later, Joe Skinnard fed Luke Spells, who put in Matt Hakes who secured his third try of the afternoon. Luke Spells landed a superb conversion from wide out on the left hand touchline for 29-0. The Black and Golds scented blood, and from the re-start, mounted another attack with Robin Heymann tackled into touch just two metres from the try line. From the resulting line-out, the ball was gathered and a huge rolling maul sent Cornish forward at a rapid rate of knots, the move ended with Mark Osei-Tutu grounding the ball for the home side’s fifth try of the afternoon. Spells’ conversion was successful.
The last ten minutes saw the game going to uncontested scrums with Weybridge not able to produce another front rower. This nullified Cornish’s dominance and there was no further scoring.