Photo – Cornwall squad prior to Herts match
By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer, photos by Simon Bryant Iktis photo
Post match reaction from Hell fire corner
As fans, players and committee officials all mingled on the Redruth pitch following Cornwall’s 25-18 win over Hertfordshire, I caught up with some of the main protagonists of the day.
First up was coach Ian Morgan, who was over the moon to be heading back to Twickenham: “I am really chuffed, not just for the boys but also for the supporters and everyone involved.”
Asked if was concerned when Cornwall went in 18-6 down at half-time: “No, I wasn’t too bothered because Hertfordshire had scored their points off our errors. We knew they would be dangerous if they got behind us, and so it proved.
Photo – Ian Morgan “chuffed with team’s performance”
“We were confident if we carried on defending as we were, we could create our own chances and they came in the second half. Playing down the slope second half was always going to be a game changer and so it proved.
“The effort from the forwards and backs today was top draw and to get that great start in the second half with Kyle Marriott’s try was just what we needed, and then Robin Wedlake’s great finish in the corner put us in the driving seat.
“I thought Matt Shepherd had another superb game, despite missing some of his kicks he put that behind him and nailed the important ones when needed, that’s a sign of a very confident player.
“The good news is that we have a clean bill of health coming out of this game, so we can pick from strength for next Sunday against Lancashire.
“People talked about how good Herts were in attack, well I feel we made a point here today, that allied with our defence and commitment at the tackle area.
“Preparation will be key this week, getting ourselves ready for mid-day kick-off at Twickenham.”
Cornwall skipper Kyle Marriott was delighted with the result and the opportunity to lead Cornwall out at Twickenham: “I am really pleased a great result today. Hertfordshire put us under big pressure during the first half and we were fortunate to come-out on top at the end.
Photo – Cornwall skipper Kyle Marriott “Pleased and proud of team.”
“We had a good chat at half-time and we were confident in our team plan. We hadn’t done a lot wrong but just needed to impose ourselves a bit more on the game. We knew if we could look after the ball a bit better and get some field position, we had the fire-power and capability, and that showed with that great score by Robin Wedlake: he took the score well as he had a lot to do, but for a slight figure he is seriously strong. Also the team play in setting up that chance was great.
“The set-piece really worked well today and was the platform for our second half comeback. Following our early try, it was Matt’s penalties that edged us closer and we just kept mounting the pressure on them.
“Having got our noses ahead, we had to withstand some determined play from Hertfordshire but again our defence was rock-solid and we were able to close out the game.”
One player who was at Twickenham in 2013, but missed last season’s final due to travelling, was fly-half Lewis Webb, now of Taunton, who learnt his rugby skills at Penryn before a spell at Launceston. When asked to be part of the Cornwall set up this season, Webb had no hesitation: “I love being involved with Cornwall and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. To pull on that Cornwall shirt is a great honour. I have played all my age group rugby in Cornwall and I just love playing for Cornwall.”
Photo – Lewis Webb looks to evade Herts’ Elliott Reeder and Dan Watt
Did he have any doubts Cornwall could do it? “I was a bit worried at half-time but when I saw the changing room I knew playing down into Hellfire Corner we could do it. I think we may have suffered a little from the pressure and when that happens you can go away from the game plan.
“We gave them too much ball in the first half and they capitalised on it, but second half we put that right and we came storming back.
“Our defence today was so solid, Nielson Webber and Jake Murphy put in some big tackles to prevent the ball going wide to their fast wingers and that didn’t let up when Sam Parsons came on and it was good to see a fellow ‘ryner’ George Jones making a big impact as well.”
Webb was full of praise for his skipper’s performance on the day: “Kyle had a massive game there were some crucial turnovers from him. He saved us twice in our own 22 with his turnovers.
“Robin Wedlake’s try was a real gem: he had a lot of work to do, Jake Murphy and Sam Parsons set him up nicely and he finished it off in style. He has got tremendous strength and is one to watch for the future.”
Looking forward to next Sunday, Webb feels the side are much better prepared: “The team spirit is tremendous. We have all played together at various stages of our careers so there is a good understanding. We have a great team unit with no heirs and graces. If we play our game I think we can do well.”