St. Austell came from behind to win the Tribute Cornwall Knock-Out Cup for the first time in their history having lost in four previous finals, reports Bill Hooper from a sunny Recreation Ground at Redruth.
It looked at half-time that history would repeat itself as after played down the slope in the first half St. Austell turned around trailing Wadebridge Camels 12-10.
However, St. Austell’s desire to finally get the cup were rewarded with second half tries from skipper Miles Davey replacement No.8 Max Duggan and a second of the match from prop Hugh Noot helped swing the final the Saints’ way and seal an impressive 35-22 win.
After skipper Miles Davey had received the Cup from CRFU President Peter James, St. Austell director of rugby Steve Murley expressed his delight. He said. “I am delighted we have finally got our hands on the cup and what makes it all the sweeter it was a great game of rugby from both sides, it showcased all that is good about Cornish rugby, commitment, great tackles, skilful play and some really good tries from both sides.
Murley said that despite trailing at the break the lads’ confidence was high. “I would have preferred to be ahead at half-time but I cannot fault the lads’ performance in that second half we needed something special on the day to beat a very good Camels’ side.
“I was pleased with the quality of our tries which came at crucial times in the game Hugh Noot going over for his second was a special moment he’s folk legend at Tregorrick, it’s been a great journey for the club over the past six or seven years we’ve been building each season today the club has it’s reward.”
Both sides, backed by a vociferous crowd took their time to settle as both defences coped with the initial threat.
It was the Camels that got the first score on the quarter-hour mark, following a couple of penalties kicked to the corner by fly-half James Grubb, the ball was moved wide with Grubb’s looping pass taken by winger Ben Hawken who crossed in the scoreboard corner for an unconverted try.
St. Austell replied within minutes when off second phase ball giant prop Hugh Noot crashed his way over under the posts gifting centre Liam Freeman a simple conversion for a 7-5 lead.
Saints’ wing Cav Boyer then failed with a monster penalty attempt from half-way as St. Austell’s confidence increased, however they were dealt a blow when flanker Ian Venner was sin-binned for not-rolling away.
Camels took advantage from play close to the St. Austell line with player-coach Mike Rawlings getting their second try with Grubb adding the extras.
Freeman reduced the deficit with a penalty and the Saints finished the half on the front foot after a good run and chip ahead from Boyer almost brought a try for fellow wing Ben Chenoweth only for the referee to rule a knock-on.
Grubb and Freeman swapped penalties early in the second half before the Saints got back into the lead from Davey’s unconverted try.
The St. Austell pack was now on top and further tries from young No.8 Duggan and Noot both converted by Freeman settled the final.
With time almost up Rawlings grabbed a second try for Camels converted by Grubb, but moments later Freeman dropped a goal to complete the scoring and signal wild celebrations from the Saints’ fans.
With the Cup in hand players, officials, coaches and fans congregated in the hospitality suite corner for a rousing rendition of “When the Saints…go marching in.”
St. Austell: T Robinson, C Boyer, S Johns, L Freeman, B Chenoweth, C Ashwin, A Ashwin; H Noot, M Davey (capt), C Nicholson, A Pearce, T Knight, J Nelson I Venner, A Kellow.
Replacements: CJ Boyce, D Jane, H Bright, A Inch, M Duggan, M Martin
St. Austell scores: Tries, Noot (2), Davey, Duggan, Cons, Freeman (3), Pens, Freeman (2), Drop-goal, Freeman
Yellow Card: Venner (29)
Wadebridge Camels: W Pengelly, B Hawken, J Pretty, D Thomas, D Hawkey, J Grubb, A Collings (capt); R Treleaven, M Ballard, J Scott, J Johns, R House, R Dawe, A Blackmore, M Rawlings
Replacements: M Tarby, C Cotton, H Smith, Q Cross, R Bright, C Wilson
Camel’s scores: Tries, Hawken, Rawlings (2), Cons Grubb (2), Pen, Grubb
Referee: Adam Nicholas (Devon RRS)
Man-of-the-match: St. Austell’s Cavan Boyer, fine game from the young winger always willing to run with the ball looked lively.
TRIBUTE DUCHY CUP
WADEBRIDGE CAMELS RES 27- 12 ST. AUSTELL SINNERS
Tries from Leigh Charles, Ian Boyling, Ben Humber and Matt Bennetts and the boot of Shawn Hartley were enough to see the Camels win the inaugural Duchy Cup final.
Sinners scored tries through Tom Tyrell and Jacob Inch with Darren Pellow adding a conversion.
In the Duchy Tribute Plate, Camborne Reserves proved too strong for Bodmin Reserves running out winners 43-5.