An excellent first-half display helped Cornwall see off the Royal Navy in a hard-fought game on a damp night at the Memorial Park.
The Duchy had to make several late changes to their squad, but they were still too good for a Navy side who themselves were missing plenty of first-team regulars.
Cornwall ran in two tries, while the boot of Redruth fly-half Richard Kevern contributed 10 points, leaving coach Adrian Bick very pleased with his team's performance.
"For a side that was thrown together - we only had 45 minutes before the game to get to know each other - it was fantastic," said Bick. "You couldn't fault the commitment and I am delighted for all the boys.
"You could see at the end what it meant to them to win the game. Even though you would have thought the game was won by that stage, they were not going to allow the Navy to cross the line, even in the 13th minute of injury time."
Cornwall outgunned the Navy for much of the time in the scrum, while the young half-back pairing of Plymouth Albion scrum-half Tom Kessell and Kevern had impressive games, and Newquay centre Romey Vassell showed he had gas to burn.
The team was also well led by Penryn number eight James Mann, who proved a fine ball carrier for the hosts.
There was a minute's silence before the encounter in memory of Navy fly-half Craig Hodgkinson, who collapsed and died on the pitch the last occasion Cornwall and the Navy met, at The Rectory in November 2006.
The Duchy came firing out of the blocks and really took the game to the servicemen, and their efforts were rewarded with 10 points inside the first 11 minutes.
Good work by the forwards from a catch-and-drive line-out saw the Navy give away a penalty for coming in on the wrong side, and Kevern was on target from wide on the left. Then, seven minutes later, the Cornwall pack produced the groundwork again from a series of quickly-taken tap penalties, and Redruth centre Steve Evans - playing his first game in the black and gold since 2004 - broke off a maul to cross, with Kevern adding the extras.
The Duchy extended their lead even further in the 26th minute with the move of the match.
Falmouth blindside flanker Chris McColl, making his county debut, produced a storming run from inside his own half up to the Navy 22, and Vassell and Matt Luxton were on hand to carry the move on.
It eventually resulted in a five-metre scrum, and Mann picked up at the base and powered his way over, with Kevern's boot finding the target again for a 17-0 lead.
The Navy managed to get their first points on the board in the 32nd minute, after full-back Scott Llewellyn's superb run had initially been halted.
A quickly-taken penalty followed, and fly-half Dom Griffen broke through some weak tackles to score beside the posts, but his drop-kick conversion inexplicably missed the target, leaving Cornwall 17-5 ahead at the break.
The first 30 minutes of the second half were a bit of a non-event, with the action almost exclusively between the two 22-metre lines, but Llewellyn did manage to collect the Navy's second try in the 70th minute, only for him to once again miss the conversion kick from in front of the posts.
The gap was now down to seven points, but Kevern eased home nerves with a 30-metre penalty soon after, before suffering his first miss in five attempts, with a long-range effort in the closing stages of the game.
Referee Andy Bickle played 13 minutes of injury time, during which the Navy battered away at Cornwall's defensive line, but it held firm to secure a fine victory.
Cornwall scorers: tries Evans, Mann; conversions Kevern (2); penalties Kevern (2)
Royal Navy scorers: tries Griffen, Llewellyn
Cornwall: C Mann (Penryn), A Collings (Cornish All Blacks), R
Vassell (Newquay H), S Evans (Redruth), M Luxton (Cornish All Blacks), R Kevern
(Redruth), T Kessell (Plymouth Albion), L Varney (Redruth), T Hurdwell (Cornish
All Blacks), D Clackworthy (Hayle), B Sedgwick (St Ives), S Crew (Redruth), C
McColl (Falmouth), C Fuca (Redruth), J Mann (Penryn) (capt).
Replacements used: D Prout (Cornish All Blacks), S Harrison (Penryn), N Curnow (Camborne), A Hosking (Redruth), T Summers (Hayle)
Royal Navy: S Llewellyn (CDO Log Regt), A Humphries (RMB
Stonehouse), D Sleeman (HMS Cumberland), G Barden (RM Poole) (capt), L
Blackburn (42 Cdo RM), D Griffen (MWS Collingwood), J Stephen (CTCRM), K Mason
(845 NAS Yeovilton), T Evans-Jones (42 Cdo RM), T Blackburn (BRNC Dartmouth), D
Chambers (CTCRM), K McCrossan (HMS Ark Royal), A Benton (849 NAS Culdrose), K
Morton (UKLFCSG), W Cairns (HMS St Albans)
Replacements used: E Gaught (BRNC Dartmouth), M Jones (HMS St Albans), R Green (Abbey Wood, Bristol), G Jones (845 NAS Yeovilton), R Cox (HMS Sultan), J Mills ((UKLFCSG).
Referee: Andy Bickle (RFU).
Cornwall Hooker Ben Taylor carries the ball in. Photo by John Beach
Depleted Cornwall came close to preventing Devon from retaining the Tamar Cup at St Ives' Alexandra Road in the annual battle between the two sides on Sunday.
The Duchy were forced to make 11 changes to their originally selected line-up after several late cry-offs.
St Ives player-coach Ian Morgan was among a number of players drafted in at short notice, with the fly half receiving his call-up at 10.30pm on Saturday.
He first turned out for Cornwall in 1993, and made the last of his appearances in a black and gold shirt in the 2007 County Championship campaign, but he managed around 65 minutes before going off with a groin injury.
Morgan said: "I certainly wasn't expecting to put the black and gold on again, but it was a bit of fun and I enjoyed it, playing at half-back with Mark Richards.
"Cornwall had a lot of players pull out on Saturday evening, but we should have won the game to be honest.
"In the last couple of minutes, we were really pushing on their line, but there was just a fumble of the ball in the corner, and if we had scored then we would have claimed the victory.
"We had two young second rows, one of whom injured his knee, and then we lost Chris Morris as well to another knee injury."
Among those coming in for their county debuts was 21-year-old St Ives full back Henry Mander, who has impressed for the Hakes since joining them this season after a spell in Australia.
Devon took the lead with a penalty by Barnstaple's Neil Giddy, and he also converted a penalty try that was awarded after Cornwall dragged down a maul that was heading over the line, to make it 10-0.
Morgan slotted Cornwall's first points with a penalty, awarded for offside in front of the posts.
The Duchy then got back on level terms when an attempted clearance kick by Devon was charged down, and captain and Redruth scrum half Richards pounced on the loose ball to score, with Morgan converting.
Hands in the ruck by Devon gave Morgan the chance to make it 13-10 with a penalty to give Cornwall the lead for the first time in the match.
But the Duchy then had their own kick charged down and Plymouth Albion and former Launceston hooker Rupert Freestone collected the try, with Giddy converting.
Morgan kicked his third penalty to make it 17-16 to the visitors, before the impressive Giddy dropped a goal 10 minutes from time to give Devon a lead they did not relinquish.
Cornwall Captain Mark Richards of Redruth punches a hole in the Devon defence. Photo by John Beach
Ian Morgan kicks a 2nd half penalty for Cornwall. Photo by John Beach
Mark Richards takes the ball around the back of the scrum. Photo by John Beach
St Ives and Cornwall's Ian Morgan on the attack. Photo by John Beach
Truro's Luke Trescothick on one of many branstorming runs down the wing for Cornwall. Photo by John Beach
Cornwall: H. Mander (St Ives), L. Trescothick (Truro), G. Thirlby (Truro), S. Kenward (Redruth), C. Morris (Redruth), I. Morgan (St Ives), M. Richards (Redruth, capt), A. Morcom (Newquay H), B. Taylor (St Ives), G. Tedstone (Penryn), A. Lewarne (Redruth), R. Tucker (Truro), B Collings (Wadebridge Camels), L. Duke (Cornish All Blacks), M. Angwyn (Wadebridge C). Replacements all used: C. McColl (Falmouth), A Collings (Cornish All Blacks), R. Ley (Newquay H), J. Tresidder (Newquay H), D. Booth (Penryn), B. Jenkins (St Ives).
Cornwall 16 pts: Try Richards; con Morgan; pens Morgan (3)
Devon 20 pts: Tries penalty try, Freestone; cons Giddy (2); pen Giddy; drop-goal Giddy
CORNWALL got their Bill Beaumont Cup campaign off to a disappointing start on a bitterly cold Flora Day afternoon as old rivals Devon, carrying a little too much experience, earned well-deserved revenge for last season's defeat at the Brickfields by 31-17.
Cornwall were forced into a late change prior to the kick-off when winger Sean Hawkey (Wadebridge Camels) was obliged to withdraw, still feeling the effects of a hamstring pull from last Thursday's training session. Redruth's Nick Simmons coming in to the starting XV.
It all began brightly for Cornwall as they opened the scoring after only two minutes. Cornwall were awarded a penalty as Devon went off their feet at the breakdown. Fijian international Josh Matavesi kicked towards the clubhouse 22 and from the line out Mark Bright secured the ball to allow the Cornish forwards to make big inroads into the Devon 22, before skipper Mark Richards broke away to score near the posts. Matavesi missed the conversion in the tricky wind. Cornwall were well on top during the opening quarter, Devon's sole scoring opportunity a penalty which full back Gary Kingdom pulled wide.
Richards and Matavesi were certainly pulling the strings at this stage, Matavesi again involved setting up Rob Thirlby, who chipped into space for the on-rushing Adryan Winnan down in the scoreboard corner, forcing Devon to cover into touch.
Bright again secured good lineout ball, allowing the Cornish forwards to set up a powerful drive, which Devon pulled down, leaving referee Mr Hall with no choice but to award a penalty try. Matavesi's conversion gave Cornwall a 12-0 lead after 17 minutes.
Devon changed their formation via the rolling substitutions, with Ed Lewsey reverting to his accustomed scrum-half role and Graham Dawe swapping his TV pundit role from the previous evening on Sky to organise his pack. It was to prove a masterstroke.
Devon began to dominate possession, using the tried and tested maul to good effect. Cornwall just couldn't get their hands on the ball and the penalty count against them began to mount. Devon kicked for position and from the lineout up in the Hubert Hill corner drove for the Cornish line. Despite heroic defence Cornwall gave away a penalty try on 30 minutes, which Kingdom converted to cut Devon's deficit to 12-7.
Five minutes later the same tactic looked about to pay off as Devon's pack muscled it's way into the Cornish 22. From a Devon scrum Cornwall gave away a free-kick, which was quickly taken by No 8 Dave Ewers who powered over the line, Kingdom's second conversion giving the visitors a 14-12 lead at half-time.
Cornwall needed an early score to lift confidence and they got it after 46 minutes, following a strong run down the far touchline by centre Pale Nonu. Simmons ran hard into the Devon 22 before passing to No 8 Mark Bright, who scored in the Park Gate corner. Matavesi's conversion attempt from wide out went horribly askew.
Could Cornwall go on to get the win? Sadly the answer would prove to be no as the game slipped away in the space of a minute as the visitors scored two quick-fire tries. Ed Lewsey spotted a gap and evaded some disappointing attempted Cornish tackles to score near the posts on 59 minutes, a fine individual score from the classy scrum-half. Then a break by Lewsey found flanker Sean Michael Stephen - who had a fine afternoon - who put in a kick which bounced up awkwardly for covering winger Rob Thirlby. The ball appeared to fly out of Thirlby's hands, allowing Stephen to score in the clubhouse corner.
Kingdom failed with both conversions. Unfortunately there was unsporting noise from a small section of the Camborne crowd, which did them nor Cornwall no credit as the full back made his conversion attempts.
Chasing the game, Cornwall couldn't find a way through the Devon defence. Instead it was Devon who had the final say as replacement centre Keni Fisilau sliced through the Cornish cover to score Devon's fifth and final try, which Kingdom converted for a final score of 31-17.
After the game a disappointed Cornwall head coach, "Benji" Thomas, gave his reactions: "It was a well-deserved win by Devon, who played really well and were very well organised up front. We started really well with plenty of intensity, but Devon made some changes, Graham Dawe came on and organised their pack they were very physical up front, I thought. Sean-Michael Stephen was outstanding for them and Ed Lewsey coming back into the scrum-half position certainly changed the focus of the game".
Adrian Bick, part of Cornwall's coaching team, added his verdict on the game: "It was a game of two halves. We had a cracking first thirty minutes, but we then seemed to relax and sit back a little, Devon made some changes, completely changing the game plan, and we struggled to get to grips with their driving game.
"I was surprised that Ed Lewsey didn't start at scrum-half for Devon. They started with Tom Kessell, who I'd seen playing for the Development side earlier in the season, but they really worked their bench well. Perhaps we will pick up on that for the other games."
Cornwall are now left with no room for error as they prepare for next Saturday's game at Hertford against Hertfordshire. Bick continued: "It's now a massive, massive game for us we have got to win and then hopefully be in a position to take on Gloucestershire at Redruth. I am very confident that the boys will pick themselves up. There were a lot of boys in the Devon side who have played Championship rugby this season and you could see that experience coming through, especially when they began to close the game down in the final quarter."
Bick also had a word of admiration for his old county team mate from the '91 final, Graham Dawe: "You've got to admire him still playing at 50 to come on and still hold his own in a county championship game is impressive. He's poacher turned gamekeeper now, fair play to him, a lot of respect."
Last season's County skipper Ryan Westren was equally frustrated with the result. "We started really well, scoring those early tries and then let them back in the ten minutes before half-time and they got their heads up and pushed on from there."
Westren also felt that the tactical switch Devon made with his old team mate from Launceston, Ed Lewsey, paid dividends. "Ed's a good player at 9 or 12, but he controls things a bit better from 9 and he put them in the places on the field they wanted to be. Maybe they did use the substitutions a little better than we did. They seemed fresher during the game than our boys were and we were then left with too much to do at the end."
Westren was also very disappointed with his lack of opportunities during the game: "I think I got the ball about three times in the whole game. Again, as soon as Ed (Lewsey) went to 9 our ball dried up and it became a very frustrating afternoon."
Westren and the rest of the squad are keen to make amends at Hertford next week. "We said in the huddle after the game that we are going to get our pride back next week. It's not over yet, Devon could slip up in either of their two remaining games, so it's still all to play for."
Cornwall 17 pts: tries Richards, penalty, Bright; conversion Matavesi
Devon 31 pts: tries penalty, Ewers, Lewsey, Stephen, Fisilau; conversions Kingdom (3)
Cornwall: A Winnan (Redruth), R Thirlby
(Moseley), R Westren (Launceston), P Nonu (Camborne), N Simmons (Redruth), J
Matavesi (Exeter Chiefs), M Richards (Redruth, capt); D Jacques (Redruth), O
Hambly (Redruth), P Joyce (Redruth), B Hilton (Launceston), B Jenkins
(Launceston), S Hocking (Launceston), T Rawlings (Launceston), M Bright
Replacements (all used): J Salter (Launceston), A Morcom (Newquay Hornets), D Cook (Redruth), M Rawlings (Launceston), L Webb (Launceston), C Bonds (Redruth), J Murphy (Launceston)
Devon: G Kingdom (Plymouth Albion), T Bedford
(Exeter Chiefs), S Johns (Plymouth Albion), E Lewsey (Plymouth Albion), R
Bright (Cornish Pirates), O Wickett (Bideford), T Kessell (Plymouth Albion); B
Moon (Exeter Chiefs), R Freestone (Plymouth Albion), S Kingsland (Exeter
Chiefs), D MacDonnell (Plymouth Albion), T Skelding (Plymouth Albion, Capt), D
Collier (Plymouth Albion), S-M Stephen (Plymouth Albion), D Ewers (Exeter
Replacements (all used): D Porte (Plymouth Albion), G Dawe (Plymouth Albion), T Freeman (Exeter Chiefs), J Fleming (Exeter Chiefs), J Tripcony (Plymouth Albion), K Fisilau (Plymouth Albion), D Force (Teignmouth)
Referee: Mr T Hall (RFU)
Man-of-the-match: S-M Stephen (Devon)
Mark Bright scores Cornwall's final try to level the scores at 30-30. The conversion went over and Cornwall ran out winners by 32-30. Photo by Mark Harris.
More pictures here.
Cornwall got a late win at Highfields, thanks to a try from Mark Bright, converted by Ian Morgan, to give them a chance of progressing should they beat Gloucestershire at Redruth next Saturday by more than 25 points.
It was a game that swung towards Cornwall, then Hertfordshire, before finally back to Cornwall as the hosts found themselves down to 13 men in the final moments of the game, giving Bright the chance to score his second try of the game. As ever, it was the hard work of the Cornish forwards that laid the foundations for the win -- to a man they gave everything.
The inclusion of Morgan at fly-half certainly gave Cornwall the solid platform they were looking for in the running of the game, and thanks to the interchanges the veteran fly-half was able to enjoy a breather before coming back to finish the match.
Early penalties were exchanged by both sides, Morgan for Cornwall and Richard Gregg for Hertfordshire.
Cornwall then dominated the game for long periods without getting any reward.
It was the ten minutes leading up to half-time that saw the scores coming in. Cornwall's skipper and scrum-half Mark Richards grabbed Cornwall's first try - as he did last week - and then just four minutes later Redruth's No.8 Mark Bright finished off a fine move from full-back Josh Matavesi, with Morgan adding the extras for a 17-3 lead.
Cornwall found themselves down to 14 men as flanker Tom Rawlings fell foul of referee Mr. Knowles and were made to pay in the run up to half-time as Hertfordshire took advantage, with winger Ian Compton scoring the first of his three tries in the match. Gregg converted the winger's try but failed with the conversion of lock Billy Johnson's try just before half-time, to leave Cornwall 17-15 up at the break.
Hertfordshire came out in determined mood in the second half. Gregg dropped an early goal to give his side the lead for the first time before Crompton - a thorn in Cornwall's side all afternoon - got his second try, with Gregg adding the extras for a useful 25-17 lead.
Cornwall needed a quick score and Morgan kicked a penalty to steady the ship before Rob Thirlby managed to dot down to tie the scores.
With everything to play for Cornwall looked to get the winning score but they were rocked again as Hertfordshire countered once more, Crompton getting his third try with time fast running out.
Cornwall threw everything at Hertfordshire in the final moments. Two quick yellow cards reduced the hosts to thirteen men. Cornwall kept the pressure up and form a scrum Bright broke and stretched over the line to tie the scores, leaving Morgan to kick the conversion and steer Cornwall home.
After the match a delighted Cornwall head coach "Benji" Thomas gave his verdict: "I think I've aged about twenty years in the last five minutes to be down as we were. But the way the boys played this afternoon epitomised real spirit and commitment. We were eight points down but they stuck at it they kept to the game plan. In the end those last few minutes were really nail-biting, but we got the try and conversion."
Asked about the final few moments of the game, Thomas added: "I thought that if we could keep around their five metre line we could have a line out we could get something. The two yellow cards should have come earlier -- all afternoon they were killing the ball at the ruck and we couldn't get our hands on it. It was only at the very end that the referee realised what was going on and yellow carded them. It gave the chance for us to get the score from Mark Bright and then for Ian Morgan to win us the game with the conversion."
Looking ahead to next week: "It's going to be a great occasion, especially down at Redruth. Gloucestershire is always a great game and we owe them one for the game last season".
Hertfordshire 30 pts: tries Crompton (3), Johnson; conversions Gregg (2); penalty Gregg; drop-goal Gregg; Yellow Card H Schmidt, P Gustard
Cornwall 32 pts: tries Richards, Bright (2), R Thirlby; conversions Morgan (3); penalties Morgan (2); Yellow Card T Rawlings
Hertfordshire: Tom Newton (Tring); Handre Schmidt
(Cambridge), Stuart Smart (Hertford), Steve Ellis (Hertford), Ian Crompton
(Stevenage Town); Richard Gregg (Old Albanian), Mark Evans (Old Albanian); Adam
Gelman (Old Albanian), Charlie Hughes (Old Albanian), Rob Schillaci (Hertford),
Billy Johnson (Hertford), Rob Dumbleton (Harpenden), Ian Hardcastle (Hertford),
Paul Gustard (Old Albanian), Dave Archer (Cambridge,Capt).
Replacements (all used): Johan Van Dyke (Old Ashmolean), Jim Remfry (Caldy), Aaron MacDougall (Hemel Hempstead), Alfie Church (Hertford), Will Temperley (Luton), Morgan Thompson (Ealing), Ray Adde (Hemel Hempstead)
Cornwall: J Matavesi (Exeter Chiefs), R Thirlby
(Moseley), R Westren (Launceston), P Nonu (Camborne), C Bonds (Redruth), I
Morgan (St. Ives), M Richards (Redruth, capt); D Jacques (Redruth), O Hambly
(Redruth), P Joyce (Redruth), D Cook (Redruth) B Hilton (Launceston), M
Rawlings (Launceston), T Rawlings (Launceston), M Bright (Redruth)
Replacements (all used): D Clackworthy (Hayle) A Morcom (Newquay Hornets), L Collins (Cornish- Pirates), J Lord (Launceston), L Webb (Launceston), T Notman (Camborne), P Thirlby (Redruth)
Referee: Mr. P Knowles (RFU)
Man-of-the-match: Ian Morgan (Cornwall)
Cornwall produced an excellent fightback but still slipped to defeat at a sunny but blustery Redruth.
The Duchy began the match still harbouring hopes of reaching the Bill Beaumont Cup final at Twickenham, needing at least a 25-point victory to secure their place.
However, thoughts quickly turned towards avoiding relegation as they fell 21-3 behind after only 23 minutes.
They still trailed 31-13 after 42 minutes, and with Devon suffering a hammering at Hertfordshire, it became nip and tuck between the counties either side of the Tamar as to who would go down.
But Cornwall came storming back with two tries in the final quarter to come within a whisker of snatching what had appeared at one point an unlikely victory, and with Devon eventually losing 53-21, it is Graham Dawes side who will be playing in South Pool 2 of the Bill Beaumont Cup next season.
Fly half Ian Morgan kicked Cornwall into a 3-0 lead after only 80 seconds with a penalty, but it was then all Gloucestershire as they made the most of some shocking Cornwall tackling to run in three tries, with Bristol centre Jack Gadd grabbing two of them and full back Mark Knight the other, with all three converted by fly half Tim Stevenson.
Morgan slotted a second penalty, before the visitors scored again through winger Nev Codlin in the 38th minute to make it 26-6.
A try deep into first-half injury time by No.8 Mark Bright gave Cornwall some hope, and with full back Josh Matavesi converting,the Duchy only trailed 26-13 at the break, but Codlins try early in the second period stretched the advantage to 18 points.
With news filtering through of events in Hertfordshire, Cornwall upped their game, and Bright powered over for his second try of the game, converted by Matavesi, just past the hour mark.
But it was not until the 78th minute that the Duchy troubled the scoreboard again with a touchdown by Camborne centre Pale Nonu, improved by Paul Thirlby, and the hosts were eventually beaten by the clock.
Cornwall will live to fight another day in the top flight of county rugby, despite losing their final group match at the Recreation Ground 31-27.
Their outside chances before the game of reaching Twickenham turned into a desperate battle against relegation once the action started.
The Duchy's first-half showing was absolutely abysmal, and at half-time it was the Black and Golds who were facing the drop as they trailed 26-13, with Devon only losing 29-6 to Hertfordshire at that point.
However, spurred on by the interval news, they looked a different side in the second period and ran Gloucestershire mighty close in the end.
Cornwall's revival secured them a third-place finish in the final table, with Devon suffering the ignominy of relegation due to an inferior points difference.
Gloucestershire, meanwhile, marched into yet another Bill Beaumont Cup final at Twickenham next Sunday with a 100 per cent group record, and now face a repeat of their 2009 showdown with Lancashire.
Cornwall head coach Dave 'Benji' Thomas did not know whether to laugh or cry after witnessing his side's season-ending display.
"We were awful in the first half," he said.
"It was the worst rugby that I have seen a Cornwall team play for years. There were so many missed tackles, we never got the ball, we didn't win any line-outs and it was dreadful.
"Some of the tackles that we missed were awful, and you wouldn't expect an under-13s team to miss tackles like that, and Gloucestershire completely exploited that.
"We had a few strong words at half-time, and in the second half I thought the boys played really well. It was an entirely different story, and if the game had gone on for another five minutes, I think we would have won."
Cornwall began brightly enough, taking an 80-second lead with a penalty by fly-half Ian Morgan playing his final game before his 'second' retirement.
That was followed by an eight-minute stoppage while visiting flanker Jack Preece was carried off the field in a stretcher and wearing a neck brace, and then came the Duchy horror show.
Tackling seemed to be an optional extra for the hosts, and Gloucestershire took full advantage to run in three tries in the space of eight minutes.
A missed tackle by Rob Thirlby presented Bristol centre Jack Gadd with the first; Gadd then ghosted through a brittle defence for the second; and full-back Mark Knight somehow managed to escape home skipper Mark Richards' clutches for the third.
Impressive fly-half Tim Stevenson who appeared to have been given the day off from the set of the Teletubbies so he could play, such was his girth kicked all three conversions, and Gloucestershire led 21-3 after only 23 minutes.
Morgan added a second penalty from in front of the posts, but try number four for Gloucestershire was not long in coming, with Chris Holder's burst into the back line providing the space for winger Nev Codlin to breeze over in the corner.
Redruth No.8 Mark Bright gave Cornwall some hope with a try off the back of a five-metre scrum deep into first-half injury time, and with Fijian international full-back Josh Matavesi converting, the gap was 13 points at the break.
However, Gloucestershire heaped on additional woe as more shocking tackling allowed Codlin to bag his second touchdown to make it 31-13.
Thomas then ran his bench to great effect, with the injection of fresh legs on a boiling hot day transforming Cornwall.
Aided by a yellow card for Holder after he prevented a possible try with a deliberate knock-on, the Duchy came storming back, with hooker Owen Hambly and Matavesi particularly impressive with ball in hand.
Inspirational Bright collected his fifth try in three Championship games, powering over from broken play just past the hour mark, with Matavesi converting.
It took almost another 20 minutes before they could cross the whitewash again, though, with powerful Camborne centre Pale Nonu the scorer, and replacement Paul Thirlby added the extras.
The gap was now down to four points, but it was Gloucestershire who finished the match strongly, only denied a sixth try when they were twice held up over the Cornish line.
Kent will replace Devon in Cornwall's group next season, while Devon face matches against Somerset, Middlesex and Dorset & Wilts in South Pool Two.
Cornwall: J Matavesi (Exeter Chiefs), R Thirlby
(Moseley), R Westren (Cornish All Blacks), P Nonu (Camborne), C Bonds
(Redruth), I Morgan (St Ives), M Richards (Redruth, capt), D Jacques (Redruth),
O Hambly (Redruth), A Morcom (Newquay H), L Collins Cornish Pirates) for Cook
77, D Cook (Redruth), M Rawlings (All Blacks), T Rawlings (All Blacks), M
Replacements: J Lord (All Blacks) for T Rawlings 53, L Webb (All Blacks) for Morgan 29, P Thirlby (Redruth) for Richards 62, T Notman (Camborne) for R Thirlby 50, B Hilton (All Blacks) for Collins 53, B Priddey (Redruth), D Clackworthy (Hayle) for Morcom 53.
Gloucestershire: M Knight (Lydney), C Holder
(Lydney), C Ashiwn (Bristol), J Gadd (Bristol), N Codlin (Cinderford); T
Stevenson (Cinderford), T Richardson (Stourbridge), T Brockett (Dings
Crusaders) for Purbrook 80+2, P Fincken (Newbury, capt), C Meddick (Dings
Crusaders) for Brockett 53, D Hodge (Newbury), R Cadman (Hartpury College) for
Brown 75, D Williams (Gloucester), J Preece (Birmingham & Sol), G Curry
Replacements: D Trigg (Cinderford) for Knight 70, O Stott (Dings Crus) for Fincken 62, S Plummer (Dings Crus) for Richardson 30-ht, B Purbrook (Clifton) for Meddick 35, S Wilkes (Clifton) for Holder 65, E King (Cinderford) for Hodge 35, M Brown (Cinderford) for Preece 4.
Cornwall scores: tries: Bright (2), Nonu; cons: Matavesi (2), P Thirlby; pens: Morgan (2)
Gloucestershire scores: tries: Gadd (2), Knight, Codlin (2); cons: Stevenson (3)
Yellow cards: Glos: Holder 55
Referee: Llyr Apgeraint Roberts (RFU).