Cornwall Games 2011-2012 season



Cornwall 23 Gloucestershire 16

Saturday, 5th May 2012. Report from Bill Hooper at Redruth Rec.

Steve Johns on the burst with Ben Hilton. Photo by Simon Bryant.

Steve Johns on the burst with Ben Hilton. Photo by Simon Bryant.

More pictures here.

Cornwall got their Bill Beaumont Cup campaign off to a winning start with victory over old foes Gloucestershire at Redruth.

They will now travel to Hertford next Saturday to face last season’s beaten finalists, Hertfordshire, with confidence after this strong performance.

The turning point in the game was a converted try just prior to half-time from winger Richard Bright which saw Cornwall go in at the break with a 10-9 advantage, having had to face the stiff breeze and play up the slope during the first half.

Cornwall’s captain Ben Hilton was full of praise for his side’s performance. He said, “That was a very tough game, but all credit to us, we put in a great performance to get a winning start to our campaign.

“There are certainly a few areas which we need to work on before our next game against Hertfordshire next Saturday, but a win against Gloucestershire we will take any day of the week, I’ve been on the wrong end of results against them in the past so this is a special moment.

“We chose to play against the wind, so we knew we would be in for a tough first half. To turn around at half-time with a one point advantage was a big psychological boost for us.

Gloucestershire’s assistant coach, Matt Salter, felt his side should have made more of their first half advantage. “We were down in Hell fire corner during the first half, but we just didn’t take our chances. We turned over possession too often. Cornwall kept possession during the second half and turned pressure into points, showing us how we should have played it first half.”

Gloucestershire were the first side to register points when fly-half Rory Teague nudged them ahead after just 6 minutes with a penalty.

Despite missing with his first attempt at goal, full back Brett Rule drew Cornwall level with a penalty after 15 minutes, as Gloucestershire were caught offside.

Gloucestershire looked to carry the greater threat early in the game, with skipper Will Foden carrying well, ably supported by fellow forwards Danny Wright and Ed King.

Teague added two further penalties for Gloucestershire before the half hour mark for a deserved 9-3 lead.

The key to the game was Cornwall’s first try, scored just before half-time. Flanker Tom Rawlings made a fine break from mid-field, Hilton, up in support, carried the move on, before linking with his centre Lewis Paterson, who in turn ran hard towards the scoreboard corner before giving the scoring pass to winger Richard Bright.

Rule added a difficult conversion to put Cornwall 10-9 up at half-time, to the cheers of the black and gold faithful.

Cornwall’s early pressure at the beginning of the second half was rewarded with a brace of penalties kicked by Rule to extend their lead to 16-9.

Cornwall were very much on the front foot, with Paterson in the centre catching the eye throughout the game, and the Cornish forwards getting the upper hand in the scrums. Sam Hocking at No.8 was also in the thick of the action.

Paterson made another good break which allowed replacement Jake Murphy to drop at goal, only to see his attempt strike a post.

Gloucestershire had a scrum just five meters from their line. No.8 Brandon Walker tried to run the ball out of his twenty-two, but he was snared down in Hellfire corner. The Cornish forwards drove over, with Hocking getting his side’s second try after 55 minutes. Rule was once again on target with a difficult conversion attempt to give the black and golds a useful 23-9 advantage.

Gloucestershire looked for a way back into the game and they were given a lifeline with Nev Codlin’s well-worked try on 67 minutes in the scoreboard corner. Teague added the extras with a fine kick from near the touchline.

But that was as near as Gloucestershire would get. Cornwall looked to run down the clock towards the end, keeping the ball with the forwards and earning their first win over their opponents since 2005.

Cornwall 23 pts: tries Bright, Hocking; cons Rule (2); pens Rule (3)

Gloucestershire 16 pts: try Codlin; con Teague; pens Teague (3)

Cornwall (Cornish All Blacks unless stated): B Rule (Redruth), R Bright, S Johns (Plymouth Albion), L Paterson, T Notman (Redruth), L Webb, G Goodfellow (Redruth); D Jacques (Redruth), J Salter, C Williams (Redruth), B Hilton (Capt), B Jenkins (Cambridge), M Rawlings, T Rawlings, S Hocking (Plymouth Albion)
Replacements (used): D Pascoe (Penryn & Royal Navy), J Murphy, T Duncan (Redruth), P Joyce (Redruth), D Cook (Redruth)
Replacements (not used): R Brown (Redruth) C Fuca (Redruth)

Gloucestershire (Cinderford unless stated): M Wilcox, N Codlin, R Winchle, S Rodwell (Hartpury). R Haile (Taunton), R Teague, S Arnott (Southend); J Smart, S Wilkes, N Selway (Lydney), D Wright (Rugby Lions), E King, L Allen, W Foden (Capt), B Walker (Hartpury)
Replacements (all used): C Thompson (Old Patesians), C Meddick (Dings Crusaders) B Sparks, H Tovey (Clifton), S Plummer (Dings Crusaders), G Lewis (Hartpury), J Hannam (Lydney)

Referee: Nick Williams (RFU)

Crowd: 955

Cornwall Star Player: Lewis Paterson constantly caught the eye in attack.

Trelawny's Army Supporters' Club sponsored the match ball. A match ball signed by the Cornwall squad was then sold to the highest bidder, with the profit going to the BBC Radio Cornwall Phoenix Stroke Appeal.

Bill Hooper (TASC press officer), Ian Gordon (TASC Hon. Sec), and Peter Richmond (BBC Radio Cornwall) with the match ball. Photo by Phil Monckton.

Left to right: Bill Hooper (TASC press officer), Ian Gordon (TASC Hon. Sec), and Peter Richmond (BBC Radio Cornwall) with the match ball presented by Trelawny's Army. Photo by Phil Monckton.


Hertfordshire 29 Cornwall 27

Saturday, 12th May 2012. Report by Nigel Walrond at Hoe Lane.

Scrum-half Greg Goodfellow about to feed No 8 Sam Hocking. Photo by Ian Savigar.

Scrum-half Greg Goodfellow about to feed No 8 Sam Hocking. Photo by Ian Savigar.

More pictures here.

Cornwall's hopes of reaching Twickenham are all but over for another season after a last-gasp defeat at Hoe Lane.

Replacement scrum-half Dave Pascoe saw a relatively simple penalty chance in the final minute of normal time come back off the upright.

With bonus points introduced to County Championship rugby for the first time this season, the Duchy now trail Division One South group leaders Hertfordshire by five points, with one pool match remaining.

All Cornwall can do is get a bonus-point win against North Midlands at Camborne next Saturday (3.00 pm), and hope Hertfordshire pick up nothing from their match with Gloucestershire – who have lost both pool matches so far - at Cinderford, and overturn a points difference of 41 between the two sides at the same time.

The truth of the matter is Cornwall’s chances of victory should not have rested on a late penalty by Royal Navy skipper Pascoe.

The game was there for the taking as the Black and Golds led 24-8 after 54 minutes, and 27-15 just past the hour mark.

But two converted tries in four minutes put Hertfordshire 29-27 in front, and that was how it stayed after Pascoe’s late miss.

Cornwall were not helped by some very weak refereeing by Terry Hall, who seemed incapable of giving yellow cards or penalty tries to reward the visitors’ dominant scrum.

Hertfordshire, who on paper had a much stronger side which contained four squad players from Premiership side Saracens, tore into Cornwall from the off, with centres Chris Lombaard and former Wigan and England rugby league star Joel Tomkins looking particularly dangerous.

However, fine defence restricted them to a 16th minute try by scrum-half Stefan Liebenberg and a 5-0 lead.

Full-backs Richard Gregg and Brett Rule exchanged a penalty apiece to make it 8-3, before Cornwall enjoyed a real purple patch.

Rule added a long-range penalty, before lovely quick hands and a dazzling touchline run by winger Richard Bright provided a 35th-minute try for centre Lewis Paterson.

Then, in first-half injury time, Redruth prop Darren Jacques powered his way over the try line, and Rule converted to make it 18-8 to Cornwall at the break.

Penalties by Rule and Pascoe, after Gregg had been yellow carded for the hosts following a superb 50-metre run by Steve Johns, stretched the advantage to 16 points, but Hertfordshire refused to lie down.

Hooker Brett MacNamee finished off a catch-and-drive line-out move in the 56th minute, with James Shanahan converting, to eat into the deficit, and after Pascoe made it 27-15 with his second penalty, Hertfordshire grabbed two tries in quick succession.

Lock Tom Jubb and replacement back Michael Allen were the scorers, with both converted superbly by Tom Newton, and suddenly Cornwall were trailing by two points.

Entering the final minute of normal time, Cornwall’s dominant scrum was heading for the try line when a Hertfordshire player broke his binding to dive on the ball, but instead of a penalty try or yellow card, the referee deemed a penalty was sufficient punishment, and Pascoe missed the kick.


Cornwall head coach Dave ‘Benji’ Thomas reflected on ‘fine margins’ after his side suffered an agonising 29-27 defeat to Hertfordshire at Hertford yesterday.

It means the Duchy will now need a miracle if they are to reach the County Championship final at Twickenham on Sunday, May 27.

‘I thought the boys were unbelievable today,’ said Thomas. ‘In the first 20 minutes, Hertfordshire were doing all the running and we were doing all the tackling and I thought we did unbelievably well in defence.

‘Hertfordshire must have been worried that they only had eight points on the board at that stage, and we started to come back into the game.

‘The tries we scored before half-time were the result of good running by the backs and we started to put it together.

‘We finished the first half much stronger than them, and we knew in the second half we had to keep the ball. It was no good booting it downfield as they would run it straight back at us.

‘I thought we did that pretty well to a certain extent, but we had a ten-minute spell where we switched off, and they scored two tries which brought them right back into the game, when we needed to have closed it down and kept the ball tight, just like we did against Gloucestershire at Redruth, and that would have maintained our advantage.

‘The players are all very disappointed, but they will all be there at Camborne next weekend when we face North Midlands and will want to put a game together in front of a Cornish crowd.’

Thomas was full of praise for the Cornwall pack, who had much the better of their counterparts throughout the game.

‘I thought our scrummage was unbelievable, and I thought the referee never got to grips with it because they were doing everything to stop the pressure, by standing up and all sorts of other things, and he never really picked them up,’ said Thomas.

‘There should have been yellow cards or penalty tries, we had them in all sorts of trouble, but that’s the way it goes, and he never allowed us to capitalise on our advantage.

’We knew whoever won this game would be going to Twickenham, but our supporters watching the match would have been very proud of the way Cornwall played and appreciated what an exciting game it was.

‘There was total commitment by all the players on the park.

‘Looking at the teams on paper, we shouldn’t have had a chance. They had an international rugby league player at centre, and their Saracens contingent, the majority of whom have played first-team rugby for them.’

Cornwall will need to beat North Midlands with a bonus point to stand any chance of reaching the County Championship final at Twickenham.

But they will not be an easy proposition, as they bounced back from their 52-8 thrashing by Hertfordshire last weekend by surprisingly beating Gloucestershire 47-37 at Stourbridge yesterday.

Hertfordshire: R Gregg (Old Albanians), B Ransom (Saracens), Tomkins (Saracens), Lombaard (OAs), Ratuvou (Saracens), J Shanahan (OA), S Liebenberg (Bedford), J Saunders (Saracens), B MacNamee (Hertford, capt), R Schillaci (Hertford), C South (Hertford), T Jubb (Cambridge), O Cooper-Millar (OAs), R Farenheim (OAs), B Johnson (Bedford)
Replacements (all used): S Bailey (OAs), M Cade (OAs), J Remfry (Barnes), T Mowbray (Chinnor), L White (OAs), T Newton (Tring), M Allen (Hertford)

Cornwall (Cornish All Blacks unless stated): B Rule (Redruth), R Bright, S Johns (Plymouth Alb), L Paterson, R McAtee (Cornish Pirates), L Webb, G Goodfellow (Redruth), D Jacques (Redruth), J Salter, C Williams (Redruth), B Hilton (capt), B Jenkins (Cambridge), M Rawlings, T Rawlings, S Hocking (Plymouth Alb)
Replacements (all used): D Pascoe (Royal Navy), J Murphy, P Joyce (Redruth), R Brown (Redruth), T Notman (Redruth), C Fuca (Redruth), T Duncan (Redruth)

Hertfordshire scorers: tries Liebenberg, MacNamee, Jubb, Allen; cons Newton (2), Shanahan; pen Gregg

Cornwall scorers: tries Paterson, Jacques; con Rule; pens Rule (3), Pascoe (2)

Yellow card: Herts: Gregg 53

Referee: Terry Hall (RFU)

Cornwall captain Ben Hilton's view of the Herts game

First of all...Let me thank everyone who came up to Herts to support the boys. We gave it our best shot, certainly against a much stronger team on paper. For 70 minutes we absolutely crushed a very very capable team. Unfortunately for us, they showed just how capable in a spell of about 6 minutes or so. That is a sign of a very good team - to play poorly and still end up with a W!

For us, I think we should be disappointed and it also highlights just how much focus is required throughout the entire game. They capitalised on our few mistakes and there really were literally just a few. We played the game perfectly but for a few minor minor events / decisions / mistakes.

For me - to give a full penalty for an accidental offside from the kick-off knock-on is rather officous. Sam was unlucky and the ball bounced and hit Bryns' leg. They ended up scoring from that penalty.

Our kick off didn't go 10, giving them possession immediately after they picked up the pace. This eventually swung the momentum and resulted in a second try in quick succession.

Other than that, I thought we managed the game perfectly up until that point. Yes, I would have expected a penalty try, considering we did have their scrum over their try-line on at least 7 occasions -- but only to be reset or be awarded only a full arm penalty. What was said before the game about aspects of the scrum was not upheld during the game, which is frustrating.

I know there will be some out there who said I should have persevered with the scrum dominance but in my opinion for the Herts scrum half to dive on the ball - while we were walking over their try-line to score a pushover, is somewhat cynical. When I asked the referee if he felt that was a try-scoring opportunity he said no and awarded us a penalty. Two minutes left to play - do I risk any number of things happening or going wrong in yet another scrum? Or do I take the relatively straightforward 3 point shot, we then get the ball back and see out the final minute? I chose the cup final approach that is county rugby and the percentages say take the shot to gain the lead. If you get a chance - take it. The wind kicked up and swirled the ball off the post. Very, very difficult pill to swallow for me, and I am sure the rest of the boys and the supporters alike feel equally down.

We would like to see everyone down at Camborne, where we all will be signing off our rugby season. Please come down and have a beer with the guys - everyone is staying for a social after the North Midlands match. I think we will be in for a very tough match after a deflating week. We will need all the support we can get, especially after their result on Saturday.

Let's not forget - mathematically it is possible for us to still win the group...but likewise it is also possible that we could finish in last place, which would be a travesty but the bonus point system could make life difficult for everyone. Let's hope it is not us!

I have felt very honoured and privileged to captain such a great bunch of loyal Cornwall supporters - there is something special about the unity of the squad and that only makes yesterday's game even more painful. Thanks to everyone involved and I would love to see and hear you all on Saturday.

Kindest regards to you all,

Ben and the rest of the Cornwall squad and management 2012



Saturday, 19th May 2012. Report by Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground Camborne.

Richard Brown on the charge, with Tom Rawlings and Chris Fuca in support. Photo by Simon Bryant.

Richard Brown on the charge, with Tom Rawlings and Chris Fuca in support. Photo by Simon Bryant.

More pictures here.

Cornwall did their best to try and give themselves a chance of going to Twickenham next Sunday, but Hertfordshire's narrow loss (27-25) at Gloucestershire saw the home-counties side through to their second successive final against title holders Lancashire, who accounted for Cheshire at Broughton Park 36-29.

There was disappointment once more for centre Ryan Westren, whose groin injury flared up, preventing him from playing. Steve Johns moved from the wing, with Tom Notman coming off the bench and Aron Struminski -- a star from this season’s U.20 campaign -- coming on to the bench.

Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas was pleased with the win, but still felt aggrieved with last week’s rub of the green at Hertford. He said. “They came out of the blocks all firing, they had a solid pack and some pacey backs and it took us a little while to get to grips with them. We got the early try, but we were in their twenty-two a number of times during the first half and didn’t come away with points, which were really quite crucial, I felt the boys were a little over anxious in their execution”.

“At half-time we had a good chat, we told them they needed to keep the ball and play to the patterns we had been playing in our previous games. We did that and in the end we scored some good tries. Our forwards were immense, especially the driving mauls and in the loose getting possession”.

“I know we lost that game last week by two points, but today was a fitting end for an exceptional group of players who have shown great spirit and commitment from day one when we assembled at Kingsley Village to map out our plan for the season. Hopefully we can keep this group together and kick on again next season and get to Twickenham”.

Cornwall elected to play up the slope first half and were rewarded with an early try after just 7 minutes, scored by hooker Jamie Salter following some good work by the Cornish forwards.

Brett Rule added the first of his three conversions and Cornwall looked well set to dominate proceedings.

However, the visitors had other ideas and came back into the game well, scoring a well-worked try by Rhys Crane (Nottingham) on his county debut.

The goal kicker for the visitors, Jimmy Oliver, had an off-day with the boot, missing the conversion and a penalty shortly afterwards.

Cornwall really should have made the most of their possession during the first half, but saw some gilt-edged chances missed to go further ahead. Johns was held up over the line, whilst No.8 Sam Hocking crucially lost the ball near the whitewash.

Cornwall had the better of it, with centre Lewis Paterson once more catching the eye, along with the forwards -- notably prop Darren Jacques, who carried well and was immense at scrum time, flanker Mike Rawlings, always in the thick of the action, and skipper Ben Hilton, who led by example.

There was no further scoring during the first half, so Cornwall turned around 7-5 to the good.

Cornwall needed an early try at the start of the second half and it came, following several phases, from Johns, who angled his run to make the line.

Rule, having missed the conversion, made amends shortly after with a penalty to nudge Cornwall 15-5 ahead.

As the half wore on Cornwall needed tries. North Midlands were reduced to fourteen men as flanker Daniel Smith took a yellow card for offside. Rule kicked the penalty towards the clubhouse corner, and Cornwall drove from the lineout with Hilton getting the black and gold’s third try.

Rule kicked the conversion, but with time fast running out Cornwall needed a fourth try to stand any chance of overhauling Hertfordshire.

Well into time added on Cornwall got the fourth try -- again from a forward drive -- with flanker Tom Rawlings getting the score. Rule added the extras but at the final whistle the news filtered through that Hertfordshire, despite losing, had done enough.

North Midlands' defeat sees them relegated after just one season in the top division, to be replaced by Kent, who beat Somerset 32-28.

Cornwall 29 pts: tries Salter, Johns, Hilton, Tom Rawlings; conversions Rule (3); penalty Rule

North Midlands 5 pts: try Crane
Yellow Card Smith (80)

Cornwall (Cornish All Blacks unless stated): B Rule (Redruth), R Bright, S Johns (Plymouth Albion), L Paterson, T Notman (Redruth), J Murphy, D Pascoe (Penryn & Royal Navy); D Jacques (Redruth), J Salter, C Williams (Redruth), B Hilton (Capt), B Jenkins (Cambridge), M Rawlings, T Rawlings, S Hocking (Plymouth Albion)

Replacements (all used): R Brown (Redruth), P Joyce (Redruth), C Fuca (Redruth), T Duncan (Redruth), G Goodfellow (Redruth), S Parsons (Redruth), A Struminski

North Midlands: M Farrington (Dudley Kingswinford); R Crane (Nottingham), W Richards (Luctonians), F Pierpont (Birmingham & Solihull), C Mitchell (Plymouth Albion); J Oliver (Camp Hill), D Brazier (Moseley); C Voisey (Moseley), D Osleton (Rugby Lions), S Thorpe (Dudley Kingswinford), E Parry (Dudley Kingswinford capt), M Lee (Old Saltleians), D Smith (Luctonians), N Roy-Smith (Luctonians), R Hill (Camp Hill)

Replacements used: C Lea (Birmingham Civil Service), I Darkintis (Birmingham & Solihull), T Breakwell (Old Halesonians), T Hughes (Malvern), S Leach (Camp Hill), I Mustow (Malvern)
Not used: D Protherough (unattatched)

Referee: Shane Lewis (RFU)

Cornwall Star man: Darren Jacques put in some big drives and as always was solid at scrum time.



Cornwall 36 Devon 15

Tuesday, 24th April 2012. Report by Nigel Walrond at Polson Bridge.

Darren Jaques on the charge

Darren Jaques on the charge. Photo by Simon Bryant.

Cornwall head coach Dave ‘Benji’ Thomas was pretty pleased with the performance as the Duchy got their season off to a fine start with victory over old rivals Devon at Launceston.

It was the first time Cornwall had lifted the Tamar Cup since 2008, with four good tries, and 16 points from the boot of man-of-the-match Brett Rule, clinching the spoils.

It all bodes well for their County Championship opener against Gloucestershire at Redruth on Saturday week.

“We learnt a lot,” said Thomas. “We have never been better prepared than we are at the present time because of the training sessions we have had.

“We had a strong side out against Devon, and in the first half I thought we played really, really well, but in the second half perhaps we didn’t do all of the things we did in the first half, but there was still a lot of encouraging play from both forwards and backs.”

The Duchy had a far stronger team on paper, with Devon not selecting any Exmouth or Brixham players prior to Saturday’s county cup final, and that extra strength was evident in the fifth minute, when Ben Hilton celebrated his appointment as Cornwall captain by finishing off a catch-and-drive line-out, and Redruth full-back Rule slotted the simple conversion.

Six minutes later, Cornish All Blacks flanker Mike Rawlings broke down the right touchline before feeding clubmate Richard Bright to cross in the corner.

Two Rule penalties in quick succession put Cornwall 18 points up in almost as many minutes, before Newton Abbot fly-half Rob Avery-Wright broke Devon’s duck in the 22nd minute with a penalty.

That was quickly followed by a try from full-back Will Topps, who gathered a loose ball and raced 40 metres to score to make it 18-8.

Rule added a third penalty after Devon’s replacement lock Sam Harris had been sin-binned for hands in a ruck, and the catch-and-drive line-out then did the trick for Cornwall again, with this time All Blacks flanker Tom Rawlings finishing off a powerful maul.

Rule converted superbly from the touchline to give the hosts a 28-8 interval lead.

Devon rang the changes at the break, and they came out for the second half in determined mood, but they were kept out by some stern home defending.

Rule slotted his fourth penalty to take Cornwall over the 30-point mark, but the frequent changes on both sides made it a pretty disjointed second period.

Rule then missed a relatively long-range penalty effort, but Devon continued to infringe, and referee Carl Bennett yellow-carded Plymouth Albion flanker James Harris.

Cornwall made the most of their extra man when replacement winger Tom Notman rounded off a sweeping move in the right-hand corner.

Devon finished brightly though and managed a late consolation try through Avery-Wright, who returned to the pitch after being replaced at half-time to intercept a pass from Jake Murphy, and added the conversion.

Sam Parsons looks to offload

Sam Parsons looks to offload. Photo by Simon Bryant.

Ben Hilton in the lineout

Ben Hilton in the lineout. Photo by Simon Bryant.

Cornwall (Cornish All Blacks unless stated): Rule (Redruth), Bright, Paterson, Murphy, Struminski, Webb, S Hawkey (Wadebridge Camels), Jacques (Redruth), Salter, C Williams (Redruth), Hilton (capt), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), M Rawlings, T Rawlings, Duncan (Redruth).
Replacements: Fuca (Redruth) for M Rawlings 22 mins, Parsons (Redruth) for Hawkey 47, Joyce (Redruth) for Williams 47, Mann (Penryn) for Duncan 47, T Notman (Redruth) for Bright 54, Hurdwell for Salter 57, Shepherd (St Austell) for Webb 66

Devon: Topps (Barnstaple), Mulberry (UWIC), Lee (Plymouth Albion), Webber (Barnstaple), Busch (Cullompton), Avery-Wright (Newton Abbot), Setter (UWIC), Radford (Newton Abbot), Roberts (Barnstaple), Weekes (Cullompton), Tripcony (Cornish All Blacks), Chapman (Newton Abbot), James (Barnstaple), Mortimer (Newton Abbot), Richardson (Sidmouth)
Replacements: S Harris (Cullompton) for Chapman 32, Manton (Plymouth Alb) for Weekes ht, Channon



Sunday, 5th February 2012, at Camborne RFC. Report by Bill Hooper.

Despite being under pressure in the set-piece, Cornwall gave defending champions Gloucestershire a mighty scare at Camborne on Sunday before going down by 37-22 in an entertaining game which saw the lead change hands on six occasions.

The signs were ominous for Cornwall as the powerful Gloucestershire pack had the Cornwall scrum in all sorts of bother early on. Indeed, during the opening half hour Cornwall were left to pick at the scraps, such was Gloucestershire's dominance. However, all they had to show for their efforts were a couple of penalties from full back Sam Baker.

Cornwall U20s v Glocs U20s


Slowly but surely Cornwall came more into the game. Fly-half Kyle Moyle missed with his first penalty attempt at the posts from distance on the half-hour mark, but it wasn't too long before he got his name on the score sheet.

A good run from Cornish All Blacks' flyer Aron Struminski put Cornwall into an attacking position, allowing Moyle the chance to break the defence and score under the posts, his conversion putting Cornwall 7-6 up, to the delight of the home supporters.

Cornwall went straight back down field and won a penalty as Gloucestershire failed to release the ball. Moyle slotted the kick to extend Cornwall's lead.

A clearly rattled Gloucestershire got themselves back into the lead as they took a quick tap penalty near the Cornwall line, with lock Ben West powering over for an unconverted try.

Just prior to half-time Gloucestershire had a man sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul. As they trooped off they must have wondered how they were just one point ahead, having dominated for such long periods during the first half.

Cornwall made the perfect start to the second half when flanker Jordan Rose made a good break before finding centre Liam Yeo, who gave the scoring pass to his All Blacks' teammate Struminski, who scored towards the clubhouse corner. Moyle couldn't add the conversion, nor could Cornwall again hold on to their advantage as Gloucestershire stormed back to reclaim the lead with a pushover try from replacement backrow Harris Casson. Baker added the extras for an 18-15 score-line.

Moyle was again involved in Cornwall's third try as they wrested the lead back once more. Just six minutes later his break set up the position for skipper Malcolm Hearn to pick and dive over from a ruck near the Gloucestershire line, Moyle's conversion giving Cornwall a four point lead 22-18.

That was as good as it got for the Cornish lads as Gloucestershire reverted to the tried and tested route of the scrum to grind out the result.

Back to a full complement, Gloucestershire turned the screw. Getting a penalty five-meters out, the visitors opted unsurprisingly for a scrum, shoving the Cornish pack over their own line to allow flanker Harry Horne to get the unconverted try.

Just nine minutes later they attempted to repeat the dose. Cornwall infringed and referee Sara Cox ran under the sticks to award a penalty-try which Baker converted, putting his side eight points ahead.

Both sides brought on fresh legs. However, Gloucestershire continued to dominate territorially and it was when going for the line that their prop James Litchfield was badly injured. The game was held up, quite correctly, for some fifteen minutes, whilst he was given medical attention and stabilised prior to evacuation by ambulance to Treliske Hospital.

Eventually the decision was made by the referee to play the remaining ten minutes on the pitch next to the Camborne clubhouse.

Play resumed with a five-metre scrum to Gloucestershire, which allowed centre Taylor Stevens to power his way over for his side's fifth try. Replacement Jack O'Connell popped over the conversion to complete the scoring.

Cornwall did try to get another score, with Struminski enjoying another run. However, the heavy conditions on the reserve pitch were not suited to the young speed merchant.

The game between Devon and Somerset due to be played at Cullompton was postponed until next Sunday due to pitch conditions.

Cornwall 22 pts: tries Moyle, Struminski, Hearn; conversions Moyle (2); penalty Moyle
Yellow Card: Asbridge (60)

Gloucestershire 37 pts: tries West, Casson, Hone, penalty-try, Stevens; conversions Baker (2), O'Connell; penalties Baker (2)
Yellow Cards: O'Connell (40), Spencer (64), Hoyle (72)

Cornwall U20: Bonds, Notman (both Redruth), Yeo, Chapman (Chew 73), Struminski, Moyle (all Cornish All Blacks), Asbridge (Bath Uni) (Riley, Newquay Hornets 76); Hearn (Penryn, capt), Pascoe (Truro) (Pill Cornish All Blacks 58), Brown (St. Austell)(Allsopp Truro College 58), O'Keeffe (Truro), Hales (Cornish All Blacks(Murphy Truro College 62), Rose (Penryn), Instance (Redruth) (Welland St. Austell 65), Dickinson (Truro College)
Replacement (not used): Tidball (Truro)

Gloucestershire U20: Baker (Stourbridge), Smith (Clifton) (Frame Cirencester 75), Saunders (Bath), Stevens (Filton College), Harrington (Cirencester) (Kerr Cheltenham 58), Clements (Hartpury College) (O'Connell Cinderford 14), Hoyle (Matson); Cano (Bristol) (Knight Matson 80), Evans (Clifton) (Haynes Cinderford 56), Litchfield (Dings Crusaders) (Chapel-Davis Filton College 75), Normandale (UWIC capt), West (Cinderford), Hone (Avonmouth OB), Spencer (Hartpury College), Uren (UWIC) (Casson Hartpury College 42)

Referee: Sara Cox (Devon RRS)

Cornwall U.20 Star Player: Kyle Moyle (Cornish All Blacks)

Coaches' reactions

After the final whistle Cornwall's coach Tom Rawlings gave his reaction. He said "I am immensely proud of the boys, it was an outstanding effort, a brilliant effort. Before the game when we handed out the jerseys we all sat down and I said today it's not about winning or losing I wanted them to out and do the county proud and restore pride and passion into the jersey and they did that for me and Steve (Kenward). They went out and put their bodies on the line and created something quite special. Yes we lost, but it could have gone either way, for long periods during the game it was nip and tuck, and that shows the progress we have made over the past couple of seasons. I am really proud of them all today. I was really pleased with our backline they showed a lot of promise and I think in the backs we had the beating of them."

Rawlings conceded that his side were up against it scrum time. "We were up against it, we were giving away a lot per man in terms of weight. We made a few changes and that helped shore things up, the referee started pinging them for the early shove. I brought on Ryan Pill who is normally a hooker and played him at loose-head, he's never played there before, moving Malcolm Hearn to tight-head and that evened up the scrums a little bit. All twenty-two put their bodies on the line, now we must carry this on in our next game at Somerset in two weeks time at Wellington. Rawlings was also a little disappointed with the award of the penalty-try against his side.

"You've got to warn a side before you go under the posts, it was a very quick decision after just the one penalty, but it's all water under the bridge now."

Gloucestershire's coach Mark Panoho agreed that it had been a tough win. "We made hard work of it, I think the bonus is that we have got things to work on now, it's a new team just two faces from last season, so those boys haven't played together before today.

"First half we dominated and moved the ball into areas but all too often we came away with nothing, little things that we tried didn't come off but that will hopefully come as the boys create a better understanding.

"Next up for us is Devon at Lydney, we have a training session next week we hope to bring a few fresh faces into the squad. I don't think we will change too much from the style of rugby we want to play.

"It's always hard to come down to Cornwall so to get a win is a great boost for us."


Sunday, 19th February 2012, at the Athletic Ground, Wellington RFC. Report from the Western Morning News by Nigel Welrond.

Cornwall took a major step towards ensuring they will be playing in tier one of the National Under-20 Championship next season with a hard-fought victory over Somerset at Wellington.

Under proposed restructuring at under-20 level, the bottom team in South West Group B will drop down into tier two, and both Somerset and Cornwall had lost their opening group matches.

The star of the show for the Duchy was 19-year-old Cornish All Blacks winger Aron Struminski, who showed electrifying pace and great footwork to run in two superb first-half tries.

However, both sides were hugely indebted to Roger Simon, who turned up to watch the game but ended up refereeing it, after the three match officials expected for the contest failed to show.

Somerset made a bright start, but fly-half James Huxtable missed a simple penalty chance after only three minutes.

His opposite number, Kyle Moyle, was on target nine minutes later to give Cornwall the lead, and just before the midway point in the first half Struminski bagged the first of his two touchdowns, after two fine tackles by Wadebridge flanker Connor Diamond had helped secure turnover ball.

Struminski crossed for his second try in the 34th minute, leaving two Somerset players for dead with a searing burst, before Huxtable and Moyle kicked a further penalty apiece to give Cornwall a 16-3 interval lead.

Huxtable and Moyle each added another penalty early in the second half to make it 19-6, but Cornwall were then guilty of white line fever, with several scoring chances going begging when enticing overlaps were ignored.

They were almost made to pay, with Somerset replacement Max Woodward forcing his way over for a 68th-minute try, converted by Huxtable, to set alarm bells ringing.

Moyle all but sealed victory for Cornwall with a penalty in injury time, but there was still time for Walcot centre Joseph Keane to burst through a huge gap for a try for Somerset, with Huxtable adding the extras with the last kick of the game.

Somerset: Bolster (Keynsham), Hawking (Keynsham), Burnell (Old Reds), Keane (Walcot), Paul (Burnham-on-Sea), Huxtable (Bath Univ), Skinner (Bath Univ), Heggarty (Wells), Mahoney (Taunton), George (Frome), Gill-Watkins (Old Reds), Thompson (Bridgwater & Alb), Phillips (Filton Academy), Indow (Walcot), Webber (Minehead). Replacements all used: Collins (Old Reds), Dunn (Bridgwater & A), Woodward (Old Reds), Tregenna (North Petherton), Weaver (Trowbridge), Atherton (Avonvale), Hurrell-Smith (Keynsham)

Cornwall: (Cornish All Blacks unless stated): D Bonds (Redruth), T Notman (Redruth), Yeo, Chapman, Struminski, Moyle, Asbridge (Bath Univ), Hearn (Penryn, capt), Allsopp (Truro College), Roach (Truro College), O’Keeffe (Truro), Hales, Scott (Wadebridge Camels), Diamond (Wadebridge C), Rose (Penryn). Replacements used: Brown (St Austell), Pill, Murphy (Truro College), Welland (St Austell), J Duke
Replacements not used: J Grubb (Wadebridge), Tidball (Truro)

Somerset scorers: tries Woodward, Keane; conversions Huxtable (2); penalties Huxtable (2)

Cornwall scorers: tries Struminski (2); pens Moyle (4)



Sunday, 4th March 2012, at Hayle RFC. Report by Bill Hooper.

Cornwall's youngsters rounded off their county championship campaign in fine style, defeating old foes Devon 24-23 to finish runners-up in SW Pool B behind Gloucestershire, who will advance to the play-off against SW Pool A winners, either Berkshire or Oxfordshire.

No9 Luke Asbridge about to

No9 Luke Asbridge about to pounce

It was a result which delighted Cornwall coach Tom Rawlings. He said. "Playing in Cornwall v Devon matches are the ones you want to be in. We've sent them back across the Tamar with their tails between their legs. Having said that, Devon are a good side, they only just lost against Gloucestershire. We've beaten them today and we've ended our season on a high with two wins from three games. I am really very happy with the effort that has been put in by the boys this season.

"We missed a few chances during the first half and we gifted them their opening score, but I think we did enough to earn the win. We scored four very good tries There is no question that Cornwall have improved at this level this season and I think we can look forward to next season with even more optimism."

Rawlings was also full of praise for young flanker Neil Broadbank who came into the side today. "He's a great talent. Obviously I've seen him progress at Truro College. He's come in today playing against players two or three years older and didn't look out of place. I thought he took his try really well."

Assistant coach Steve Kenward was also satisfied with the squad's performance and attitude this season and he felt that there was no reason why some of those players could not feature for Cornwall in either the Tamar Cup or County Championship later in the season. "For me the opportunities the boys have now is amazing, especially with the Cornwall talent that's rising. The good thing for us is we have got the basis of a good squad for next season. Some of those who have left the squad now will feature for Cornwall in the Tamar Cup and the County Championship. Tom Notman and Aron Struminski are both playing National League rugby and I think there is every chance they could feature for Cornwall at senior level this season. Things are looking up for Cornish rugby at the moment."

Rawlings was able to confirm that both Notman and Struminski, along with centre Liam Yeo, have been training with the Cornwall senior squad this season.

Cornwall's jumpers Brogan O'Keefe and Duncan Hales soar high

Cornwall's jumpers Brogan O'Keefe and Duncan Hales soar high

Cornwall played with the stiff breeze at their backs during the first half, but they suffered an early set-back as Devon's winger Josh Smith intercepted a Sam Chapman pass as Cornwall pressed in the Devon half. The Newton Abbot Player cantered in for the game's opening try after just 4 minutes.

Fly-half Rob Avery-Wright couldn't add the extras from out wide against the wind.

Cornwall continued to enjoy territorial advantage as the first quarter wore on. Fly-half Kyle Moyle missed with his first shot at the posts after 11 minutes as Devon went off their feet at the ruck.

Cornwall's patience was eventually rewarded when they scored two tries in the space of four minutes. Lock Duncan Hales charged down an attempted Devon clearance in their 22. As the ball bounced in-goal, flanker Neil Broadbank, who last weekend played in the under 18 festival for the south west at Broadstreet and narrowly missed out on selection for England 18's, followed up to get the touchdown. Moyle was on target with his conversion.

Moments later Cornwall had a second try as a good move down the left flank put Cornish All Black flyer Aron Struminski in for Cornwall's second try in the corner. It was the winger's fourth try in three games for the U.20's this season. Moyle couldn't add the conversion but Cornwall now led 12-5.

Devon got themselves into a good attacking position in the Cornwall 22. After a number of phases their skipper, No.8 Kade Dillon, managed to stretch over the try-line to dot the ball down. Once again Avery-Wright couldn't add the extras against the breeze.

Cornwall needed at least another score before the break and it came just two minutes after Dillon's try for Devon. Another storming run down the wing from Struminski set up full back Dean Bonds, who crossed for an unconverted try to give Cornwall a 17-10 lead which they held up to half-time.

But Cornwall now had to face the wind. Would a seven-point lead prove to be enough?

Devon attacked with renewed purpose. However, Cornwall's defence proved a match for the young Devonians. Matt Dayment almost got a try in the scoreboard corner for the visitors, but was denied by a combination of defence from Struminski and the touchline. Dillon went close to getting a second try, but somehow a Cornish body got under the ball. Eventually Devon did cut the deficit with an Avery-Wright drop-goal on 58 minutes.

Cornwall looked to counter but too often promising moves broke down and silly penalties were given away.

Cornwall then found themselves down to fourteen men as replacement prop Ryan Pill was yellow carded for pulling down a maul. Avery-Wright kicked the resulting penalty to cut Cornwall's lead to just one point.

Cornwall to their credit didn't panic: instead they worked field position in the Devon 22 to set up a ruck. The boys drove for the line with Jordan Rose almost getting over, but they looked to have lost the chance. However, Dillon made a hash of things for Devon, presenting the ball to centre Liam Yeo, who gratefully scored Cornwall's fourth try under the posts. Moyle's conversion looked to put the game safe for Cornwall at 24-16 with just moments left.

Devon, though, had the final word in this entertaining game as replacement Mat Dowrick got his side's third try. Avery-Wright's drop-kick conversion left Cornwall ahead by a point 24-23 at the final whistle.

Cornwall U.20 24 pts: tries Broadbank, Struminski, Bonds Yeo; conversions Moyle (2)
Yellow Card Pill (62-72)

Devon U.20 23 pts: tries Smith, Dillon, Dowrick; conversion Avery-Wright; penalty Avery-Wright; drop-goal Avery-Wright

Cornwall U20: Bonds, Notman (both Redruth), Yeo, Chapman, Struminski, Moyle (all Cornish All Blacks), Asbridge (Bath Uni); Hearn (Penryn, capt), Allsopp (Truro), Roach (Cornish All Blacks) (Pill Cornish All Blacks 57), O'Keeffe (Truro), Hales (Cornish All Blacks), Rose (Penryn), Broadbank (Truro College), Dickinson (Truro College) (Brown St. Austell 67-77)
Replacements (not used): Murphy (Truro College), Duke (Cornish All Blacks), Martin (Penryn), Welland (St. Austell), Kessell (Truro College)

Devon U20: Massy-Birch (UWIC), Dayment (Dowrick 70 bothNewton Abbot), Luffman (Tavistock), Dennis (Okehampton), Smith, Avery-Wright (both Newton Abbot), Mulberry (UWIC); Snell (Bideford), Bennett (Devonport Services) Varano (Bicton Coll 70), Higgins (Exmouth) (Berry Exmouth 49), Edwards (Plymouth Uni), Whitford (Torquay Ath) (Burt Devonport Serv 69), Persey (Cullompton), Farrell (Newton Abbot), Dillon (Plymouth Uni, capt)

Referee: James Clarke (RFU)

Cornwall-man-of-the-match: Jordan Rose


Sunday, 4th March 2012, at Hayle RFC. Report from the Western Morning News.

Cornwall wound up their National U20 Championship South West B Group campaign with a hard-fought 24-23 win over fierce rivals Devon U20 at Hayle today.

Centre Liam Yeo's late try, converted by fly half Kyle Moyle, made the difference in a rugged contest that, in the end, had no bearing on the Group title as Gloucestershire U20 defeated Somerset at Lydney, 38-20, to top the group unbeaten.

Cornwall coach Tom Rawlings said: "The boys really rose to it and if we keep performing like that we'll have a good side next season as half of the boys will be back. It also shows the level of players coming through the county and that Cornwall rugby has a bright future."

Cornwall opted to play with the fierce wind that was blowing down the pitch in the first-half but were in for an early setback when Devon left-wing Josh Smith intercepted a pass in the Cornish midfield and sprinted over from well inside his own half after just five minutes.

A missed penalty added to Cornwall woes shortly after but, with their pack under pressure in the tight and up against the wind, the visitors finally conceded a try when scrum half Ollie Mulberry's clearance, from inside his own 22, was charged down by Neil Broadbank.

The flanker, in full flight, chased after the ball as it careered back over the Devon line and jubilantly dived on it for the five points.

Fly half Kyle Moyle didn't miss the conversion but he did miss one, minutes later, after Cornwall had immediately swept back into the visitors' 22 and some well-worked ball sent left wing Aaron Struminski powering over for a 12-5 lead.

Devon, however, rallied quickly and hit back from a concentrated handling movement rounded off by No.8 Kade Dillon smashing over -- only for the home side to immediately reply when full back Dean Bonds set up Struminski for his second and to put Cornwall 17-10 in front at the break.

With the news that Somerset were 13-3 ahead of Gloucestershire turning into the second half there was all to play for, for both sides, in the second half and, with the wind now behind them, Devon began to exert some meaningful pressure.

A neatly struck Rob Avery-Wright drop-goal cut the deficit and with Cornwall's replacement prop Ryan Pill yellow carded almost as soon as he came on at a scrum Devon seemed to have the upper hand.

Avery-Wright kicked the resultant penalty to get his side within a point, 17-16, but resilient Cornwall maintained their slender lead until back to full strength.

And, after some intense pressure on the visitors' line, it was the home team who stretched further ahead when, having snaffled Devon ball, centre Liam Yeo fought his way over and Moyle converted with two minutes remaining.

One last big effort saw Devon replacement Nigel Law grab the visitors final try with Avery-Wright's conversion ending the match.

Cornwall U20: Dean Bonds (Redruth); Tom Notman (Redruth), Liam Yeo (Launceston), Sam Chapman (Launceston), Aaron Struminski (Launceston); Kyle Moyle (Launceston), Luke Ashbridge (Bath Uni.); Malcolm Hearn (Penryn, capt.), Ted Alsop (Truro College), Mike Roach (Launceston); Brogan O'Keefe (Truro), Duncan Hayles (Launceston); Jordan Rose (Penryn), Neil Broadbank (Truro College), Anthony Dickenson (Truro College)
Replacements: Ryan Brown (St Austell), Ryan Pill (Launceston), Joab Murphy (Truro College), Jordan Duke (Launceston), James Martin (Penryn), Alex Welland (St Austell), Jack Kessell (Redruth)

Devon U-20: Oli Massey-Birch (UWIC); Matt Dayment (Newton Abbot), Dan Luffman (Tavistock), Kevin Dennis (Okehampton), Josh Smith (Newton Abbot); Rob Avery-Wright (Newton Abbot), Ollie Mulberry (UWIC); George Snell (Bideford), Sam Bennett (Devonport Services), Ben Higgins (Exmouth); Rupert Edwards (Plymouth University), Tom Whitford (Torquay Athletic); Stuart Persey (Cullompton), Chris Farrell (Newton Abbot), Kade Dillon (Plymouth University); Dan Lee (Barnstaple). Reps: Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot), Guiseppe Varano (Bicton College), Tom Burt (Devonport Services), Nigel Berry (Exmouth)