Cornwall made an almost perfect start to their Bill Beaumont Cup campaign with a hard-fought win over old rivals Gloucestershire at Cinderford’s Dockham Road ground.
A big hit from BJ Chapman. Photo by John Beach.
A fourth try would have secured the Duchy a try-scoring bonus point. However, this was a win to savour and it sets Cornwall up for another trip on the road when they travel next Saturday to Medway RFC to take on Kent, who were defeated in their opening match by reigning county champions Hertfordshire 50 – 26.
Cornwall had a couple of late changes as Martin Rice (flu) and Darren Semmens had to pull out on the eve of the game. Cornish All Blacks Tom Hurdwell was drafted into a six man bench.
Despite a crowd made up mostly of Cornish supporters, Cornwall got off to the worst possible start as some slack tackling allowed Gloucestershire’s captain, lock Will Warden, to gallop in for an opening try, which fly-half Mike Wilcox converted.
This set-back gave Cornwall a jolt and they soon roared back to level the scores when flanker Sam Matavesi claimed Cornwall’s first try following a powerful drive from the black and gold forwards. Paul Thirlby kicked the conversion.
Gloucestershire continued to dominate proceedings. However, Cornwall’s defence had stiffened up following their early lapse. Eventually Gloucestershire found a breach as winger Lloyd Stapleton kicked over the cover to gather and score in the corner for an unconverted try to lead 12 – 7.
Thirlby reduced the deficit with a well-struck penalty. Cornwall then enjoyed a period of domination leading up to half-time. Accidental off-side denied Cornwall a certain try, then Thirlby missed a penalty attempt to leave Cornwall trailing just 12-10 at the break.
Cornwall made a perfect start to the second half, scoring a second try as prop Craig Williams powered over, with Thirlby again on cue with the extras.
Trelawny’s Army was now in full cry, sensing a famous win could be on the cards.
Cornwall then lost skipper Ben Hilton to the sin-bin and this gave Gloucestershire an advantage that they exploited. Following a drive from a line-out, the ball was moved wide for centre Barney Pascall to score and Wilcox to convert for a 19-17 lead.
Again roared on by the marvellous travelling support, Cornwall piled on the pressure near the Gloucestershire line. Winger Nev Codlin was shown a yellow card for a professional foul and Cornwall took full-advantage. From a scrum No.8 Sam Hocking picked and drove over for Cornwall’s third try. Thirlby once again kicked a fine conversion for a five point lead.
Gloucestershire looked to come again as Mr Kitt played almost 10 minutes of time added on, but Cornwall held on, despite losing Ben Priddey to the sin-bin in the dying moments.
The Cinderford clubhouse echoed to the strains of “Trelawny” after the final whistle.
After the game Cornwall coach Dave “Benji” Thomas gave his reaction. “I think that was an awesome performance. Everyone who came on the field today gave their all. They played with fantastic pride and passion and that made all the difference”.
“Gloucestershire had a lot of possession but our defence was good. The boys tackled their hearts out. I know we conceded a couple of soft tries, but our defence won the game today”.
“Despite conceding that early try the boys picked up their game and showed character. In the end our picking and driving game wore down Gloucestershire and in the end our fitness told. Sam Matavesi is a very strong young man and when he’s got the ball and he’s on the charge he takes some stopping. However, it was a fantastic team performance and the boys can go away with a lot of pride today”.
“We have got some work to do, the line out never really functioned and no doubt Alan Paver (forwards coach) will look at that this week before we travel to Kent”.
Trelawny’s Army are running a coach to Medway RFC next Saturday for the game against Kent. Contact Bryan Llewellyn on 01209 213959.
For those travelling be aware of major road works on the M 25 near Gatwick. Allow extra time for travelling.
Gloucestershire: Hawkins, Codlin (both Cinderford), Pascal (Richmond), Done, Stapleton, Wilcox (all Cinderford), Arnott (Southend); Bundy (Cinderford), Wilkes (Moseley), George (Stourbridge), Warden (capt) (Richmond), West (Cinderford), Joyce (Dings Crusaders), Foden, Evans (both Cinderford)
Replacements: Smart, Selway, Critchley, Allen, Pointon (all Cinderford), Hemming (Old Centralians), Sutherland (Esher)
Yellow Card: Codlin 67-77
Glocs scorers: tries Warden, Stapleton, Pascall; cons Wilcox (2)
Cornwall: Murphy, Bright (both CABs), Johns (Coventry), Webber (CABs), Notman, Thirlby, Goodfellow (all Redruth); Jacques, Brown, Williams, Cook (all Redruth), Hilton (capt) (CABs), Fuca (Redruth), Matavesi (Camborne), Hocking (Unattached)
Replacements: Priddey (Redruth & Royal Navy), Rice, Chapman (both CABs), Lawton (Camborne), Semmens (Unattached), Shepherd (St.Austell), Vinnicombe (Redruth)
Yellow Cards: Hilton 54-64, Priddey 80+8
Cornwall scorers: tries Matavesi, Brown, Hocking; cons Thirlby (3); pen Thirlby
Referee R.Kitt (RFU)
Cornwall's man-of-the-match: Sam Matavesi
Cornwall staged a remarkable comeback to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against a spirited Kent side at Medway RFC.
The win sets up Cornwall for a tilt at reaching Twickenham for the first time in a County Championship final in fourteen years. To get there, they must beat reigning champions Hertfordshire next Saturday at Camborne. It promises to be a titanic struggle with the prize a final at rugby HQ on Sunday 26th May against, in all probability, Lancashire, who triumphed today in the Roses match against Yorkshire at Fylde. Herts enjoyed another big win at Hertford against Gloucestershire 56-22 and lead the pool on 10 points to Cornwall's 8 points.
Cornwall captain Ben Hilton on a charge. Photo by John Beach.
All roads will lead to Camborne next Saturday with hopefully a big Cornish crowd bedecked in the black and gold to cheer the boys on to a famous win.
Lancashire, who triumphed in the Roses match against Yorkshire at Fylde 35-25, are likely to await the winners at Twickenham on Sunday 26th May.
Cornwall enjoyed the use of the stiff breeze first half, though they had to wait until the quarter-of-an-hour mark before registering their first points, a try scored by hooker Richard Brown, with fly-half Paul Thirlby adding the extras.
Thirlby then added a couple of penalties as Cornwall established a useful 13-0 lead and looked well set to take command of the match.
However, Kent got back into it when they scored a try through Blackheath winger Richard Lankshear, which was converted by fly-half Rory Teague.
Thirlby kicked a third penalty just prior to half-time to put Cornwall 16-7 up at half-time.
The second half was a different affair, with Kent putting Cornwall under the cosh for long periods.
Cornwall lost prop Craig Williams to injury. However, young teammate from Redruth John Drew stepped off the bench for a Championship debut.
Further disruption came with the loss of Paul Thirlby, as Teague whittled away at Cornwall’s advantage before a Cornish error gifted Lankshear a second try, Teague’s conversion giving the hosts a 17-16 lead.
It looked like Cornwall were going to throw it all away, but they rallied and; from a penalty they mauled towards the Kent line, with No.8 Sam Hocking claiming the all-important try. Full back Jake Murphy converted to put Cornwall ahead once more 23-17.
Ashley Lawton came on and made an important contribution with a try-saving tackle. The Camborne player is sure of a huge reception on his home turf next Saturday.
Kent laid siege to the Cornwall line in the closing moments. Kent were convinced they had scored a try at the death but referee Mr Davis thought otherwise and blew for time, much to the relief of the Cornish support around the field. So, despite having lost Barrie Chapman to the bin, Cornwall saw the game out to set up next Saturday’s mouth-watering tie against Hertfordshire.
Kent 17 pts: tries Lankshear (2); conversions Teague (2); penalty Teague
Cornwall 23 pts: tries Brown, Hocking; conversions Thirlby, Murphy; penalties Thilby (3)
Kent: A Gallagher (Old Colfeians), R Lankshear (Blackheath), T May (Westcombe Park), D Bonner (Blackheath), B Summers (Loughborough University), R Teague (Blackheath), J Hosken (Old Elthamians), J Cleverley (Blackheath), J Bonner (Blackheath), S Goode (Canterbury), T Stradwick (Blackheath, capt), A Vanner (Old Elthamians), H Barton (Westcombe Park), J Lindfield (Blackheath), J Catt (Blackheath)
Replacements: H Fry (Westcombe Park), B McKinnell (Sheppey), J Green (Canterbury), B Johnson (Medway), T Chapman (Blackheath), C Kingsman (Canterbury), J Crust (Blackheath)
Yellow Card: Lindfield (63)
Cornwall: Jake Murphy; Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman; Paul Thirlby; Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Matavesi (Plymouth Albion), Sam Hocking (unattached)
Replacements: Neal Turner, Jon Drew (both Redruth), Barry Chapman, (both Cornish All Blacks), Ashley Lawton (Camborne), Matt Shepherd (St Austell), Lewis Paterson (Cornish All Blacks), Steve Perry (Barnstaple)
Yellow Card: Chapman (80)
Referee: Tom Davis (RFU)
Cornwall Man-of-the-Match: Sam Matavesi
CORNWALL will contest the final of the Bill Beaumont Cup next Sunday against old rivals Lancashire at Twickenham.
It follows Cornwall’s magnificent win on Saturday against reigning County Champions Hertfordshire by 41-29 at Camborne.
It was a game and occasion that matched the heady days of the late 80′s and early 90′s when Cornwall graced HQ’s hallowed turf.
Not since 1999 have Cornwall played in a County Championship Final and that famous win against Gloucestershire.
Cornwall prop Craig Williams (Redruth) charges forward. Photo by Simon Bryant/Iktisphoto. Mobile: 07990592945.
Cornwall took to the field to the strains of “Trelawny”, and huge cheers from a packed West Bank and around the ground.
However, it didn’t start too brightly, as Cornwall fell behind to an early try scored by Hert’s centre Sam Winter, who made the most of some poor defending by Cornwall. The centre picked his way through the Cornwall line to score near the posts. Full-back Richard Gregg added the conversion.
Cornwall hit back almost immediately as flanker Sam Hocking picked the ball up from a ruck as Hertfordshire hesitated, before galloping in from 35 meters to score in the Park Gate corner. It was his third try in as many matches for Cornwall this season in the Championship. Thirlby couldn’t add the difficult conversion.
Gregg increased the visitor’s lead with a penalty, before Cornwall’s scrum-half Greg Goodfellow sniped from a ruck to run in Cornwall’s second try after 17 minutes under the posts, Thirlby’s conversion putting Cornwall 12-10 ahead.
Despite Herfordshire being reduced to fourteen men when Gregg was sin-binned for a professional foul, Cornwall couldn’t take advantage. Two Thirlby penalty attempts sailed wide as Stefan Liebenberg got the first of his three tries from a quick tap. Jimmy Speirs added the extras.
Cornwall laid siege to the Hertfordshire line as the half came to an end but couldn’t force their way over, so it remained 17-12 to Herts at the break.
The Black & Gold’s got off to a great start at the beginning of the second half with a penalty from Thirlby being just what was required early doors.
Cornwall then launched a great attack in which Chris Fuca, Darren Jacques and Hocking were involved. The ball was moved right with centre Nielson Webber putting winger Richard Bright away to finish in style in the scoreboard corner for 20-17.
Cornwall then came again, a great run from centre Steve Johns was taken on by skipper Ben Hilton and Goodfellow before full back Jake Murphy rounded off the move with the all-important fourth try for Cornwall. Thirlby, having missed with his previous attempt, struck the conversion sweetly for a ten point lead, 27-17.
Back came Herts, as we knew they would, with Liebenberg grabbing his second and Gregg the conversion.
Cornwall piled on the pressure near the Hertfordshire line. With the Cornwall scrum utterly dominant, referee Shane Lewis awarded the home side a penalty-try, which Thirlby converted to stretch Cornwall’s lead to 34-24.
Liebenberg completed his personal tally of tries with another short-range snipe from a penalty. However, Gregg crucially missed the conversion to leave Cornwall still five points to the good.
Despite missing with a drop-goal attempt, Thirlby was on-hand to score Cornwall’s sixth and final try as the forwards – notably Darren Jacques and Richard Brown – drove up to the Hertfordshire line. His conversion sealed a great win and a day at Twickenham next Sunday.
At the final whistle Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas paid tribute to his team and the magnificent Cornish support. “It was an emotional day, the ground was packed! I haven’t seen a crowd like this at a Cornwall game for many years. They were fantastic and lifted the boys at crucial times to secure the win. All credit to them, but also the boys who played, they really played out of their skins.”
Thomas felt that the early scores at the beginning of the second half were key to the win. “We had our tails up in the second half and getting those early scores was vital. We put them under tremendous pressure, it’s very hard playing out of the West Bank corner and we came away with the ball which made a huge difference.
“It’s Lancashire once again in the final, memories of our narrow defeat to them in 1992. What a day out for all the boys, this is what they aspire to, to play on the Twickenham pitch in front of hopefully a good Cornish crowd.”
Sam Hocking, who scored Cornwall’s opening try, was equally thrilled at the prospect of a Twickenham trip. “Absolutely thrilled to be going to Twickenham next Sunday with Cornwall. I was pleased with my try, the longest one of the year. I was struggling to recover from that run in.”
Hocking also paid tribute to the Cornish support. “The crowd was massive for us today. We defended well for the first half to keep them to just 17-12 and then we were able to get the early scores in the second half to dictate play.”
Hocking had a final plea to the Cornish support. “Please come along next week at Twickenham. Your support will make a huge difference to the team. You were all magnificent today.”
Cornwall: Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), Bright (All Blacks), Johns (Coventry), Webber (All Blacks), McAtee (Plymouth Alb), Thirlby (Redruth), Goodfellow (Redruth), Jacques (Redruth), Brown (Redruth), C Williams (Redruth), Cook (Redruth), Hilton (All Blacks, capt), Fuca (Redruth), Hocking (Plymouth Alb), BJ Chapman (All Blacks)
Replacements: Paterson (All Blacks) for Webber 54, T Rawlings (All Blacks) for Chapman 54, Shepherd (St Austell) for Goodfellow 80+5, Lawton (Camborne) for Cook 80+5, Notman for McAtee 80+5. Not used: Priddey, Drew
Hertfordshire (Old Albanian unless stated): Gregg, Newton (Tring), Winter (Bishop's Stortford), Regan, Speirs, Shanahan, Liebenberg, Remfry (Barnes), Saunders (Saracens), Staff, Hamilton, South (Hertford), McNamee (capt), Fahrenheim, Chambers
Replacements: McDougall for Chambers 36, Chennels (Tring) for McDougall 40+9, Abraham for South 31, Chambers for Saunders 40, Schillaci for Staff ht. Not used: Hughes, Mowbray (Chinnor), Tausaosi (Tring)
Referee: Shane Lewis (RFU)
Yellow cards - Herts: Gregg 35
Cornwall scorers: tries Hocking, Goodfellow, Bright, Murphy, penalty try, Thirlby; cons: Thirlby (4); pen Thirlby
Herts scorers: tries Winter, Liebenberg (3); cons Gregg (2), Speirs; pen Gregg
Lancashire’s fly-half Chris Johnson, who kicked fifteen points, masterminded his side’s Bill Beaumont Cup triumph over a courageous Cornwall side that almost pulled off a remarkable comeback -- only to see the Red Rose county finally secure their 22nd County Championship title as young winger Ben Rath sped in for his side’s fourth try with just three minutes left on the clock.
When Johnson kicked the final conversion to put Lancashire nine points up at 35-26, Cornwall knew the game was up and that there would be no 4th title to add to the Duchy’s successes of 1908, 1991 and 1999.
Cornwall team before the match. Photo by Bill Hooper.
Disappointingly, Cornwall committed far too many errors, especially during the first half. They were left playing catch-up rugby for most of the game, compounding their frustration by conceding points soon after scoring themselves.
However, the Cornish forwards were tremendous: the front row of Darren Jacques, Richard Brown and Craig Willimas had their opposite numbers in all sorts of bother, whilst locks Damian Cook and skipper Ben Hilton were in the thick of the action. However, it was flanker Sam Hocking who once again stood out with some huge carries; no tries this time but a massive work rate and contribution to Cornwall’s cause.
With Twickenham bathed in glorious sunshine, and England and the Barbarians having provided a fitting warm-up game, it was Cornwall who registered the opening points as Lancashire were penalised just inside their own half. Paul Thirlby took on the kick and sent it between the uprights to huge cheers from the massed Cornish crowd.
Cornwall’s advantage was short-lived as they were penalised for going off their feet. Johnson stepped up to level the scores.
The warning signs were evident for Cornwall every time Lancashire moved the ball wide; it came as no surprise when winger Nick Royle finished off a blistering attack in the corner, following some good back play from Rath and Sean Taylor. Johnson was on cue with the conversion for a useful 10-3 lead.
Thirlby, having missed moments earlier with a penalty attempt, kicked his second of the game to cut the deficit.
Almost immediately Lancashire had scored a second try as further fine back play put No. 8 Dominic Moon in the clear.
Cornwall brought Tom Rawlings into the back row in place of Ashley Lawton. Scrum-half Greg Goodfellow set off on one of his trademark breaks that saw him almost up to the Lancashire 22. Sadly the ball was lost forward as looked to off-load.
Cornwall, despite exerting tremendous pressure in the set-piece, were falling foul of referee Mr Falla, who continued to penalise them.
To make matters worse Cornwall conceded a third try as they looked to move the ball from their own half. A pass was intercepted, with Royle the happy recipient galloping in for his second score. Johnson’s conversion put his side 22-6 up and Cornwall were facing a mountain with just over thirty minutes played.
Cornwall got a penalty from a scrum, which Jake Murphy kicked to the corner. From the catch-and-drive Cornwall got another penalty that was taken quickly with centre Nielson Webber, though tackled short, able to plant the ball over the try-line. Thirlby couldn’t add the extras but that score gave Cornwall heart as half-time approached.
Cornwall looked fired-up at the beginning of the second half; the forwards looked to dictate play. Penalties came Cornwall’s way with Murphy kicking for the corner. Another driving maul was heading for the Lancashire try-line until it was halted illegally by Lancashire prop Daniel Birchell. Mr Falla ran under the posts to award the penalty-try, with Birchell invited to spend ten minutes in the bin. Thirlby’s conversion brought Cornwall right back into the game at 18-22.
Johnson and Thirlby swapped penalties as the game moved into the final quarter. But once again Johnson gave his side some breathing space with a neat drop-goal for a seven point margin.
With the clock ticking down, Cornwall needed a try; it came from a catch-and-drive, with Goodfellow slipping the ball to Lewis Vinnicombe. The Redruth flyer crossed in the corner. Thirlby’s conversion would have tied the scores but he miss-cued his attempt, to leave Lancashire with a slim advantage.
Johnson again turned provider to set up the title-clinching score for Rath and crush Cornish hopes.
Despite the loss the huge Cornish crowd at Twickenham cheered their heroes in appreciation of their efforts over the past month to get Trelawny’s Army back to rugby HQ.
CORNWALL: 15. Jake Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), 14. Richard Bright (Cornish All Blacks), 13. Steve Johns (Coventry), 12. Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), 11. Tom Notman (Redruth), 10. Paul Thirlby, (Redruth), 9. Greg Goodfellow (Redruth), 1. Darren Jaques (Redruth), 2. Richard Brown (Redruth), 3. Craig Williams (Redruth), 4. Damian Cook (Redruth), 5. Ben Hilton (Captain; Cornish All Blacks), 6. Chris Fuca (Redruth), 7. Sam Hocking (Plymouth Albion), 8. Ashley Lawton (Camborne)
Replacements: Neal Turner (Redruth), Jon Drew (Redruth), Luke Collins (Redruth), Tom Rawlings (Cornish All Blacks), Matt Shepherd (St. Austell), Steve Perry (un-attached), Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth)
Cornwall scorers: tries: Webber, penalty try, Vinnicombe; cons: Thirlby; pens: Thirlby (3)
LANCASHIRE: 15 Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers) 14 Nick Royle (Vale of Lune) 13 Chris Briers (Fylde) 12 Jack Ward (Preston Grasshoppers) 11 Ben Rath (Fylde) 10 Chris Johnson (Fylde) 9 Steve Collins (Sedgley Park); 1 Dan Birchall (Fylde) 2 Jon Matthews (Otley) 3 Simon Griffiths (Fylde) 4 Paul Arnold (Fylde) 5 Louis McGowan (Sedgley Park) (Captain) 6 Jon Nugent (Stade Dijon) 7 Steve McGinnis (Fylde) 8 Dominic Moon (Preston Grasshoppers)
Replacements: 16 Pete Altham (Fylde) 17 Gareth Gore (Preston Grasshoppers) 18 Phil Mills (Preston Grasshoppers) 19 Evan Stewart (Fylde) 20 Philip Baines (Preston Grasshoppers) 21 Tom Webb (Fylde) 22 Andrew Riley (Sedgley Park)
Yellow Card: Birchell (53)
Lancs scorers: tries: Royle (2), Moon, Rath; cons: Johnson (3); pens: Johnson (2); drop-goal: Johnson
Referee: Wayne Falla (RFU)
Crowd: 20,000 plus
Cornwall –man-of-the-match: Sam Hocking
Lancashire –man-of-the-match: Chris Johnson
We have a saying in Cornwall. "Madder do ’a?" It roughly translates as “don’t worry, be happy”.
So while the trophy might not have come home across the Tamar this time, for the 10,000 Cornish men, women and children who made the journey to Twickenham yesterday it was still a great Cornish day out… even if the result wasn’t exactly what they’d hoped for.
It did seem at times as though the entire populations of every town and village from Bude to St Buryan were in the stands. At every turnstile, pasty van and programme booth, there were men shaking hands, women embracing, whoops and cheers from all.
“Didn’t knaw you was coming up, bird,” says one, followed by an indignant: “Wouldn’t miss this, my 'andsome!”
As Redruth rugby legend Bill Bishop said on the eve of the Cornish team’s 1991 victory: “Would the last one leaving Cornwall kindly turn the lights out.” So it was in 1992, 1999 and again in 2013.
The Cornwall fifteen always knew it was going to be a tough task to beat the cream of the Red Rose county, but as Valerie Thomas, wife of Cornwall’s head coach Dave ‘Benji’ Thomas, said moments before kick-off: “I’m sure the boys will do their best. They’re all geared up, all ready to go, and I don’t think you can ask anything more of them.”
Under a perfectly blue London sky, the black and golds strode confidently out on to the hallowed home of English rugby where, earlier in the day, the national team had taken on and beaten the Barbarians.
And as the final strains of Daft Punk’s Number 1 hit Get Lucky drifted across the pitch on the PA system, the two teams facing each other must both have hoped it was to be their theme tune for the Bill Beaumont Cup Final.
No supporters shout louder – or with more music – than Cornwall’s, and the squad arrived to a tumultuous welcome. They may have been smaller in number than those seen at previous Twickenham appearances, but Trelawny’s Army were no less vocal.
The Red Roses took the kick and Cornwall almost immediately streaked ahead in the third minute, with Paul Thirlby snatching a superb penalty. Three-nil. Cornwall had taken the lead for the first and – as it turned out – last time of the match. Ten minutes in and Lancashire equalised with a well placed try. It was all downhill from there, despite the gargantuan efforts of Cornwall’s forwards.
Lancashire slipped a close try in the 27th minute, duly converting the ball with about as tough a slice as you could get, making it 10-3. Maybe the conditions at Twickenham were simply too good. Ben Hilton’s heroes aren’t used to sunshine and temperatures into the 70s. Perhaps a bit more rain and mizzle, a slippery ball and dose of mud would have suited them better.
Paul Thirlby soon came back with a slick penalty try, but 30 seconds later Lancashire’s Dominic Moon was bouncing over the line to make it 15-6. Nick Royle followed his team-mate’s effort with a perfect run to put Lancashire 11 points up at half-time.
Cornwall came back for the second half heading into the sun and looking stronger for it. Trelawny’s Army sensed blood and their singing and chanting grew to a crescendo. It may have been 22-11 but the Cornwall 15 looked every bit the better side. After a penalty try, victory no longer seemed a distant dream. However, despite the attacking might of the forwards, Cornwall lacked precision at key moments, making a series of fumbles and errors which eventually cost them the cup.
At one stage there were only four points between the two sides, but a series of mistakes allowed Lancashire to score yet another try. Then the gap closed again as Thirlby scored with a penalty kick, making it 25-21 and Cornwall really looked like they could do it. After a scrappy effort, Lancashire tipped it back for a drop goal. But undaunted, Cornwall came back again and again, with Lewis Vinnecombe making it 28-26 – and just five minutes to go.
It was a nail-biting finale, with both teams playing some cracking rugby. However, two minutes from the final whistle Lancashire’s Ben Rath finished Cornwall’s hopes with a very cocky try, followed by a conversion, leaving the final score at 35-26.
The last time Trelawny’s Army triumphed at Twickenham was in May 1999, when they trounced Gloucestershire 24-15 to take the title for only the third time in their history. Eight years earlier, in 1991, an 83-year spell in the championship wilderness ended during the legendary final moments against the White Rose of Yorkshire.
The 2013 final didn’t turn out to be their time, but the Cornish players were able to go back across the Tamar with their heads held high, confident that they had given their all and provided their supporters both at Twickenham and at home with a terrific afternoon of rugby.
Veteran Trelawny’s Army commentator Bill Hooper said afterwards: “It was a tremendous effort. The game seemed to fly by, but from a Cornish perspective there were sadly too many errors, especially in the first half when we fell so far behind.
“But all credit to the boys because they made a tremendous comeback in the second half to get back to within a shout of victory. The forwards were very strong and I thought Sam Hocking had a truly fantastic game. And Chris Fuca, Tom Rawlings, Craig Williams, Darren Jacques and Richard Brown really had the measure of the Lancashire front row.
“Cornwall were very tough throughout, but unfortunately just when we scored, we seemed to concede, which was frustrating.
“In the last few minutes we were in striking distance and it almost looked as if it could go Cornwall’s way, but again there was a silly error and Lancashire were under the posts. And their superb finishers – players like Nick Royle and Ben Rath – really hurt us.”
Yesterday’s match gave Lancashire their Cornish hat-trick, having triumphed against Cornwall in the cup final in 1969 and in 1992. However, as Launceston poet Charles Causley wrote in his poem, Cornwall: “One day, friend and stranger, the granite beast will rise.”
CORNWALL comfortably if unspectacularly retained the Tamar Cup against old foes Devon on a damp misty evening in Plymouth.
Cornwall were forced into making some late changes for the game with prop forward Darren Jacques (Redruth) not recovered from an ankle injury and flanker Tom Rawlings (Launceston) also missing through injury.
Ben Hilton on the charge against Devon. Photo by Simon Bryant/Iktisphoto. Mobile: 07990592945. 22/04/13.
Martin Rice (Launceston) came into the front row and enjoyed a fine game capped by scoring Cornwall’s second try of the game during the second half. His performance on the night deservedly saw him named Trelawny’s Army man-of-the-match and pick up the award in memory of our late Chairman and much respected local rugby journalist Paul Bawden.
There was a good contingent up from St Austell RFC there to cheer on their boys in the Cornwall squad fly-half Matt Shepherd and replacement lock Adam Pearce. Saints have enjoyed a fine season and this was a fitting acknowledgement to the club.
Cornwall dominated opening period of the game but couldn’t turn possession into points.
Eventually Cornwall’s domination paid off as they were awarded a penalty from a scrum which saw Shepherd open Cornwall’ s account after 13 minutes.
Cornwall then began to string a few moves together with one such move involving centre Lewis Paterson forwards Chris Fuca, Damien Cook and Josh Lord just seeing the final pass go astray.
On the half-hour mark another flowing Cornish move saw full back Jo Parma heading for the corner only for Saltash’s Max Venables to save the day for Devon.
Pressure continued to mount on the Devon line with Paterson’s long pass reaching the onrushing Tom Notman on the wing, the Reds flyer finished in some style from 20 meters out in the marquee corner of the ground. Shepherd added the extras with a fine conversion from the touchline to put Cornwall 10-0 up.
Devon had a period of pressure prior to half-time, which resulted in Cornwall’s Richard Bright being yellow carded for a professional foul.
During the second half Cornwall despite numerous changes continued to dominate the game. It was good to see former Cornish Pirate and now of Plymouth Albion Rhodri McAtee come on his pace certainly injected some impetus into Cornwall’s play.
Cornwall got a lineout near the Devon line which Chris Fuca took to set up a driving maul which saw Rice power over for Cornwall’s second try. Shepherd maintained his fine kicking record with the conversion to make it 17-0 and the game was safe for the Black and Golds.
The biggest roar of the night came from the St Austell contingent as lock Adam Pearce made his county debut on 71 minutes.
Devon looked to salvage some pride with a score but Tom Goodman was denied by a great tap tackle by Jamie Salter, whilst Richard Friend was hauled down close to the line, Cornwall cleared the danger and saw out the rest of the game despite losing Paterson to a late yellow card for a professional foul.
Cornwall skipper Ben Hilton proudly held aloft the Tamar Cup having received the trophy from Devon RFU President Maureen Jackson.
Devon 0 pts
Cornwall 17 pts: tries Notman, Rice; penalty Shepherd; conversions Shepherd (2)
Cornwall: J Parma (Camborne), R Bright, L Paterson, N Webber (all Cornish All Blacks), T Notman (Redruth), S Perry (Barnstaple), M Shepherd (St Austell); M Rice (Cornish All Blacks), R Brown, C Williams, D Cook (both Redruth), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks, capt), C Fuca (Redruth), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), J Lord (All Blacks)
Replacements (all used): L Vinnicombe (Redruth), B Drew (Redruth), J Salter (Plymouth Albion), M Hearn (Camborne), R McAtee (Plymouth Albion), A Pearce (St Austell), A Hosking (Redruth), L Duke, BJ Chapman, T Hurdwell (all Cornish All Blacks).
Referee: Mr D Parrett
Trelawny’s Army Paul Bawden Memorial Cornwall man-of-the-match: Martin Rice (Cornish All Blacks)
Cornwall were denied by a late show from Dorset & Wilts in this opening Pool 3 U.20’s County Championship encounter played at North Dorset RFC, reports Bill Hooper.
Kyle Moyle at fly-half had another big game for Cornwall, as did Wadebridge Camels’ prop Zac Cinnamond.
Despite going behind to a penalty kicked by Devizes' Trav Bartles, Cornwall replied with a try scored by Stithians’ flanker Chris Instance, converted by St. Ives’ fly-half Kyle Moyle to lead 7-3.
Dorset & Wilts hit back with two converted tries; the first scored by Salisbury winger Josh Green, the second from Bartles, who also kicked both conversions.
Cornwall rallied before half-time, scoring a second try through Launceston lock Duncan Hales. Moyle was again on the money with the conversion to leave Cornwall trailing by just three points at the break, 17-14.
Cornwall wrested back the lead during the second half when Moyle scored the Black & Golds’ third try, which he also converted.
With the game well into the final quarter and with a man sitting in the sin-bin, Dorset & Wilts made the most of some Cornish indiscipline. Devizes full back Ryan Webb kicked a couple of penalties to give the twin counties a slender two point advantage 23-21.
With the clock ticking down replacement Jon Kay (Salisbury) crashed over the line to give Dorset & Wilts a seven point cushion.
Cornwall threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the home side’s line in the final moments in a bid to snatch at least the chance with the conversion of a draw. However, Dorset & Wilts managed to hold their line and secure a vital opening win.
In the other game played in the pool Devon defeated Somerset 39-12 at Bridgewater.
Cornwall’s next match is on Sunday 2nd December, when they play Somerset at Redruth RFC, with a 2-00 pm kick-off.
Cornwall U20s: Kessell (Redruth), Edwards (Cornish All Blacks), Hendrickson (Truro College), S Chapman (All Blacks), Pengelly (Wadebridge Camels), Moyle (St Ives), Tout (Bude), Cinnamond (Wadebridge C), Brewer (Wadebridge C), Roach (All Blacks), Hales (All Blacks), Prisk (St Ives), Instance (Stithians), Broadbank (Redruth, capt), Stanleick (St Ives). Replacements used: Brownfield (Pirates Amateurs), Allsopp (UWIC), O'Keeffe (Truro), J Duke (All Blacks), J Prisk (St Ives). Not used: Hancock (St Ives), Ninnes (St Ives)
Replacements used: Brownfield (Pirates Amateurs), Alsopp (UWIC), O'Keeffe (Truro), J Duke (All Blacks), J Prisk (St Ives). Not used: Hancock (St Ives), Ninnes (St Ives)
Cornwall scorers: tries: Instance, Hales, Moyle; Cons: Moyle (3)
Despite the atrocious playing conditions Cornwall’s U.20’s served up a try-feast at Redruth on Sunday afternoon scoring ten tries in a big win over Somerset, who despite the heavy score against didn’t let their heads drop. Fly-half Kyle Moyle posted a personal tally of twenty-four points in Cornwall’s tally.
Cornwall U20 v Somerset U20, 2nd December 2012. Photo by John Beach.
The only sour note for Cornwall was the red card that replacement Neil Stanleick received just before full-time for stamping.
All twenty-two Cornwall players played their part in performance which delighted coaches Tom and Mike Rawlings. “The boys were outstanding, their skill levels were right up there, that was probably the best skill level I’ve seen from a Cornwall team, remarked Tom. “The quality of the tries scored, the handling, the kicking was great, massive credit to every one of the players in the squad today from one to twenty-two they were awesome I can’t speak highly enough of them. The quality of our inter-play between backs and forwards was top draw, not just from the way we scored our points but also to keep our line intact and deny Somerset any points at all was just as pleasing.
“Before the game we talked about the pride and passion of pulling on that famous black and gold jersey and what it mean’t, each and every one put their hand up today and put in a worthy performance.
“Kyle Moyle is a wonderful talent, I am so pleased he’s Cornish and playing for us his partnership with Luke Asbridge was pivitoal, but nothing changed when we brought on Max Bodilly he too had a good game whilst on the park.
Mike Rawlings was equally delighted with Cornwall’s play today. “Having that forward domination certainly gave us the go forward that we wanted, from the front row to No.8 we dominated and that confidence spread throughout the team to culminate in the eighty minute performance we saw today.
Playing up the slope first half Moyle soon opened Cornwall’s account with a penalty as Somerset were penalised at the scrum.
Despite Moyle missing the target with a second penalty attempt, Cornwall soon scored their first try when flanker Chris Instance powered over in the Frame Suite corner following good work from centre Tom Hendrickson and hooker Ted Allsopp.
Then Moyle juggled the ball to his advantage to score Cornwall’s second try under the posts also adding the simple conversion.
A second penalty from the fly-half stretched Cornwall’s advantage to 18-0.
Cornwall’s forwards were rampant with the front row Zak Cinnamond, Ted Allsopp and Mike Roach getting the nudge in the scrums, locks Todd Prisk and Duncan Hales ruling the line outs and the back row of Chris Instance, skipper Neil Broadbank and Matt Bolwell excelling in the loose.
It all led to further tries before half-time for centres Tom Hendrickson and Sam Chapman along with winger Luke Tidball profiting from a Somerset mess up. Moyle landed another two conversions and finished the half with a neat drop-goal to put the young black and golds 40-0 up at the break.
Despite the pitch resembling more and more a mud bath, Cornwall continued to play at a high tempo and before long had a sixth try to celebrate as No.8 Bolwell profited from a fine drive from his pack to dot down in the Piggy lane corner.
Kyle Speare, Broadbank and Mike Roach were all involved in the build up to Tidball’s second try after 56 minutes with Moyle again on hand with the extras.
Somerset’s cause wasn’t helped with having a player in the sin bin but even with fifteen men they could have done little more to stop Hales claiming the next Cornwall try after a forward drive.
Scrum-half Asbridge got in among the forwards to claim Cornwall’s ninth try in Hell fire corner.
With Stanleick’s red card Cornwall had to see out the final moments with fourteen men, but they still managed to conjure up a final score with Instance getting his second try of the game following good play from Max Bodilly and Speare.
The final word came again from Tom Rawlings. ““Hopefully a result like this will make people sit up in Cornwall and take note of the talent that’s coming through, this is a young side and they gave a mature performance today. We will have a break now until February when we travel to Ivybridge to take on Devon. We beat them at Hayle last season, the form book goes out of the window in Cornwall v Devon games, but if we play like we did today then I can see no reason why we can’t go there and get a result”.
Cornwall 69 pts: tries Instance (2), Moyle, Hendrickson, Chapman, Tidball (2), Bolwell, Hales, Asbridge; conversions Moyle (5); penalties Moyle (2); drop-goal Moyle
Somerset 0 pts
Cornwall U.20: J Prisk (St Ives), K Speare (Bude), T Hendrickson (Redruth & Truro College), S Chapman (Cornish All Blacks), L Tidball (Cornish All Blacks), K Moyle (St. Ives), L Asbridge (Bath Uni); Z Cinnamond (Wadebridge Camels), T Allsopp (Truro & UWIC), M Roach (Cornish All Blacks), D Hales (Cornish All Blacks), T Prisk (St. Ives), C Instance (Stithians), N Broadbank (Redruth) (Capt), M Bolwell (Cornish All Blacks)
Replacements (all used): K Brownfield (Pirates Amateurs), A Brewer (Wadebridge Camels), B O’Keefe (Truro), N Stanleick (St Ives), M Bodilly (St Ives), J Ninnes (St Ives), J Pretty (Truro College)
SomersetU.20: L Blizzard (Weston-super-Mare), J Paul (Burnham-on-Sea), A Lambert (Cleve), H Jones (Weston-super-Mare), N Mason (Taunton), A Groves (Old Redcliffians), J Bath (Exeter College); M Flook (Dings Crusaders), R Randall (Bristol Quins), P Vinicombe (Cleve), A Tomkins (Avonmouth OB’s), G Wright (Weston-super-Mare), G Jackson (Thornbury), J Tolman (Taunton), C Webber (Bridgwater & Albion)
Replacements (all used): D Coles (Bristol Quins), B Foxon (Bristol Quins), J Hawksbury (Dings Crusaders), S Davies (Taunton), J Mounsden (Hornets), J Verden (Midsummer Norton), A Harney (Taunton)
Referee: Sara Cox (Devon RRS)
Cornwall Star man: Hard to pick out one player, but Kyle Moyle once again pulled the strings at fly-half and at full-back later in the match, scorer of twenty-four points and a fine all-round game.
CORNWALL UNDER 20’S bowed out of this season's County Championship when they suffered a second loss on the road this season, losing on Sunday at Brickfields 32-24.
It looked promising for the Cornish team when leading at half-time 17-12, thanks to tries scored by No.8 Matt Bolwell and centre Tom Hendrickson, along with points from the boot of Max Bodilly.
It got even better when Cornwall scored a third try soon after the break through skipper Neil Broadbank, following a great break from Hendrickson with Bodilly again adding the extras to extend the lead to 24-12.
However, that was as good as it was to get as Devon stirred themselves, scoring two converted tries to snatch back the lead before landing a late penalty and drop-goal to secure the win and top spot in the pool – leaving Cornwall in third place in the final table.
Dorset & Wilts won as expected at Somerset 36-18 to finish second in the group and qualify for the National Quarter-finals along with Devon.
Devon 32 pts: tries Farrell, Massy-Birch, Burt, Varano; conversions Avery-Wright (3); penalty Avery-Wright; drop-goal Avery-Wright
Cornwall 24 pts: tries Bolwell, Hendrickson, Broadbank; conversions Bodilly (3); penalty Bodilly
Cornwall: J Prisk (St Ives), K Speare (Bude), T Hendrickson (Truro Coll & Redruth), S Chapman (Launceston), A Ducker (Penryn), R Brownfield (Pirates Ams), M Bodilly (St Ives); Z Cinnamond (Wadebridge Camels), T Allsopp (UWIC), T Gendall (St Ives), B O’Keefe (Truro), D Hale (Launceston), C Instance (Stithians), N Broadbank (Redruth, capt), M Bolwell (Wadebridge Camels)
Replacements: K Brownfield (Pirates Ams), A Brewer (Wadebridge Camels), J Murphy (Launceston), A Dickinson (UWIC), R Walters (UWIC), J Ninnis (St Ives), R Pretty (Truro Coll)