Devon 13 Cornwall 38
Report by Nigel Walrond at Brickfields with photos by Simon Bryant Iktisphoto
CORNWALL warmed up for the County Championship by lifting the Tamar Cup for a fourth successive year with a convincing victory over their old rivals at Brickfields.
The Duchy were penalised off the park by Hampshire referee Adam Leal in the first half and struggled to get any continuity going, though they did lead 17-13 at the break.
In the second half though, as the weather conditions deteriorated at Brickfields, with rain sweeping across the ground, they maintained their discipline and scored some good tries to run out easy winners in the end.
Photo – Cornwall man of the match Matt Shepherd
Cornwall backs coach Ian Morgan said: “We needed to blow some cobwebs away and have a look at what we need to work on ahead of our opening Championship game against Gloucestershire.
“I thought the penalty count was a bit harsh against us, but I suppose the referee sees things differently to us when he is out on the field and we have got to look at our discipline.
“We probably did throw ourselves into a couple of rucks we didn’t need to, and compete for balls we didn’t have to, but it was the first game of our season and the boys were keen to impress.
“We had some new faces out there who wanted to show what they could do, and some of them stood up really well.
“As soon as we got a try in the second half we started to ring the changes, because it gave us a little bit of freedom to do so.”
One of the most pleasing aspects of the display was the performance of half-backs Matt Shepherd and Lewis Webb, who linked well and scored three of Cornwall’s five tries between them, with Shepherd also picking up the Trelawny’s Army Supporters Club man of the match award.
“They controlled the game really well, and Shep’s work rate was good and earned him man of the match, but it was nice to see the other guys come on and keep the same control,” said Morgan.
Photo – Taunton fly-half Lewis Webb had a fine game at fly-half for Cornwall
Cornwall were without the unavailable Kyle Marriott; Barrie-John Chapman, Damien Cook and Craig Williams were all rested; while scrum half Greg Goodfellow was banned by his club side Redruth after a red card against Southend last Saturday that could see him miss the whole of the Championship.
They took a fourth-minute lead when a fine touchline burst by winger Jon Dawe set up good field position, a penalty was kicked to the corner, and after initial surges by Chris Fuca and Rupert Freestone, Shepherd scored a try which he converted himself.
Cornwall then lost hooker Freestone to the sin-bin for repeated infringement by the Duchy, and Devon capitalised, with some poor tackling allowing blindside flanker Dan Williams to score a try, converted by fly half Joe Simmonds, who also added a penalty for a 10-7 advantage.
Photo – replacement Billy Searle scored a good try and kicked three conversions
A Shepherd penalty just before the half-hour mark levelled matters, before Webb grabbed his first try of the game after a quickly-taken tap penalty by Shepherd, who also converted, but Simmonds slotted another penalty in first-half injury time to cut Cornwall’s interval lead to 17-13.
A fine try by young Redruth winger Robin Wedlake in the corner lit up the start of a soggy second half, and when Webb also crossed, with Shepherd and replacement Billy Searle adding conversions, Cornwall were out of sight at 31-13 with 54 minutes gone.
Both sides rang the changes and the game became a bit disjointed, but Cornwall managed one more try, three minutes from time, when Searle got over in the corner, and converted superbly from the touchline, to give the Duchy a confidence-boosting victory ahead of their trip to Gloucestershire on Saturday week.
Devon (Brixham unless otherwise stated): Goodman, Crosscombe, MacLean, Paterson (Ivybridge), Squire, Simmonds (Teignmouth), Murphy (Tavistock), Halse (New Cross), Avery (Newton Abbot, capt), Morris, Gohl (Barnstaple), Templeton (Newton Abbot), Williams (Newton Abbot), Parsons (Teignmouth), Thomas. Replacements all used: Petherbridge (Barnstaple), Castleton (Newton Abbot), Sowden (Teignmouth), Maggs, Savage (Exmouth), Bryce, Massy-Birch (Taunton), Turner (Taunton), Manton (Taunton).
Cornwall (Redruth unless otherwise stated): Venables (Saltash), Wedlake, Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), Webber, Dawe (All Blacks), Webb (Taunton), Shepherd (All Blacks), Phillips (Redruth), Freestone (Clifton), Judge (All Blacks), Courtier (All Blacks), Hilton (All Blacks, capt), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), Jones (Penryn), Fuca. Replacements all used: Salter (All Blacks), J Drew, Brown, M Grubb (Wadebridge), Friend (All Blacks), Peacock (Camborne), Searle (All Blacks), Mankee (Camborne), Prisk.
Rolling replacements for Cornwall: Salter (All Blacks) for Jones 17, Salter for Freestone 27, Grubb for Goldsworthy ht, Prisk for Courtier ht, Friend for Shepherd 44, Peacock for Friend 51, Searle for Venables 51, Brown for Salter 59, Courtier for Fuca 59, Goldsworthy for Hilton 59, Venables for Wedlake 64, Shepherd for Friend 64, Mankee for Webber 67, Drew for Judge 72, Friend for Peacock 72.
Devon: Try: Williams; Con: Simmonds; Pen: Simmonds (2).
Cornwall: Tries: Shepherd, Webb (2), Wedlake, Searle; Cons: Shepherd (3), Searle (2); Pen: Shepherd.
Yellow cards: Cornwall: Freestone 16, Courtier 80.
Referee: Adam Leal (Hampshire).
TASC Paul Bawden Cornwall man of the match: Matt Shepherd.