Photo – Damien Cook celebrates the final whistle
By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo
Cornwall’s win on Sunday in the Bill Beaumont Cup Final against Lancashire 18-13 will have been greeted in every household in Cornwall, but maybe none so much as the Cooks’.
Lock Damien Cook finally got a winner’s medal at Twickenham to go alongside the runners-up medals he already has for the defeated finals in 2013 and 2014, plus the Under 20 final defeat in 2002 to Hampshire 27-14.
When you add to the equation father Tony’s three County Championship final runners-up medals from 1989, 1992 and 1998, sadly Cornwall’s record cap holder with 102 caps didn’t feature in the winning 1991 side, then the family’s luck at Twickenham had to change surely?
Prior to the game I had a chat with Tony Cook near the players’ entrance and he told me that this year he had made a change of habit. Previously he had worn his 1989 shirt to all the finals and this year he had decided to leave it at home.
Photo – Cornwall’s Damien Cook bloodied but unbowed powers on through Lancs skipper Evan Stewart with Chris Fuca and Paul Arnold in close attendance
I caught up with a blooded but none-the-less happy Damien Cook as he came out from the changing rooms after the game. He said: “It’s been a long time coming, my first losing experience here was back in 2002 with the under 20s when we lost the final and then the previous two finals to Lancashire, so it was a big relief, thrill and pleasure to be able to put the record straight today against a fine Lancashire side.”
He laughed at his Dad’s remark about his ’89 shirt and went on to say: “Maybe it did. We have got a real good group of players with a good blend of youth and experience and I think today that experience got us through, the previous two years we thought the job was done just getting here, but as you know the job is done winning it.
Photo – Cook looking for contact as Lancs Chris Johnson watches on
“We dug deep today especially towards the end there and the experience of the last couple of seasons came through. I think Fucs (Chris Fuca) said that this has been building since February and is not something thrown together in the last four weeks. The patterns and procedures in play have painstakingly been put in place. Our preparation has been the key, although the championship has taken a bit of a backstage in recent seasons, and you haven’t got the time to prepare yourself following the league season. I would love to see the leagues re-structured and go back to the old format with the county championship during the season proper. I think that will give it more credibility and hopefully get a few more counties to take it seriously again.”
Cooky was also delighted with the support of the Cornish fans who had made the long trip to Twickenham: “It was like playing at home looking up at the stands and seeing the black and gold you have to say that this Championship would be pretty poor without Cornwall in the final.”
Photo – Powering on Cooky with skipper Kyle Marriott
Cooky also confirmed that he had no plans to retire yet: “Having got a winner’s medal, I’d like to have a go at another next year. You are a long time retired and I’ve no plans to do that yet. It’s a big commitment but one I am happy to take on.”