The second and final game for Cornwall in this season's England Counties (SW) U18 Championship saw them face their old rivals, Devon.
With Devon putting Gloucestershire to the sword in their first game of the championship and Cornwall losing in a frustrating game against Buckinghamshire the Devon squad felt confident that they could "get one over" on their Cornish counterparts.
With a number of changes to the squad from the previous week, with players back from injury Cornwall felt this was an opportunity to put right some of the wrongs from the Bucks game. Unfortunately Cornwall again seem to struggle to get the bus journey out of their system and found themselves 7-0 down in the first 7 mins. The large Devon pack finding their feet first in the contest.
This reaction from the Cornwall side was impressive and again they began to tighten their grip. With total dominance in the scrum and with the lineout functioning Cornwall had plenty of possession and created a number of scoring opportunities, however the clinical finish required at this level appeared to have been left behind somewhere on the A30. To all involved and those supporting how the Cornish lads were not "out of sight". With the complete dominance in both territory and possession it was only Cornwall's control at the crucial moment that kept Devon in the game. With the large travelling support for both teams camped around the Devon 22 it was obvious who would score next and Cornwall duly obliged with a flowing backs move to score out wide (7-7)
Although easily on top in many facets of the game Cornwall couldn't build on their first score and finished the half all square.
The second half continued and quickly Cornwall began to build phases and the forward dominance led to a second try (14-7) Unfortunately it appeared the Cornwall dominance in the scrum was about to work against them as Devon ran out of qualified front row players and the game had to move to uncontested scrums. This allowed Devon to have a platform they hadn't enjoyed earlier in the game. Allowing the big "back five" to run more freely at the Cornish defence and after a number of narrow attacks and some valiant defence from Cornwall, Devon managed to trundle over under the posts (although the Cornish player placed between the ball and the ground appeared not to count?) (14-14)
With their new found freedom and their "tails up" Devon managed to score again when after a number of tight phases and the Cornish defence dis organised the Devon scrum half darted through a gap around the break down to score (14-21)
With 10 minutes to go Cornwall again began to build pressure and found themselves camped again in the Devon 22. Without the ability to tie in the Devon defence due to uncontested scrums Cornwall had to work hard for their third try but powerful driving from the pack led to a break off the maul and a touch down out wide. With the conversion successful the game was level 21-21. The final whistle couldn't come quickly enough for Devon but again Cornwall has let a game they had completely dominated get away from them and their failure to convert pressure was frustrating for all.
Two games that were equally winable finished with unfavourable results. Although ultimately it is about the players performance and as far as South West selection goes the result is immaterial, for the coaches and the players this is definitely two games that were there for the taking.
Squad against Devon
- Callum Degenhardt (St Austell)
- Callum Dewson (Launceston)
- Kyle Gratrix (St Austell)
- Jake Clemson (St Ives) (C)
- Cory Teague (Wadebridge)
- Noah Stanier-Smith (Camborne)
- Josh Hart (Newquay)
- Keane Whitaker (St Austell)
- Sam Gilder (St Austell)
- Jack Old (Wadebridge)
- Jake Carr (St Austell)
- Tom Hawken (Helston)
- Reuben Edwards (Launceston)
- Kyle Bradley (Helston)
- Johnny Wood (Truro School)
- Rory Cinnamond (Launceston)
- George Sanders (St Ives)
- Luke Barnes (Camborne)
- Archie Connolly (St Austell)
- Peter Bebbington (Launceston)
- Mike Austin (Truro School)
- Aaron Simmonds (Newquay)
- Rory Heard (Truro School)