Over the previous two weekends the Cornwall U18 squad have travelled to the Bristol Grammar School ground to compete in the England Counties South West U18 Championship with the boys being assessed for possible South West Divisional selection.
The first weekend saw Cornwall pitched against Gloucestershire in what can only be described as "drenched" conditions. It was apparent from the KO that both sides would struggle to maintain control of the ball in such dire weather. Unable to build consistent phases of play, neither side could dominate. Both teams tried to play some good rugby but could not maintain it enough to apply pressure on each others line. Cornwall had an opportunity to put points on the board with a penalty and went in to the break 3-0 to the good. With conditions brightening in the second half there was hope that the game would develop. The second half saw a number of changes on both sides and with the players coming on being cold and wet, it took some time to get in to the flow of the match. Unfortunately Gloucestershire adapted better and began to control the ball in the contact and built consistent phases. After a number of these phase and with Cornwall giving away a number of infringements at the breakdown, the hard running Gloucestershire No8 managed to get the ball down on the opposite side of a ruck to the referee. Initially the try wasn't given but after a number of phases the touch judge managed to contact the referee explaining he'd seen the ball grounded and the try was then given. A hard fought effort with a draw possibly the right result but Gloucestershire took it 3-7.
The second weekend saw the "Black & Gold" take on a Berkshire side that had been beaten the previous weekend when the played Oxfordshire with only 14 men. This weekend however Berkshire had a large number of players returning from two strong rugby playing schools that had been on tour the previous weekend. This meant that the Berkshire squad wasn't recognisable from the previous week. With the sun shining the ball was allowed to flow on both sides. With the breakdown area a huge contest each team had to work hard to find gaps in defences, with the first breakthrough going to Berkshire (7-0). Again halftime saw a number of changes, ensuring all the players got enough time to be assessed by the large number of divisional selectors. Eventually Cornwall began to get the upper hand in the scrum and at the breakdown which allowed the back line a little more time to play. This applied more pressure on the Berkshire line, which eventually broke and Cornwall levelled the score (7-7 With only minutes to go Cornwall were given an opportunity when Berkshire infringed out wide. With the decision to take the 3 points given, Cornwall took the lead and managed to see the game out.
Congratulations to all the boys who have played over this U18 season and good luck to everyone with South West Divisional selection. Coaches should be informed by early next week.