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Hertfordshire Reach Twickenham Final

Simon Bryant’s photo (Iktis Photo) shows Penryn’s George Jones on the charge.

A combination of injuries and some disappointing last-minute withdrawals left the selectors with the extremely difficult task of putting a squad together to make the journey to Bishop’s Stortford.

The players that travelled did so knowing that they faced an uphill task but keen and proud to pull on the famous black & gold jersey. They played with passion and commitment and despite being outmuscled up front by a much bigger Hertfordshire pack they never let their heads drop and kept playing for the full eighty minutes.

Trelawny’s Army led the travelling supporters in cheering and singing the players from the field in recognition of the fact that they had given everything for the cause. Despite the final score the whole squad have every reason to be proud of themselves.

In the midst of celebrating rounding off their season with a big win, the Hertfordshire players and coaching team were taken by surprise by the unexpected news that Surrey had beaten Gloucestershire, putting Hertfordshire into the final against cup holders Lancashire.

The relegation slot from Division One is decided on a two-year cycle so winning the Division last season means Cornwall will retain their status in the top tier – Surrey will be relegated having been deducted two points for playing an illegible player and will be replaced by Hampshire.

Division One South for 2019 and 2020 will therefore consist of:

Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Kent.

Cornwall will be drawn to play against three of the other counties (probably two away games) with the fixtures reversed in 2020. THIS IS SUBJECT TO THE USUAL CAVEAT – UNLESS THE RFU CHANGE THE RULES/FORMAT AGAIN.

The retirement from county rugby of several senior Cornish players meant this was always going to be a transition year. Lessons will have been learnt and Cornwall will face next season all the stronger for it.  

Match report from Bill Hooper:                  

HERTFORDSHIRE 50–0 CORNWALL

By Bill Hooper

Cornwall selectors rang the changes ahead of the county side’s final fixture for this season with a view to looking at players ahead of next season’s campaign; however they were also hit by some late withdrawals which meant Cornwall fielding a side with not one Redruth player in the match day squad!

Sadly, for Cornwall the gulf in the playing standard showed with Cornwall suffering their biggest defeat for many years, a result that will shock many but in reality others feared.

Huge credit to those players who came in at the last minute to wear the shirt, indeed to the whole side for never giving up playing until the final whistle.

Cornwall ended the campaign bottom of their group but as relegation is considered over two seasons, the 15 points they amassed in 2017 saved their skins, however in 2019 they will start another 2 year cycle of results. Surrey appear to be the unlucky side to drop having been deducted points for fielding an ineligible player against Cornwall. They will be replaced in the top tier by Hampshire. 

Cornwall’s skipper Jake Murphy was philosophical in defeat. “Credit to our lads for turning out today, it’s not been easy putting a side together this week. To a man they gave their all but sadly the gulf was evident today when you are up against National League 1 & 2 players. I shall think over my own situation over the summer as to whether I should carry on next season, maybe it’s time for the youngsters to step up now and take Cornwall on a new adventure.”

As in their previous two games Cornwall conceded an early try from a catch-and-drive when Herts hooker Steff Jones snuck over from the drive, fly-half Sean Taylor kicked the conversion and the home side were up and running.

Cornwall then lost lock Jack Heazelton to injury giving Penryn’s Adam Hughes an early chance to impress.

Cornwall enjoyed good possession for large parts of the first half but sadly committed too many errors. Skipper Jake Murphy and fellow centre Jon Dawe caught the eye in mid-field as did forwards Jon Drew and George Jones with their drives.

Hertfordshire made the most of their field position when it came scoring two tries in the final ten minutes of the first half through lock Harry Green and right on the half-time whistle through No.8 Chris West, Taylor converted the former for a 19-0 half-time advantage to Hertfordshire.

In the second half Cornwall again had good periods but sadly they couldn’t capitalise as the big Hertfordshire pack took charge allied to the greater fitness of National League players.

Saltash’s Lewis Wells looked lively, whilst lock Ben Hilton was a nuisance in the rucks and mauls. 

Hertfordshire’s bonus point try came from a forward drive replacement hooker Ollie Walker getting the try with the excellent Taylor again adding the extras.

Tries came at regular intervals as the final quarter wore on through scrum-half Ben Creasey centre James Rea, replacement wing Luke Barber, flanker Nick Radley bringing up the eight tries. Taylor added a further couple of conversions to complete the scoring in an emphatic win, which coupled with Surrey’s win over Gloucestershire sees the men in green at Twickenham next Sunday to face Lancashire in the final.

Cornwall will be bitterly disappointed not to have got a score, whilst the coaches and selectors will have much to ponder on how to turn Cornwall’s fortunes around next season.     

 

 

HERTFORDSHIRE: S Taylor (Hertford), E Byfield (Tring), J Rea (Bishop’s Stortford), R Streets (Hertford), S Barnes (Tring), D Watt (Old Albanian), T Banks (Bishop’s Stortford, capt); L Castiglione, S Jones (both Hertford), K Garside (Amptill), R Conquest (Cambridge), H Green, N Radley, N Stevens (all Tring), C West (Old Albanian).

Replacements: O Walker (Old Albanian), T McCrone (Bishop’s Stortford), D Archer, J Elston, B Creasey (all Hertford), J Scantlebury (Bishop’s Stortford), L Barber (Harpenden).

Hertfordshire scores: Tries, Jones, Green, West, Walker, Rea, Creasey, Barber, Radley, Cons, Taylor (5)

 

CORNWALL: M Vague (Penryn), W Morton (Saltash), S Hitchens (Penryn), J Dawe, D Pearce (both Launceston), J Murphy (Barnstaple, capt), T Peacock (Camborne); A Zacharovs (Camborne), M Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), J Drew (Camborne), B Hilton (Barnstaple), J Heazelton (Truro), L Wells (Saltash), G Jones (Penryn), L Duke (Launceston).

Replacements: T-L Southworth, (Camborne),  Z Cinnamond (Launceston), A Hodges (Bude), O Seagrove (Truro), A Hughes (Penryn), N Nash (Brixham), R McAtee (Camborne).

REFEREE: Alex Thomas (RFU)

Crowd: 610

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Cornwall 19 v Devon 20

Skipper, Jake Murphy’s try (photo Dan Barbary) is not enough to stop Cornwall going down to Devon for the first time in nine years.

BILL BEAUMONT CUP

CORNWALL 19-20 DEVON

By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground, Camborne

The dream of a sixth successive trip to Twickenham for the Cornwall team was brutally scattered to the four corner of the Recreation Ground as Devon beat Cornwall for the first time in the County Championship in eight years.

Speaking after the game Cornwall backs coach Marek Churcher said. “It’s always disappointing to lose, especially against Devon, but you have to give them credit for their game plan today. It’s always hard when you’re trying to play catch up and I thought we did well to come back in the second half, we had a chance to win it at the death but it didn’t go our way.

“In the final analysis we made too many errors both collectively and individually. As I said last week these guys are young and playing at a higher level than they have, full credit to them they have come back into the game and just fallen short, they will learn and take that into the final game at Hertfordshire.”

Once again, as they did at Redruth the week before, Cornwall were slow off the blocks, guilty of far too many errors as the pressure told during the opening half.

Playing down the slope first half, Devon gave notice they hadn’t travelled to make up the numbers. Despite missing with his initial attempt at the posts fly-half Tom Putt was on cue moments later from the 10-metre line.

Cornwall had chances in the first quarter but having kicked for touch, the Duchy’s line-out didn’t function as three good opportunities went begging.

Cornwall suffered a blow when fly-half Fraser Honey, who this week signed for Plymouth Albion, was forced off with his leg in a brace.

Moments later Cornwall fell further behind as Devon’s Matt Crosscombe hacked the ball down the touchline, the bounce proved awkward for the covering Cornish defence and Cornwall’s Mitch Vague was adjudged to have held back the flying Crosscombe. Referee Veryan Boscawen trotted under the posts awarding Devon a penalty-try and Vague 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

From the clever re-start, wing Tom Notman had a good kick chase down the wing, resulting in a Cornwall penalty, Dave Mankee, on for Honey, kicked for the corner but again the line-out was lost and Devon broke clear through centre Tom Palmer.

Just before half-time Cornwall conceded another try when Devon skipper Nathan Hannay was driven over and Putt added the extras for a 17-0 advantage to stun the ranks of Cornish supporters.

Cornwall needed a good start in the second half and they got it after 49 minutes, when they secured good line-out ball and the pack drove over the Devon line with Penryn’s George Jones getting the touchdown.

Sadly, Mankee’s conversion attempt veered away from the far post and the try went crucially unconverted.

Cornwall lost another player as centre Duncan Tout went off with a collarbone injury, Redruth’s Jack Simmons coming on.

Cornwall had more of the play, a good driving burst from prop Andrius Zacharovas took play into the twenty-two, Cornwall went through the phases before skipper Jake Murphy cut back to take a scoring pass and go over under the posts, Mankee’s conversion made it game on!

Crucially for Devon they enjoyed a period of pressure in the Cornwall twenty-two and from it milked a penalty that Putt slotted to put them two scores ahead.

Cornwall struck back, Murphy kicked a penalty into the West Bank corner, the line-out was secured by BJ Chapman and the maul set up with Notman getting in amongst the forwards to claim a try for the second game running, Mankee’s conversion making it a one point game.

Despite good runs from Richie Kevern, Murphy and No.8 Grant Randlesome, Devon held firm, the ball went wide with wing Jon Dawe going close in the scoreboard corner before bundled into touch and with it Cornwall’s last chance had gone.

Cornwall: M Vague (Penryn), J Dawe (Launceston), D Tout (Tonbridge Juddians), J Murphy (Barnstaple, Capt), T Notman (Redruth), F Honey (Bury St. Edmunds), T Peacock; A Zacharovas, T-L Southworth, J Drew (all Camborne), L Hattam, E Pascoe (both Redruth), BJ Chapman (Newton Abbot), G Jones, G Randlesome (both Penryn).

Replacements: M Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), J Tompsett (Redruth), D Cook (Camborne), B Humber (Wadebridge Camels), D Mankee (Camborne), R Kevern, J Simmons (both Redruth).

Cornwall scores: Tries, Jones, Murphy, Notman, Cons, Mankee (2).

Yellow Card: Vague (31)

Devon: C Briant (Ivybridge), K Browne (Newton Abbot), R Palmer (Okehampton), M Crosscombe (Plymouth Albion), J Bond (Barnstaple), T Putt (Brixham), B Watts (Ivybridge); G Snell (Bideford), A Crouch (Barnstaple), T White (Newton Abbot), N Hannay (Honiton, Capt), T McGratton, D Abrams (both Okehampton), W Sprangle (Tiverton).

Replacements: A Taylor (Plymstock AO), W Vermingle (Ivybridge), T Coats (Okehampton), B King (Ivybridge), K Munslow (Topsham), C Bedwell (Brixham), B Pinkus (Ivybridge).

Devon scores: Penalty-try, Hannay, Cons, Penalty-try, Putt, Pens, Putt (2)

Referee: Veryan Boscawen (RFU)

Crowd: 1515     

 

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Cornwall U20s 18 v Kent Under 20s 8 TWO Match Reports

James Tucker touches down for a vital try (photo courtesy of Simon Bryant – Iktis Photo)

JASON LEONARD UNDER 20 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIPS – QUARTERFINAL

CORNWALL 18 – 8 KENT

By Bill Hooper at Tregorrick Park

In difficult conditions Cornwall wore down a spirited Kent side to earn a semi-final spot in this season’s Jason Leonard Cup.

Despite a few changes to the side from the previous week due to injuries and unavailability the Cornish lads put up a solid performance, notably when having to defend constantly putting their bodies on the line.

With driving rain coming in just before kick-off Cornwall played with the wind first half.

Despite good early territory Cornwall were a little too eager at times falling foul of referee Zerran Bell’s whistle.

Kent got into the game and surprised Cornwall with a well-worked opening try scored by their wing Jordan Thomas with a blindside move. Despite a good attempt by fly-half Sam Evans the try remained unconverted.

There were a couple of good runs from Cornwall’s fly-half James Tucker but sadly the support was a little slow arriving at times.

Flankers Will Gibson and Tian Clark combined well and looked threatening as did skipper Torin Clarke who led by example throughout.

Cornwall made a couple of changes after 24 minutes with both Jack Hodge at prop and Noah Nash scrum-half coming on.

Hodge’s presence was soon felt as he got stuck in at scrum time.

Cornwall earned a penalty, which Tucker kicked to the corner from the catch and drive Cornwall drove for the Kent line after a couple of phases Hodge barged over for an unconverted try.

Cornwall struck twice just before half-time. Tucker kicked a penalty from in front of the posts to put the black and golds into the lead for the first time in the game. Tucker then converted his own try that came about after a powerful break from tight-head prop Ollie Andrews from just inside the Kent half, the Falmouth player almost made the line himself but was hauled down under the posts just short, the ball was moved wide for Tucker to dot down for a 15-5 half-time lead.

In the worsening conditions Cornwall’s backs found it increasingly difficult as the pitch cut up, centres Connor Gilbert and Jake Penprase worked hard to create an opening but the Kent defence was tight.

The line out proved to be a lottery for both sides. Kent cut the deficit early in the second half when Evans kicked a penalty but that was as good as it was to get for the visitors.

Cornwall’s only points of the half came from a Tucker penalty after 61 minutes following a powerful Cornish scrum that shoved the Kent pack backwards at a rate of knots leaving their giant replacement prop Thomas Little, who’d proved a handful, crumpled on the ground.

Kent tried to salvage a score but the clock was against them and the Cornish were in no mood to yield.

The final whistle saw the Cornish lads leaping in the air and the Tregorrick crowd cheering them to the rafters.

After the game Cornwall coach Josh Lord was delighted with his side’s performance. He said. “I am really delighted they all put in a fantastic performance today. We ground out a victory in difficult conditions.

Lord also had huge praise for the players that had come in today. “Every player who took the field was fantastic today. The squad works, trains and plays together and that ethos showed today.

There are always things to work on and Lord thought that his side had been a little to eager at times. “Especially during the first half we tried to force it a little too early when we need more control. We had a chat at half-time and I feel the boys controlled the game far better in the second forty.

Josh was also pleased with the way his side defended when called to do so. “Defences win games and we tackled our hearts out and didn’t give them the time or space to play. The boys have got a huge passion and desire to go as far as they can in the tournament.

Josh, Matt Shepherd and the lads can now look forward to a home semi-final on -Sunday 15th April against Cheshire who beat North Midlands 17-12 at Dudley Kingswinford. The other semi-final sees Hertfordshire play Yorkshire.  

Cornwall: E Tyler (Penryn), S Cornish (Penzance & Newlyn Colts), C Gilbert (Redruth), J Penprase (Bath Uni), D Hubble (Falmouth), J Tucker (Redruth), C Boyce (St. Austell); R Bentham (Launceston), H Lightfoot (Launceston), O Andrews (Falmouth), D Goldsworthy (Launceston), B Rowley (Lainceston), T Clark (Camborne), W Gibson (Cardiff Met), T Clarke (Launceston, Capt)

Replacements: Q Cross (Wadebridge Camels), C Jenkins (Launceston), J Hodge (Redruth), A Brassington (Redruth), S Firth (Falmouth), N Nash (Brixham), J Carr (St. Austell).

Cornwall scores: Tries, Hodge, Tucker, Con, Tucker, Pens, Tucker (2)

Kent: T Lennard (Cranbrook), A Orris (Medway), H Roberts (O. Elthamians, Capt), T Adamson (O Elthamians), J Thomas (O Elthamians), S Evans (Blackheath), W Luxford (O Elthmians); B Bratton (Tonbridge Juddian), T Petty (O Elthamians), T Simmons (Westcombe Park), C Dee (O Elthamians), A Keheli (Blackheath), L Remington (Ashford), K Clarke (Ashford), J Stubbington (Medway)

Replacements: J Simmons (Westcombe Park), T Little (Canterbury), K Wright (Thanet Wanderers), M Beard (Medway), L Hollidge (Medway), S Elllison (Sidcup), T Agu-Benson (Cranbrook)

Kent scores: Try Thomas, Pen, Evans

Referee: Z Bell (Devon RRS) 

 

 

Cornwall u20s 18 – 8 Kent u20’s

 

Chris Jones Reports

 

Cornwall progressed into the semi-finals of Jason Leonard cup after grinding out a hard-fought win over Kent.

 

Conditions were not ideal with heavy rain and blustering winds contributing to a lot of handling errors throughout the match.

 

Jack Hodge returned to the Cornwall squad after a long period out with a broken shoulder and made his mark after scoring the first try of the match.

 

Coach Matt Shepherd said after the game: “I’m immensely proud of what the boys have achieved and getting to the semi-final of the Jason Leonard Cup is incredible.”

 

Kent took the early ascendency and were the better team early on and could have scored within six minutes if the ball had not have eluded the hands of a Kent forward which resulted in a knock on near the line.

 

But only moments later and Kent did have their lead after a superb blind side move off the back of a scrum deep in the Cornwall 22 resulted in winger Jordan Thomas crashing over to score the game’s first try. Fly-half Sam Evans could not convert meaning the score read 5-0.

 

After Cornwall had gone behind, it seemed that this was the wake-up call they needed and took firm control from there on in.

 

James Tucker had a chance after Ethan Tyler’s great run and so did Jake Penprase, however it was a forward who scored first for Cornwall after a series of rucks over in the left corner when prop Jack Hodges heaved himself over the line to level the scores at 5-5 in the 33rd minute. Tucker had missed the following conversion.

 

Tucker made amends for his errors a couple of minutes before the break and coolly converted a penalty in front of the posts putting the Black and Golds in the lead for the first time of the match at 8-5.

 

Cornwall were even further ahead seconds before the break at 15-5 after a superb breakaway from Ollie Andrews left the Kent defence scrambling. The young prop was stopped just before the line but the run had created space wide-right which Cornwall exploited after a simple passing move and Tucker dived over the line before converting well to add the extra points.

 

Kent added to their points tally in the 42nd minute when they were awarded a penalty which Evans converted after he judged the wind direction and speed well to bring the scores closer at 15-8.

 

Cornwall were not phased and finished well. They finished the scoring in the 60th minute after a solid scrum led to a penalty which Tucker showed the same class he had all day to convert and add the three points, which meant at fulltime the score read 18-8.

 

Team:

 

1.     R. Bentham

 

2.     H. Lightfoot

 

3.     O. Andrews

 

4.     D. Goldsmith

 

5.     B. Rowley

 

6.     T. Clark

 

7.     W. Gibson

 

8.     T. Clarke ©

 

9.     C. Boyce

 

10.J. Tucker

 

11.D. Hubble

 

12.J. Penprase

 

13.C. Gilbert

 

14.S. Cornish

 

15.E. Tyler

 

16.Q. Cross

 

17.C. Jenkins

 

18.J. Hodge

 

19.A. Brassington

 

20.S. Firth

 

21.N. Nash

 

22.J. Carr

    

 
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