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County Championships

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 45 v HERTFORDSHIRE 28

Dave Mankee crosses for Cornwall’s seventh try to seal a convincing win over Hertfordshire (Photo courtesy of Simon Bryant, Iktisphoto).

 

BILL BEAUMONT CUP

CORNWALL 45 – 28 HERTFORDSHIRE

By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground Camborne

Glorious, simply glorious, Cornwall ran in seven tries against Hertfordshire to book another return to rugby HQ next Sunday for a fourth encounter in five years with the red rose of Lancashire.

There was a sense of excitement as kick-off approached, nerves too it has to be said, but the beating of the bass drum from the Falmouth Marine Band soothed the nerves, what a joy to see them doing what they do best raising the temperature of the crowd parading around the pitch. The hanging of the pasty from the crossbar and the sight of “Betty Stoggs” what more could you ask for!

As kick-off approached and with a crowd of 3,000 plus the scene was set. There was drama before kick-off as news emerged that Hertfordshire had a number of changes to their published side as a number of players from the Old Albanian club had withdrawn due to a players wedding, forcing head coach James Shanahan to don the number 25 shirt at fly-half.

Cornwall, led by skipper Jake Murphy emerged from the tunnel to huge roars from the crowd, having won the toss they elected to play up the slope in the first half.

What a start it proved to be, Tom Notman collecting the ball and turning on a sixpence ran hard into the Herts twenty-two, ruck ball saw Cornwall pound the Herts line with scrum-half Jack Oulton slipping the ball to flanker Sam Matavesi to crash over, full back Matt Shepherd added the extras and Cornwall were up and running.

Cornwall had a little bit of trouble in the scrums early on, Shanahan found touch towards the scoreboard corner following a series of drives from the Herts’ forwards the wily fox at 10 sold a great dummy to stroll under the sticks for scrum-half Tom Banks to convert and level the scores. Game on.

Cornwall lost Oulton to a heavy knock allowing local favourite Dave Mankee to come on at 9. Cornwall had to soak up a lot of pressure putting in tackles like demons. They lifted the siege getting field good position. No.8 Grant Randlesome made a fine break, one of many, linking with lock Tony Whittle who in turn found fly-half Joe Elderkin, whose soft pass put flyer Lewis Vinnicombe away in the corner for try number two. Shepherd kicked a fine conversion from five meters in from touch.

Hooker Richard Brown played scrum-half at a ruck feeding Elderkin who broke away linking with Shepherd before giving the scoring pass to Notman for try number three and a 19-7 lead.

Hertfordshire pulled a score back through full back Pierre Dotta off a pass from centre Francis Denny, there was a brief altercation amongst the players before Banks added the conversion and the game remained poised at 19-14 up until the break.

Once again Cornwall began the half with a bang. Good work from centre Robin Wedlake and the impressive Matavesi saw Cornwall get a penalty. Shepherd kicked to the West Bank corner and with the crowd baying the lineout was secured and Cornwall drove for the line with Brown getting the bonus point try.

Still Hertfordshire would not lie down back they came with a try from lock James Apperley converted by Banks.

A speculative kick into the Herts’ twenty-two bounced very high allowing replacement hooker Matt Ballard to claim the ball he was hauled down short of the line, Hertfordshire killed the ball with the useful flanker Harry Bate yellow carded for his sins.

Another kick to the West Bank corner, another catch and drive for Matavesi to bag his second try of the game.

Brilliant lineout play from lock Bryn Jenkins saw him feed replacement No.8 BJ Chapman who set off down the touchline like a scalded cat; he looked certain to score a great try but was bundled into touch…just!

Try number six came soon after a lovely move involving Wedlake, Seti Raumakita, Shepherd and the excellent Elderkin put Vinnicombe in for his second try finished in Chris Ashton style. Shepherd added both conversions and Cornwall had space 38-21.

Raumakita was again involved for Cornwall’s final try as the backs moved the ball wide for Mankee to cross and dot downtry number seven. Shepherd added the extras and the party on the terraces was in full swing.

Hertfordshire had the satisfaction of the final say when their excellent lock Sam Lunnon deservedly got over for their fourth try with the final play again converted by Banks.

The final whistle heralded scenes of great excitement as the prospect of a fifth consecutive final dawned and the chance to get a hat-trick of wins on the bounce at Twickenham.

Cornwall (Redruth unless stated): M Shepherd (Plymouth Albion), L Vinnicombe,  R Wedlake (Plymouth Albion), J Murphy (Barnstaple, capt), T Notman, J Elderkin, J Oulton; T Phillips, R Brown, C Williams, B Jenkins (Barnstaple), T Whittle (Camborne), C Fuca, S Matavesi (Camborne), G Randlesome (Penryn).

Replacements: M Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), A Zacharovas (Camborne), B Howe, G Jones (Penryn), BJ Chapman, D Mankee (Camborne), S Raumakita (Plymouth Albion).

Cornwall scores: Tries: Matavesi (2), Vinnicombe (2), Notman, Brown, Mankee; Cons: Shepherd (5)

Hertfordshire: (Bishop’s Stortford unless stated): P Dotta, B Creasey (Hertford), N Hankin, F Denny (Letchworth), S Barnes (Tring), J Shanahan (unattatched), T Banks; H King (Bishop’s Stortford), B McNamee (Hertford, capt), K Garside (Old Albanian), S Lunnon (Old Albanian), J Apperley, H Bate (Old Albanian), D Elsom, D Archer (Hertford).

Replacements: J Taylor (Old Albanian), W Roberts, A Berry (Old Albanian), J Concoran (Hertford), J Daly (Old Albanian), J Scantlebury, M Bendin (Hertford).92

Hertfordshire scores: Tries: Shanahan, Dotta, Lunnon (2); Cons: Banks (4)

Yellow Card – Bate 55

Referee: Ben Russell (RFU)



SCORING SEQUENCE

 

CORNWALL

 

HERTFORDSHIRE

Min

 

Score

 

1

TRY, MATAVESI

5-0

 

2

CON, SHEPHERD

7-0

 

6

 

7-5

try, shanahan

6

 

7-7

con, banks

17

try, vinnicombe

12-7

 

18

con, shepherd

14-7

 

22

try, notman

19-7

 

28

 

19-12

try, dotta

29

 

19-14

con, banks

43

try, brown

24-14

 

52

 

24-19

try, lunnon

52

 

24-21

con, banks

55

try, matavesi

29-21

 

55

con, shepherd

31-21

 

66

try, vinnicombe

36-21

 

66

con, shepherd

38-21

 

68

try, mankee

43-21

 

68

con, shepherd

45-21

 

80

 

45-26

try, lunnon

80

 

45-28

con, banks

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Surrey 14 v Cornwall 34

 

Simon Bryant’s (Iktis Photography) photograph shows Chris Fuca helping Matt Ballard drive over for Cornwall’s second try.

Cornwall scored four tries in the final quarter to secure a vital bonus point win against Surrey at Richmond as they began the defence of their County title, reports Bill Hooper.

 

It began brightly for Cornwall as Cornwall got a try after just 8 minutes as No. 8 BJ Chapman was driven over from a powerful maul for a try converted by fly-half Dave Mankee.

They were soon pegged back by Surrey as fly-half Matt Noble found a hole in the Cornwall defence before wing Karyim Noble sped in for a good try bettered by Noble.

Noble set the alarm bells ringing in the Cornish defence soon after but the defence scrabbled back to snuffle the threat.

Surrey maintained the pressure and when scrum-half Jack Oulton was sin-binned on 19 minutes for Cornwall the signs looked ominous for the champions. 

Cornwall coped with the initial threat but when Chapman was also sent to the bin and where down to 13 men for about sixty seconds the pressure told with referee Neil Chivers awarding the home side a penalty-try converted by Noble.

Cornish wing Robin Wedlake went close to a try from a Mankee crossfield kick.

Oulton was proving a constant thorn in the side for Surrey with his snipes around the rucks and scrums. Before half-time Cornwall earned a penalty which Mankee despatched between the sticks leaving Cornwall 14-10 down at the break.

With the wind now in Cornwall’s favour Mankee saw an early penalty opportunity drift wide of the posts early doors in the second half as Cornwall looked to their replacements to maintain the head of steam they were building.

Lock Bryn Jenkins was having a great game in the lineout, whilst the forwards drove with purpose with Tommy Phillips, Andrius Zacharovas, George Jones, Chris Fuca all putting in big shifts.

Mankee kept pinning Surrey back with his kicking, Cornwall were dominating but the score wasn’t coming as news of Gloucestershire’s big total against Devon began to filter through.

Cornwall pinched a lineout  in the Surrey twenty-two to set up a big drive that saw replacement hooker Matt Ballard driven over for the black and golds' second try to huge cheers from Trelawny’s Army.

The cheers got even louder just two minutes later when Wedlake showed his Albion form to run in from 50 metres from a Grant Randlesome pass. Mankee nailed the conversion but Cornwall wanted and needed more.

It came from replacement winger Tom Notman who gleefully took skipper Jake Murphy’s pass to score the vital bonus point try.

Fellow Red Matt Bowden rounded off the scoring with Cornwall’s fifth try from a Wedlake pass to complete the scoring, with Mankee adding his third conversion of the game.

After the game Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe was pleased with the win. “It was a tough start, Surrey took the game to us in the first half scoring a couple of tries and challenging us defensively putting us on the back foot a bit up front. We had to survive the best part of twenty minutes with just fourteen men and did well to contain them.

“ We took time to gel as a side but as the game went on we saw that cohesion coming through, all the work we have put in showed through.

“At half-time we had a good chat, the boys knew they were in a game and needed to lift their efforts especially up front. I think our defence stood up well and when we got the ball our backs showed their scintillating pace.

“On reflection we did well to turnaround just 14-10 down at the break, the penalty just before halt-time was crucial. That wind was moving around we made good use of it second half with Mankee and Oulton getting us the territory. 

Cornwall will train on Wednesday prior to the game at Devon next Saturday at Ivybridge kick-off 3 pm.

 

Surrey (London Irish WG unless stated) E Carne (Dorking), T Richards, B Kitching, B Meeson, K Irving (Worthing), M Noble (Dorking), T Trotter (Cambridge); K Furey, N Sweeney, C Zeiss (capt) (all Esher), J Touma, D Flashman (Wimbeldon), T Bush, H Elbrow (Dorking), H Rowland.

Replacements: C Connor, K O’Sullivan, C Burman (Esher), F Osborne (Dorking), E Milne (Rosslyn Park), J Reville (Wimbeldon), M McDonald (Amersham & Chiltern).

Surrey scores: Tries Irving, Penalty-try, Cons Noble (2)

Cornwall (Redruth unless stated): J Elderkin,  L Vinnicombe,  J Murphy (Barnstaple) (capt), J Simmons (Camborne), R Wedlake (Plymouth Albion), D Mankee (Camborne), J Oulton; T Phillips, R Brown, C Williams, B Jenkins (Barnstaple), T Whittle (Camborne), C Fuca, G Jones (Penryn), BJ Chapman.

Replacements: A Zacharovas (Camborne), M Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), R Dugard (Barnstaple), B Howe, G Randlesome (Penryn), T Notman, M Bowden.

Cornwall scores: Tries Chapman, Ballard, Wedlake, Notman, Bowden, Cons, Mankee (3), Pen, Mankee

Yellow Cards: Oulton (19), Chapman (28)

Referee: Neil Chivers (RFU)

Crowd: 643

 
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