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)
- CRFU Competitions: County Championship