GRAHAM DAWE was delighted his Cornwall team overcame the pressure and high expectations on them to reach Twickenham again.
The reigning champions booked a fourth consecutive County Championship final appearance by beating a strong Surrey side 32-14 at Camborne on Saturday.
Plymouth Albion fly-half Billy Searle, who will join Bristol this summer, scored a hat-trick for the Duchy, with Nielson Webber and Lewis Webb also touching down and Matt Shepherd kicking seven points.
But Surrey, who included former three players with Albion links in their pack – Matt Cornish, Cameron Zeiss and Dylan Flashman, made them work hard for the win.
“There was massive pressure on Cornwall to win,” said Dawe. “It was basically a semi-final, but it was good the team came through.
“It was always our goal to try and get back to Twickenham because we feel we have got some good players. When you have got good players you can set the bar quite high.”
Cornwall, who have used eight Albion players in their campaign, have never won back-to-back titles. Standing in their way of doing so will be Cheshire, who surprising beat Lancashire at the weekend. Cornwall had played Lancashire in the last three finals.
“Cheshire are something of an unknown entity,” said Dawe. “We will have to do a bit of research and plan our game around that.
“Hopefully, our guys have got an appetite to give themselves the best opportunity to do well.
“The team have now won seven games in a row, which is no mean feat, hopefully they will want to keep that going.”
Dawe had praise for Searle, who was at his best against Surrey.
“He backs up well with his pace and off-loads well,” said Dawe. “He is a real predator, but he also finds good field position with his kicks.”
Dawe, though, still believes Cornwall can improve.
“I have been involved in rugby for nearly 40 years and there is never a game where you can’t analyse and think you can’t do better,” he said.
“We have got to try and retain the ball for longer periods and challenge defences by being more patient. Teams have been hard to break down this season, but I think we can get a more fluid game if we’ve got the desire to keep working hard.”
The final will be played at Twickenham on Sunday before England play Wales.