Contrasting fortunes for Devon and Cornwall on opening weekend of County Championship

THERE were contrasting fortunes for Devon and Cornwall on the opening weekend of rugby’s 2019 County Championship campaign.

Devon were convincingly beaten 54-14 by a strong Gloucestershire side at Cinderford, but Cornwall enjoyed an impressive winning start by overcoming Kent 25-21 at Medway.

Devon were always second best against a Gloucestershire side featuring eight National One players in their starting line-up.

The Green and Whites, coached by former Plymouth Albion player and coach Dan Parkes, found themselves 14-0 down after 10 minutes with Harry Tovey and Leo Fielding crossing for the hosts.

Devon, with five Albion and seven Ivybridge players in their squad, did hit back on 20 minutes when former Plymouth player Tom Putt intercepted a pass to score from 45 metres. He also converted.

But Gloucestershire hit back with two tries just before the break through Sam Goatley and George Angell.

After the interval Gloucestershire added further tries with Fielding completing his hat-trick with two in the second half and Will Mansfield and Goatley also crossing.

Former Albion player Wayne Sprangle did score a consolation effort for Devon with the last play of the game.

“Our lads really fronted up, but at the end of the day they were up against a much stronger team,” said Devon head coach Parkes.

Cornwall, though, pulled off a good win against a strong Kent side at Medway.

Kent’s team was built around players from Blackheath and Old Elthamians, whereas Cornwall only had two level three players – Albion’s Jon Dawe and Fraser Honey. But it was Cornwall who took the four points thanks to tries by Redruth’s Sam Stevens, St Ives Rob Elloway and Camborne’s Alex Ducker, with Honey kicking two conversions and a penalty, including a late one to seal the win.

Cornwall, coached again by former Albion boss Graham Dawe, will host Hertfordshire at Redruth this coming weekend, while Devon will entertain Hampshire at Okehampton in their second game.

Devon and Cornwall will meet in the final group match at Brixham on May 18.

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