Gallery / Rugby

GALLERY: Cornwall beat Devon to reach Twickenham for a sixth time in seven years

CORNWALL have reached Twickenham for a sixth time in seven years after beating rivals Devon 50-20 at Brixham on Saturday in the County Championship.

The Duchy out-scored Devon eight tries to two to make up for last year’s 20-19 defeat at Camborne.

Cornwall, who included Plymouth Albion players Jon Dawe, Frazer Honey and Seti Raumakita in their squad on Saturday, will now play Cheshire in the final on June 2. That will be a repeat of the 2016 final, which Cornwall won 35-13.

Afterwards Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe said: “We are very pleased. The players have really bought into what we want them to do and they defend with their lives. I did say to them at the start of the campaign that they would be judged on their defensive endeavours and that is what has happened. We have also got some good backs that can score from anywhere.”

Cornwall’s defence was really put to the test in the final 10 minutes of the first half as Devon threw everything at that, but they managed to keep them from crossing the whitewash and then went up the other end and scored.

“You have to give Devon a lot of credit for that spell of pressure,” said Dawe. “It was poor of us giving away a couple of penalties that gave them territory, but that just showed the hallmark of this team – they are really prepared to work hard.

“Hopefully, this team stays firmly on the ground and we can put in a good performance in the final. It would be nice to win it, but obviously there is a lot of work to go in to prepare for that.”

Devon head coach Dan Parkes admitted Cornwall deserved their win on Saturday.

“We were beaten by a far better team,” he said. “We had no regrets. I was really happy with how the lads played. The boys chucked themselves at it very well.

“If I’m honest, our decision-making in the first half was probably quite poor. I think we should have gone for it a bit more rather than waiting for them to attack us.

Parkes did confirm after the game that he was leaving his role as head coach for both Devon and Brixham.

“I am taking a year out of rugby,” he said. “I’m leaving Brixham and leaving Devon. I’m going to have a year off and see how it goes. My business is getting really busy now.”

In front of a large crowd, Cornwall took the lead after less than four minutes when Camborne’s dangerous winger Alex Ducker cut through a gap to run in under the posts for an easy conversion for Fraser Honey.

Devon, with six Ivybridge players and two from Plymouth Albion in their squad, did cut the gap with a Tom Putt penalty five minutes later.

Honey missed with a long-range penalty attempt on 13 minutes before both teams were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when Dean Avery and Brad Howe were sin-binned for an off-the-ball incident.

Devon got another penalty on 25 minutes and Putt went for goal. His effort bounced off the post and Plymouth Albion’s Frank Kelly gathered the rebound. He tried to off-load the ball and it looked like Ducker had intercepted, but the referee ruled the Cornwall winger had intentionally knocked on and sin-binned him, leaving the visitors down to 13 players. Putt put over the resultant penalty to leave Devon just one point behind.

Despite being a man down, Cornwall pressed and eventually a big gap opened up for scrum-half Jack Oulton to go over under the posts. Honey added the conversion.

But after that Devon had a great spell of pressure. Ivybridge full-back Charlie Briant looked certain to score in the right corner but somehow Jack Simmonds got over to make a great try-saving tackle. Devon kept the pressure on and Rhys Palmer should have scored in the other corner but cut inside and was stopped just short. Cornwall made tackle after tackle and eventually Devon knocked on.

And almost straight away the Duchy went up the other end and scored with Lanner prop Dan Job going over from close range and Honey again converting to give Cornwall a 21-6 half-time lead.

Devon came out fired up for the second half and cut the gap to 21-13 with a try by Ivybridge scrum-half Ben Watts, which Putt converted.

At that point the Cornish fans were probably getting a little nervous but any doubts were settled on 50 minutes when the influential Howe went over under the posts. That try opened the floodgates and Cornwall added another four in a deadly 20-minute spell.

Redruth prop Jess Tompsett went over from close range in the 54th minutes before Bude winger Kyle Speare scored with his first touch after coming on a replacement.

Then Albion centre Jon Dawe scored a fine try down the left wing after Devon dropped the ball on the halfway and Howe picked up and fed the Plymouth player.

And replacement scrum-half Taron Peacock got Cornwall’s final try after Jon Dawe unselfishly put him in after more good work by Howe.

Devon did get a consolation try in the last minute when Plymouth-based hooker Avery crossed after Cornwall over-threw the ball at a line-out and it went straight to him.

Devon: Charlie Briant (Ivybridge), Billy Pinkus (Ivybridge), Rhys Palmer (Okehampton), Lewis Paterson (Mitch Pinkus (Brixham) h/t), Frank Kelly (Plymouth Albion), Tom Putt, Ben Watts (Ivybridge, Hext (Brixham) 65), Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot, Charlie Tribble (Exmouth)60), Dean Avery (Ashlee Crouch (Plymouth Albion) 30-58), Charlie Tribble (Exmouth, Shane Cooper (Exmouth) 31), Jamie Tripcony (Ivybridge), Adam Thomas (Brixham, George Wilson (Ivybridge) 46), Tom McGratton (Okehampton, Ashlee Crouch 20-30), Sam Thomas (Brixham, Schuster-Wood h/t, Ben King (Ivybridge) 60), Wayne Sprangle (Bridgwater).

Cornwall:  Richie Kevern (Redruth), Dean Bonds (Redruth, Kyle Speare (Bude) 63), Jack Simmons (Redruth), Jon Dawe (Plymouth Albion, Seti Raumakita 58), Alex Ducker (Camborne), Frazer Honey (Plymouth Albion, Dawe 70), Jack Outlon (Redurth, Taron Peacock (Camborne) 74), Dan  Job (Lanner), Rob Elloway (St Ives, Matt Ballard (Wadebridge) 58), Jess Tompsett (Redruth), Tony Whittle (Camborne, Grant Randlesome (Penryn) 63), Ben Hilton (Barnstaple, Dan Sanderson (Falmouth) 70), Ed Pascoe (Royal Navy), Grant Randlesome (Penryn, George Jones (Penryn) 39) Brad Howe (Redruth).

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