FORMER Plymouth Albion favourite Matt Shepherd scored a try in the fifth minute of extra-time to secure Cornwall victory over Devon in the ‘County of Origin’ rugby league match at Saltash’s Moorlands Lane ground on Saturday.
Shepherd had been Cornwall RFU’s hero at Twickenham seven weeks earlier when he kicked a last-gasp conversion to secure them victory over Cheshire in the County Championship final.
This time he scored the ‘golden points’ after the match at Saltash had gone into extra-time after Devon equalised with a converted try with the last play of normal time.
Cornwall had scored three tries in the opening 12 minutes to go 14-0 up before Devon pulled that back to 14-14 by the 30 minute mark.
The Duchy did go into half-time 20-14 ahead before Devon, who had Plymouth Albion forward Ashlee Crouch and Plymouth Argaum’s Tom Holliday and Ryan Chivers in their squad, went in front for the first time early in the second half with two quick tries.
Cornwall, though, looked to have won it in the final quarter. They scored two tries and had two more disallowed, but Devon, inspired by Mounga Molise, dug deep to take the match to sudden death.
Shepherd missed a penalty in the first minute of extra-time, but he made sure his team won with a wonderful try four minutes later. He had also scored Cornwall’s third try.
For their efforts, Cornwall were awarded the Martin Roddy MBE Cup. Roddy helped establish rugby league in the South West before sadly passing away last summer at the age of 63 following a long-term illness.
Chivers scored two of Devon’s six tries, with their others coming from Joke Waqanivavalagi, Ben Gatehouse and two from Mounga Molise.