Cornwall 37, Hertfordshire 13

Cornwall took a giant step towards another Twickenham final with this exhilarating six try win in the Bill Beaumont Cup against last season’s beaten finalists, writes Bill Hooper.

Roared on by a passionate crowd and watched approvingly by the surviving members of the Cornwall side who played a county final on the same pitch in 1969, Cornwall showed all the pride and passion head coach Graham Dawe demands for the shirt he wore with great distinction.

Dawe said after the final whistle: “I am pleased for the boys and the fans, we put in the tackles and looked to manage the game. We played some intelligent rugby at times and got our rewards, the scores just before half-time and then our third try immediately after the break were crucial.

“Next week against Devon we have to be just as clinical, we will train well this week and look to work on little bits to fine tune our game.”

Hertfordshire won the toss and elected to play up the slope into a stiff breeze; however, Cornwall enjoyed the early territory and earned a penalty as Herts were caught offside. Fraser Honey stepped up to land his kick between the sticks.

Hertfordshire then enjoyed a long period of domination in the Cornwall half, with some good drives from their back row of McCartney, Radley and West but a combination of over eagerness and rock-solid Cornish defence, Sam Stevens again knocking players over like skittles denied the visitors.

Eventually Sam Cappaert kicked a penalty, as Cornwall were penalised at the ruck, to level the scores, it was scant reward for their efforts.

With half-time fast approaching Cornwall needed to make the most of the slope. With a kickable penalty on offer Honey opted for a kick to the corner.

Tony Whittle took the catch to set up a driving maul that powered into Hellfire corner with Rob Elloway dotting down for the second game running.

Honey added the conversion before Cornwall were back in a similar position moments later. Whittle secured the ball as Cornwall drove with Jess Tompsett powering on, the ball went to ground, Cornwall went through the phases with No.8 Brad Howe crashing over near the posts, Honey’s conversion put Cornwall 17-3 up at the break.

With just moments played in the second half Trelawny’s Army were in raptures as Jack Simmons found space down the Eastern Bank touchline to sprint in from 40

meters and evade the desperate cover in the scoreboard corner to score Cornwall’s third try.

Cornwall then lost Alex Ducker to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on and survived a Herts catch-and-drive, before Honey kicked a penalty towards the top touchline. Cornwall went through the phases before Jack Oulton scampered in on the blindside to score Cornwall’s fourth try.

Hertfordshire then managed to score a try through wing Alex Ricci following a good move by the visitors.

The black and golds were full of running, Oulton burst out of defence with prop Dan Job powering on.

Cornwall’s bench was now on with George Jones, Richie Kevern and Rhys Brownfield all lending to the attack.

With Ducker back from his rest, the mercurial winger went off on one of his scything runs skipping his way through the cover before passing to replacement Dean Bonds to score Cornwall’s fifth try.

Ducker then put the icing on the cake from deep in his twenty-two, an arching run saw him break the line, then jink his way through the cover tight to the touchline to canter in for try number six for Cornwall as the black and gold went into Barmy Army mode.

Ricci’s second try for Hertfordshire near the end was merely pride for the Herts’ lads and when the final whistle was blown Cornwall’s supporters, upon hearing the results elsewhere had gone in their favour, started the celebrations in earnest and began to plan their trip to Brixham.

Cornwall (Redruth unless stated): Matt Shepherd (Plymouth Albion), Kyle Speare (Bude), Jack Simmons, Jon Dawe (Plymouth Albion), Alex Ducker (Camborne), Fraser Honey (Plymouth Albion), Jack Oulton; Dan Job (Lanner), Rob Elloway (St. Ives), Jess Tompsett, Ben Hilton (Barnstaple, Capt) Tony Whittle (Camborne), Grant Randlesome (Penryn), Sam Stevens, Brad Howe.

Replacements (all used): Matt Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), Craig Williams, George Jones (Penryn), Edd Pascoe (Redruth), Rhys Brownfield (Camborne), Dean Bonds, Richie Kevern.

Cornwall scores: Tries - Elloway, Howe, Simmons, Oulton, Bonds, Ducker. Cons - Honey 2. Pen - Honey.

Yellow Cards: Ducker (52), Oulton (79)

Hertfordshire (Tring unless stated): Josh Rudling (Northumbria Uni), Alex Ricci (Old Albanians), Kyle Lemon (Hertford), Richard Streets (Hertford), Sam Barnes, Sam Cappaert (Bishop’s Stortford), Mike Sargent (Hertford); Ben Harrison-Price (Bishop’s Stortford), Mike Bond (Old Albanians), Jack Flanagan, Rob Conquest (Cambridge, Capt), Harry Green, Nick Radley, Harry McCartney, Chris West (Harrow).

Replacements: Tim Matthew (Hertford), Douglas McGregor-Smith (Fullerians), Oscar Nicholson, Josh Milton (Welwyn), Jack Elston (Hertford), Ben Creasey (Bishop’s Stortford), Iwan Dawes (Hertford).

Hertfordshire scores: Tries - Ricci 2. Pen - Cappaert.

Referee: Dan Parrott

Crowd: 1,780