BILL BEAUMONT CUP
HERTFORDSHIRE 24 – 50 CORNWALL
By Bill Hooper
Three tries during the third quarter gave Cornwall the platform to earn another trip to Twickenham on 4th June to play Cheshire in a repeat of the dramatic 2019 final.
Hertfordshire gave early notice that they might pose Cornwall a few questions with their strong backs and it showed when the hosts went ahead thanks to a try from centre Josh Rudling.
Cornwall struck back almost immediately, good play between wing Alex Ducker and full-back Matt Shepherd saw Shepherd score with fly-half Fraser Honey adding the extras.
Ducker then turned from provider to scorer as he weaved his way to the try-line with Honey again on cue with the extras.
Try number three wasn’t long in arriving, a kick to the corner by Honey saw lock Tony Whittle secure the lineout ball and from the drive hooker Ben Priddey score with Honey again adding the extras.
Credit to Hertfordshire, they stormed back impressively , flanker Alex Banna made good ground before full-back Nick Foster skipped through some poor Cornish tackling to score. Then centre Sam Jones scored both tries converted by Dan Watt to make the half-time score 19-21 to Cornwall.
There can be no doubt that Cornwall had a good talking to at half-time because they emerged a different team after the break. Within a minute of the re-start Shepherd made a break with centre Jack Simmons on hand to score.
Honey having added the conversion to Simmons’ try, then slotted a penalty from 35 meters to stretch the Cornwall lead.
Lock Toby Freeman then broke away from a maul on the twenty-two to romp under the posts, before some close quarter work was finished off by prop Jess Tompsett, Honey added a conversion to Freeman’s score to make it 43-19.
Cornwall looked to the bench with Torin Clarke coming on to make his senior county debut in place of Whittle.
Cornwall hadn’t finished, a scrum in the Cornwall twenty-two saw the ball go loose with replacement Connor Gilbert slipping the ball to Mikey Austin who ran 80 meters to score Cornwall’s final try, Honey’s conversion brought up the 50 points.
Hertfordshire had the final say when Jamie Hoyes got their fourth try.
Shepherd booted the ball off the park and the referee’s final brought huge cheers from the Cornish faithful.
Speaking after the game Cornwall’s assistant coach Marek Churcher said. “I was pleased with the performance, we finally got into our stride early in the second half, which snuffed out Herts’ hopes of a comeback. It was a bit of physical wave we had to ride out during the first half, but a good half-time chat re-focused the lads and they bossed the second half. We got a little bit sucked in to the way Herts wanted to play and we said at half-time let’s get back to the Cornish way and that saw us through.
“Getting to Twickenham is a great boost to the players and supporters after all people have gone through these last couple of years, but now we must focus on our next game and prepare accordingly.”
Hertfordshire: (O.Albanian unless stated): Foster (Blackheath), Parkhouse (Hertford), Jones, Rudling (Hertford), Ricci, Watt (Capt), McPhun; Ramzan, Walliker (Blackheath), Flanagan (Tring), McGurk (Bishop’s Stortford), Thacker (Bishop’s Stortford), Banna (Hertford), McCartney (Tring), Forbes (Hertford).
Replacements: Hewitt (Hertford), Samuel, O’Gorman (Tring), Jarman (Tring), Kendrick (Hertford), Hoyes (Hemel Hamstead), Watson (Tonbridge Juddians).
Herts scores: Tries, Rudling, Foster, Jones, Hoyes, Cons Watt 2
Cornwall (Redruth unless stated): Shepherd (St. Austell), Bradley, Simmons, Tout (Tonbridge Juddians), Ducker (Plymouth Albion), Honey, Oulton; Phillips, Priddey (Camborne), Tompsett, Freeman (Tonbridge Juddians), Whittle (Falmouth), Fox, Stevens, Marriott (Capt, St. Austell).
Replacements: Barnes, Brown, Williams, Hilton (Barnstaple), Clarke (Plymouth Albion), Austin (Cinderford), Gilbert.
Cornwall scores: Tries, Shepherd, Ducker, Priddey, Simmons, Freeman, Tompsett, Austin, Cons, Honey 6, Pen, Honey.