BILL BEAUMONT CUP
HAMPSHIRE 20 – 24 CORNWALL
By Bill Hooper at Fraser Road, Havant RFC
“Cometh the hour, cometh the man.” For Cornwall the hour was time added on as they trailed 20—17, the man was replacement prop Tommy-Lee Southworth, he emerged from the melee of players clutching the ball having been driven over by the never say die Cornish pack.
It was a try that sent Trelawny’s Army into a wild chorus of celebration, whilst at the same time breaking Hampshire’s hearts. Theirs was a brave performance and on another day they may well of pulled off the win.
Cornwall’s win sets up a decider against Kent next Saturday at Camborne RFC, kick-off 2 pm.
On a beautiful Hampshire day Cornwall kicked off roared on by the black and gold supporters.
The early exchanges set the scene; this was a much improved Hampshire side from last season at Redruth.
Cornwall earned a couple of penalties down in the scoreboard corner, at the second attempt Ben Fox secured the lineout ball allowing Cornwall to drive for the line, with hooker Richard Brown as ever reliable with the try. Skipper Fraser Honey kicked a very good conversion to make it 7-0 to Cornwall.
Scrum half Mike Austin put in some good box-kicks inviting Cornwall to chase, however Cornwall were as last week sometimes a little too eager to force the play.
A very good 50/22 gave Hampshire good field position on their first visit to the Cornwall twenty-two. From that Hampshire set up a good play which saw Harry Carr go in at the corner for an unconverted try.
Cornwall responded well with Duncan Tout putting in some strong runs in mid-field.
Having missed with a conversion, Hampshire’s Robbie Searle again failed with a penalty attempt from long range.
Cornwall lost wing Jack Kessell to a serious injury which will see him miss the rest of the campaign. Lewis Thomas coming on for his Championship debut.
Hampshire’s forwards were carrying well none more so than their skipper Liam Perkins.
Cornwall looked to have scored a second try as the pack went over the line but referee Howarth deemed a knock on.
Instead, a swift counter from Hampshire gave them the lead, Perkins the instigator before full back Max Fletcher showed great pace to run in from 60 meters and dot down in the corner another unconverted try.
Just before half-time Cornwall earned a penalty in front of the sticks, which Honey snuck over to tie the scores at 10- all.
Cornwall needed a good start to the second half and they certainly provided it. A searing break from Matt Shepherd saw the full-back make good ground, he put in a grubber kick for his St. Austell team mate Konnor Ewudzi who collected and dived in at the corner, a great score.
As Honey stepped up to take the conversion, the ball toppled off its tee, calmly, Honey picked up the ball and drop-kicked the conversion from out wide, it was a sweet strike under pressure.
Both sides emptied their benches as the game moved into the final quarter. Ben Priddey and Jack King carried well as Cornwall looked for another score.
Instead, Searle found his kicking boots, cutting the deficit with a penalty to set up a nervous finale. Hampshire thought they had scored but the referee gave a goal-line clearance to Cornwall.
Cornwall then found themselves down to 14 men as Declan Prowse was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.
A Cornwall lineout was secured on their twenty-two, the ball went to ground, the referee deemed the ball was playable and Perkins picked up the ball as Cornwall hesitated and ran in to score in the corner, Tom Fieldsend then kicked a very good conversion from the touchline to put Hampshire back in the lead with time running out.
There was still time, but Cornwall had to secure the re-start. A good hanging ball allowed Freddie Stevenson to challenge and Cornwall had the ball. A cool head was now required, and credit to Cornwall, they patiently went through the phases, worked their way towards the line driving over with Southworth the scorer. Shepherd knocked over the conversion, Cornwall led 24-20.
There was time for a re-start, Cornwall got a penalty which Shepherd booted happily off the pitch.
Speaking after the game Cornwall Captain Fraser Honey was proud of the resilience shown by the side. He said. “The boys showed a lot of character at the end, having conceded that try we were determined to win that re-start and get that final try. We probably played our best rugby of the match in that period.
“Next Saturday will be a big game at Camborne and I hope that we will get a big crowd to cheer us on and hopefully book another visit to Twickenham.”
Hampshire: Max Fletcher (Sandown & Shanklin), Harry Carr (Havant), Alex Young (Camberley), Toogi Long (Trojans), Chris Buckett (Havant), Robbie Searle, Harry Dolbear (both Tottonians); Dan Sargent (Worthing), Sean Shepherd (Havant), Nick Barry (Camberley), Craig Durnin (Tottonians), Ross Parkins, Will Brock (both Havant), Jack Coles (Winchester), Liam Perkins (Worthing, Capt).
Replacements: Alex Hibdige (Andover), Joe Tarrant (Tottonians), Ben Featherstone (Trojans), Sam Voight ( Camberley), Dylan Read (Colchester), Wes Dugan (Havant), Tom Fieldsend (Winchester).
Hampshire scores: Tries, Carr, Fieldsend, Perkins, Pen, Searle, Con, Searle
Cornwall: Matt Shepherd (St. Austell), Jack Kessell (Camborne), Sam Parsons (St. Austell), Duncan Tout (Tonbridge Juddians), Konnor Ewudzi (St. Austell), Fraser Honey (Redruth, Capt), Mike Austin (Cinderford); Luke Barnes, Richard Brown, Jess Tompsett (both Redruth), Jack Heazelton (Camborne), Ben Hilton (Barnstaple), Jordan Nicholls (Camborne), Sam Stevens, Ben Fox (both Redruth).
Replacements: Tommy-Lee Southworth, Ben Priddey, Declan Prowse (all Camborne), Freddie Stevenson (Bude), Jack King, Lewis Thomas (both Redruth) Josh Semmens (Pirates Ams).
Cornwall scores: Tries, Brown, Ewudzi, Southworth, Cons, Honey 2, Shepherd, Pen, Honey.
Referee: Nathan Howarth (RFU)