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Cornwall victorious in County Championship opener

07 May 2013

  • Cornwall win tight County Championship encounter
  • Gloucestershire fail to convert pressure into points
Will Warden on the way to scoring a try for Gloucestershire

Photo: RFU Archive

Gloucestershire 19 Cornwall 24

Gloucestershire failed to capitalise on a dominant opening thirty minutes and succumbed to the irresistible power of a bigger Cornish pack in their County Championship tie. A late Sam Hocking try gave Cornwall a deserved win in a fiercely contested game at Cinderford.

On a sunny but breezy afternoon Gloucestershire got off to the perfect start when captain Will Warden charged over for a second-minute try. The sleepy Cornish defence allowed the Richmond lock to run 25 metres for a score by the posts, which Mike Wilcox converted.

Two minutes later the scores were tied when Sam Matavesi crashed over following a powerful charge by the Cornish forwards. Paul Thirlby converted.

Gloucestershire threw everything at Cornwall but the visiting defence held out. However after twenty minutes probing the Cornwall defence the visitors’ line was breached when Cinderford wing Lloyd Stapleton exploited space out wide to kick over the cover and won the race to the ball and scored a fine try. The conversion missed but Gloucestershire led 12-7.

Warden was substituted and this seemed to give Cornwall heart. Thirlby reduced arrears with a penalty on the half hour then the Cornish pack powered up to the Gloucestershire line but were denied a score through accidental offside. The Cornish scrum, having struggled early on, was now on top but a late Thirlby penalty went wide and Gloucestershire retained their 12-10 lead at half-time.

Cornwall went ahead with a Craig Williams try two minutes after the restart. The Redruth prop barged over after Gloucestershire had missed a crucial tackle in midfield. Thirlby’s conversion put Cornwall 17-12 ahead.

Cornwall kept the ball tight and denied Gloucestershire possession, however a rare break out of defence saw Gloucestershire regain the lead. With Cornwall captain Ben Hilton in the sin bin Richmond centre Barney Pascall touched down after the forwards had driven from a five-metre lineout and space was created in midfield. Wilcox added the extras for 19-17.

Both sides made wholesale changes and the game lost its shape but Cornwall were not to be denied the win. After a series of scrums on the Gloucestershire line with five minutes to go Hocking picked up and drove over in the corner. He appeared to lose the ball in the act of scoring but the referee awarded the try. Thirlby’s excellent conversion put Cornwall a try ahead.

Cornwall survived intense Gloucestershire pressure as the home side tried to snatch the game out of the fire, during which time replacement Ben Priddey was yellow-carded but Cornwall held on for their first win at Cinderford.


Gloucestershire: Chris Hawkins (Cinderford); Nevaro Codlin (Cinderford), Barney Pascall (Richmond), Kai Done (Cinderford), Lloyd Stapleton (Cinderford); Mike Wilcox (Cinderford), Sam Arnott (Southend); Chris Bundy (Cinderford), Sam Wilkes (Moseley), Mark George (Stourbridge), Will Warden (Richmond) Captain, Ben West (Cinderford), Joe Joyce (Bristol & Dings Crusaders), Will Foden (Cinderford), George Evans (Cinderford).

Replacements used on rotation: Joe Smart (Cinderford), Nick Selway (Cinderford), Dale Critchley (Cinderford), Luke Allen (Cinderford), Danny Pointon (Cinderford), Liam Hemming (Old Centralians), Spencer Sutherland (Esher).

Cornwall: Jake Murphy (Cornish All Blacks); Richard Bright (Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman (Redruth); Paul Thirlby (Redruth), Greg Goodfellow (Redruth); Darren Jaques (Redruth), Richard Brown (Redruth), Craig Williams (Redruth), Damian Cook (Redruth), Ben Hilton (Cornish All Blacks) Captain, Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Matavesi (Plymouth Albion), Sam Hocking (Plymouth Albion).

Replacements used on rotation: Ben Priddey (Redruth), Barry Chapman (Cornish All Blacks), Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth).

Replacements not used: Tom Hurdwell (Cornish All Blacks), Ashley Lawton (Camborne), Matt Shepherd (St Austell).