Cornwall left Twickenham empty-handed on Sunday despite a valiant effort as they were defeated by Lancashire in the Bill Beaumont Cup final for the second time in as many years.
Despite the result, there will be plenty for the Duchy to look back on and be proud of over the course of this campaign, particularly memorable wins over Gloucestershire and Hertfordshire.
Cornwall will, however, see this as a missed opportunity as they built an impressive lead in the first half, only to be beaten courtesy of a flurry of tries from the experienced Lancashire side, who have been to six Twickenham finals in a row.
The early exchanges were tight, without much to choose between the sides – Lewis Vinnicombe was penalised for offside, and a successful Cornish scrum forcing a knock on provided each side with a penalty early on, both of which were converted.
The game came to life soon after though, as Lancashire landed the first significant blow, a neat line out move allowing hooker Mark Rylance to score the first try, the extra points being converted by Chris Johnson.
Another Cornish penalty sent between the posts by Lewitt reduced the deficit.
Lewis Vinnicombe then provided the game’s first moment of individual brilliance shortly after when he chipped over two Lancashire men, and beat them for pace to reach it first and touch down for a try.
Poor discipline from Lancashire’s Paul Arnold saw him given a yellow card for a slap on Tom Rawlings, Lewitt scoring the resulting penalty. Cornwall were dominating by this point and the imposing figure of Jamal Ford-Robinson powered through the defence, riding two tackles, to score Cornwall’s second try, and increase the lead to 13 points.
The second half started well, with Lewitt scoring another penalty, but would soon turn back in Lancashire’s favour. The experience of being in six finals in a row showed, and they scored four unanswered tries courtesy of Evan Stewart, Johnson, Matt Lamprey, and replacement Thomas Burtonwood.
Lancashire went into the final seven minutes with a 10-point lead and it was clear that the Cornish players had put everything into the game and were tiring. Their desire and character could never be called into question, however as they made a huge late drive to try and claw some points back, but Lancashire held on to record the victory.