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Cornwall claim victory over Devon in epic County of Origin match
8:54am Monday 26th August 2013 in Sport
Cornwall Rugby League revelled in victory over Devon on Wednesday night as they reclaimed the Martin Roddy MBE Trophy in unbelievable fashion with an emphatic squad performance in the County of Origin game at Redruth RFC.
It was Devon however who drew first blood, crashing over for a try under the sticks by prop Russ Morris after seven minutes to which Alex Stevens added the extras. It was another six minutes before Cornwall responded with a score through full-back Matt Shepherd which he duly converted to level things up.
Things stayed end to end, and it was a half of big tackling and forceful running which lead to the game being level still after 25 minutes. It wasn’t long though until Cornwall and Cornish Rebels prop Matt Williams sneaked over in the corner after a terrific team move. Shepherd’s fine form with the boot continued and that match was still a closely contested battle at 12 – 6.
Devon responded minutes later through Nick Wolley dabbing down from a chip over the defensive line into the corner after a neat move but this time the kick fell wide.
Devon centre Joe Briggs then touched down shortly after and this time the conversion was good giving Devon a 12-16 lead as the break drew near but there was time for one more Cornish try, Scott Marshall found the line under a smattering of bodies and another Shepherd kick sailed over to leave a two-point 18-16 game at half time.
After the re-start it was once again first score to Devon, although some would call it a ‘soft’ try for Cornwall to concede, it was nevertheless a tidy if basic move to send them over in the corner through Devon and Devon Sharks fullback Ozzy Flowers. Stevens this time added the conversion and they nosed out in front again 18-22.
Although most thought it would be impossible, things started to intensify. Bodies smacking together and some big-hitting, body-on-the-line rugby showed the class of both teams and just how far South West Rugby League has come on since conception. Cornwall second-row Ash Lawton enjoyed an evening of hard ball-carrying which has been his trademark strength for Cornish Rebels all season and in this game he became the first ever player to represent the county in both codes in the same season.
Cornwall and Rebels captain Kye Beasley also enjoyed a great game and set a remarkable example, as he has done all season, of what tough-tackling and solid running looks like.
The boys in black and gold were celebrating a great year for Cornish Rugby League, and the majority of players representing Cornwall were Cornish Rebels players, one of which Alex Ducker pounced onto a cross-field kick to dive over for four-more and Shepherd kicked sublimely from the corner to give Kernow the edge and a 24-22 lead with fifteen minutes remaining.
For the first time Cornwall scored back to back tries; prop Ethan Pattison showed quick hands and pure class as he scooped a dropped ball on Devon’s 20-metre line, found real pace quickly to leave three Devon defenders standing cold. A showboat touchdown under the sticks send the crowd wild and the kick was a formality for that man Shepherd once again.
Stand-off Alex Ford grabbed a consolation for Devon which went unconverted but every singular move in this awesome game were about to be overshadowed by what must be one of the most exciting moves The Recreation Ground has seen all summer – Matt Shepherd, having been responsible for a healthy chunk of Cornwall’s ponts already, raced 50-metres in front of a roaring crowd to touch down for the final score.
He kicked for goal for the final time that evening and cured himself the Man of Steel award for a sublime performance in a team brimming with outstanding talent and effort. Jono Jones, arguably Cornish Rebels most improved player this year, bossed the team from hooker and the team enjoyed his effective distribution.
Centres Guy Pallett and Aaron Hunt remained firmly in the thick of things putting in hit after hit throughout and eventually the game was won and lost on some pivotal moves. Both teams were outstanding but Cornwall did seem to harbour the edge throughout and it’s tempting to say that the result was never in doubt.
Cornwall: Matt Shepherd, Alex Ducker, Aaron Hunt, Guy Pallett, Ashley Taylor, Paul Saberton, Andy Webster, Ethan Pattison, Jono Jones, James Ford, Ashley Lawton, Martyn Lawrance, Kye Beasley (Capt) Subs: Matt Williams, Martin Middlewood, Steve Homer, Scott Marshall, Grant Thirlby, Jake Butcher, Darren Pellow.
Tries: Shepherd 2, Williams, Marshall, Ducker, Pattison Convs: Shepherd 6
Devon: Ozzy Flowers, Ed Powell, Joe Briggs, Nathan Barnes, Manoa Cakacaka, Billy Stockwell, Alex Ford, Dec Sexton, Alex Stevens (Capt), Russell Morris, Stuart Lovick, Nick Wolley, Dave Walter Subs: Scott Galloway, Nigel East, Shaun East, Jack Carlisle, Ben Tharme, Ben Cowley, Rob Ede
Tries: Morris, Wolley, Briggs, Flowers, Ford Convs: Stevens 3
Referee: Chris Symons Attendance: 300