12:56pm Thursday 29th May 2014
IN a game which was marred by some terrible weather including strong rain, wind, and even lightning, Cornwall prevailed against Hertfordshire at Hoe Lane to reach the Bill Beaumont Cup final for the second year in a row.
They are not the only team to be returning to Twickenham, however, as last year's victors Lancashire also triumphed to set up a repeat of last year's final. One in which Cornwall will be out for revenge.
Despite conditions, some good rugby was offered by both sides in the first half. The first points on the board belonged to Hertfordshire as they were awarded a penalty early on, Lawrence Rayner sending it between the posts for three points.
Not long after, though, Cornwall showed their power as a 30-metre driving maul resulted in a try scored by Barrie-John Chapman, the conversion being impressively put away by Kieron Lewitt.
Errors began to creep into both sides, particularly in their handling. The home side managed to reduce the deficit to just one point going into half-time thanks to another Rayner penalty.
Both sides had a player sent to the sin bin in the second half, Hertfordshire prop William Briggs, and Cornwall captain Ben Hilton.
The penalties awarded were scored by Rayner and Lewitt.
Another penalty from Lewitt not long after put Cornwall into a four point lead - one they would not relinquish thanks to an impressive defensive display, despite some late pressure.
Tensions threatened to boil over at one point as Bryn Jenkins for Cornwall and Matt Chambers, Hertfordshire no.8 were both sin-binned for fighting, but it made no impact on the final result.
There were some impressive performances from the away side – skipper Ben Hilton exemplified his sides fighting spirit – and they will look to carry that forward into the final.
Cornwall coach Graham Dawe said: "This match was always going to be a real battle. Good defence, a strong forward pack, exciting backs all contributed to the victory.”
Cornwall Captain Ben Hilton said: "We went to Hertfordshire with a game plan and stuck to it even though the weather changed so much prior and during the game. The guys knew what we had to do it was not as high scoring or with as many tries as are previous games, but getting the win was the important factor and takes us our second successive Twickenham appearance.
“What can I say about the support, magnificent as always and thankyou everyone who made the effort to attend today's match.
“The crowd was just over 550 and I think 500 of them were wearing or cheering the black and gold, absolutely awesome.”
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