CORNWALL'S rugby league side could not emulate their union brothers as they lost at a misty Redruth on Sunday.

An error strewn performance crippled the Duchy's chances of victory against Devon in the opening County of Origin Series tie as the side who travelled over the Tamar returned with a 26-24 win.

Alex Ducker did have the chance to level matters in the dying moments, but astonisingly sent a conversion effort straight into the uprights with the ball just left of centre and ten metres out.

The sides will meet again on July 4 at Launceston's Polson Bridge ground before the final match of the series on August 23 in Teignmouth.

Devon looked in feisty mood and took the lead in the fifth minute when Jordan Kerman pounced on the ball like a tiger after it popped out of home hands as they tried to run it from their goal area.

Problems were being created for Cornwall throughout the afternoon in two different ways, mistakes of their own doing and a quick Devon defence who always seemed to have multiple men waiting to tackle.

Any move into the visitors' half was undone by knock-ons or a turnover forced from a crunching challenge.

Josh Barnett doubled Devon's lead when his side managed to produce another turnover in the 17th minute and darted over the whitewash, with skipper Alex Stevens' conversion making it 12-0.

The only way Cornwall looked scoring was through a piece of individual brilliance and on the half hour Paul Saberton, who was not having a great game, found a bit of dazzling spark to swiftly break the defensive line and run in from 35m.

Ducker added the conversion but Devon responded almost immediately Xander Seddon sucked in a couple of defenders before cleverly offloading, with Williamson on hand to score.

Things were looking dire for Cornwall but some hope was restored on the stroke of half time when they eventually spotted a seven-on-two overlap on the left wing with Ducker diving over before missing the conversion.

Looking to use the momentum gained from this score, Cornwall came out after the break looking quicker, but the story was the same as unforced errors continued to creep into their game.

From one of these handling mistakes in the 51st minute, Devon captialised again as Alex Ford went in, with the Cornish defence standing still believing a crossing call was about to come.

Proceedings became darker seven minutes later when Alex Edwards breezed through a gap to dot down, with the conversion miss keeping the score at 26-10.

Matt Ballard looked to have got the fightback going in the next attack for Cornwall when he leapt on the ball which looked to have been knocked-on by Ashley Lawton, only for the referee to wave play on.

With their tails getting up, Cornwall looked more positive and targeting the tiring legs of Devon.

However, try as they might, errors remained prominent feature and whenever they looked to be sure to score, the ball was ripped away from them.

A grandstand finish was set up though when Ethan Pattison barged his way over, with Ducker converting, and then Martyn Lawrance ran into a gap from a few metres out to make it 26-24.

A draw looked on the cards at least, but then much to the crowd's surprise, Ducker's conversion effort hit the posts and moments later the game was over.

CORNWALL: Ducker, Thomas, Briskham, Pallett, Martin, Pellow, Bristow, Joyce (c), Saberton, Jacques, Lawton, Ballard, Lawrance.

REPS: Pattison, Tompsett, Prisk, Worrall.

TRIES: Saberton (30), Ducker (40+4), Ballard (62), Pattison (80+1), Lawrance (80+4).

CONS: Ducker 2/5.