CORNISH Rebels inflicted an emphatic 96-22 defeat onto South West Premier League Champions Devon Sharks at the Recreation Ground on Saturday, writes Rob Butland.

Captain Grant Thirlby scored 36 points from a flawless kicking display and a try to cap off an excellent performance from the Cornish scrum-half. Rebels stand-off Matt Shepherd continued his fine run of form by notching up five tries, with loose forward Martyn Lawrance also grabbing four.

After a delay in kick-off when an accident on the A30 caused the visitors to arrive late the first half was almost entirely one way traffic. Ethan Pattison, Shaun Buzza, James Martin and Tom Murray all went over the whitewash for the Cornishmen before Alipate LauLau touched down a consolation try for the Sharks in the dying seconds.

The second half started with a try for Thirlby before a quick Sharks reply through Ash Ansermoz gave hope of a better 40 for the Torbay side.

But three tries in 15 minutes, including two for Cornish Rugby stalwart Darren Jacques, further deepened the misery for a scratch Sharks side.

The visitors managed to sustain a short period without conceding as the final quarter approached, and they furthered their own score in the process through Tate Richardson and Ben Alan who both scored converted tries. The Rebels had one more try left in them though as Lawrance crashed over again.

Overall The Rebels showed some fine free-flowing rugby as well as some outstanding individual efforts to secure the win and continue to close in on a place in August's Grand Final.

The Rebels face Plymouth Titans in their final home game of the season on July 26th, but before then must travel to Barnstaple for their penultimate League match with North Devon Raiders next weekend.