Dorset & Wilts U20s 35 Cornwall U20s 37
A VICTORY against arch-rivals Devon at Penryn on Sunday February 23, in their second and final pool game, will guarantee Cornwall a home U20 County Championship quarter-final after this dramatic win at North Dorset on Sunday, writes Bill Hooper.
The top two qualify for the last eight but Cornwall will want home advantage.
The Cornwall hero on Sunday was Truro College scrum-half Connor Swan, who, with the final kick of the game, coolly converted a 20 metre penalty to secure a precious win.
Cornwall had began the match slowly finding themselves 13-0 after the first 15 minutes. However, they battled back scoring two tries from Truro's Luke Tidball and St Ives' Tyler Gendall during the second quarter, conceding just another penalty to turnaround 16-10 in arrears.
Dorset & Wilts though began the second half strongly scoring a third try which was converted to go 23-10 up.
Cornwall fought back scoring two tries, from Tidball with his second and Camborne centre James Briant, both converted by Swan, to take the lead for the first time in the game at 24-23.
The Cornish back row of Neil Stanlieck, John Haines and Brad Howe got through a lot of work, which didn't let up when Redruth's Neil Broadbank came off the bench for the final quarter.
Gendall showed well in the loose, while locks skipper Todd Prisk from St Ives and Redruth's Harry Baker enjoyed good games in the boiler house. The hard work of the forwards gave the Cornish backline plenty of good ball to work with.
Dorset & Wilts regained the lead with a converted try, before Cornwall replied with Baker's try again converted by Swan to lead 31-30.
Swan then added a further penalty to increase Cornwall's lead to four points, but that was soon wiped out as Dorset & Wilts scored a fifth try, which crucially remained un-converted.
Swan, having missed with a penalty attempt minutes before, had a second chance to regain the lead for Cornwall with what proved the final kick of the match and this time he made no mistake.
Cornwall U20: Jack Kessell (St Ives), Luke Tidball (Truro), Ashley Taylor (St Austell), James Briant (Camborne), Jack Willey, Rhys Brownfield (Pirates Amateurs & Bath Uni), Connor Swan (Truro College); Tommy Phillips (Truro College), Joe Martin (Truro), Tyler Gendall (St Ives), Todd Prisk (St Ives), Luke Hattam (Redruth/Truro College), Neil Stanleick (St Ives), John Haines (Cornish All Blacks), Brad Howe (Helston). Replacements: Sam Rodda (Newquay Hornets), Liam McFadden (Pirates Ams), Jordan Duke (Cornish All Blacks), Neil Broadbank (Redruth & Exeter Uni), Harry Baker (Redruth), Sam Fox (Wadebridge), Bradley James.
Cornwall scorers: Tries: Tidball (2), Gendall, Briant, Baker; pens: – Swan (2); cons: Swan (3).