Yorkshire U20s 63 Cornwall U20s 10
By Nigel Walrond at Twickenham
CORNWALL Under-20s completed a disappointing hat-trick of defeats for South West teams on RFU Cup Finals Day at Twickenham.
They went into the match as heavy underdogs against Yorkshire, who had won the last three finals, and lifted the trophy nine times in total.
Cornwall had not won the competition before, nor featured in the final since 2002, when their joint head coach Josh Lord skippered the side in a loss to Hampshire, and they were left to return home empty-handed again.
Yorkshire looked a class act, and it became very apparent as the game wore on why they had trounced Hertfordshire 77-24 in their semi-final, with some of their offloading sublime.
Cornwall had to make one change from the team selected for the final, with Rikki Bentham replacing Jack Hodge at loose-head prop, and Kyle Gratrix coming onto the replacements’ bench.
Cornwall made a solid start but they needed a try-saving tackle by Shae Cornish five metres from his own line to deny Yorkshire scrum-half Sam Pocklington after a dazzling 40-metre break by winger Jonny Keh.
The Tykes did eventually score in the 10th minute, when they worked the ball from left to right, with full-back Luke Hazell finishing off with a touchdown, converted by Sam Brooke.
They extended their lead with a simple scrum penalty by Brooke just before the midway point of the first half.
Cornwall fly-half James Tucker had an opportunity to reduce the arrears moments later, but he pushed his kick into the sun just beyond the far post.
The Duchy youngsters suffered a blow in the 25th minute when lock Dan Goldsmith was led away with a dislocated AC joint, to be replaced by Gratrix.
When play resumed, Tucker banged over a 30-metre penalty to get the scoreboard moving for Cornwall.
However, Yorkshire delivered an instant riposte, with a great piece of play by inside centre Tom Allott creating the space for Keh to cross in the left-hand corner, and Brooke knocked over a superb touchline conversion.
Only three minutes later, they were dotting down again through outside centre Connor Field, following a pinpoint crossfield kick by Brooke, who again slotted the extras, and they led 24-3 at the break.
A Brooke penalty stretched the advantage, and openside flanker James Sanderson added their fourth try in the 51st minute, with Brooke’s deadly boot again making it a full seven-pointer.
The floodgates felt like they were starting to open, with Seva Bulumakau’s touchline break setting up a comfortable run-in for the impressive Allott.
Tucker provided a brief moment of excitement for Cornwall in the 60th minute when he raced away down the touchline, but his failure to pass inside saw the chance go begging, and Yorkshire soon resumed their scoring with a try from skipper and No.8 Zak Poole.
To their immense credit, Cornwall kept going until the end, and winger Dan Hubble almost crossed in the corner, but was just forced into touch.
Yorkshire added three further tries from replacement Will Lewin and Gareth Stephen, and flanker Will Burns, with two improved by man-of-the-match Brooke, before Cornwall had the final say with a try by Cornish, converted by Tucker.
Yorkshire U20: L Hazell (Beverley), S Bulumakau (Doncaster Phoenix), C Field (Huddersfield), T Allott (Sandal), J Keh (Leeds Beckett), S Brooke (Doncaster Phoenix), S Pocklington (Doncaster Phoenix), H Butler (Harrogate), W Holling (Doncaster Phoenix), W Dennis (Hull Ionians), D Robinson (Doncaster Phoenix), J Newman (Hull Ionians), W Burns (Driffield), J Sanderson (Hull Ionians), Z Poole (Hull, capt). Replacements: W Routledge (Leeds Beckett), A Wheelhouse (Doncaster Phoenix), C Cartwright (Doncaster Phoenix), H Thompson-Green (Leeds Beckett), A Dixon (Leeds Beckett), W Lewin (Leeds Beckett), G Stephens (Leeds Beckett).
Cornwall U20: E Tyler (Penryn), S Cornish (Penzance & Newlyn Colts), J Penprase (Bath University), D Matthews (Camborne), D Hubble (Falmouth), J Tucker (Redruth), N Nash (Brixham); R Bentham (Cornish All Blacks), H Lightfoot (Cornish All Blacks), O Andrews (Falmouth), D Goldsmith (Cornish All Blacks), D Reed (Wadebridge Camels), W Gibson (Penryn & Cardiff Met), Q Cross (Wadebridge Camels), T Clarke (Cornish All Blacks, capt). Replacements: L Barnes (Camborne), C Jenkins (Cornish All Blacks), K Gratrix (Penryn), B Rowley (Cornish All Blacks), C Gilbert (Redruth), C Boyce (St Austell), R Edwards (Cornish All Blacks).
Referee: Charlie Gayther (RFU).
Yorkshire: Tries: Hazell, Keh, Field, Sanderson, Bulumakau, Poole, Lewin, Burns, Stephen; Cons: Brooke (6); Pens: Brooke (2).
Cornwall: Try: Cornish; Con: Tucker; Pen: Tucker.