GALLERY: Devon beaten by a strong Cornwall side at Brixham
DEVON head coach Dan Parkes admitted Cornwall deserved their 50-20 Bill Beaumont County Championship win at Brixham on Saturday.
The Green and Whites had shocked Cornwall last year down in Camborne, but the Duchy arrived at Astley Park determined to make up for that and book a place at Twickenham.
Devon did produce probably their best performance of this year’s campaign in the opening 50 minutes on Saturday, but as they tired Cornwall turned up the pace and scored five tries in a deadly 25-minute period.
“I was really happy with how the lads played,” said Parkes. “They stuck in there, but we were beaten by a far better team.”
He added: “If I’m honest, our decision-making in the first half was quite poor. I think we should have just gone for it a bit more rather than waiting for them to attack us.”
Devon did have a really good period of pressure in the final 10 minutes of the first half but they good not get over the whitewash.
“Cornwall’s defence was very good,” said Parkes.
After going behind to an early Alex Ducker converted try, Devon closed the gap to 7-6 with two Tom Putt penalties.
In between the two penalties Devon’s Dean Avery and Cornwall’s Brad Howe were sin-binned for a scuffle before Ducker was also yellow carded seven minutes later for a deliberate knock-on after Putt had hit the post with a penalty.
Cornwall turned up the pressure after that and they eventually got a second try when scrum-half Jack Oulton went over under the posts and Plymouth Albion’s Fraser Honey converted.
But after that Devon got on top for a spell. Ivybridge full-back Charlie Briant could not have come closer to scoring in the right corner but was somehow stopped at the last second, while Okehampton’s Rhys Palmer had a great chance in the other corner not long later.
Devon camped on Cornwall’s line for a good five minutes but the Duchy’s defence was outstanding and once they got the ball back they went up the other end and scored through Lanner’s Dan Job to take a 21-6 half-time lead.
In front of a large crowd, Devon came out fired up and cut that gap within five minutes when Ivybridge scrum-half Ben Watts ran in for a try on the right, which Putt converted well.
But just when Devon were thinking about a memorable comeback, Cornwall scored a fourth try through influential number eight Howe, which Honey converted.
Cornwall’s confidence grew after that and Devon just ran out of steam after putting so much effort in. Redruth prop Jess Tompsett went over from close range in the 54th minute before Cornish backs Kyle Speare, Jon Dawe and Taron Peacock all crossed for fine touch-downs.
Devon did claim a consolation try in the final minute when hooker Avery went over after Cornwall over threw a line-out.
After the game, Parkes confirmed that he would be standing down as Devon’s head coach.
“I’m taking a year out of rugby,” he said. “I’m going to have a year off and see how it goes. My business is getting really busy now.
“I have loved doing the Devon stuff. It is nice to get everyone in from all different clubs and everyone gets on.”
Devon: Charlie Briant (Ivybridge), Billy Pinkus (Ivybridge), Rhys Palmer (Okehampton), Lewis Paterson (Mitch Pinkus (Brixham) h/t), Frank Kelly (Plymouth Albion), Tom Putt, Ben Watts (Ivybridge, Hext (Brixham) 65), Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot, Charlie Tribble (Exmouth)60), Dean Avery (Ashlee Crouch (Plymouth Albion) 30-58), Charlie Tribble (Exmouth, Shane Cooper (Exmouth) 31), Jamie Tripcony (Ivybridge), Adam Thomas (Brixham, George Wilson (Ivybridge) 46), Tom McGratton (Okehampton, Ashlee Crouch 20-30), Sam Thomas (Brixham, Schuster-Wood h/t, Ben King (Ivybridge) 60), Wayne Sprangle (Bridgwater).
Cornwall: Richie Kevern (Redruth), Dean Bonds (Redruth, Kyle Speare (Bude) 63), Jack Simmons (Redruth), Jon Dawe (Plymouth Albion, Seti Raumakita 58), Alex Ducker (Camborne), Frazer Honey (Plymouth Albion, Dawe 70), Jack Outlon (Redurth, Taron Peacock (Camborne) 74), Dan Job (Lanner), Rob Elloway (St Ives, Matt Ballard (Wadebridge) 58), Jess Tompsett (Redruth), Tony Whittle (Camborne, Grant Randlesome (Penryn) 63), Ben Hilton (Barnstaple, Dan Sanderson (Falmouth) 70), Ed Pascoe (Royal Navy), Grant Randlesome (Penryn, George Jones (Penryn) 39) Brad Howe (Redruth).
Referee: Nick Wood (Gloucestershire)
Devon: Tries: Watts 45, Avery 79; Cons: Putt 46, 80; Pens: Putt 9, 27
Cornwall: Tries: Ducker 4, Oulton 35, Job 40+4, Howe 50, Tompsett 54, Speare 61, Dawe 70, Peacock 76; Cons: Honey 5, 36, 40+5, 51, 55