County Championship: Cornwall retain title with 37-24 Cheshire victory
|Cornwall (21) 37|
|Tries: Trewin, Oulton 2, Austin Cons: Honey 3 Pens: Honey 3|
|Cheshire (0) 24|
|Tries: Dickinson 2, Walsh Cons: Hinchcliffe 2|
Cornwall beat Cheshire 37-24 in a thrilling County Championship final.
Tries from Will Trewin and Jack Oulton put Cornwall 14-0 up after five minutes before Oulton got a second shortly before the break after Cheshire had missed a number of chances to score.
Josiah Dickinson twice went over for Cheshire soon after the restart.
Two Fraser Honey penalties either side of a Joe Walsh’s try kept Cornwall in front as Dickinson got a third try before a third Honey penalty sealed it.
Mike Austin scored a try in stoppage time to ensure a fourth Bill Beaumont Cup in the last six competitions for Cornwall.
Backed by a vocal crowd that had made the trip east to Twickenham from Cornwall, the Black and Gold made the perfect start as Redruth full-back Trewin – who will join Cornish Pirates in the summer – went over in the right corner in the first minute before Cheshire had touched the ball.
Jack Simmons’ superb break allowed Oulton to dive over under the posts soon after, but Cheshire did not let their heads drop.
They had pressure on the Cornwall line and knocked on at key moments before Ben Jones appeared to have got on the end of a grubber kick in the left corner, only for his try to be ruled out after he put a toe in touch.
A great blindside run from a maul by Ben Priddy set up Oulton to go over in the left corner seven minutes from half-time as Cornwall went 21-0 up, but Cheshire were given hope when Trewin was sin-binned after Cheshire pressure on the Cornish line.
Cheshire skipper Dickinson powered over from a quick tap penalty two minutes after the break as they made their numerical advantage tell – and it was more power from Dickinson eight minutes later after Oliver Hearn’s superb break set up an excellent field position.
Honey’s penalty extended Cornwall’s lead to 10 points, but Trewin was yellow-carded for a high tackle and Cheshire took advantage as Walsh went over in the corner after a looping pass from Dickinson.
A second Honey penalty eased the pressure before Dickinson went over in the left corner after a number of phases – but a missed conversion seemed to have been costly when Honey sent a 77th-minute penalty over.
But it proved academic as Austin raced through in stoppage time to cap Cornwall’s seventh trip to Twickenham in the last eight County Championships.
It was a repeat of the success they had when they last won the title in 2019 – the tournament having had a two-season hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also capped a historic treble for Cornwall this season, with their women’s side beating Notts, Lincs and Derbyshire 36-17 to win the third division title after their under-20s men’s side had been crowned county champions earlier this season.
‘An honour to lead the boys out’
“What a day for the county,” Cornwall captain Kyle Marriott told BBC Radio Cornwall.
“It’s been a long time, obviously we’re the holders from 2019 and it’s great to get the cup back with us.
“That squad of players out there, they were something else, credit to them and Graham Dawe, Marek Churcher and Chris Fuca for putting it together.
“I’m chuffed to bits and it’s an absolute honour to lead the boys out.”