A tale of two halves gives Captain Fantastic first win of 2016.
Greenmount sponsored Cornish Rebels RLFC got their South West Men’s League season well underway with a rewarding 38-22 victory over Devon Sharks at Redruth.
In their first game under new head coach Mike Abbott the Rebels looked unsteady in the first half. Devon Sharks were well organised and made the Rebels defend for most of the opening 20 minutes. Thankfully the Cornishmen were well organised and despite conceding two tries in the opening third of the game, they proved resilient and difficult to break down, making the Sharks work hard for their half-time advantage of 8-12.
Sam Hedges and Kye Munslow converted their own tries early on for the Sharks, but Rebels’ debutant stand-off Liam Freeman couldn’t convert either of Martyn Lawrance’s tries for the hosts. Lawrance picked up much the same as he left off last season, causing all sorts of problems for the tiring Devon Sharks defence throughout the afternoon. His first try saw him exploit the overlap down one side and his second finished a fine team-passing move down the other.
After Abbott and assistant coach Grant Thirlby got the team inside at half time the Rebels appeared to be a different unit. Within four minutes of the restart Rebels second-row Lee Gaskell ran through the Sharks disjointed defence to run in under the posts, and this time Freeman was good with the boot for the extras.
The second score of the second half came through the move of the match from Rebels captain Jamie Prisk who put a perfectly weighted kick across the defensive line, and it was winger James Wilson who wanted it more than the Sharks defender. He touched down in Hellfire Corner but Freeman once again couldn’t slot the kick, marring what was an otherwise outstanding 80 minutes from the new signing. Shortly following this Gaskell ran in again and Prisk stepped up this time and added the goal.
Now in full swing- the Rebels showed a solid team performance for most of the second period. After far too many errors in the first half, they sured things up and continued their solid defensive display. Winger Dillon Loake made a promising 40 yard run and was only stopped by the high arm of a Sharks defender. The Rebels made the most of the set though, switching play to the other side of the field for Decarlo Trerise to dive over for a try to mark another solid performance from him the threequarter.
Injury to hooker Darren Pellow meant a spell on the sidelines for him and Loose-Forward Prisk stepped in to orchestrate some of the latter plays in the game. Twice he found space inside the Sharks 20 metre line and offloaded to vice-captain Jack Scott who capped a powerhouse performance with a try of his own.
A late flurry from the Sharks saw them over for two tries; another from Munslow and one from player-coach Ryan Chivers brought them back within touching distance, but with four minutes remaining Pellow took to the field again for the home side and ran a try in under the posts to put the game out of sight for the visitors. Sadly, Martyn Lawrance took the opportunity to show the crowd why he should stick to ball carrying, sending the simple final-conversion wide of the mark.
Following the whistle, Coach Abbott was full of praise for his half-back combination of James Elliot and Liam Freeman and a solid defensive display which, on reflection kept them in the game in a physical first half. “I was impressed with our defence today, it was gruelling at times and we had to work extremely hard early on in the game. We were also outstanding in the halves, absolutely class from those two lads, and it’s great for Liam who has never played the game before.”
The Rebels next face Exeter Centurions at Flowerpots Field, Exeter next Saturday, before a home visit from newly strengthened North Devon Raiders on June 4th.
Richard Binns, James Wilson, Pete Mabbott, Decarlo Trerise, Dan Thomas, James Elliot, Liam Freeman, Jack Scott, Darren Pellow, Andrius Zachorouvas, Lee Gaskell, Martyn Lawrance, Jamie Prisk (C)
Reps: Callum Abbott, Levi Webster, Jake Butcher, Olly Reynolds, Josh Durant, Joe Martin, Dillon Loake
Tries: Lawrance 2, Gaskell 2, Wilson, Trerise, Scott, Pellow.
Goals – Freeman 1/4 – Prisk 2/3 Lawrance 0/1