Cornish Rebels 42 Devon Sharks 36 (after extra time)
The Cornish Rebels won the South West Cup for the first time in the history of Cornish rugby league as they came from behind to pip Devon Sharks in baking hot temperatures at Polson Bridge, writes Dick Straughan.
The Sharks took the lead with a try after just 8 minutes as prop Russ Morris went over from close range. Ash Ansermoz converted and the underdogs were looking good until the Rebels hit back with three tries and sixteen points in a glorious six minute spell.
Skipper Kye Beasley grabbed the first as the Rebels centres ripped open the Sharks defence and Grant Thirlby finished the second score with a 20 metre run-in after Beasley`s storming 30 metre break.
Centre Aaron Hunt then raced down the right wing for try number three and Thirlby`s kicking made it 16-6. It then got worse for the Sharks as they tuned over possession with a wayward pass right on the Rebels line and Alex Ducker seized the interception before sprinting the length of the field to score.
But two tries late in the half from the Sharks through Jacob Stirling and Jake Knapman took back some of the momentum before Ducker popped up to score his second try right on half-time to leave the Rebels ahead by 28-14.
Back came the Sharks with a storming start to the second half and well taken tries from Joe Briggs and Jake Knapman coupled with a conversion from Jake Keiller all but wiped out the Rebels advantage.
Then with the game entering the final quarter a head injury to Rebels skipper Kye Beasley forced a lengthy delay in the action as the referee requested an ambulance and withdrew both teams from the field.
The Sharks re-started with two quick tries from Morris and Cartwright and it took a James Floyd try three minutes from time for the Rebels to force extra time.
Matt Hodgson restored the Devon advantage with their eighth try before Ashley Lawton’s converted touchdown finally gave the Rebels a narrow two-point cushion after 88 minutes.
Two coolly slotted penalties from Grant Thirlby made the game safe for the Rebels as the Sharks finally succumbed to the heat of the day.
Floyd, Ducker, L.Williams, Hunt, Bristow, Pellow, Thirlby; Pattidson, Jones, Lawrence, Lawton, Middlewood, Beasley (capt)
Replacements – M.Williams, Cook, Marshall, Plunkett
Tries – Ducker (2), Hunt, Thirlby, Beasley, Floyd, Lawton
Cons – Thirlby (5)
Pens – Thirlby (2)
Hill, Green, Sharp, Briggs, Keiller, M.Hodgson, J.Stirling; Morris, Ansermoz, Walker, Knapman, Winfield, W.Hodgson
Replacements – Knapman, Rowlands, Boyd, Cartwright
Tries – J.Stirling(2), Morris, Knapman, Briggs, Hodgson, R.Morris, Cartwright,
Cons – Ansermoz, Keiller
Referee – A.Bickle
Attendance – 100
image: Pellows missus.