Matt Shepherd scored four tries to take The Rebels to the top of the table for the first time this season after they enjoyed a clinical 50 – 20 victory on the road over Exeter Centurions at Flowerpots Field.

Rebels centre Sam Bristow was first to cross the white line after 10 minutes, scoring the first of his two tries, and Rebels Assistant Coach Grant Thirlby continued the fine kicking form he showed in last week’s South West Challenge Cup Semi – Final to add the extras.

Shepherd scored a try either side of touchdowns from Jake Butcher and James Martyn to put the Cornish in control with half time approaching. A quick consolation for the home team from Tom Franklin was converted by player – coach Kyle Bonsor putting the scoreline to 6 – 26 at the interval.

The Rebels came out fighting after the break, and two minutes into the half Shaun Buzza put one under the posts after an amazing breakaway by Matt Ballard.

Shepherd grabbed his hat trick after former Redruth RFC and Cornwall duo Darren Jacques and Ashley Lawton tore through the Exeter defence to put the fullback in under the posts.

Cornish Rugby stalwart Darren Jacques played his first match for the Rebels and enjoyed plenty of freedom will the ball in his hand to prove he can replicate his fine abilities in Rugby League.

Bristow grabbed his second in the corner before Centurions replied with two in the last ten minutes. Rob Stanley and Mike Richards crossed, and Bonsor converted one of them before Shepherd was over again for the Rebels.

Rebels Assistant Coach Thirlby, in charge for the day in absence of Jonny Platt said “The boys put in a great performance today! In very hot and humid conditions. To come away from home against a title contender and score 50 points is massive. We will look to take this in to next weekend and into the cup final on the 28th. All in all a brilliant display from 1-18!”

FT score: Exeter Centurions 20 – 50 Cornish Rebels

Cornish Rebels: Shepherd, Bristow, Allen, Butcher, Martyn, Thirlby, Elliot, Joyce, Jones, Williams, Pattison, Beasley, Lawrance, Replacements: Jacques, Lawton, Ballard, Molin, Buzza

Tries: Shepherd (4), Bristow (2), Butcher, Martyn, Buzza.
Cons: Thirlby 7/9

Exeter Centurions: R. Hart, Mountstevens, Harris, Archer, Alderman, Stanley, Bonsor, Mather, Franklyn, Hinton, Ethan, Richards, Walter, Replacements: Rigler, A. Hart,  J. Williams, Parry, T. Williams, Shields, Walker

Tries: Franklyn, Mather, Stanley, Richards
Cons: Bonsor 2/4

Referee A. Bickle

Photo: John Beach