Greenmount-sponsored Cornish Rebels RLFC broke yet another record this weekend as they became the first South West Rugby League club to win three successive Grand Final’s, being crowned season champions at Polson Bridge after defeating Devon Sharks.
Having met twice in the league and once in the South West Cup final back in June, the Rebels had gotten the better of the Sharks on all three occasions, but the Sharks came to Launceston with a strong squad in an attempt to finish their season on a high after a mixed run of form.
Both teams started brightly in damp conditions but it was the Rebels who dominated the majority of the first half. The Sharks couldn’t stop the power of prop Jack Scott as he went over under the sticks to open his teams scoring for the day while Liam Freeman backed him up with the extras.
Then it was fullback James Wilson who burst down the channel and cut the ball back inside for centre Decarlo Trerise to score the first of his brace and shortly afterwards Wilson added a try of his own. Freeman was able to slot both conversions.
The Rebels looked to be pulling away with ease but the Sharks continued to push into the Rebels and unleashed forward John Ross from 10 yards who broke the line to touch down. Kye Munslow was reliable as-ever with the conversion.
There was time for two quick Rebels tries before the break from the Cornish. Hooker Callum Abbott managed to lean under the sticks for a fine try and Pete Mabbott ran in uncontested shortly afterwards for another but neither were converted.
The second half saw the Sharks take control and score four unconverted tries through Ben Spear, Will Sanders, Kye Munslow and Paul Cartwright.
Had the conversions hit, they would have taken a four-point lead but this was not be their day and the Rebels proceeded the put the fixture to bed.
Then t ever-destructive second-row Martyn Lawrance blitzed across the defensive line into the corner and when three Sharks defenders attempted to drag him into touch he calmy offloaded over the top to Trerise who capped a fine season himself with his second of the day. Freeman converted coolly to pump the Rebels up for the last quarter.
When dominating inside the 20 metre line Captain Jack Scott offloaded to Freeman and he had Ben Harris running a fantastic line to latch onto a pin-point pass and glide through the Sharks wall uncontested to dive over.
The game closed with second-row Matt Ballard kicking a Sharks dropped ball and after guiding it 40 metres with the Sharks hot on his tail, he was a fraction away from touching it down, but the defender had tackled him rather than drop onto the ball so the referee awarded the penalty try and Freeman converted to cap another fine display at stand-off.
The Rebels have enjoyed an unbeaten season to claim their third consecutive title but the Sharks have been less convincing with a win percentage for the season sitting at just 50% after tasting defeat home and away to Rebels, West Wales and again to Rebels in both the Cup and Grand Finals.
The Rebels now go forward into the Harry Jepson Trophy, details of which will be announced shortly.
FINAL SCORE: 42-22
Referee: A. Bickle
James Wilson, Jodi Briskham, Decarlo Trerise, Pete Mabbott, Dillon Loake, James Elliott, Liam Freeman, Jack Scott, Callum Abbott, Josh Durant, Martyn Lawrance, Dan Harry, Lee Gaskell. Reps: Olly Reynolds, Ben Harris, Matt Ballard.
Scott, Trerise (2), Wilson, Abbott, Mabbott, Harris, Ballard.