Greenmount-sponsored Cornish Rebels kept up their unbeaten record for 2015 by defeating North Devon Raiders in Barnstaple, a week before going into the South West Challenge Cup Final against Exeter Centurions next weekend.
North Devon started with a bright opening ten minutes forcing the Rebels to get their defensive eye-in early, and after forcing a full set of tackles inside their own 20 metres the Raiders switched the play and sent Ashlee Crouch over the whitewash in the corner for the opening try. Everyone thought the Rebels had hit back through Darren Pellow as he dived through from acting-half, however the stand-in hooker had knocked on and nothing seemed to be going right for the Cornish.
Out of nowhere stand-off Grant Thirlby intercepted a Raiders move and raced 35 metres to dab down, with his conversion getting his teams nose in front. Before long Jess Tompsett had powered over twice in three minutes in almost identical positions and Thirlby converted the second as the rain came in full force. Rebels debutant Josh Durant got held up over the line before a Raiders penalty saw play sway the opposite way, having one of their own held up. There was time for another try for the home team from Craig Murdoch but once again they failed to convert to leave it 8 – 16 at the break.
From the second-half kick-off a Raiders error was punished by loose forward Matt Ballard before Pellow collected a Rebels kick-through to set up 16-year old winger Sam Scates-Veale in the corner, both of which were converted by Captain Thirlby. Errors started to creep in for the visitors and following two penalties and some North Devon pressure they conceded a try from Shaun East which was converted this time by Glyn Jones.
It was all Rebels after that though. The forwards dominated after a Raiders error from the restart and Ballard was over again before James Martin made a 60-metre break to touch down under the posts. Thirlby converted both but then with just 10 minutes to go Lewis Thomas scored a try in the corner but was injured in the process. He was helped from the field as Thirlby couldn’t make it a 100% record in the second half.
All attention now switches to the South West Challenge Cup final next Saturday when the Rebels take on Exeter Centurions. Kick-off is 3:30pm and is preceeded by Plymouth Titans vs. North Devon Raiders at 1:45pm at Saltash RFC.
Binns, Scates-Veale, Thomas, Martin, Ellis, Pallett, Thirlby, Wright, Pellow, C. Durant, Tompsett, Joyce, Ballard. Reps: Cromie, J. Durant.
Tries: Thirlby, Tompsett (2), Ballard (2), Scates-Veale, Martin, Thomas. Cons: Thirlby 6/8
Deakin, Bennett, Knight, Jones, Dovell, S. East, Pennyfield, Wright, May, Turner, Murdoch, N. East, Coles, Poole, Angell, Quick, Crouch.
Tries: Crouch, Murdoch, S. East. Cons: Jones 1/3
Referee: Peter Clarke