TITANS SUNK BY REBELS IN SW CUP SEMI
Cornish Rebels RLFC booked their place in the South West Challenge Cup Final with a convincing win over Plymouth Titans at Redruth today, setting up a mouth-watering clash against Exeter Centurions at the end of this month.
A late surge of four tries from Ozzy Flowers was a case of too little too late as his team were firmly in second position to a Rebels side brimming with confidence and talent. The Rebels will now defend their first silverware after a very physical encounter which saw a determined Plymouth team simply never gave up.
The crowd roared with support for the Rebels as prop Ethan Pattison bounced a player off him in the opening minutes after a driving run, showing that the Cornish lads were itching to settle the score from the reverse league fixture a fortnight ago, which saw Titans edge the Rebels with a last minute penalty goal. Shortly after him, the Rebels opened the scoring with Royal Navy and Combined Services Rugby Union prop Kye Beasley crashing over to set himself up for an outstanding performance at second-row, and the Rebels looked good value in the opening ten, carrying the air of a team who were improving all the time, completing sets of tackles and high quality ball-handling before Martyn Lawrance busted the Titans wide open and sprinted from the half-way line to bag himself a try.
Rebels fullback Matt Shepherd played his first game of 2014 after returning from Twickenham playing for Cornwall RFU in the County Championship Final last weekend.He started off in some style; Another split in the Titans defensive wall and another 60 metre run for the Rebels.
Centre James Martyn scored his first try for the Cornish club before Shepherd added his second in the corner. Grant Thirlby saw his 100% kicking record right up to the break and left Plymouth in disarray,without a single score and staring down the barrel end of a 30 point deficit at the half-way point.
Thirlby opened the scoring in the second half too – with a try this time, and another familiar face Darren Pellow made his mark with a try of his own, having been out injured since the start of the campaign and having been one of Rebels’ key players last year. Thirlby continued to pull the strings alongside half-back partner Paul Saberton and bagged himself a second try which he once again kicked over for the extra two points.
The Rebels were cruising at 48-0, but a lapse in concentration finally let Plymouth onto the scoreboard through Ozzy Flowers, who was arguably Plymouths finest player on the day.
The 250 strong crowd didn’t have to wait long for a Rebels response as Scott Murray was only too happy to dab down in the corner. This, doubled with Thirlby missing his first conversion of the day, there was a sense that the Rebels needed to up the concentration against a side whose heads were still holding strong and who are undoubtedly capable of playing some devastating Rugby League at times. Alas, that wasn’t to be the case and Matt Williams took advantage of some awful Titans defensive play to stick one under the posts for his first Rebels try.
With the first Titans try involving a blatant forward pass causing uproar among the crowd, there was no doubt that the last ten minutes saw the Rebels run out of steam and Ozzy Flowers ran in three consecutive tries, adding the extra two points with the boot at each time of asking and cheapened the scoreline to indicate a much closer game than it actually was. The game finished 58 – 24 and the two teams will meet again at the Rec before the season is out, for the return home South West Premier fixture on Saturday 26th July.
The South West Challenge Cup Final will take place on Saturday 28th June, Venue TBC.
1. Matt Shepherd 2. Darren Pellow 3. Scott Murray 4. James Martyn 5. Nathan Allen 6. Grant Thirlby 7. Paul Saberton 8. Peter Joyce 9. Jonny Platt 10. Ethan Pattison 11. Kye Beasley 12. Jake Butcher 13. Martyn Lawrance.
Subs: Sam Carter, Royce Molin, Sam Bristow, Ashley Lawton, Dan Briskham, Jono Jones, Matt Williams.
Tries: Beasley, Lawrance, Shepherd (2) Martyn, Murray, Pellow, Thirlby (2), Williams
Cons: Thirlby 9/10
Thompson, Mitchell, Gwers, Bartlett, Stokes, Hamber, Stockwell, Antcliff, Worboys, Therm, Tikosavda, Cload, Seru,
Subs: Sexton, Worrell, Flowers, McOvery, Holden, King
Tries: Flowers (4)
Cons: Flowers 4/4
Referee A. Bickle
Photo: Dan Barbary