Cornish All Blacks go down to opening day defeat at Shelford
CORNISH All Blacks head coach Cliff Rainford found plenty of positives to take out of a disappointing opening-day defeat at Shelford.
The Cornishmen made the long journey back from Cambridgeshire empty handed, but Rainford felt they were architects of their own downfall.
“I was really happy with our structure and the way we approached the game, but we made several knock-ons and silly little handling errors, and it was minor mistakes that cost us the game,” he said.
“Shelford never looked like creating anything of their own very much, but they were very good when we made a mistake and they countered and collected a couple of scores, which was frustrating.
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“When our backs got the ball we looked very effective and we attacked well, and four times we got into their 22 and we just couldn’t cross the try line.
“Our scrummaging was very good and we devastated their attacking line-out and took balls off them, and we just looked in control of the game, but when it came down to that last little bit, handling errors let us down.”
Rainford was very pleased with Tom Brown’s debut at tight-head prop, while centre Ryan Westren came through his first 80 minutes in almost a year on his return from a serious knee injury.
“Ryan playing a full 80 minutes was a massive positive for us,” said Rainford. “There were a lot of positives that came out of the game, just not the result, and unfortunately it is a results business.”
The All Blacks were without injured skipper and lock Ben Hilton, and hooker Jamie Salter, who was attending a family wedding, but Rainford is hopeful both will be back for Saturday’s eagerly-awaited derby clash with Redruth at Polson Bridge.
Centre Nielson Webber is also close to a return from a knee injury.
All Blacks full-back Kieron Lewitt and Shelford fly-half Adam White (2) exchanged penalties inside the opening 24 minutes of this National Two South encounter, before home scrum-half Charlie Baker darted over from close range on the half-hour mark following good work by his forwards, and White’s conversion made it 13-3 at the break.
A Lewitt penalty cut the deficit to seven points, but when the ball went loose in the 54th minute as the All Blacks tried to run out of their own 22, Baker hacked on and won the race to the touchdown.
Lewitt and White slotted further penalties, but there was no way back for the All Blacks against a side who had two players sin-binned during the contest.
Shelford: Baird, Smith, G Anderson, Wessels, G White, A White, Baker (Hunter 66), M Anderson (Beales 59), Ringrose, Malings (Gregerson 54), Mills (Ransom 71), Herrington, Newberry (capt) (Gregerson 20-25), Beswick (Jackowski 59), Lea.
Cornish All Blacks: Lewitt, Chapman (Friend 77), Westren, Paterson, Yeo (Kneebone 66), Murphy, Webb, Mathias, Bulut, Brown (Bayliss 48), Jenkins, Tripcony, L Duke, T Rawlings (Courtier 66), M Rawlings (capt). Replacement not used: Keat.
Shelford: Tries - Baker (2); Conversion - A White; Penalties - A White (3).
All Blacks: Penalties - Lewitt (3).
Yellow cards: Shelford: Malings 15, G White 61.
Referee: C Maxwell-Keys (RFU).