Cornish All Blacks strike late for away win against Bournemouth
True grit and a never-say-die spirit enabled the Cornish All Blacks to snatch a precious 27-22 away win six minutes from the end of this National Two South clash at Bournemouth.
It was nip-and-tuck all the way with the lead changing hands four times, as the All Blacks went smoothly through attacking phases one minute before losing their shape and direction the next.
In this clash between two mid-tablers, the Dorset club were a tough nut to crack, piling on the pressure for extended periods and giving the All Black forwards as good as they got in the tight.
The visitors found themselves under pressure from the start yet were the first to score. A failed touch-kick bounced infield straight into the hands of Kieron Lewitt, who was following up swiftly. The full-back shot down the wing, linked with Richard Bright and the pacy wing easily outpaced the defence to score wide out.
Job Vacancy: Plumbing & Heating Engineer RequiredView details
Trident Plumbing and Heating Services Ltd have a vacancy for a full time Plumbing and Heating Engineer.
Terms: Ring 01326 218934, email CV to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post CV to Unit 1, Ponsharden Ind Est, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 2SG
Contact: 01326 330626
Valid until: Friday, December 20 2013
Lewitt, whose metronomic boot as usual brought him a glut of points (12 this time) from the conversion of his side's tries and two penalties landed soon after the re-start, added the extras.
Home fly-half Ben Stevenson, who had had a couple of penalty chances early on but missed them, finally succeeded in the 12th minute, and for the rest of the quarter the All Blacks found themselves under increasing pressure.
Their backs were handling well but then losing possession and Bournemouth moved inexorably upfield and scored from a five-metre scrum, scrum-half Sam Hardcastle nipping through on the blind to put his side ahead.
Ten minutes later, after a lot of play in midfield, the home side struck again, a powerful drive from another scrum close in seeing flanker Frazer Wilford over for Stevenson to add a good conversion and make it 15-7 at half time.
It was a different All Blacks' side that came out after the break. They rediscovered their form and began to put phases together with businesslike recycling and off-loading backed up by driving forward play.
By the 52nd minute they were firmly back in the lead – a drive upfield and from 15 metres out scrum-half Richard Friend shot through to the line, and then Lewitt kicked his two penalties, as Bournemouth lost composure and Stevenson was carded for foul play. 20-15 to the visitors.
However, Bournemouth suddenly got a second wind and responded once more with aggressive attacking play. The All Blacks were forced onto the defensive. Their hosts drove fiercely and after the visitors were deemed to have downed three scrums in front of the posts, a penalty try was awarded to the Chapel Gate men.
The conversion nudged them in front again with 18 minutes left. The All Blacks, though, got the last word and the win, matching power with power and recycling expertly. A series of pick-and-drives and the pack were poised to strike. They mauled unstoppably to the line and prop Tim Mathias scored.
A delighted All Blacks team administrator, Jim O'Hara, said: "It's a good time for us. We're beginning to put a string of wins together. In the early season we met some very good teams but experience has allowed us to get back to winning ways, despite having a very small squad."