Rebels fall short where it counts in Grand Final
Cornish Rebels 24 Devon Sharks 38
The Rebels saved probably their worst display of the year for the most important game of the season, the South West League Grand Final.
Having finished top of the South West Premier Division for the season, the Grand Final on Saturday was the biggest game in their history (all four months of it).
Despite a near full strength squad (Rebels regulars Darren Pellow and Grant Thirlby both missed out due to injury), the Rebels could not cap off what has been a fine season with that second trophy.
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The Rebels came up against a Devon Sharks side determined to put behind them three early season losses, the last of which coming in the South West Cup Final.
The final couldn’t have started worse as Johnny Platt’s kick off sailed out on the full and the Sharks caught the Rebels napping to score with their first touch of the ball.
Rebels hit back swiftly as quick hands from the influential Paul Saberton put speedy full back Matt Shepherd in for the first score.
Despite great last ditch defence from captain Kye Beasley to save a try, two scores in quick succession gave the Sharks a significant lead.
Sam Bristow pulled a try back for the Rebels on 25 minutes taking Saberton’s pass beating the full back and running around to the posts for a great individual try.
The first half ended with the Rebels one score down after Aaron Hunt was denied the tying touchdown due to a forward pass.
The second half started as disastrously as the first as the kick off was knocked on. Crucially the Sharks again punished the Rebels mistake scoring in the corner.
Alex Ducker scored the first of his brace saving a try at one end by intercepting on his own line before racing 95 metres to score at the other.
Tit for tat tries, the latter Duckett’s second after good work from Platt and Saberton put him clear, saw the game enter the final quarter with the Sharks holding on to a slender eight point lead.
However, just as the Rebels were looking to finish strongly two tries in a five minute period took the game away from them.
Shepherd scored his second of the game expertly stepping through a huge hole at the sticks but it was too little too late.
Ultimately this was probably one game too far. Undoubtedly, influential players like Thirlby and Pellow were sorely missed when the side needed that little spark of inspiration.
When the dust settles on the season, as tough a loss as this is, the players and back room staff alike should look back with great pride at what they have achieved.
Next season is not that far away and the experiences gained in this campaign will stand them all in great stead as they look to get revenge and go one further.
Rebels: 1 Matt Shepherd, 2 Alex Ducker, 3 Locryn Williams, 5 Aaron Hunt, 4 Sam Bristow, 6 Paul Saberton, 7 Andy Webster, 8 Ethan Pattison, 9Johnny Platt, 12 Matt Williams 11 Martin Middlewood, 10 Kye Beasley, 13 Martin Lawrence, 14 Jono Jones, 15 Guy Pallett, 16 Nick Winston, 17 James Ford.
Sharks: 1 Ollie Hill, 2 Adam Morgan, 3 Ash Sharpe, 14 Joe Briggs, 5 Josh Green, 6 Matt Hodgson, 7 Jack Kieller, 8 Conor Roberts, 9 Ash Ansermoz, 18 Paul Cartwright, 19 Ross Thomas, 12 Jake Knapman, 13 Stirling, 20 Tony Walker, 15 Jack Carlisle, 16 Hill, 21 Mickey Rowlands.