Slick Redruth prove too strong for All Blacks in nine-try Cornish derby
Early signs suggest this Redruth side will take some beating in National League Two South this season after they emphatically made it two wins from two this term with a big victory over their bitter rivals from Launceston.
The Cornish All Blacks can rightly point to numerous times when they contributed to their own downfall, but Redruth fully deserved the margin of their 46-24 success at the Recreation Ground.
The Reds, under new head coach Adrian Edwards, looked leaner and meaner throughout this Cornish derby and were more superior than the five tries to four score count suggests.
And yet, the All Blacks still managed to show plenty of promising signs. They won a losing bonus point for the second consecutive week, purely through force of will at the end of the toughest of games. That battling quality will see them well when the finer elements of their play fall into place.
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They were up against a Redruth side who tore into them from the start. Five minutes of early pressure from the Reds put the All Blacks immediately on the back foot.
The visitors turned the ball over once, but only managed to delay another Reds onslaught as their clearance failed to get beyond the halfway line.
The Launceston men stood up well initially, but the Reds' pack was relentless and rumbled over the try line with Sam Parsons touching down for an unconverted early try.
The All Blacks were given no time to regroup and the pressure quickly built again. They were stretched across their own 22 and Reds' scrum-half Greg Goodfellow burst through a gap to score under the posts. This time Paul Thirlby added the conversion.
Still, the Reds continued to pour forward with lock Luke Collins barely giving the scoreboard man a chance before adding a third home try in the 13th minute. Thirlby hit the post with the conversion attempt.
However, the All Blacks countered well with their first piece of serious possession. A fine passing move was completed in Piggy Lane corner by winger Luke Tidball, with Kieron Lewitt adding the conversion.
Lewitt had the chance to reduce the damage to ten points in the 20th minute but missed with a long-ranged penalty, as well as another ten minutes later.
Instead, it was Redruth who built up a 13-point advantage when more home pressure gave Thirlby a simple kick in front of the posts.
That kick brought some confidence and he added another three points as an all-action half showed few signs of slowing in pace or intensity.
There was still time for another Launceston attack before the break, however. The All Blacks' destructive forwards rummaged through the Reds' defence and prop Tim Mathias supplied the close-range finish.
The half-time whistle sounded just as Thirlby added his third penalty to ensure the hosts took a 14-point lead into the second half.
Although Redruth's start to the second half was a step or two short of the first, they scored a try just as quickly.
And unlike many of their first-half raids, their bonus-point score came from a fine individual effort. New wing Frazer Kellythorne vindicated Edwards' decision to pick him on the wing ahead of Lewis Vinnicombe with a stunning run to the line after receiving a pass at pace from Goodfellow.
Thirlby converted and added another three points, just short of the hour mark.
The Reds' fly-half was called into action again with seven minutes remaining to convert the Reds' fifth try. A fine run from young replacement Neil Broadbank set up Collins for his second try of the day.
The All Blacks responded valiantly in the latter stages again, striking back with consolation tries from through Richard Bright and Mike Roach.