In-form All Blacks earn valuable five points against bottom-club Barking
Saturday's nine-try 61-0 whitewash of benighted Barking at Goresbrook rocketed the Cornish All Blacks up to sixth place in the National League Two South table.
Any five-pointer is a precious haul, so the All Blacks' morale will be flying high as they go into a two-week break. Barking have now lost all 14 of their league games and have a points deficit of 543.
However, these sorry facts should not be allowed to take the shine off the All Blacks' storming win.
They thoroughly deserved it. The weather largely decided the play. The All Black pack dictated proceedings and laid the ground for the scores, a fact reflected in two penalty tries awarded at the start and end of the first half.
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With fly half Neilson Webber generalling affairs masterfully behind, the Cornish were motoring. By half time the visitors were 42 points to the good and the match as a contest over. They had touched down six tries, all converted by the precision instrument that is full-back Kieron Lewitt's boot.
Delighted head coach, Cliff Rainford, said: "With Barking having lost all their games it would have been easy to have gone up there thinking a win was a foregone conclusion and then to have lost.
"But we took it very seriously, played consistently well. And we gave very few penalties away too. In addition, it was very satisfying to have prevented Barking from scoring. We're now beginning to narrow the gap with the league top five".
Once an attacking platform was established, forward momentum gained and control of the scrum and lineout secured, the tries came thick and fast. A pushover attempt ended with the first penalty try; then after some forward interplay blind-side flanker Mike Rawlings burst over; Josh Lord crossed off the back of a scrum after a phase of pick-and-go; centres Sam Chapman and Lewis Peterson combined in open play, with Paterson cutting a superb angle though to score. A short, powerful forward drive close in and Lord was over for his second; and forward pressure earned the second penalty try.
From the re-start it was more of the same. The weather deteriorated, the All Blacks kept it tight, and they began to kick well to the corners.
Lock Barry-John Chapman went on an eye-catching solo run from the ten-metre line, beating two tackles to score; the home backs lost the ball and Sam Chapman hacked through, chased and got the touchdown; and finally scrum-half Richard Friend sniped through, shooting away to cross from a ruck ten metres out. And Webber – with Lewitt now on the bench – converting the first two tries.