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Cornwall 10 North Wales Crusaders 16 – Report

June 30, 2024

Cornwall’s second try scorer Decarlo Trerise – Colin Bradbury

Cornwall RLFC could justifiably class this latest Betfred League 1 clash as one that got away after North Wales Crusaders prevailed by just six points.

The visitors made it three wins on the spin with a hard-fought victory over the Choughs, who led 10-0 approaching the interval.

After a dominant start to proceedings from the Choughs, the pendulum swung towards North Wales five minutes before the break when Nathan Cullen was sent to the sinbin for a tip tackle.

The Colwyn Bay based visitors then made their numerical advantage count in the final minute of the opening stanza when Dan Coates spotted a gap in the Cornwall defensive line to feed Olly Davies, who went over, despite the best efforts of Coby Nichol.

There were some question marks around the grounding of the ball, but the referee Alan Billington, after consultation with his touch judge, awarded the try. Coates couldn’t add the extras but it felt like a huge momentum shift towards Carl Forster’s men.

And so it proved in the second stanza as tries from veteran winger Patrick Ah Van and giant prop Chris Barratt hauled back into contention and then into the lead.

But Cornwall wouldn’t lie down and but for a little more composure and execution near the Crusaders’ line, the result could have been so much different.

The home side raced from the traps and opened the scoring after just six minutes when Cameron Brown bagged his 10th try of the season. The Australian full back chimed into the three-quarter line and dabbed through to score, ahead of Ah Van.

Brown could not slot over the extra two points but the Choughs were up and running as North Wales struggled contend with Cornwall’s line speed, continuing where they left off against Keighley seven days previously.

It got even better for the Choughs just after the 20-minute mark when home grown forward Decarlo Trerise scored for the first time in a Cornwall shirt. Running the ball on the last, Nathan Conroy found Trerise, who slipped off a tackle to crash over. Brown did find his range from the tee and Cornwall were comfortably and deservedly ahead.

Shipping a second Cornwall try saw Forster thrust himself into the fray and this immediately saw North Wales attack with greater purpose, but Cornwall were still the dominant side.

Everything changed when Cullen was handed a yellow card with half of North Wales’ points tally coming while Cornwall were a man light.

Davies was the first Crusader to cross the whitewash, closely followed by Ah Van, with the veteran winger, in his second spell with the club, making use of the extra man to score easily out wide.

Ah Van took over the kicking duties from Coates, but he couldn’t find the mark and Cornwall were still in front.

But the lead was wiped out shortly after when Forster delayed an offload brilliantly to find Barratt who did just enough to touch down. Ah Van turned it into a six-point score from bang in front.

Although the hosts were behind, they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory, but could not breach a watertight North Wales defensive line.

As time ticked down, in a rare foray forward, North Wales were awarded a penalty for a swinging arm and Ah Van knocked over two more from bang in front.

Cornwall still had further chances in the dying embers, but North Wales held on for victory.

Cornwall: Brown, C Abbott, Nichol, Ashton, Aaronson, Punchard, Black, Ross, Collins, Dimech, Cullen, Simpson, Weetman. Interchange: (all used) Trerise, Clark, Conroy, Lloyd

Tries: Brown (6), Trerise (21)

Goals: Brown (1/2)

Sinbin: Cullen (35) – tip tackle

North Wales Crusaders: Holmes, Cabral, Taylor, Oakley, Ah Van, Coates, Hughes, Evans, Rainford, Barratt, Davies, Unsworth, Bent. Interchange: (all used) Costello, Baldwin, Roberts- Else, Forster.

Tries: Davies (39), Ah Van (45), Barratt (54)

Goals: Coates 0/1, Ah Van 2/3

Sinbin: Cullen (35) – tip tackle

Referee: Alan Billington