Cornwall RLFC


Cornwall 10 North Wales Crusaders 42 – Match Report

May 28, 2023

Liam Whitton scores for Cornwall – Cornwall Sports Media

Cornwall suffered a third consecutive case of second half deja-vu after they were sunk by North Wales Crusaders at a sun-drenched Mem.

The Choughs found themselves very much in the match after 40 minutes and only trailed 18-10. It could have been even better for the hosts had they not shipped a brace of visiting scores in a four minute spell before the interval.

But just like previous matches in the Duchy against Doncaster and Hunslet, the home side were blown away after half-time and despite playing down the Mem slope, Mike Abbott’s side failed to trouble the scorers.

It all looked good for the Choughs when they went ahead after just seven minutes. After scoring against Rochdale on his Cornwall debut last Sunday, David Weetman registered on his home bow too. Cam Brown ran flat across the Crusaders’ line and he found Weetman who went over for a try which went unconverted.

North Wales responded in kind with their first foray into Cornwall’s red-zone as Jack Houghton scored. Brad Billsborough knocked over the first of seven successful conversions as the pint-sized playmaker recorded a 100 per cent record from the tee. 

Cornwall continued to dominate despite shipping a try and hooker Jake Lloyd went over before Adam Rusling levelled the scores from a routine penalty. Crusaders were pinged by referee Andrew Sweet for offside and the former Hull Kingston Rovers man made no mistake. 

David Weetman celebrates at the Mem – Cornwall Sports Media

And it got even better for the Choughs on the half hour mark when skipper Liam Whitton scored his first of the season. Coby Nichol kept the ball alive brilliantly and after breaks from Brown and Luke Collins, the hosts were in range.

Whitton then slide over chiming into the three-quarter line but once again Rusling couldn’t make it a six-point score.

The game then swung on Cornwall passing up the opportunity of a third try when Nichol opted to go on his own with Errol Carter on his outside, hunting a stroll in. The ball was spilled and Crusaders marched forward to score through the outstanding Owain Abel.

Crusaders then stretched their advantage right on the siren when interchange Shaun Costello crossed the Cornish line.

The next try was always going to be vital and it went to Crusaders when rangy winger Rob Massam made use of space out wide to cross and Billsborough kicked a wonderful touchline conversion.

And there was no way back for Cornwall after 52 minutes as Abel bagged his second of the afternoon, to scoot over from close range.

Before the hour mark, Crusaders threatened to run riot when Matt Fletcher went through a tiring home defence. Respite did arrive for Cornwall when David Gibbons was sent to the sinbin for a professional foul.

Coby Nichol looks to break through – Cornwall Sports Media

Livewire Brown broke through the Crusaders defence and with Collins in support, Gibbons pulled back the Cornwall number nine. The referee, who baffled the healthy home crowd with a series of questionable second half decisions, did get this one right and pulled a yellow card from his back pocket.

Rusling was then flattened off the ball as Cornwall searched for further points but a combination of errors and stern Crusaders defence kept the home side out.

The scoring was completed by Aidan Doolan who finished off a sweeping move down the short side as Crusaders recorded a second successive league win of 2023.

Cornwall: Whitton, Carter, Nichol, Ashton, Aaronson, Brown, Rusling, Tennison, Lloyd, Boots, Cullen, Dimech, Weetman. Interchange: (all used) E Badham, Boase, Mitchell, Collins

Tries: Weetman (7), Whitton (30)

Goals: Rusling 1/3

Crusaders: Abel, Hughes-Lynch, Taylor, Oakley, Massam, Gibbons, Billsborough, Houghton, Doolan, Barratt, Ellis, Whithead, Forster. Interchange: (all used) Costello, Fletcher, Bloxham, Nash

Tries: Houghton (15), Abel (36,52), Costello (39), Massam (47), Fletcher (55), Dolan (72)

Goals: Billsborough 7/7

Sinbin: Gibbons (59) – professional foul

Referee: Andrew Sweet