Cornwall RLFC 14 Midlands Hurricanes 60 – Report
April 11, 2022
Jack Dawson and Hayden Freeman both bagged hat-tricks as Midlands Hurricanes eased past Cornwall RLFC on an historic day for Rugby League in the Duchy.
A bumper attendance of 1,473 witnessed the Choughs on home soil for the very first time but it was Richard Squires’ Hurricanes who spoiled the home party.
The visitors raced along at a point-a-minute during a dominant first half showing to lead 40-0 at the mid-way point.
But much like they were against North Wales Crusaders eight days previously, Cornwall were much-improved in the second stanza and scored three times to give their passionate new fanbase something to cheer.
Before kick-off, both teams paraded new loan signings with Wigan Warriors pair Adam Jones and Toby Brannan both named in the matchday 17 by Cornwall head coach Neily Kelly. Midlands, meanwhile, handed a first start to Bradford Bulls winger David Foggin-Johnstone after he inked terms on a temporary switch to Portway last week.
Despite the lop-sided scoreline in the opening 40 minutes, Cornwall started brightly and enjoyed territory without reward during the early exchanges. Despite forcing a repeat set, the Choughs failed to breach the Hurricanes’ defensive line.
Then, with Midlands’ first real foray into the Cornwall red-zone after eight minutes, they opened the scoring when David Scott made yards and Dawson finished well. Ben Stead added the extras and the away side were up and running.
The lead was doubled shortly after by Brad Clavering after he burst onto Stead’s bullet flat pass which opened up a big hole in the Cornwall defence.
Foggin-Johnstone was next in on the act to pick the ball up off his bootlaces to squeeze in at the corner. Before the 20-minute mark had elapsed, Midlands had put themselves in what appeared to be an unassailable position thanks to the first of Matty Welham’s two tries.
A shell-shocked Cornwall side thought they had grabbed a lifeline when Harry Aaronson, who impressed throughout, broke clear and fed Jones. The talented Wigan teen ran under the post to score but not before play had been pulled back for a forward pass.
Cornwall then didn’t help their own cause by kicking out on the full from the restart for a second time and from the resulting penalty, Sean Crostin pushed the score on further.
The away side were rampant and Welham’s score with Stead converting saw Midlands lead 40-0 at the interval hooter.
It was more of the same from the Hurricanes after half time as just 90 seconds from the resumption, Freeman crossed out wide – Scott again the provider.
Five minutes later and Cornwall did finally score when Aaronson darted through to score and despite Johns missing the extras, the hosts had scored their first ever points at the Memorial Ground.
One soon became two for Cornwall as Jones became the next Chough to cross the whitewash and Johns did add the conversion on this occasion.
Dawson completed his treble after 56 minutes before Sam Snell kept Cornwall’s scoreboard ticking with his second try in as many games.
Cornwall then had a real go for the next 15 minutes with Aaronson nearly bagging a second when he lost the ball near the visitors’ line.
But the Hurricanes weathered the Cornwall storm and with time ticking down, Freeman’s late two try burst put the gloss on an impressive away win for Squires and his side.
Cornwall: Aaronson, Symons, Tora, Johns, Trerise, Jones, Purcell, Mullally, Kay, Ray, Hartshorne, Thomson, Prisk. Interchange (all used): Lloyd, Bolger, Snell, Brannan
Tries: Aaronson, Jones, Snell. Goals: Johns 1/3
Hurricanes: Cownburn, Freeman, M Welham, Croston, Foggin-Johnston, Scott, Stead,, Clavering, Windley, Ryan, Dawson, Bull, L Welham. Interchange (all used): Bowman, Blakey, Newbound, Green
Tries: Freeman (3), Dawson (3), L Welham (2), Foggin-Johnston, Croston, Clavering. Goals: Stead 8/11
Referee: James Jones; Touch Judges: Peter Wroe and Kristoff Young; Fourth official: Will Gilder