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Midlands 22 Cornwall 24 – Match Report

May 12, 2024

Action from the Alexander Stadium – Andy Shaw

Cameron Brown’s sensational try two minutes from time, coupled with his fourth successful conversion from as many attempts, saw Cornwall pick up their first win of 2024.

The Choughs, who more than matched the Hurricanes in the sweltering Second City heat, were trailing 22-12 with six minutes left before a yellow card for home prop Blake Broadbent swung the game towards Mike Abbott’s side.

Broadbent, one of four dual-registered players in the Hurricanes’ side, needlessly hit Morgan Punchard late and off the ball. Referee Andy Sweet reached for his back pocket and sent Broadbent to the bin, meaning Midlands would finish the game a man light.

And Cornwall capitalised fully with skipper David Weetman scoring to set up a grandstand finish before Brown scored another party piece effort to tie the scores at 22-22.

The Australian full-back, who is now Cornwall’s all-time leading try scorer, then displayed nerves of steel to kick the extra two points and the visitors to victory.

Brown’s try saw Cornwall finish the game in dominant fashion, exactly how they started the only match to take place in Betfred League 1 this weekend.

After an early scare which saw Jason Bass pulled back for a forward pass with the line in sight, Cornwall took the lead after just six minutes when centre Tom Ashton powered over for his second try of the season.

Brown tagged on the first of his successful conversions and Cornwall were up and running.

Cornwall prop Josh Hartshorne, playing his first game since February, then powered through the heart of the Midlands defence but couldn’t reach the line, as Weetman was then stopped short on the last.

Midlands, who defeated Cornwall by over 60 points when the two teams met in the Duchy last month were creaking at this point, but visiting indiscipline came to the fore and the Hurricanes took advantage.

Firstly, Liam Welham crashed over before Brown fumbled a high kick and Jake Sweeting picked up the scraps after a scrum to put Midlands ahead.

Cornwall were then dealt a blow when home grown interchange Decarlo Trerise was forced off less than a minute after coming on with a head injury.

Before the break, Midlands pressed further ahead when Bailey Black came flying out the line, but didn’t make the tackle and after a successful juggling act, Bass strolled in out wide.

Crucially, Sweeting couldn’t make it into a six-point score. And, in the dying embers of the first half, he missed with a touchline penalty effort after Bass had been hit off the ball.

After the turnaround, Cornwall struck first when Nathan Conroy burrowed over from dummy-half for his third try in as many games, meaning it was very much game on.

Proceedings then ebbed and flowed with neither side able to assert themselves on the scoreboard until 18 minutes from time when McLelland powered over under the posts. Sweeting duly converted and at this point, it was expected that Cornwall would crumble and Midlands would prevail with ease.

But the Choughs had other ideas and it was the visitors who finished the game well and even before Broadbent’s rush of blood, it was Abbott’s charges who were the better side.

And they took full advantage to claim a hard-fought win thanks to Weetman’s powerful score and Brown’s wonderful individual effort.

Cornwall: Brown, Nichol, Small, Ashton, Aaronson, Punchard, Black, Hartshorne, Collins, Rhodes, Cullen, Simpson, Weetman. Interchanges: (all used), Boardman, Trerise, Conroy, Lloyd.

Tries: Ashton (6), Conroy (49), Weetman (76), Brown (78)

Goals: Brown 4/4

Midlands Hurricanes: Horner, Johnson, Varo, Oakes, Bass, Sweeting, McLelland, Kirby, Barcoe, Broadbent, Wilkinson, L Welham, Hobson. Interchange: (all used) Cullimore, Willis, Brown, Peachy.

Tries: L Welham (19), Sweeting (23), Bass (30), McClelland (62)

Goals: Sweeting 3/5

Sinbin: Broadbent (74) – late hit

Referee: Andy Sweet