Mike Abbott Post North Wales (a)
August 2, 2023
Cornwall RLFC head coach Mike Abbott reflected on a ‘tale of two halves’ as his side edged out North Wales Crusaders 40-38 in a thrilling match at Tynewydd Fields on Sunday.
The Choughs started at breakneck speed and delivered the best half of rugby in the club’s history to lead 40-4 at half-time.
Led by the outstanding Adam Rusling, Cornwall crossed the whitewash seven times through Cameron Brown (2), Harry Boots, Nathan Cullen, debutant Mackenzie Scurr, Jaden Barraclough and Rusling himself.
But after the turnaround, North Wales were a completely different animal and led by two tries from Connor Wrench, on loan from Super League giants Warrington Wolves, they came oh-so-close to a remarkable comeback.
“I thought we started full of energy, push, bounce and loads of support which is what we had spoken about pre-game, to play like that to get the job done,” Abbott told cornwallrlfc.co.uk
“And so it proved as we stuck to the game plan and it put us on the front foot going into half-time. But then, the second half, and we have to give massive credit to North Wales, they stuck it to us and we never wrestled momentum away from them.
“Overall it was the tale of two halves but we galvanised a bit in the last five minutes because we realised how well we had worked to get into a winning position. As a team we dug in and I will give big reps to Nathan Newbound because when he came back on, it tightened things up.
“We stuck in and it would have been easy to give up on their kick chase towards the end, but we got numbers in defence, made it difficult and they made an error which saw us hold on for the two points.”
Focusing specifically on the performance in each half, the Mem chief felt that during the opening stanza, his side stuck to their pre-match plans, to devastating effect.
He added: “I spoke in previous weeks about respecting the ball and I thought we earned the right to play. The try they got (in the first half) saw us piggyback them into our own half but prior to that, we did really well with good kick chases and they turned the ball over too.
“We played in the right areas and it was a perfect game plan really well executed.”
Moving forward to this Sunday’s game against Oldham and reflecting on the second half showing in Rhyl, Abbott felt that his side can’t make the same mistakes again, but credit must be given to his charges for beating a team of North Wales’ ilk.
“We will look at the first half and fix up the bits in the second half performance that might cost us against other teams,” he revealed. “It is a really good win for us as North Wales are no pushovers and they are an established team.”