Neil Kelly Post London Skolars
June 6, 2022
Neil Kelly was understandably left with mixed emotions after his Cornwall RLFC side came within four points of a maiden Betfred League 1 triumph on Sunday.
The Choughs hosted fellow non-Heartlands club London Skolars at the Mem and in front of 827 supporters, Kelly’s side were defeated 24-20.
London just did enough to sneak over the line and had three players sent to the sin-bin in a fiery encounter. Trailing 14-12 with just over 10 minutes to go, tries from Michael Greenhalgh and full-back Jarred Bassett saw London claim the two competition points.
Joe Purcell bagged his second try of the afternoon in the dying embers and along with a debut score for Aaron Jones-Bishop, wasn’t quite enough for Cornwall.
“I’m frustrated but encouraged at the same time,” Kelly told cornwallrlfc.co.uk. “I feel we were on the wrong side of the result against London Skolars but that was a decision that took place in our changing room.
“London Skolars won the game and I’m not taking anything away from them, but I felt it was in our remit to improve in certain areas and it would lead to a win.
“It would be wrong of me to not acknowledge the 80 per cent we put into the game but if we could have just given a little bit more, the outcome may have been different.
“It is up to us to improve both collectively and individually and then results will come, regardless of how any opposition play.”
Jone-Bishop claimed the supporters’ man of the match honours and certainly caught the eye with his first try in Cornwall colours to put the Choughs ahead in a game for the very first time.
He then switched from the flank to the loose forward mid-way through the first half and delivered an excellent showing which impressed the Cornwall chief.
“Aaron isn’t a shrinking violet,” Kelly joked. “He tells you what he wants, what he thinks and what he’s capable of. To his credit, he backs that up on the pitch.
“He told me that he didn’t necessarily see himself as a winger for us and more of a player who should play in the middle. We had a situation where we needed Aaron to go into loose forward and he was excellent.
“He played the bulk of the game in the middle and was defensively superb. He is always a danger with his pace, especially in attack and we can’t be anything other than pleased with his performance.”
Cornwall are back on home soil this coming Sunday when Kelly’s troops welcome table topping Keighley to the Duchy.
The former Super League coach of the Year was keen to focus on his own side and not the Cougars, who topped the pile with an impressive away demolition of fellow title hopefuls North Wales Crusaders last time out.
“Regardless of next week’s opposition, whether they are at the top or the bottom of the table, it once again comes down to us giving that extra five or 10 per cent to improve and get wins,” Kelly added
“It can be any club in this division we are playing but when we produce that extra effort and rely on the rest of our performance, teams will struggle against us.
“You get a big reward for the icing on the cake and the solution to find a polished performance relies on those in our own changing room.”