Cornwall RLFC


Neil Kelly Post Midlands Hurricanes

September 7, 2022

Cornwall RLFC head coach Neil Kelly – Patrick Tod

Cornwall RLFC head coach Neil Kelly refused to be downbeat after the Choughs finished their Betfred League 1 campaign with a 42-26 defeat to Midlands Hurricanes at Portway.

Kelly’s side started brightly playing against a stiff breeze in the opening stanza and appeared to have gone ahead when Tom Ashton touched down. The score was ruled out by referee Bradley Milligan and from that point onwards, Midlands scored 30 unanswered points before the break. 

However, after the turnaround Cornwall were a completely different animal and three tries inside the opening 14 minutes from debutant Jonny Griffiths, Jack Ray and Jamie Prisk, two of which were converted by the latter, raised hopes of an away comeback.

Tries either side of the hour mark from the hosts put paid to any chances of Cornwall finishing the season with a win but the Choughs battled manfully until the end and scored twice as time ticked down through Prisk again and Nathan Cullen. 

“With the strong wind here in the Midlands, it was always going to be a game of two halves,” Kelly told at full time. “It was about if we could restrict their scoring in the first half and then score enough in the second half. 

“Even at 30-0, although we would have needed to do everything right to come back and win the game, it was by no means a forgone conclusion after 40 minutes. We mapped out what the team needed to do in the second half in the first 15 minutes after the turnaround, and we executed everything almost perfectly. 

“Obviously we had a bit of a blip and started picking up injuries and I had players who would play 20 or 25 minute spells that had to play 80 minutes and that took its toll. Overall, we just came up short and although we did win the second half, you can’t get away from the final result which was 42-26.

The former Super League Coach of the Year added: “I’m not downhearted with the result but this game kind of summed up our performances this season in the respect that we feel we are second best to the opposition. Actually, when we test them out, they are found wanting and sometimes I feel we are paying the opposition too much respect. We gave Midlands a lead but ultimately, we should be competing from the first whistle.”