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Neil Kelly Post North Wales Crusaders

August 8, 2022

Cornwall RLFC head coach Neil Kelly – Patrick Tod

Cornwall RLFC head coach Neil Kelly praised his side’s showing against North Wales Crusaders, despite the promotion chasers prevailing 36-12 at the Memorial Ground.

In an even first quarter, both teams traded tries with Gav Rodden scoring for the Crusaders, while Josh Hartshorne barged his way over for Cornwall.

The game then swung towards the visitors as Rodden, Tommy Johnson and Chris Barratt all crossed in the space of 10 first half minutes.

Leading 24-6 at the interval, North Wales scored first after the turnaround through Brad Brannan as Cornwall skipper Jamie Prisk spent time in the sinbin.

But the Choughs dug in to score next when Nathan Conroy dotted down before Barratt finished the scoring six minutes from time. 

“Overall the endeavour, commitment and sheer will to stop them scoring shone through,” Kelly said at full time. “That was in stark contrast to last week at London Skolars and I have nothing but praise for my team after their efforts.

“We were down to the bare bones in terms of players and we didn’t have enough strength in depth in certain positions. On a hot day, though, I still think we did really, really, well.”

The former Super League Coach of the Year, added: “The scoreline was 62-22 when we played North Wales Crusaders earlier in the season. This time around, I was concerned in the final 10 to 15 minutes that we might ship some soft scores which would put a lop-sided look on the scoreline.

“That is why I am saying that I have nothing but praise for the players because of the way they kept the line intact. The score was 12-6 in the second half and we can look at some scores that are avoidable – you can always do that.

“But North Wales have come down here and we have given them a good game without winning. We want to be competing with teams like this in the coming months and years but that aside, I think this result is a really positive one for us.

“The weather was taxing but I thought we looked after the ball well in the first half and kicked better in the second half. Our kicks looked like nothing kicks but it shifted the opposition from our end of the pitch to their end of the pitch.

“There are indications that our side is learning. We are dealing with a lot of young players and players from Cornwall that have never seriously played the game.

“There are elements of today’s performance that is encouraging and with two or three games left this season, we are facing those games with a lot of hope.”