Cornwall RLFC


Neil Kelly Post West Wales Raiders

May 16, 2022

Cornwall head coach Neil Kelly – Patrick Tod

Head coach Neil Kelly was in philosophical mood after his Cornwall side were defeated 20-0 by West Wales Raiders in wet conditions at the Memorial Ground.

With both sides searching for their first points of the 2022 campaign, it was the Raiders who scored within the first minute when Callum Merrett intercepted an Adam Rusling pass to streak home unopposed.

West Wales scored further first half tries through Fergus Simpson and Merrett again as the Choughs enjoyed a territorial advantage that they couldn’t turn into points.

Trailing 14-0 at the interval, the game followed a similar pattern in the second stanza before Ashley Bateman’s team wrapped up the points late on as Kian Fisher touched down and Merrett kicked a stoppage time penalty goal. 

“It was difficult conditions but it was the same for both sides,” Kelly said at full-time. “We lacked the will to get down the other end of the field and complete our sets and even when we did get there, we lacked the composure that we needed to have a cutting edge.

“We made numerous errors and got into petty squabbles with the opposition. We fell into the age-old trap of not playing the game we set out to play.

“Well done to West Wales who defended the lead they gained really well but now is the time for reflection from me and my squad.”

Looking to make a positive start to the game, Merrett’s intervention and subsequent try, which could have had a positive outcome for Cornwall if the Raiders’ stand-off hadn’t of guessed correctly, swung the momentum in the visitors’ favour right from the get go.

But Kelly refused to pin-point this first minute incident as the catalyst for his side’s showing.

“You would rather not concede that try but doing so isn’t always necessarily terminal in the game,” he added. “We didn’t anticipate going the rest of the game without scoring any points so that early try is significant.

“That said, we felt that if we did the things in this game that we talked about before in the build-up then that try wouldn’t have been significant.”

Looking forward for Cornwall, a trip to Heywood Road where fourth placed Swinton Lions await Kelly’s charges this coming Saturday, May 21. However, the former Super League Coach of the Year says that his side won’t dwell on the West Wales defeat and the message in the build-up will be one of positivity. 

“The good thing about rugby league is that there is a quick turnaround and we have another game in six days at Swinton,” Kelly mused. “We have to pick ourselves up from this low point because of how we played. That’s not because of the opposition we faced, but because we knew the significance of the spoils on offer.

“We have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down and we can’t walk round in a state of depression because that will lead to other bad losses as well.”