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Home > News > Bees 23 - Cornish All Blacks 19
Your News Bees 23 - Cornish All Blacks 19

To say Saturday's game against the Cornish All Blacks was 'must-win' rather understated the obvious. An unexpected loss against Wharfedale the week before and had ‘the unthinkable’ have happened over the weekend Bees could have dropped ended up 12points adrift from division leaders, Redruth. However, worse case did not become reality and the Bees did what they needed to in rebuffing their visitor’s advances.

The Bees struck early through No. 8 Jim Jenner - enjoying a super game in front of the Sharmans Cross faithful - a slip pass on the blind released the experienced back-rower for an unstoppable and rather intimidating charge to the line. Mark Woodrow’s conversion slid across the face of the posts but with penalties traded Bees edged an 8-3 lead with 22minutes on the clock.

With Bees looking the more incisive of the two sides it was against the run of play that the All Blacks almost hit back – a 40m intercept from wing Marc Dibble took Cornish to within 10m, but Cameron Mitchell and Simon Hunt’s recovery was impeccable. Dibble was dumped into touch and Reece Spee’s subsequent clearance kick sent the All Blacks back into their own half.

Utilising short chip-kicks both teams probed for territory, All Blacks wing Hamish Smales made the most of an easy take to attack Bees realigning defence – footwork and a useful turn of pace drew 40m from the man in pink and although Woodrow hauled him down 20m short the referee adjudged it a high shot and the reliable Adam Staniforth exploited the infringement (8-6).

A fierce contest was then blown wide open in the minutes pre- and proceeding the half time whistle. Woodrow’s quick thinking and even quicker tap penalty, when 3points would have been a cert, released fullback Spee for a simple touch-down which the fly-half easily converted (15-6).

Staniforth responded for his side 4minutes into injury time to close the deficit but a signature rampage straight from the restart by hooker Ben Phillips helped pave the way for left wing Mitch Culpin’s first try of the season. The subsequent ruck, cleared with gusto, provided scrum-half Rod Petty with the ball on a plate from which Woody weaved his magic: the trap was sprung when the All Blacks were lured and a beautifully judged cross field kick was collected by Culpin in style - his just desserts for a stand-out performance. The touch-line extras were a bridge too far but with an 11point lead soon becoming 14, after Alex Davidson earned Bees a (holding on) penalty, Woodrow stepped up to the mark to improve the score-line (23-9).

From here Bees pushed on but it was the All Blacks that turned the screw. 19minutes into the second half a charged down kick gave Launceston’s travelling army something to really ring their bells about and when replacement lock Scott Hobson crashed over from the resulting 5m scrum it was game on (23-16). Staniforth gave cause for the nail-biting to commence with a successful penalty shot moments later and with Davidson’s red card for use of the boot being applied on the 27minute mark, the All Blacks moved firmly into the driving seat for what would be the remaining 13minutes plus a liberal 11minutes of extra time.

With Cornish now throwing all and sundry at the Bees and referee Nick Williams enjoying his time with the whistle Staniforth took advantage with many, but two in particular, sublime touch-finders to drive his side within metres of the try-line, but Bees down to 14 men would simply not yield.

Efforts from prop Craig Voisey and lock Shaun Pammenter in guarding the breakdown were defining and when the men from Launceston went wide man-and-ball defence from Scott Young and Hunt was equal to the challenge. A brilliant touch-line cover tackle from Jenner stopped a threatening Dibble in his tracks 4minutes from normal time and it was quite apt that the big man effectively wrapped up proceedings soon after with a pick up from his own 22m which rather symbolically as well as literally drove rights into the heart of the Cornish defence. Replacement scrum-half Sam Brown skied the ball off the pitch with 51minutes played for a crucial win and a win that keeps Bees moving onwards and we hope now, upwards.

“There was not a chance we were going to underestimate the All Blacks going into this game” offered Head Coach Russell Earnshaw “in the first half we played some good rugby, but the last 20 minutes was sensational...we were up against it after Davo was carded but our front five was outstanding, their scrummaging was immense.”

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