Cornish All Blacks - Team News
Lewitt inspires fourth straight success for All Blacks in derby
Monday, April 23, 2012
Western Morning News
Taunton 10 Cornish All Blacks 17
The Cornish All Blacks, despite the club's financial problems, are turning the end of their season into a triumph – this hard-fought 17-10 win at Taunton completed a local derby double and was their fourth victory in a row.
National Two South leaders Old Albanians are four points ahead of Richmond but with just one obstacle standing between them and promotion – the All Blacks at Polson Bridge next Saturday in the last match of the campaign. The Hertfordshire club might be quaking in their boots.
They beat the Cornishmen at home in the first game of the season, 31-18, but the All Blacks are now a hardened, settled and much more savvy side than they were then.
Local derbies are always unpredictable affairs and Saturday's at Hyde Park was no exception. There was a strong wind which was with Taunton in the first half, but they failed to make the most of it and led only 10-3 at the break.
The All Blacks made things unnecessarily hard for themselves in the second half – instead of using the wind to kick for the corners, they elected to go up the middle too often.
That said, Taunton failed to score again while their visitors added 14 points. All Black full-back Kieron Lewitt, the league's top points scorer, bagged 12 from a penalty, a try and two conversions.
The All Blacks began badly, conceding a try in the first minute. Taunton attacked at pace with the ball in hand, full-back Gary Kingdom came into the line, the Cornish fell off tackles, and right wing Tom Popham stepped inside Lewitt for an easy run-in, for fly-half Tony Yapp to add the extras.
In the ninth minute, All Black hooker Darren Semmens charged up the middle, Taunton tight-head Christopher Phillips high-tackled, and Lewitt duly punished the offence with three points.
The Somerset men were awarded with a penalty for coming in at the side, which Yapp duly converted, although he missed a later attempt.
The All Blacks trailed by seven points at the interval but by the 55th minute they had levelled it. A kick to the corner and a line-out; home flanker Dean Taylor-Menzies infringed and was sin-binned; the All Blacks pressurised three successive scrums, and then scrum-half Lewis Webb linked with fly-half Jake Murphy, who combined with replacement centre Steve Perry to send Lewitt in to score and convert to make it 10-10.
Taunton fought back with ten minutes left but the All Blacks pinned them back, Yapp was yellow-carded, and after a series of scrums the ball was recycled, Webb linked with Perry, and Murphy went wide, straightened up and beat two defenders to touch down.
Captain Tom Rawlings said: "Taunton attacked from everywhere. They came out and played and got the early score and almost got another. We played well in the second half to beat them.
"We were dominant up front and in the set-pieces, put on pressure in the 22 strike zone, ran some good lines and came up with two good tries."
Taunton: Kingdom; Popham, Luff, Gervais, Claydon (Gabbitas 66); Yapp, Beddard; Gatford (Conway 73), Tanner (Chase 49), Phillips (Cooper 50); Marriott, Charlton (Wilkinson 15); Fox (capt), Taylor-Menzies, Hemsley.
Scorers: Try – Popham; Conversion – Yapp; Penalty – Yapp.
Yellow cards: Taylor-Menzies, Yapp.
Cornish All Blacks: Lewitt; Bright, Yeo (Perry 24), Paterson, Moyle (Struminski 69); Murphy, Webb; Mathias, Semmens (Hurdwell 63), Bayliss; Tripcony, Hilton; Salter (Lloyd 72), T Rawlings (capt), M Rawlings. Replacement (not used): Duke.
Scorers: Tries – Lewitt, Murphy; Conversion – Lewitt (2); Penalty – Lewitt.
Yellow card: Salter.
Referee: G Steele-Bodger (RFU).