Solid defence propels London Cornish on in the Intermediate Cup
7:00am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in Sport
By Ben Gilby
A performance of full of determination, aided by scrum and line-out dominance, sent London Cornish into the second round of the Intermediate Cup following a 15-3 win at Tunbridge Wells.
The match was always going to be a tight affair, given both teams had identical records in their respective leagues this season, and with heavy rain leading up to the game, the glue pot pitch at St. Marks' was hardly conducive for running rugby.
The first chance fell to Cornish after three minutes when scrum-half Sam Williams lined up a kick at goal, which missed.
Tunbridge Wells took advantage of this to build their first major attack of the game, and gained a penalty which was kicked into touch, just five metres from the Cornish line.
Harry Somers did superbly to steal the ball and the forwards launched a ferocious rolling maul which drove the Kent side back over 15m.
Just four minutes later, the Exiles were at it again with more metres made with the maul.
Tunbridge could only halt the Cornish tide by pulling it down illegally.
In the end it took another penalty concession to halt the black and gold tide, and Williams stepped up to give Cornish a 3-0 lead after 11 minutes.
Just three minutes later, it looked like the visitors were about to extend their lead as the ball found its way to Matt Hakes who sprinted down the left flank, but he was halted for putting a foot in touch.
Despite the sun making an appearance, the ball remained very wet, and handling became difficult.
However, this did not prevent Cornish launching a super move as Adam Rae fed Hakes, who went on another trademark marauding run which drew the Tunbridge defence.
An offload to Tom Dorse gained further ground, before one final pass was delivered to Williams, who eased through to ground the ball. His conversion attempt missed.
Harry Somers, right, in action at the line-out
Tunbridge Wells rallied briefly, and hauled back the visitors lead slightly with a successful penalty by fly-half Luke Giles.
However, it was not long before Cornish were on the front foot once more.
On the half hour mark, Hakes broke through the home defence once more, but his pass to Rich Skinnard was knocked on.
Skinnard was involved once more shortly after as Dorse and Rae combined to put in the Cornish winger.
Desperate Tunbridge defence managed to turn over the ball and the Kent side escaped once more.
As the half drew to an end, the only way Tunbridge Wells could stop Cornish's powerful forwards was to concede a number of penalties.
Try: Ben Ievers goes over for London Cornish
Eventually, referee Matt Taylor's patience snapped and a home forward was yellow carded.
Shortly after, Cornish's dominance was rewarded with a second try as Ben Ievers dived over. Williams' kick was successful and the Exiles led 15-3 at the break.
The second half was almost entirely played in the London Cornish half as Tunbridge Wells threw the kitchen sink at their visitors in a bid to stay in the Intermediate Cup.
Tunbridge were hampered by their line-out continuing to mis-fire as Somers and the Cornish forwards had a field day.
Time after time, the Kent team put together phase after phase which pinned Cornish in their own 22, but outstanding defence and brute force kept Tunbridge out.
Eventually, after almost 10 minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle went.
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