Team Cornwall Youth Wins Play-Off Tournament in London to Secure Place in National Championships!
Team Cornwall Youth will be travelling to Doncaster on the 20 September to play in the National Championships having beaten Solent Thrashers, London Blitz and the London Warriors in the play offs in Finsbury Park.
Eleven bold Team Cornwall players travelled the 300 miles from Cornwall to Finsbury Park Saturday evening, to rest overnight before taking on the London Blitz, the London Warriors and the Solent Thrashers in the 5-v-5 Youth Under 17 playoffs, to earn their place in the National Championships later this month.
The first game was against the Solent Thrashers who travelled with 18 players. The Thrashers, who were late contenders to the play-offs, had only played Cornwall twice this year so they were a bit of an unknown quantity. After a slightly shaky start, Cornwall was soon putting points on the scoreboard. Ben Howis was the first to score from an interception and Ben Jenkin scored the extra point. Ben Guy followed up shortly afterwards with a touch-down from a pass but no extra point. A couple of mistakes from Team Cornwall as they settled in, handed Solent two touchdowns from running plays, but they came back and scored a further two TDs, another from Ben Guy and the fourth from Caidan Brown, who scored a Touchdown from a fumble recovery and Leo Corney scored the extra point. The final score was 27-12 to Cornwall.
Whilst Cornwall played Solent, the two London Teams faced off – London Warriors and London Blitz (hosts), which are the youth teams of the premiership seniors - with the Blitz coming out on top winning 31-6.
After a break, Cornwall faced the London Warriors. Being the playoffs, Cornwall hasn’t faced either team this season having had mixed fortunes against these teams in the past, beating the Warriors and losing to the Blitz.
From the very start the Cornish Team out ran, out passed, out played and out classed the 17 Warriors players, in what was a bad tempered game. With touchdowns from Ben Guy (3TDs 2 Extra Points), Ben Jenkin (3TDs 1 Extra Point), Ben Howis (1TD from an interception) and an extra point from Calum Durant.
There were some stand-out plays during the game, one from Tom Morgan as Nose Guard who swam moved the Warriors Centre and spun to sack the Warriors QB within the last 2 minutes of the game. Before he was injured in the third game, Ben Howis returned two interceptions for Touch Downs against the Warriors, however one was called back for a penalty against a team mate.
Richard Scorse showed off his superior technique at Receiver, putting moves on the Warriors defensive backs especially, his “shake and bake” however, the height mismatch between Richard and the Cornerback put him at a disadvantage.
Leo “the Lion” Corney having stepped up to have an outstanding season as Cornerback really shone in all three games with his coverages and bat downs, but he hunted down a Warriors player from the other side of the pitch to carry out a ferocious tackle!
The final score against the Warriors was Cornwall 47 Warriors 6.
Whilst Cornwall played the Warriors, the London Bitz beat Solent Thrashers 26-8.
With two wins each the final game was going to be a tough one – London Blitz (squad size 23) against Team Cornwall. This was the game to watch…this was the decider…
The overcast skies had cleared by 3pm when the game finally kicked off, and the heat was on from the sun and from the opposition.
The Blitz were on offence first and the following plays showed how difficult a game it was going to be, neither team able to break through the defence of the other in any significant way.
Blitz failed to make the half way and possession went to the Cornish. Two long throws and two near misses had the Cornish sidelines gasping. Two more attempts to beat the Blitz defense and a long throw to Ben Jenkin and a 15 yard penalty was given against the Blitz for pulling Ben Jenkin’s shirt. Now within inches of the half way line, another pass to Ben Guy was unlucky but still no score. One more go, and this time they achieved first down. So close but an interception by no. 52 London Blitz player opened the field and they scored the first TD leading 6-0. Unfortunately this time the young Cornish QB Ryan Batt, was giving the Cornish supporters some jitters as he was taken off to be treated for an injured wrist. Ben Guy stepped in as QB. It was back to Cornish possession and after a further TD was disallowed for holding, Ben Guy finally equalled the score at 6-6. Then another blow to Cornwall as Ben Howis was seen on the sidelines lying down injured with a suspected neck injury the Cornish were down to 9 players. Play was suspended for over half an hour while Ben Howis was treated and everyone had to wait for the game between the Warriors and Solent to finish so they could move to that pitch for health and safety reasons. Play resumed nearly 45 minutes later without Ben who was continuing to be treated but the good news was that with his wrist strapped, Ryan Batt returned to join his team for the last 30 seconds of the first half. Caidan Brown sacked the QB for a fumble giving possession back to Cornwall and that is how the second half started immediately because of the long break.
Second half starts Cornwall in possession - pushing hard downfield, two missed long passes. 3rd down can they make it? Fourth down – not able to punch it in. Back to the Bitz for possession. However, 2 minutes from the end and Ben Guy scored a TD from a pass and Cornwall just had to hang in to the last whistle which they did, winning the game and the tournament 12-6.
Kireron Salais Offensive Coordinator described the day. “We had a shaky start against Solent, but settled in well against the Warriors. By the end of the game with the Warriors our 11 players were tired and it was getting hot. So starting against the Blitz with their much larger squad, our team were definitely in this game the underdogs. Things didn’t start well because young QB Ryan Batt injured his wrist and was out of the game for treatment and shortly afterwards running back/linebacker Ben Howis had his helmet pushed back and suffered a suspected neck injury that took him out of the game altogether and we were down to 9 players. I was unconcerned though, because I knew with the work they had put in they could still do it. Every player stepped up and played their hearts out, giving their best efforts to overcome the adversity. They deserve their place in the finals.”
Coach Smallworth was delighted at the performance of the squad and said “Well done Team Cornwall and the young Coaches. You have done us all proud today. We are looking forward to the finals in two weeks.