By Gareth Davies at the Memorial Ground, Penryn


Cornwall RLFC 30 Newcastle Thunder 6

CORNWALL secured their first home win of 2024 with a dominant second half showing in which Mike Abbott’s side scored 24 unanswered points.

And crucially, Cornwall kept Thunder out at the other end in the second 40 minutes to leave Chris Thorman’s side still searching for their maiden victory this term.

Despite propping up the rest, Thunder can take heart from their first half performance in which they took the lead and frustrated the home side into make a number of unforced errors, which resulted in a completion rate of less than 50 per cent.

Cornwall did level the score before the turnaround and then, led by the outstanding Nathan Conroy, the Choughs simply blew Thunder away to double their points tally this term and cut Thorman’s charges adrift at the bottom of the standings.

Under clear skies and in searing heat, both sides went set-for-set in the early exchanges before a handling error from home winger Harry Aaronson paved the way for the opening try.

Thunder, from a scrum inside Cornwall’s half, shifted the ball left and after one further play, Evan Lawther, who began the year at Whitehaven before moving back to the North East, sliced through the home rearguard to score. Mackenzie Harman tagged on the extra two points and Newcastle had seemingly started how they finished in running Rochdale close, seven days ago.

But Cornwall, who were guilty of trying to force the play in the opening quarter, gradually found their straps and a short Luke Collins pass found David Weetman to crash over from close range, playing against his hometown team.

Cameron Brown knocked over an easy extra two points to leave the game nicely balanced at 6-6.

Newcastle increasingly found themselves on the back foot as half-time approached but they defended with gusto and despite playing down the Memorial Ground’s fabled slope, Cornwall could not add to their tally.

After half-time, though, Cornwall started like a team with a point to prove after a sure-fire dressing down from Mem chief Abbott. 

Conroy, who is without question the form hooker in League 1 currently, sniped away from dummy-half and with open ground in front of him, drew the cover defence to send Bailey Black over.

Brown, who finished with a perfect record from the tee kicked the second of five successful conversions as Cornwall hit the front for the first time.

Thirteen minutes after the break, Cornwall scored a magnificent team try with Conroy once again too quick and too clever for Thunder. Inside his own half, the Bradford Bulls academy product, who played for the Odsal outfit in Super League, carved Newcastle open again and fed the supporting Weetman, who powered into range.

A series of offloads from Darcy Simpson, then captain Adam Rusling, found the supporting Brown who dotted down.

Real daylight was then put between the two sides on the hour mark when Rusling’s clever reverse kick found Brown and with no one in a Thunder shirt at home, he was left with the simple task of scoring.

The game was up at this point but credit to Newcastle, who dug in and stopped Cornwall running riot with only one further try arriving with 11 minutes left. Collins found Harry Boots and the popular Welsh prop made no mistake from close range, underneath the posts.

CORNWALL: Brown, Nichol, Small, Ashton, Aaronson, Black, Rusling, Ross, Collins, Boots, Cullen, Simpson, Weetman. Interchange: (all used): Rhodes, Boardman, Conroy, Campbell.

Tries: Weetman (25), Black (41), Brown (53, 60), Boots (69); Goals: Brown 5/5.