10/05/14 by Paul Bolton
|North Midlands were given a harsh lesson on their return to the County Championship Bill Beaumont Cup First Division as they were beaten 65-22 by Cornwall, last season’s runners-up, at Redruth today.North Midlands always knew that a visit to the Recreation Ground with its famous Hellfire Corner, would prove a stern test following their promotion last season and so it proved.
Cornwall, coached by former England hooker Graham Dawe, put the visitors pack under pressure and were awarded two penalty tries.
Cornwall, with a strong contingent of Redruth and Launceston players, ran in 10 tries but North Midlands enjoyed their best period of the match either side of half-time when tries from Birmingham & Solihull wing Dai Evans and Stourbridge number eight Drew Harper reduced the gap to 16 points.
But Cornwall hit back with three tries in a devastating 12 minute period which decided the match before Stourbridge back row forward Niall Dacres scored a consolation try for North Midlands.
Bournville fly-half Alex Warner kicked two conversions and a penalty for North Midlands who were forced into a late reshuffle when Drew Cheshire, the free-scoring wing from Luctonians, was called into Gloucester’s squad for their final Aviva Premiership match of the season at Worcester.
“We made lots of individual mistakes and our errors gifted Cornwall some soft tries,” said North Midlands’ new head coach Dan Protherough.
“We nibbled our way back into it just before half-time and when Drew Harper scored just after the break we had a sniff. But they scored three tries very quickly and that was it.”
North Midlands will travel to Old Albanians to play Hertfordshire in their second group match on Saturday May 17 before they host Gloucestershire at Bromsgrove on May 24 in their only home match.