Bill Beaumont Cup – Division 2
KENT 34 CORNWALL 42
Kent's venture into the senior ranks of the County Championship are over but not before they put up a tremendous fight in the face of superior Cornish forward power.
A game in which the lead changed hands six times saw the county's brave bid to beat relegation only falter in the last fifteen minutes.
Two tries set up by an impressive visiting pack finally killed off Kent's hopes and condemned them to life in Division 2 next season but Cornwall were made to work overtime for their success
Domination of the set pieces gave the visitors an important edge throughout the match but it was Kent who made the brighter start with an early try by wing Martyn Beaumont who ran on to Paul Humphreys sliding kick after eight minutes.
Playing against the breeze and up the famous Canterbury slope Kent went on to produce a committed and encouraging first half performance in which they scrambled well in defence and at the half way mark were only four points in arrears.
Cornwall scored two tries, Ben Hilton completing a catch and drive and Number Eight Sam Hocking driving over after the Kent pack were motored off the ball at a defensive scrum,
Aaron Penberthy added two conversions and a penalty goal but there was no shaking off a persistent Kent and flanker James Harris seized on a lineout error to outpace the defence on a 45 metre run to the line
In the final minute of the half Cornwall' fly half Ian Morgan was handed a yellow card and Humphreys kicked the penalty to maintain his side's decent foothold in the match
They quickly took the initiative after the break when a spilled kick-off and a long cut out pass allowed full back Toby May to send Keiren Leeper over for Kent's third try.
That score sparked a hectic five minutes which saw the visitors hit back with a try from Mike Rawlings, the product of a fierce driving maul, and Beaumont bag his second as Kent seized on a loose pass. With a conversion apiece it left matters finely poised at 25-24 to Kent but it was the last time they were to hold on to a precarious lead.
Cornwall turned to their principal assets and after Penberthy kicked a 58th minute penalty the forwards, with a show of power and technique, began to deliver on their promise
Despite attracting a second yellow card, this time for Hocking, they destroyed yet another Kent scrum, leaving Sean Hawkey to make a simple touchdown which was converted, and although a Humphreys penalty goal revived hopes the visitors' magnificent eight then produced a match defining score.
A superbly organised driving maul, which marched 22 metres, ended in a second try for lock Ben Hilton and Penberthy's conversion stretched the lead to eight points.
From there, Kent could not find a way back and a late exchange of penalties between the Cornwall kicker and Humphreys was just a postscript to the result. Kent: T.May (Westcombe Park), K.Leeper (Westcombe Park), M.Melford, (Canterbury), S.Hamilton (Nottingham), M.Beaumont (Dover), P.Humphreys (Blackheath), J.Askew (Westcombe Park), J.Stanford (Canterbury), C.Woodhall (Blackheath ), N.Winwood (Blackheath), G.Wallis (Westcombe Park), R.Cooke (Blackheath), Z.Stevens (Gravesend), J.Harris (Blackheath), T.Stradwick (Henley) Replacements: N.Lines (Gravesend), B.Sandison (Medway), S.Carmen (Sidcup), L.Covington (Blackheath), J.Clement (Gravesend), A. Moorey (Gravesend), A.Bishop (Gravesend)