County Championship final: Cornwall 18-13 Lancashire

Cornwall v Lancashire, Twickenham
Cornwall made it third time lucky in successive Twickenham finals against Lancashire

Cornwall won the County Championship for the first time since 1999 as they beat Lancashire 18-13 at Twickenham.

Matt Shepherd scored 15 points for the Duchy to end a run of two successive final defeats by the Red Rose county.

Shepherd's converted try and penalty saw Cornwall to a 10-6 half-time lead.

Shepherd crossed again in the second half before Evan Stewart's late try for Lancashire ensured a nervy finish, but could not prevent only their second Twickenham final defeat in six years.

Since 2009, Lancashire had only previously once lost the Bill Beaumont Cup, in 2012, when they were beaten by Hertfordshire.

Shepherd missed a penalty in the opening minutes, but he made amends two minutes later, the Launceston scrum-half going in under the posts from 30 metres out.

Trelawny's Army back on the march again
Cornwall's victory ended a run of three successive defeats in the County Championship final (2001, 2013, 2014). The Duchy have now won it four times (1908, 1991, 1999 and 2015).
Since 2003 Lancashire have only failed to make the final twice - in 2004 and 2008. They have won the trophy seven times in that period.
Cornish captain Kyle Marriott enjoyed his second victory over Lancashire in a county final at Twickenham, having also played for the Devon side that won 27-6 in 2007.

Steve Collins pulled a penalty back and Shepherd missed a three-point attempt of his own before Cornwall were reduced to 14 men on 27 minutes.

Ben Hilton was sin-binned and Chris Johnson brought Lancashire back to within a point of their opponents from the resulting penalty.

But Shepherd's penalty with five minutes left in the half, coming after Chris Briers' yellow card, ensured that the Duchy went in at the break with a 10-6 lead.

Shepherd took his points tally for the County Championship to 66 when he went over shortly after the break following a line out from five metres out.

That made it 15-6 and, although he failed to convert his own score, his Launceston teammate Searle pushed the gap into double figures with a 63rd minute penalty.

Lancashire did not threaten Cornwall until the final 10 minutes when they put the Duchy under immense pressure.

Searle was sin-binned for an infringement at the breakdown and Lancashire skipper Stewart crashed over with six minutes left, Johnson adding the extras. But Cornwall's 14 men stood firm to clinch a fourth county title.

Cornwall: Searle (Launceston); Dawe (Launceston), Murphy (Launceston), Webber (Redruth), Wedlake (Redruth); Webb (Taunton), Shepherd (Launceston); Freestone (Clifton), Salter (Launceston), Williams (Redruth), Whittle (Camborne), Hilton (Launceston), Fuca (Redruth), Jones (Penryn), Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements: Judge (Launceston), Cook (Redruth), Phillips (Redruth), Goldsworthy (Camborne), Mankee (Camborne), Parsons (Redruth), Chapman (Launceston).

Lancashire: Spragg (Fylde); Dorrington (Fylde), Briers (Fylde), Rawlings (Fylde), Bingham (Rossendale); Collins (Sedgley Park), De La Harpe (Fylde); Black (Sedgley Park), Loney (Fylde), Lewis (Fylde), Nugent (Bergerac), Rawlings (Fylde), Stewart (Fylde, capt), McGinnis (Loughborough Students), Lamprey (Sedgley Park).

Replacements: McGowan (Caldy), Altham (Preston Grasshoppers), Mills (Preston Grasshoppers), Arnold (Fylde), Johnson (Fylde), Brennand (Fylde), Crosley (Hartpury College).