Lancashire in tremendous triumph

Johnson - skippered Lancashire to victory

Johnson - skippered Lancashire to victory

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Lancashire are kings of county rugby for the 23rd time

And they did it in dramatic fashion coming back from 26-10 down deep in the second half to prevail against a determined Cornwall side to prevail 36-26 at Twickenham.

In every match this season in the County Championship, Lancashire, who fielded nine Fylde players in the starting line-up, have come from behind - this time they had to do it on the biggest stage of all and in the most important match.

All bar five of the points were scored by Fylde players, but in reality this was a win that the whole of the county was celebrating and rightly so.

The players were justifiably jubilant as they went up to receive the prize for the victors, the Bill Beaumont Cup, presented by the man himself, Fylde’s most famous son and a veteran of many a County Championship encounter himself.

Fylde’s Chris Johnson, the Lancashire captain, gave his side an early lead when he struck a penalty before Kieron Lewitt levelled the scores.

On 17 minutes Fylde hooker Mark Rylance plunged over for a try, goaled by Johnson - but this was to be as good as it got in the first half for the Red Rose.

Cornwall, roared on by their supporters in Trelwny’s Army, hit back with a vengeance.

First Lewitt cut the deficit with a penalty to reduce the arrears to 10-6

On 24 minutes the Cornishmen edged ahead.

Lewis Vinnicombe finished off a fine move inn the corner - Lewitt’s successful conversion made it 13-10 to Cornwall.

Lewitt landed a penalty eight minutes before the break at a time when Paul Arnold was sin-binned.

Cornwall struck again and five minutes before half-time Jamal Ford-Robinson crashed over for a second Cornwall try.

Lewitt’s conversion went in off the post and by half-time there had been a dramatic turnaround and Cornwall led 23-10.

Eight minutes after the break, Lewitt extended the advantage with a penalty, and Lancashire looked like they had a mountain to climb.

But the revival started on the 53rd minute when Fylde back row Evan Stewart scored a touchdown, goaled by Johnson - but Cornwall were still two score clear at 25-17.

Arnold, Fylde’s master of the offload, shipped a neat pass to Johnson, who skipped over for a try - but he could not convert.

Lancashire were not to be denied and by now they were on a roll.

That was underlined on the 62nd minute when Sedgley Park’s Matt Lamprey scored in the corner and with Johnson converting the Red Rose were now 29-26 up with 18 minutes to go.

On 72 minutes Lancashire sealed victory, the try coming from Fylde’s young player of the year Tom Burtonwood, who found space to burrow through - Johnson’s kick made it 36-26, two scores to the good.

There were no further scores, though Lancashire ended the match with only 14 players on the field after Fleetwood’s Dave Fairbrother was sin-binned.

But nothing could mar another superb Lancashire away-day under the direction of coach Mark Nelson and his loyal lieutenants.

It was Lancashire’s 10th final appearance in 12 seasons, winning seven.

Lancashire: Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers) Spragg, Briers (Fylde) Riley (Sedgley Park) Brennand, Johnson, De la Harpe; Lewis, Rylance (Fylde) Black, McGowan (Sedgley Park) Gore (Fylde) Rawlings (Longton) Stewart (Fylde) Lamprey (Sedgley Park Replacements: Griffiths (Fylde) Altham (Preston Grasshoppers) Fairbrother (Fleetwood) Arnold, Burtonwood (Fylde) Baines (Preston Grasshoppers) Collins (Sedgley Park)