There were only 5 points in it at half-time but the visitors pulled away strongly in the second period to deliver a convincing win. Cornish fronted up strongly and the forward battle throughout the match was pretty intense with the homeside having a slight edge at scrummage time, while captain and stand-off Ed Carne gave the Combe fringe defence a tough afternoon.
Early pressure came from Combe and, when the ball was spun wide to Aaron Esiri on the left, the winger kept up his scoring record swerving through what initially appeared to be a well positioned defence. Harrison added the 2 points. He then added 3 more after 17 minutes when the home team had been spotted offside.
London Cornish were playing a man down but started to make inroads into Combe territory. A driving maul gobbled up the yards and then centre Dan Phoenix got within a metre of the line before infringing at the breakdown. Combe had their own moments with a slick back move involving Harrison, Atiola and Esiri making inroads, while a great Bradley Bateup catch, kick and chase was only halted by a foot in touch.
However, it was Cornish who scored with 5 minutes of the half to go. Combe had been stuck in their own 22 and the pressure told when a clever wraparound move lead to a kick through for Cornish wing Matt Hakes to touch down. The half ended with more home team pressure but a hard working Combe defence kept the score to 5-10 at halftime.
Combe nerves were settled to some degree when Harrison kicked his second penalty in the first minute of the second half. 10 minutes later the visitors went further ahead when prop Simmons made good ground near the ruck to release debutant Joel Medward fresh from midweek action for Worcester Warriors 7s who ran in the try from the half way line.
Combe's defence was standing strong against Cornish pressure and forced a hopeful grubber kick when the homeside were camped in the Combe 22. Dom Lespierre was first to react and released fellow wing Esiri who outpaced the defence for his second try. Lespierre was also the provider for Combe's next try. He grabbed a clearance kick, flirted with the touch line and passed to Medcraft who raced in again from distance for the bonus point try. Harrison added the conversion.
Cornish continued to dominate territory and possession and hard graft from the pack especially flankers Dennett and Beckett prevented the ball going wide. Pressure forced a Combe indiscretion deep in the 22 and stand-off Carne took a quick tap and bundled over the line from about 10 metres. The 2 points were added. 12-32 to Westcombe Park.
With 10 minutes to go, a Cornish box kick wasn't quite on the money going straight to Esiri who completed his hat trick with another long distance run in. Lespierre got his due desserts after being the provider earlier. Yet again the Combe defensive line was resolute and Lespierre anticipated the pressured pass to run in Combe's sixth and final try which was converted by Harrison.
A third win on the trot for the Goddington Dene side which keeps them at the top of the table. Cornish fought hard but couldn't quite find the spark often enough to beat another heavy defensive stint from Combe.Next Saturday Thurrock are the visitors who did the double on Combe last season so a hefty home support would be welcome.
Full time: London Cornish RFC 12-44 Westcombe Park RFC
Reporter: John Vallely