Mike Abbott: Cornwall coach blames 'discipline' after two fights mar Challenge Cup defeat by York

Cornwall head coach Mike Abbott said "discipline" let his side down in their Challenge Cup third-round defeat by York, which was marred by two fights and a muddy pitch.

They were beaten 10-18 by the National Conference League side in a scrappy affair which saw Josh Hartshorne dismissed after 60 minutes.

The visitors were leading 4-0 before a fight between players broke out on the sodden pitch, requiring intervention from all the officials.

Play was restarted and ten minutes later Cornwall equalised through a Kaine Dimech try, setting up Adam Rusling to convert and give the home side the lead.

York found themselves back in front just before half-time through Alfie Crawford.

Towards the end of the game another fight broke out involving both sets of players during which head coach Abbott said "punches were thrown".

The match officials once again had to intervene and sent off Hartshorne, before York took the final points of the match six minutes later.

'Can't throw hands'

Speaking to BBC Radio Cornwall, Abbott praised his players' second-half performance until the violence broke out.

"I thought we were really scrappy in the first half, but then for 20 minutes in the second we were the team we wanted to be for the majority of the game.

"But then discipline let us down and full credit to York, they took advantage of that."

Speaking about the fights, he added: "You can't throw hands in the game. If you do it's a red card, it is what it is.

"I don't want to be sour grapes because York kept their discipline and deserved the win. If you throw hands you're gone."

Abbott dismissed the state of the pitch as a reason for the defeat.

"Of course it does play a factor but it's the same pitch for both teams," he said.

"I won't make that an excuse but it doesn't make for an exciting game of rugby."

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