Ken Plummer reminisces with Radio Cornwall’s Ross Ellis

Fifty years after winning his first England cap in Cardiff against Wales and as the 50th anniversary of the famous County Final against Lancashire at Redruth approaches (8th March). Penryn’s Ken Plummer talks to Radio Cornwall sports presenter Ross Ellis about his life in rugby.

Click on audio link below

Interview with Ken Plummer

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornwall run riot in Hants



By Bill Hooper, photos courtesy of Simon Bryant Iktis Photo.

Cornwall’s youngsters produced a scintillating performance on a glorious afternoon on the 3G pitch at Havant scoring nine tries and eight conversions to secure a place in the national quarter-finals.

Whether that will be a home draw or not will depend on their final pool game against the other unbeaten side in the pool Gloucestershire whom they meet on Sunday 17th March at St. Austell RFC with a 1:30 pm kick-off.

Richie Kevern Coach of Cornwall U20s – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Backs coach Richie Kevern was delighted with his side’s performance. He said.  It was a really good performance by the whole squad, first 30minutes we were clinical in all areas. Credit to Hampshire who never gave up and made things difficult in the second half. It builds nicely for a top of the table clash against Gloucestershire for a home quarter-final.”

Hampshire pressurised Cornwall from the kick-off pinning them in their twenty-two, but Cornwall lifted the siege with a blistering counter that led to a try from scrum-half Owen Davey, converted by full-back Aaron Simmonds, who went on to kick all eight conversions whilst on the field.

Owen Davey (Truro) of Cornwall U20s dives over for a try. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 24/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Hampshire U20s, CRFU, U20s County Championship, Jason Leonard Cup, Sport,Rugby Union, Hooks Lane Ground, Havant, Hampshire, England,

Cornwall then ran riot scoring another three tries before the end of the first quarter. Prop Jack Hodge powered over for Cornwall’s second and then turned provider with a neat kick ahead for fellow Red, centre Connor Gilbert to beat the cover and score.

Lock Mawgan Osborne rounded off a fine move for the bonus point try to put Cornwall in a commanding position 28-0 up.

Mawgan Osborne (Pz&N Colts) of Cornwall U20s runs in a try. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 24/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Hampshire U20s, CRFU, U20s County Championship, Jason Leonard Cup, Sport,Rugby Union, Hooks Lane Ground, Havant, Hampshire, England,

The Cornish lads didn’t lift their foot off the pedal scoring three further tries before the break through Gilbert, his second, flanker Aden Brassington and Osborne for his brace.

Aden Brassington (St Ives) of Cornwall U20s can’t be stopped diving over for a try. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 24/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Hampshire U20s, CRFU, U20s County Championship, Jason Leonard Cup, Sport,Rugby Union, Hooks Lane Ground, Havant, Hampshire, England,

Hampshire bagged a consolation just on half-time when lock Balazs Magda powered over near the sticks, with skipper Nick Blumlein converting, but at 7-49 down at the turn the game was gone for the home side.

Hampshire began the second half on the front foot, but an interception by Jake Penprase saw the centre race in from his own half to increase Cornwall’s lead.

Cornwall’s final try came from replacement James Tucker who tore down the wing to score the only unconverted try of the afternoon.

James Tucker (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s chips ahead. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 24/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Hampshire U20s, CRFU, U20s County Championship, Jason Leonard Cup, Sport,Rugby Union, Hooks Lane Ground, Havant, Hampshire, England,

Replacement lock Noah Stanier-Smith was yellow carded reducing Cornwall to fourteen for ten minutes which allowed Hampshire to score their second try through scrum-half Ollie Burden, Blumlein adding the extras.

The final whistle brought cheers from the Cornish contingent, attention now turns to the game against Gloucestershire, who beat Devon at Crediton 43-12 and are currently level on points with Cornwall with 10 points in the pool.

HAMPSHIRE U.20s: Cameron McDonald (Bracknell), Ross Fraser (London Scottish & St.Mary’s University), Ollie Fielder (Alton), Cameron McGuigan (Havant), Alex Gooch (University of Loughborough), Nick Blumlein (Petersfield, capt), Ollie Burden (Alton); George Cotterell (Bracknell), Tom Mew (Bracknell), Mike Gorry (Trojans & Oxford University), Toby Warburton (London Scottish), Balazs Magda (Chichester & University of Chichester), Will Owen (Havant), Karter Whittock (Alton), Pita Koroi (London Scottish). 

Replacements: Alex Hankins (Alton & University of Portsmouth), Sam Walker (Trojans), Adam Richards (Basingstoke & University of Portsmouth), Luke Spring (Richmond), Josh Prior (St.Mary’s University), Will Matthews (Petersfield & University of Portsmouth), Charlie Atkinson (Worthing Raiders).     

CORNWALL U.20: Aaron Simmonds (Redruth), Reuben Edwards (Launceston), Jake Penprase (University of Bath), Connor Gilbert (Redruth), Charlie Levick (Penryn Colts), Will Trewin (Cardiff Met University), Owen Davey (Truro); Jack Hodge (Redruth), Rory Mead (Bude), Chae Jenkins (Launceston), Dan Goldsmith (Launceston), Mawgan Osborne (Penzance and Newlyn Colts), Harry Lightfoot (Launceston) Aden Brassington (St.Ives), Torin Clarke (Launceston, capt).

Replacements: Luke Barnes (Redruth), Cain Worley (unattached), Eddy Hall (Pirates Amateurs), Noah Stanier-Smith (Camborne), Jamie Murray (Redruth), Alistair Harding (Falmouth), James Tucker (Redruth).

Cornwall scores: Tries, Davey, Hodge, Gilbert 2, Osborne 2, Brassington, Penprase, Tucker, Cons, Simmonds 8. 

Referee: Lloyd Davies (Somerset RRS)

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornwall win in Hampshire

Cornwall U.20s ran in eight tries as they defeat Hampshire U.20s 61-14 at Havant in their second pool match in this season’s Jason Leonard Cup.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornwall squad plan 2019 campaign


By Bill Hooper, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

St. Austell Brewery was once again the venue for this season’s pre Championship get together.

CRFU Chairman Denis Preece welcomed the players and coaches to this important event where the players and coaches have a chance to discuss plans for this season’s campaign.

Cornwall, Head Coach Graham Dawe speaks to the players. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 22/02/19, Cornwall, Team Building, CRFU, Sport, Rugby Union, St Austell, St Austell Brewery, Cornwall, England

Denis also thanked St. Austell Brewery for laying on the evening and their continued support for the Cornwall team and rugby within the Duchy.

Also present was Peter Kennedy from O’Neill’s kit manufacturers, another major sponsor of the Cornwall side. O’Neill’s on-line shop

Denis thanked both companies for their on-going support. 

Graham Dawe will once again be head coach assisted by Marek Churcher.

Despite the obvious disappointment how last season’s campaign went, Dawe is as ever the optimist. He said. “Well it’s down to the players at the end of the day and how much they want it, I truly believe that there is still a huge thrill for Cornish players to pull on the black and gold shirt. It’s the perennial problem with the way the Championship is situated in the calendar right at the end of a long hard season, for some players they have had enough, for other they are hungry for more and want to pull that shirt on their back. I want every player in Cornwall wanting to play for their county side.

Cornwall, lock and skipper Ben Hilton (Barnstaple). – Mandatory Credit ©Iktis Photo/Simon Bryant

Dawe’s aim is quite simple, to go to Twickenham with his Cornwall side and win the Bill Beaumont Cup. “I am firm believer that if you are in this competition then you have to aim for the top, nothing else will do. We have to have that belief because the Cornish support expects and demands nothing less.     

Dawe knows that a good start is paramount and that means a win on the road against Kent. “A good start is always important as it tends to set the momentum. A couple of years ago we had a good win up there in a close game. We will go up there with a game plan and the players who will deliver that plan.

Tom Notman of Cornwall (Redruth) scores the try during the Bill Beaumont Cup Match between Cornwall and Devon at the Recreation Ground on May 4th 2018, Camborne Cornwall- Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo –

Dawe was delighted that Ben Hilton had agreed to be the Cornwall captain this season. “A player with a lot of experience and a proven leader who gets in people’s faces and won’t take a step back, both Ben and our vice captain Tom Notman have been in great form this season and impressed the county selectors.” 

After a pasty supper the evening concluded with a quiz set by John Martin and a raffle with proceeds going to this season’s chosen charity #Cry4Tom, in memory of Thomas Demaine. Please see the link for further information.   

Posted in Bill's Blog

Clarke returns for Cornwall


 The Jason Leonard Cup.

Cornwall Rugby Football Union (CRFU) Under 20 County Championship campaign 2019 moves to the second pool game in the Jason Leonard Cup. Cornwall will play Hampshire at a new venue of Havant RFC on the 3G pitch with a 13:30 kick off time on Sunday February 24.

Cornwall welcome back last season’s skipper Torin Clarke, who missed the last game through injury.

Torin Clarke chomping to get back into action – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo –

Elsewhere in the pack Mawgan Osborne, who came on as a replacement against Devon, partners Dan Goldsmith in the second row.

Harry Lightfoot another replacement against Devon, starts in the back row in place of try scorer last time out, Harry Somers.

In the backs there is just the one change with Penryn Colt, Charlie Levick coming onto the wing in place of Alistair Harding who drops to the bench.

Charlie Levick in action for Penryn – photo- Mark Collett

Other changes to the bench see Luke Barnes and Cain Worley as front row cover, Eddy Hall as a forward replacement, whilst  James Tucker, part of last season’s team, comes into the squad as half-back cover.

Coach Rich Kevern said. “The guys got off to a winning start against Devon, but this will be a different test away from home and playing on an artificial surface. We have kept a pretty settled side with only a couple of changes due to availability of players and, tactically. Harry Lightfoot starts at 6 and our captain Torin is back fit and fills the number 8 shirt. Another starter from last year James Tucker comes onto the bench along with Cain Worley and Luke Barnes who are covering the front row and youngster Charlie Levick gets a start on the wing”

Cornwall Captain Torin Clarke said. “It is great to back in the shirt and honoured to be captaining the side again after the first game. We had a hard fought game against Devon that went down to the wire. I was immensely proud of the guys who stuck to the game plan right up to the final minute, which saw us come through with a victory.”

The final pool game will again be hosted by St Austell RFC on Sunday 17 March where the opponents will be Gloucestershire.

The Cornwall U20 team manager Colin Hatch said. “At the last home game 13 new ties were presented to guys on playing their first match for the Cornwall U20. In addition Reuben Edwards, Dan Goldsmith, Jake Penprase, Connor Gilbert and Harry Lightfoot were awarded the first ever CRFU U20 caps for making 7 Championship appearances. This is a fantastic achievement for the guys and shows their commitment to the U20 team over 2 and in Reuben’s case 3 seasons. ”

Jake Penprase (Bath Uni) of Cornwall U20s, Connor Gilbert (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s, Reuben Edwards (Launceston) of Cornwall U20s, Dan Goldsmith (Launceston) of Cornwall U20s and Aden Brassington (St Ives) of Cornwall U20s with their Cornwall U20s caps. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 03/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Devon U20s, Jason Leonard U20s County Championship, CRFU, Sport, Rugby Union, St Austell, Tregorrick Park, Cornwall, England

Jake Penprase (Bath University) Connor Gilbert (Redruth) Reuben Edwards, Dan Goldsmith and Harry Lightfoot (All Launceston) with their caps. Photograph courtesy of Simon Bryant.

Cornwall Squad 

1 Jack Hodge (Vice Captain) Redruth 
2 Rory Mead Bude
3 Chae Jenkins Launceston
4 Dan Goldsmith Launceston
5 Mawgan Osborne P&N Colts
6 Harry Lightfoot Launceston
7 Aden Brassington St Ives
8 Torin Clarke (Captain) Launceston
9 Owen Davey Truro
10 Will Trewin Cardiff Met
11 Charlie Levick Penryn Colts
12 Connor Gilbert Redruth
13 Jake Penprase Bath Uni
14 Reuben Edwards Launceston
15 Aaron Simmonds Redruth
16 Luke Barnes Redruth
17 Cain Worley N/A
18 Eddy Hall Pirates Amateurs
19 Noah Stanier-Smith Camborne
20 Jamie Murray Redruth
21 Alistair Harding Falmouth
22 James Tucker Redruth
  Travelling reserves
23 Alex Bartlett Launceston
24 Olly Matthews Wadebridge Camels
25 Adam Long Camborne
26 Ben Plummer St Austell

Coaches – Josh Lord + Rich Kevern

Medical cover – Sam West + Lauren Albury

Kit – Paul Hurrell (Head) +Colin Hatch

Posted in Bill's Blog

Camborne stalwart deservedly rewarded at HQ

Camborne Rugby Club stalwart Alan Truscott was a deserved winner of the RFU President’s Value the Volunteer Outstanding Contribution Award presented to him at the recent England v France game at Twickenham by coach Eddie Jones, reports Camborne Media Officer Martin Symons.

Truscott’s association with the Cherry & Whites has lasted more than 50 years during which time he has given sterling service as a player, coach and administrator.

He joined Camborne RFC aged 17 in 1963 and wore the famous jersey in over 200 1st XV games mostly at fly half until retiring at the age of 30.  Truscott then moved straight into coaching the ‘Town’ senior team from 1976 through their fantastic centenary year in 78 and on until 1981.  He then became a club selector and assisted with coaching for several years during the 80’s and early 90’s. For 6 years he was a Cornwall selector during which time the Black & Golds reached the county final at Twickenham on 2 occasions (1998/99) winning once.  Later he became Camborne’s Director of Rugby in 2006, then held the dual role of Chairman/ DoR in 2008, continued as Chairman until 2013 and became Chairman for a second tenure in 2015 until standing down in 2017.  For his efforts and long service Truscott was made a Life Member of Camborne RFC in 2014 and awarded Camborne Town Council plaque for ‘dedicated voluntary work’ in 2016.

He commented. ‘I was fortunate to be deeply involved as club coach in our centenary in 1978, as a selector in our 125th anniversary in 2003 and would hope to be involved in 2028 when Camborne RFC celebrates its 150th anniversary!’

Posted in Bill's Blog

No luck for Irish as Reds score six tries


By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground. Photo, Dan Barbary.

A stirring second half performance from Redruth saw them home to a comfortable bonus point win.

Director of Rugby Nigel Hambly was pleased with the win but felt his side could have played better. “It was good to get the win but we could have played better”, was his blunt assessment. “We didn’t bring a lot to the table in the first half regarding ambition or pace. In the first half we were a bit flat.

“In the second half we scored three quality tries from defensive positions allied to great work from the boys, that work-rate pleased me.”  

Wild Geese took an early lead with a penalty from fly-half Liam Prescott, but that proved to be as good as it was for the visitors.

Redruth stormed back with an excellent try from scrum-half Rob Coote beating several defenders to dot down near the posts.

Full-back Aaron Simmonds having missed the conversion, made up for it with a penalty soon after. The score stayed 8-3 until half-time as the game turned into a stop start affair, much to the annoyance of the crowd. 

From the start of the second half Redruth took the game by the scruff –of- the- neck, fly-half Richie Kevern charged down a Prescott kick and hacked his way to the try-line, then, moments later wing Matt Bowden snaffled a stray pass to hare in the under the posts. Both scores were bettered by Simmonds to give the Reds the breathing space needed

Simmonds then scored the fourth try himself following good work down the touch-line by No.8 Sam Stevens out of defence and then replacement wing Dean Bonds with the scoring pass.

The icing was put on the cake late on with further tries from centre Connor Gilbert, following good work from man-of-the-match Coote and then replacement Matt Gidlow as the forwards and Pale Nonu drove him over the line, Kevern adding the final conversion.

The final whistle brought huge cheers from the Redruth faithful, delighted with their team’s second half performance.

Redruth: A Simmonds, T Notman, C Gilbert, N Webber, M Bowden, R Kevern, R Coote; L Kivalu, R Brown (Capt), C Williams, T Prisk, J Heazelton, E Pascoe, M Grubb, S Stevens.

Replacements: J Tompsett, J Hodge, M Gidlow, D Bonds, P Nonu.

Redruth: Tries, Coote, Kevern , Bowden, Simmonds, Gilbert, Gidlow , Cons, Simmonds 2, Kevern , Pen, Simmonds. Wild Geese: Pen, Prescott. 

Posted in Bill's Blog

Moyle’s late tries confirm Pirates’ win

Richmond 10   Cornish Pirates 23

By Phil Westren, Cornish Pirates Media Officer. Photo Brian Tempest

In front of their loyal travelling supporters, an uplifting last-minute try scored by full-back Kyle Moyle, his second in the match, delivered a sought after and ultimately deserved bonus point victory for the Cornish Pirates in this Round 14 Greene King IPA Championship match played at the historic Richmond Athletic Ground.

Ahead of this contest the two teams had met each other five times since the West London’s side’s Championship level arrival in 2016. Richmond won the first two encounters, but the Pirates had emerged victorious since, including a hard-fought 29-19 result at home in September.

For the 11th versus 5th in the league clash, the Cornish Pirates made four changes in their starting XV from the one that faced Jersey Reds the previous weekend. Matt Evans was selected on the wing and Alex Schwarz at scrum-half, whilst in the forwards prop Christian Judge was named to make his first start since September and Josh Caulfield returned to wear the number six shirt. A fit again Tom Duncan also took a seat on the bench.

Game underway at the ‘RAG’ it was the home side who dominated possession early doors, their team including two familiar Cornishmen in former Pirates back-rower Jake Parker and hooker Rupert Freestone, who has joined Richmond this season from Plymouth Albion.

Making use of a thirteenth minute penalty that came their way, the choice of a kick to the corner by Richmond was followed by a driving maul. It proved very effective and led to the game’s opening try, scored by prop Will Goodrick-Clarke. Full-back Lewis Dennett was luckless in adding the extras.

Midway through the half the Pirates leaked a second score which followed the sin-binning of flanker Matt Bolwell. He was fully committed chasing scrum-half Alex Schwarz’s kick, but at the point of impact with an opposition player the referee deemed it a foul and had no hesitation in reaching to his pocket for ‘yellow’. As for the score mentioned, that followed another penalty kick and, yes, another catch-and-drive. It was one that was also truly impressive, as from some 20 metres out the driving maul ended with another home ‘Will’ the try-scorer, this time in the shape of lock Will Warden. The conversion attempt, however, once again missed.

The penalty count against the Pirates was far too high in the first half, however they got back into the match following a terrific 40 metres line-break run by flanker Caulfield, whose pace and determination saw him make it over the line for a superb try. On clearly a difficult day for the kickers, fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez was unable to add the extra two points.

In now February gloom at the RAG, the Pirates performance had actually lit matters up a little, and with a penalty awarded before the break – one slotted by Rojas Alvarez – it got just that bit brighter. At just 10-8 come the half-time whistle it was all to play for.

The wind appeared stronger at the start of the second half, and the Pirates line-out also struggled to function. Quick to make changes, it was interesting to see what impact fresh legs might have.

Although a penalty kick opportunity from replacement Harvey Skinner went to right of the posts, the Pirates were now seemingly picking up the pace. Also, a great run down the touchline by Kyle Moyle lifted spirits as he ghosted past defenders. The home side managed to clear the danger, but it wasn’t long before Moyle was again applying pressure which led to an attacking line-out opportunity. It was also one that would prove to be well executed, ending with an unconverted try scored by Matt Evans.

Into the lead for the first time in the match it was time now to up the ante, and they did. Evans, centre Callum Patterson and Alex Day applied further pressure, the latter having replaced Schwarz who had showed up well given his first Greene King IPA Championship start. The ball would also once again reach the hands of Moyle who spotted space and had the acceleration to score his tenth try in league matches this season. Despite it unconverted, the score had opened up what could prove an important eight points gap.                    

As it worked out, come the very end the Pirates extended their lead, a super second half display crowned with their bonus point providing try. Skipper Brett Beukeboom, Skinner and wing Robin Wedlake were involved, but it was ‘Moyler’ who popped up again and avoided a desperate attempted tackle to cement his second score – and the win. The result also saw the Pirates move up to third in the league table.

At the end of the game Cornish Pirates’ co-coach Gavin Cattle was quick to give credit to Richmond for their gritty performance, praising also their good set piece. As for the Pirates, after a first half when he felt his team had made too many errors and had given away too many penalties, he was pleased with the second half reaction.

He said. “During the interval we spoke about our first half performance, so it was good to react as we did in the second forty, with the bench as a whole also playing their part.

“Credit to Moyler who I think is the best full-back in the league. He showed some really good touches, has a balance to his game and he took his chances well.

“We have learnt in the past that Richmond is a difficult place to come to and that was the case today. However, it is when you are in that arm wrestle and how you respond that’s important, and we did by dominating the second half to secure the victory.”

Richmond:   15 Lewis Dennett, 14 Callum Sirker (21 Jono Woodward, 63),13 Cam Mitchell (c), 12 Henry Cheeseman, 11 Marcus Webber, 10 Rory Damant (22 Rob Kirby, 74), 9 Luc Jones (20 Jamie Gibbs, 63); 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Rupert Freestone (16 Caldon Pike, 75), 3 Craig Trenier (17 Dave Spelman, 69), 4 Will Warden (19 Toby Saysell, 66), 5 Max Crawford (18 Charlie Lenygon, 58), 6 Jake Parker, 7 Jesse Liston, 8 Chris Davies.

CornishPirates:   15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Matt Evans, 13 Rory Parata (22 Dan Koster, 63), 12 Callum Patterson, 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (21 Harvey Skinner, 44), 9 Alex Schwarz (20 Alex Day, 66); 1 Marlen Walker (17 Tom Concu, 66), 2 Sam Matavesi (16 Dan Frost, 50), 3 Christian Judge, 4 Danny Cutmore, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Josh Caulfield (18 James McRae, 50), 7 Matt Bolwell (19 Tom Duncan, 69), 8 Dan Lee.

Yellow card:   7 Matt Bolwell (19)

Scorers: Richmond – tries: 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke (13), 4 Will Warden (20).Cornish Pirates – tries: 6 Josh Caulfield (23), 14 Matt Evans (60), 15 Kyle Moyle (74, 80); pen: 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (38).

Referee:   Greg Macdonald (RFU)

Crowd:   1175

Posted in Bill's Blog

Pirates book semi-final

Jersey Reds 13   Cornish Pirates 17

By Phil Westren, Media Officer Cornish Pirates

During a period of less than kind weather conditions, having negotiated their road and air travel safely to Jersey, for the Cornish Pirates the outcome of this Championship Cup quarter-final tie proved oh so worthy.  A late try scored by replacement Dan Koster and converted by fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez secured the victory, the result one which in all honesty few would have predicted.

Not only had the Pirates succumbed to a 33-10 league match defeat at the Jersey team’s Stade Santander International ground in October, but it was a venue where they have only ever won twice previously, their last success a 24-0 British & Irish Cup match victory in December 2013.

The Cornish side was, of course, fully aware that a tough challenge was in prospect, but this was also clearly one that they were up for.

Selection for the match saw the same starting backs as had appeared in the last two outings, whilst in the forwards Toby Freeman was named on the flank with Dan Lee switching to No. 8. Having recovered from a slight injury picked up in training last week, which followed his return from a loan spell at Saracens, for prop Christian Judge it was a seat on the bench.

On a sunny, but also cold and windy afternoon there was no lack of positivity at the start of the match, scrum-half Alex Day busy for the Pirates and full-back Kyle Moyle unfortunate to lose his footing when taking off on a run. Then, when Jersey Reds were awarded a penalty and full-back Brett Herron posted the ball to touch, a position was set for the hosts to seriously threaten. An initial probe was held, however when the Reds had a ‘put in’ just five metres out it was scrum-half Will Homer’s long pass that found the hands of wing Leroy Van Dam. There was welcome enough space for him to cross out wide on the left. It was a well taken score that was also well converted by a Cornishman and former Pirate in the shape of fly-half Aaron Penberthy.

There was disruption soon after in the Pirates ranks when wing Alex O’Meara and then prop Tom Concu departed, the pair replaced by young AJ Cant and Christian Judge, whilst there was also concern that the line-out was functioning less than smoothly, not helped of course for either side on the day because of the wind.

When a series of penalty awards directed Jersey’s way, it also gifted them further realistic opportunities to score. Thankfully, however, although tested the Pirates did well to defend their line. and they then won an important turnover to gain welcome relief.

Managing some go forward near the end of the half, through the efforts of a rampaging Dan Lee and centre Rory Parata it was the Pirates turn to apply a little pressure. A driving maul also raised morale, as did in the very last minute of the half a penalty awarded at scrum time. With an opportunity to get points on the board, skipper Brett Beukeboom decided to call forward fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez, whose successful strike made it 7-3 at the break.

In this absorbingly competitive contest, when play resumed it continued to be closely fought, there little to choose between the two sides. However, approaching the hour mark a penalty opportunity slotted by Penberthy opened up a seven points gap, but with there still clearly all to play for.

Shortly after the restart, a penalty kick to touch provided a chance for the Pirates to hit back, and they did just that. A driving maul gained real momentum and when the ball was released both Parata and Rojas Alvarez went close. Referee Mr. Ridley signalled penalty advantage to the visitors, but they didn’t need it as Freeman’s converted try drew the scores level.

Another penalty was soon awarded the Pirates, and this time it was Moyle who was called upon to attempt the kick at goal. It was from some distance out, but in the context of the match was well worth an attempt, even though it missed.

A next long-range attempt went to Penberthy, it one with wind advantage. It was felt a potentially huge moment in the game, possibly a deciding one, and the cheers from the crowd confirmed that it was successful.

There was no way this Pirates team would slacken off, and showing immense character there was firstly a run from Rojas Alvarez which kept hopes alive and then a scrum that offered promise. With the ball released perhaps quicker than the defending Reds had expected, it was suddenly in the hands of replacement Dan Koster who flew over the line for an all-important converted score.

The Pirates had to show further character to thwart their opponents at the very end, both at maul time and when Jersey’s No. 8 Janco Venter ran menacingly, but to their enormous credit they held out to record this super 17-13 Cup tie win.

A semi-final place now beckons, details to be confirmed. For the immediate present it was time to enjoy the moment and also follow the fortunes of Pirates-bred England internationals Jack Nowell and Luke Cowan-Dickie in Dublin, to see if another surprise would materialise – and it did!

Speaking after the Cornish Pirates successful afternoon’s work, co-coach Alan Paver said.“The game was a good arm wrestle with both sides very competitive and even on the day.

“They were hurt come the final whistle, as we were when losing at the end against Coventry in the league recently, but we needed this result. Our track record in Jersey hasn’t been good, so to emerge from what was certain to be a tough battle and get over the line with a win is a big mental plus for us”.

Alan added.“We always take Cup matches seriously as it important for the club and our supporters. You could tell the reaction of the guys at the final whistle, they were over the moon to get through at the end.”

Jersey Reds: 15 Brett Herron, 14 Jack Stapley, 13 James Newey, 12 Mark Best, 11 Leroy Van Dam, 10 Aaron Penberthy, 9 Will Homer; 1 Roy Godfrey 17 Harry Morley, 52), 2 Charlie Maddison (16 Nick Selway, 48), 3 Leeroy Atalifo (18 Sam Rodman, 59), 4 Jerry Sexton (capt), 5 Dave McKern (19 Charlie Beckett, 64), 6 Rory Bartle, 7 Max Argyle, 8 Janco Venter.

Replacements (not used):   20 Kyle Hatherell, 21 Hilton Mudariki, 22 George Eastwell.

Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara (22 AJ Cant, 08) , 13 Rory Parata, 12 Callum Patterson, 11 Robin Wedlake (21 Dan Koster, 67), 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 9 Alex Day (20 Alex Schwarz, 60); 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Tom Concu (17 Christian Judge, 10), 4 Danny Cutmore, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Toby Freeman, 7 Matt Bolwell, 8 Dan Lee.

Replacements (not used):   16 Dan Frost, 18 Jake Clemson, 19 James McRae.

Scorers: Jersey Reds – tries: 11 Leroy Van Dam (10); con: 10 Aaron Penberthy (10); pens: 10 Aaron Penberthy (57, 69).

Cornish Pirates – tries: 6 Toby Freeman (63), 21 Dan Koster (75); cons: 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (63, 75) pen: 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (40).

Referee:  Christophe Ridley (RFU)

Attendance:  1010

Posted in Bill's Blog

Penprase seals Cornwall’s win


CORNWALL 29 – 20 DEVON                                                           

By Bill Hooper at Tregorrick Park

With the final play of the game centre Jake Penprase, surged towards the try-line from a horde of players, to dot down bonus point try and confirm an opening day win for Cornwall in this season’s Championship.

Jake Penprase (Bath Uni) of Cornwall U20s is tackled by Oli Gibbons (Topsham) of Devon U20s. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis

Cornwall deserved the win in a pulsating game that flew by and was credit to rugby at this level.

Cornwall head coach Josh Lord was delighted with side’s start to the Championship. He said. “I am delighted we got the bonus point win against a very good Devon side who will cause the other side’s in the group plenty of problems. I thought our game management was top draw; we made some good choices for a young side.

“We want to play heads up rugby and back the player with the ball, at times we played some excellent rugby, however as ever there will things to look at before the next game away to Hampshire.”

The young black and golds made a great start with a try after just four minutes, strong running from skipper Jack Hodge and good hands from full-back Aaron Simmonds put flying winger Reuben Edwards in at the corner, Simmonds landing a touchline conversion to the roar of the crowd.

Simmonds was again on the money moments later with a penalty kick to put Cornwall 10-0 up.

Connor Gilbert (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s is tackled by Harry Ottaway (Newton Abbot) of Devon U20s. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Falmouth’s Alistair Harding looked threatening with ball on the wing as did club mate Stan Somers in the back row. 

Devon were give a life-line when Cornwall looked to run the ball from their own line, the Cornish player was tackled and lost possession enabling Devon to work the short side for wing Nick Headley to score an unconverted try.

Devon edged a little closer when skipper Sam Brown knocked over a penalty.

Cornwall’s scrum-half Owen Davey had a tidy game as did No.8 Jamie Eddy, whilst the mid-field combination of Gilbert and Penprase looked threatening when they had the ball. 

It was a titanic struggle at the breakdown and at time tempers flared but Cornwall’s nerves were soothed when Simmonds went over in the corner following a fine mid-field break from centre Connor Gilbert.

Jack Hodge (Redruth) Captain of Cornwall U20s fends off the tackle from Dan Armstrong (Exmouth) of Devon U20s. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Simmonds missed the conversion as he did a penalty chance shortly after to leave Cornwall 15-8 up at half-time.

Devon began the second half strongly aided by a yellow card to Cornish lock Noah Stanier-Smith.

Further pressure saw Devon’s flanker Nathan Davies go over, with Brown adding the conversion to tie the scores 15-all.

Cornwall needed a score and it came from Somers following good forward play, with Simmonds obliging with the conversion.

Stan Somers (Falmouth) of Cornwall U20s dives between the posts for a try. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Devon wouldn’t lie down and they scored a third try when prop Callum Davies was driven over, crucially the conversion hit the post and stayed out.

Cornwall’s win was secured with the final play when Penprase dived through from a powerful maul with Simmonds adding another conversion.

The final whistle was greeted enthusiastically by the sizeable crowd in the grandstand.    

Backs coach Richie Kevern was equally pleased with the result. “The whole side played really well, I was particularly impressed with Owen Davey at scrum-half he controlled the game and I thought Jamie Eddy at No.8 had a strong game. The boys all stuck to the game plan and got their reward at the end with the bonus point try which could be vital.”  

Aaron Simmonds (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s on the attack. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Huge credit must go to the trio from Redruth Hodge, Gilbert and Simmonds who only got home in the early hours of Sunday morning have played for Redruth at Canterbury the previous day.

Cornwall: 15 Aaron Simmonds (Redruth), 14 Reuben Edwards (Launceston), 13 Jake Penprase (Bath Uni), 12 Connor Gilbert (Redruth), 11 Alistair Harding (Falmouth), 10 Will Trewin (Cardiff Met), 9 Owen Davey (Truro); 1 Jack Hodge (Redruth) (Capt), 2 Rory Mead (Bude), 3 Chae Jenkins, 4 Dan Goldsmith (both Launceston), 4 Noah Stanier-Smith (Camborne), 5 Stan Somers (Falmouth), 7 Aden Brassington (St. Ives), 8 Jamie Eddy (Pirates Amatuers) Reps 16. Harry Lightfoot (Launceston), 17 Mawgan Osborne (Pz & N Colts), 18. Eddy Hall (Pirates Amateurs), 19. Alex Bartlett (Launceston),  20. Jamie Murray (Redruth), 21 Adam Long (Camborne), 22 Ben Plummer (St Austell).

Cornwall scores: Tries, Edwards, Simmonds, Somers, Penprase, Cons, Simmonds 3, Pen, Simmonds.

Devon: 15 Ollie Gibbon (Topsham), 14 Nick Headley (Exmouth), 13 Will Lamont (Ivybridge), 12  Sam Brown (Taunton) (Capt), 11 Bradley Down (Hartpury), 10 Harry Ottaway (Newton Abbot), 9 Sam Fulthorpe (Exmouth); 1 Callum Wood (Exmouth), 2 Martinas Dromantas (Barnstaple), 3 Callum Davies (Bideford), 4 Ethan Pearce (Crediton) 5 Dan Armstrong (Exmouth), 6 Nathan Davies (Ivybridge), 7 Rudi Evans (Topsham), 8 Asipeli Vea (Sidmouth). Reps: Owen Garner (Ivybridge), Reece Bartlett (Devonport Services), Toby Turner (Kingsbridge), Jake Smith (Exeter Athletic), Reegan Spencer (Plymstock Albion Oaks), Finlay Marks (Topsham), Will Throgmorton (Newton Abbot).

Devon scores: Tries, Headley, N Davies, C Davies, Con, Brown, Pen, Brown

Referee: Joe Binfield (Gloucs)

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