Twickenham fever grips County

There is no doubt that this week will see feverish excitement grow as Cornwall prepares for a double assault on Twickenham with both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay playing their respective EDF-Energy Cup Finals next Sunday at the home of the RFU. The M5/M4 and the A 303 /M3 will be conveying the invasion forces to the capital in the early hours on Sunday morning outnumbering the opposition en-route, last man/woman will have turned the lights out as the late Bill Bishop faithfully requested all those years ago. Cornwall is on the march once more.
It’s been eight long years since “Trelawnys Army” has invaded the mighty fortress in TW1, I haven’t counted the Challenge Match at Twickenham in 2001 that Cornwall played against Yorkshire, and that memorable win against old foes Gloucestershire in the 1999 County Championship Final when Dean Shipton became only the third Cornish captain to lead the Duchy to Championship victory.
Since that triumph much has changed in rugby circles not least here in Cornwall with the demise of the County Championship even in this hotbed of county rugby, Cornwall’s relegation from the County Championship last season to the County Shield whose final will not be at Twickenham this season illustrates more than ever that the club game is now king and the Cornish Pirates have become the symbol of Cornish rugby excellence to a new generation of rugby supporter who have grown up hearing the tales of Twickenham and how Cornwall have taken the mighty stadium by force in years gone by. With the game now very much professional at the top end, the Cornish Pirates with their Premiership aspirations will travel not only to try and win the National Trophy but, and perhaps more importantly, to make a statement to those who hold power at HQ that the potential exists for a Cornish Club to compete and flourish at the very highest level of the game in England that opportunity must not be denied them or any other aspiring club for the good of the game.   
Some things of course have not changed, the singing of the Cornish fans no doubt joining up with the Welsh Ospreys fans to create a melodic experience that the English can only dream about. The camaraderie, win or lose, we shall have a good time and make the most of it (though winning is preferable). Hawker’s “Song of the Western Men” Trelawny will be sung with great fervour and passion, was there ever an anthem that better illustrated a Cornish invasion “We’ll cross the Tamar land to land, the Severn is no stay, With One and All and hand in hand, And who shall bid us nay!  And when we come to London’s Wall a pleasant sight to view, Come forth! Come forth, ye cowards all, Here’s men as good as you! Sam Heard will need little other inspiration. It adds spice too when the opposition is from our neighbours Devon, Exeter Chiefs, though I have yet to see any Big Chiefs to match the Biarritz mascot, now that’s a real Chief! Beating any Devonian team is always guaranteed to cheer a Cornishman, it makes the beer so much more enjoyable and the pasties and saffron cake slips down a treat we also know what real cream tastes like too!! It makes that enforced drive through the Devonian countryside on the way home a real pleasure!!  (Well almost).
Could it be a memorable Cornish winning double? I wouldn’t bet against it, both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay have quality players to win their respective finals, who will bid us nay?

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornish Roundup 02/04/07

Another cracking weekend for Cornish rugby as the league season enters the home straight.
In National League 1 the Cornish Pirates played the first of their three consecutive away league games in the space of the next week at Old Deer Park against London Welsh losing by 16-10. Flanker Chris Cracknell scored the Pirates try with James Moore kicking the conversion and a penalty goal.
A tough week ahead for the Pirates with a trip to Bedford on Wednesday evening to play the Blues 7-30pm kick-off and then the eagerly awaited return league encounter with Plymouth Albion next Saturday at the Brickfields. Albion’s French flyer Nicolas Sestaret enjoyed a storming game for Albion at the weekend against Moseley scoring five of his side’s six tries!
In National League 2, the Cornish All Blacks took on Harrogate at Polson and completed the double over the already relegated Yorkshiremen. In past seasons Harrogate have found Polson a happy hunting ground not so this time. The CAB’s recorded a 56-0 win over the visitors scoring nine tries in total. Leading the way was England Counties player Marc Sweeney who scored three tries. Other tries came through flanker Nick Burnett, No 8 Stuart Williams, winger Andy Matchett, flanker Wayne Sprangle, full-back Andy Birkett and replacement fly-half Mark Scrivener. Fly-half Sam Young kicked three conversions and a penalty with Scrivener kicking a further conversion when he came on. With three games left for the Cornish All Blacks the excitement and anticipation is growing at Polson of a possible promotion to National league 1 next season. It looks increasingly likely that it will all boil down to the final game of the season when the CAB’s have to visit Henley Hawks who are currently third one point behind the Cornishmen.
Redruth maintained their fine form with a hard fought win at Grove Park against Manchester by 23-18 to maintain their impressive fourth place in National League 2. The Reds were never led in this gripping battle taking the lead on two minutes with a penalty from fly-half Mike Hook. Hook then kicked a second penalty ten minutes later to increase the Reds advantage. Redruth lost their lock Luke Collins to the sin-bin during which time Manchester scored an unconverted try. Redruth scored a cracking try soon after with scrum-half Mark Richards and No 8 Mark Bright making space to release centre Simon Peters who fed winger Tim McBride who finished the move off in style. Redruth scored a second try before half-time with Hook spotting a gap and darting through to score. Manchester pulled back three points before the break to leave it at 16-8 to the Reds.
Manchester reduced the deficit with a drop goal soon after the resumption of play. Redruth scored a third try following a powerful forward surge towards the home line and with the referee playing an advantage skipper Craig Bonds took a long pass from Hook at pace to score out in the corner, Hook’s conversion took Redruth to 23-11. A Redruth error gifted Manchester seven points leaving the Reds five points to the good with time running out. A storming run by Manchester almost saw them score a try only to be denied by a double tackle by Jamie Caruana and PJ Gidlow.
Redruth can now turn their attention to Saturday’s Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup Final against Mount’s Bay at Camborne 5-30pm kick-off.
In South West 1, not a good day for either of our Cornish clubs, Mount’s Bay lost at home to Maidenhead by 19-18, thus ending Bay’s four year un-beaten record in the leagues as well as Maidenhead being able to claim a league double for this season over the South West 1 champions, although Bay did beat them in the Intermediate Cup a week later! Bay had a few regulars out for this match, Everard Reid and Ben Hilton scored the Bay’s tries with Jamie Semmens kicking both conversions and a penalty goal. Bay will now look forward to their Camborne date with Redruth on Easter Saturday in the Cornwall Cup Final the second leg of a possible treble for this season.
Having seen their chances of a play-off place slip away St. Ives’ form has taken an alarming dip in recent weeks and it was the same on Saturday. The Hakes entertained Bracknell and were thumped 40-18 with former England player Chris Sheasby scoring a couple of tries for the visitors. A win that keeps Bracknell out of the relegation zone for the moment. No 8 Ashley Lawton scored a first half try for St. Ives converted by Karl Martin who also kicked a penalty. In the second half prop Hugh Noot scored a try with Martin adding a second penalty.
In South West 2 West, Camborne travelled to Taunton and lost by 32-10. The Cherry & Whites scored a couple of tries through David Mankee and Rob Ley.
Penryn no doubt wish that the season was already over following their 100-0 defeat at Exmouth. It looks already as though life next season in Western Counties West will be no easier for the Borough!
In Western Counties West only one game was played involving Cornish clubs with Truro hosting Bude in a Cornish derby. Already relegated Truro had the satisfaction of turning over their North Cornwall opponents on their own patch with a 20-12 win. Paul Andrew, Chris Long and Jovin Harper scored Truro’s tries with Ross Martin kicking the other points. Chris Kingsford and Steve Yates scored the tries for Bude with Andy Yates converting his brother’s try.
Although not playing this weekend it looks like Hayle’s play-off opponents will be Barton Hill from Western Counties North.
In the Cornwall & Devon League after all the excitement last week of Julian Wilce’s apparent non try scoring feats for the Camels I omitted to congratulate them on securing promotion to Western Counties West next season. Well done to the Camels especially to former County prop John May and his coaching team up there.
Camels enjoyed another fine win on Saturday winning 29-17 at Honiton. Try scorers for Wadebridge were Matt Ballard (2), Sean Hawkey, Brian Finnemore and Tom O’Donnell. Ian Boyling kicking a couple conversions.
St. Austell were well beaten at leaders Paignton 55-6, finishing the game with only 13 men following a couple of red cards. Ben Newman kicked two penalties for the visitors.
Perranporth lost to bottom side South Molton 12-6 Justin Irons kicking the Brewers points.
Falmouth lost at Wellington by 15-13. Richard Handley scored Falmouth’s try with Jack Brown converting and adding a couple of drop goals.
Up in London, London Cornish defeated Old Amplefordians 24-10 in their London 4 SW match (See Dickon Moon’s match report in the forums).

Finally well done once more to Cornish All Black’s tight head Wayne Reed who has been again selected for the Barbarians to play the Army on Wednesday evening at the Twickenham Stoop.                 

Posted in Bill's Blog


By Bill Hooper at Trewirgie
As luck would have it the top two sides in Cornwall league 2 at the start of the day were scheduled to play each other on the Army’s presentation day to Cornwall 2 clubs.
Conditions were well nigh perfect at Trewirgie and we were entertained to a fine game, which saw Roseland remain in top spot in the league after this narrow win against Albany.
Roseland had the edge in the set-piece with their well-drilled forwards giving the Albany pack a torrid time. Albany looked sharper outside and looked to move the ball when they could.
Roseland opened the scoring after 5 minutes when fly-half Will Thomas kicked a penalty goal. Albany were soon level when their fly-half Derek Baker replied in kind.
Two further penalties by Thomas gave the visitors a 9-3 half-time lead. It seemed at that point that Roseland would build on their advantage, Albany had other ideas and hit the visitors with a very good try scored by their full-back James Hardy with Baker adding the conversion after 55 mins. Baker then increased the Albany lead with a drop goal putting the home side 13-9 up.
Roseland put in a big effort as time began to run out, they were denied a couple of tries by some determined Albany defence, however eventually Roseland set up a catch-and-drive with lock Will Palmer crashing over for what proved to be the match winning score.
A good game from both sides and a credit to Cornwall 2 rugby.
St. Just’s win over Callington sees them leap-frog Albany into second place with one more round of matches to be played on 14th April.

Roseland now two points clear of the Cape Cornwall side will be hoping to add some more silverware when they take on Liskeard & Looe next Saturday in the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup Final at Camborne.       

Posted in Bill's Blog

TASC Presentation Day

Saturday March 31st saw committee members of the Army make presentations to all eight Cornwall League 2 clubs of rugby kit, which comprised of rugby match balls and tackle bags.  

Our Chairman Alan Mitchell was present at the St. Agnes vs. Lankelly Fowey match.

Our Hon Secretary. Ian Gordon travelled to the far west to make presentations at the St. Just vs. Callington match.

Hon Treasurer Viv Broadhurst made the short trip for her, to Veor to make the presentations at the Veor vs. St. Day game.

Vice Chairman Phil Trevarton and former Chairman Bill Hooper did the honours at the Redruth Albany vs. Roseland match at Trewirgie.

The Army are delighted to be in a position to help our grassroots league clubs this season.

We are extremly grateful and thankful for the assistance of Cornwall’s Rugby Development Officer Mike Bratt, who obtained the kit on our behalf.   

See photos link of some of the presentations on the main page of the TASC site. 


Posted in Bill's Blog


What a tremendous weekend for Cornish rugby with both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay reaching their respective EDF-Energy Finals at Twickenham on Sunday 15th April! Congratulations to both clubs, we know you will both do Cornwall proud on the day.

There is no doubt that a massive exodus to TW1 will be taking place that weekend, on a par with the Cornish team’s trips to Twickenham for County Championship finals during the 1990’s. The numbers swelled by many Cornish exiles who will also descend on Twickenham. Between now and the day of the finals the excitement and anticipation will grow and grow. Both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay will no doubt be making announcements in the very near future with regards to ticket allocations and travel arrangements both on their websites and via the local media. Please listen out for the relevant information.

It must be remembered that the EDF-Energy Cup Final day comprises of four finals, with the Senior Vase kicking off at 10 a.m., the National Trophy Final, Cornish Pirates vs. Exeter Chiefs, kicking off at 12 noon, the Anglo/Welsh Cup kicking off at 3 p.m., and finally the Intermediate Cup Final, Mount’s Bay vs. Dunstablians, kicking-off 5 p.m.

With Cornish clubs about to storm Twickenham it was ironic that this week it was announced that the County Shield Final and the County Plate Final will not be held at Twickenham this season. Should Cornwall win their three matches and top the Southern Group they will be obliged to travel to the winner of the Northern Group for the County Shield Final.

Cornwall took a young side up to Ivybridge yesterday to contest the Tamar Cup with Devon. Despite a brave show the Duchy lost to Devon by 26-3. Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News has kindly let us post his match report from Cross-in-Hand.

There was other important rugby played in Cornwall over the weekend, not least the Cornish All Blacks in National League 2, who played their match-in-hand against Bradford & Bingley at Polson. The Cornish All Blacks ran in eight tries to secure all five points on offer in a 54-14 win to leapfrog the Henley Hawks, back into second spot with a single point advantage over their Oxfordshire rivals. Launceston’s try scorers were scrum-half Richard John, prop Wayne Reed (2), centre Marc Sweeney, winger Andy Matchett (2), flanker Wayne Sprangle and winger Marc Dibble.

Hayle played a re-arranged Western Counties West league match, hosting and defeating Minehead Barbarians 42-7. The Lions scored a penalty try, converted by Jimmy Tresize, who also added a penalty for a first half lead of 10-7. The second half was all one way traffic with Hayle adding further tries through Callum Osborne, Jamie Thomas, James Jago and Tresize again, with Tresize kicking the other points.

Penryn entertained Taunton in South West 2 West and suffered another heavy defeat by 58-17. Chris Mann, Steve Uphill and Chris Johnson scored tries for the Borough, with Justin Hocking adding a conversion.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels won at South Molton by 39-10 to keep the pressure on table toppers Paignton. Skipper Julian Wilce had a day to remember, scoring all seven of the Camels’ tries — a club record in the leagues. James Kneale kicked two conversions for the Camels. A great weekend for Wadebridge Camels as Wilce went on to captain Cornwall in the Tamar Cup match against Devon the following day.

Posted in Bill's Blog

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