Pirates suffer last-gasp defeat

Coventry 18   Cornish Pirates 17

On the road for a second week running, there was always a feeling that another real challenge lay in wait at the Butts Park Arena, and so it proved. Leading 14-6 at half-time, the Pirates sadly succumbed to pressure applied by their hosts in the second period, a high penalty count and two yellow cards not helping their cause.

Coventry, who have made a welcome return to the Championship following their relegation at the end of the competition’s inaugural 2009-10 season, arrived at this Round 12 stage seventh in the league – the Pirates were fifth.

In a side keen to bounce back from their defeat at Yorkshire Carnegie six days earlier, the Pirates welcomed back wing Robin Wedlake from injury, whilst at fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez was named after being used early as a replacement the previous week following an unfortunate injury to Will Cargill. On the bench, a fit again Dan Frost was selected as the replacement hooker, with Harvey Skinner taking the seat vacated by Rojas Alvarez.

When the Pirates emerged from the changing rooms it was ever-present lock Toby Freeman, set to make his 50th appearance for the club, who had the honour of leading the team onto the field. Then, when play was underway, after an early opportunity to pose a threat from a line-out was lost, the Cornish visitors shortly after opted for a penalty kick at the posts which was successfully struck by Rojas Alvarez.

A penalty from Coventry’s fly-half Will Maisey levelled matters, and they shortly after went close to scoring the game’s opening try after charging down a kick. That threat, thankfully, was foiled, however midway through the first half a second Maisey penalty made it 6-3.

From the restart ‘Cov’ were immediately penalised, giving Rojas Alvarez the opportunity to again draw the scores level, and he did. 

A good spell of play from the Pirates followed, with wing Alex O’Meara displaying football skills to apply pressure on the home side. Strong running from centre Callum Patterson and No. 8 Tom Duncan also forced Coventry on the back foot. Pleasingly, at this stage, the Pirates line-out was working better than the previous week, as was the scrum. Set piece is so important, in any game, and when another chance to take three points was given, a third penalty from Rojas Alvarez delivered.

Confirming a dominance heading to half-time, Freeman caught cleanly at a line-out and the Pirates drove forward. Scrum-half Alex Day made a dash, the advance continued through Patterson and a fine run from hooker Sam Matavesi, and then it was full-back Kyle Moyle who in a flash lent support to dive over for his eighth Championship try of the season. Rojas Alvarez was unable to add the extra two points, but the Pirates nonetheless arrived at half-time with a thus far deserved 14-6 lead.

Of no surprise, the home team looked to up their game at the start of the second period, and, under the floodlights and in less than ideal pitch conditions, in the process fully test their opponents. Initially the Pirates were not only up to the challenge but also went further ahead when Rojas Alvarez landed his fourth penalty of the afternoon.

Coventry, of course, have a gifted squad of players, including Tongan international wing David Halaifonua and former Pirates and Gloucester hooker Darren Dawidiuk, For the latter it was time soon to depart as Coventry introduced a couple of front-row replacements. Also, during this period, after the Pirates scrum was put under extra pressure it was not long before referee Mr. Chivers spoke to Pirates’ skipper Brett Beukeboom and a yellow card was shown to flanker Josh Caulfield.

The Pirates did well to keep Coventry at bay, before in the 56th minute replacement hooker Scott Tolmie scored an unconverted try from a well-executed driving maul.

With the scoreline reading 11-17, the home side were very much back in the match, and there another former ‘Pirate’, in Tom Kessell, now on the field as Coventry’s replacement scrum-half.

The Pirates strived to hold out in the last quarter, it a test for their resolve, as it was for Coventry who have only lost at home twice in the Championship this season. Sadly, however, the Cornish side’s penalty count continued to rise.

The game was slipping away from the Cornish outfit, who near the end also lost their leader, Beukeboom, to the sin bin. He had been spoken to on a couple of occasions and from the resulting line-out it was a second try from Tolmie that gave Coventry their chance of victory. His effort was scored from quite wide out, so the conversion to ultimately win the game was, considering the extra pressure involved, anything but a formality. Taking the responsibility was centre Tony Fenner, whose effort was struck in complete silence – that’s until it sailed through the posts to roars of jubilation.

There was still the slimmest of a chance for the Pirates to perhaps score again, but the restart went out on the full and the game was soon over. It also ended a day when to leave with losing a bonus point was of absolutely no consolation.

Speaking at the end of the match, Cornish Pirates’ co-coach Gavin Cattle said. “For us it was one of those gut wrenchers of a game and one also played in conditions that were difficult for both sides. Compared to last week there were though positives, such as our collision and sound defensive sets, plus in the first forty we had some good ball off the scrum.

“I thought we did well to disrupt their set piece but our penalty count in the second half was too high, which tells a story in itself, and the yellow cards didn’t of course help.

“Ultimately, such occasions are a collective responsibility, there no excuses and we have to learn from the experience.”

Coventry:   15 James Stokes (22 Heath Stevens, 40), 14 Junior Bulumakau, 13 Rob Knox, 12 Tony Fenner, 11 David Halaifonua, 10 Will Maisey, 9 Pete White (21 Tom Kessell, 59); 1 James Gibbons (17 Charlie Beech, 46), 2 Darren Dawidiuk (16 Scott Tolmie, 46), 3 Phil Boulton (c – 18 Josh McNulty, 65), 4 Tom Jubb, 5 George Oram, 6 Dan Faleafa (20 Latu Makaafi, 59), 7 Ben Nutley (19 Ben Adams, 59), 8 Adam Peters.

Cornish Pirates:   15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Callum Patterson (21 Harvey Skinner, 59), 11 Robin Wedlake (22 Matt Evans, 75), 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker (17 Jack Andrew, 75), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Tyler Gendall, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Josh Caulfield (19 Dan Lee, 73), 7 John Stevens (18 Matt Bolwell, 59), 8 Tom Duncan (16 Dan Frost, 75).

Replacement (not used):   20 Jake Ashby

Yellow card:   6 Josh Caulfield (46), 5 Brett Beukeboom (79)

Scorers: Coventry – tries: 16 Scott Tolmie (58, 80); con: 12 Tony Fenner (80); pens: 10 Will Maisey (9, 23) Cornish Pirates – try: 15 Kyle Moyle (40); pens: 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (3, 25, 35, 45)

Crowd: 2273

Referee: Neil Chivers (RFU)

Report by Phil Westren, photo, Brian Tempset

Posted in Bill's Blog


Below par Pirates pick up a losing bonus point

Frustration for Below Par Pirates

by Phil Westren

Yorkshire Carnegie 18   Cornish Pirates 13

It was known pre-match that this contest would inevitably be a tough one, and likely enjoyably entertaining against a rapidly improving Yorkshire Carnegie side whose Director of Rugby is former Pirates High Performance Manager Chris Stirling. Well, tough it was, but not enjoyable, particularly from a Pirates perspective in what was for them a below par and frustrating performance.

Having ended 2018 on a high, a 27-nil win at home to London Scottish propelling them up to third in the Championship table, the Pirates arrived at this halfway point in the league keen to push on at the start of the New Year. They were also able to name a starting XV that showed just one change from their last outing. Prop Marlen Walker, a second half replacement against ‘Scottish’, swapping places with Jack Andrew.

On a breezy afternoon at the Emerald Headingley Stadium, it was visiting fly-half Will Cargill who kicked the match off. Unfortunately, however, his services were then curtailed, as following a collision he had to depart proceedings with a mouth injury.

It was also not long before Yorkshire Carnegie opened their account, when in the eighth minute prop Marc Thomas was identified as a try-scorer following a potent driving maul. Young fly-half Jacob Umaga, returning to Yorkshire Carnegie from Gallagher Premiership side Wasps on dual registration, added the conversion.

The Pirates were finding it hard to make much impact in the match and were also luckless when Cargill’s replacement, Javier Rojas Alvarez, saw a penalty effort go wide.

Approaching the half-hour mark the home team extended their lead. Winning a turnover, they quickly spotted an opportunity to spin the ball away quickly, with No 8 Dan Temm’s run setting up a try for debutant wing Elijah Niko. The conversion attempt by Umaga this time missed.

It was time for the Pirates to respond, and they did, thankful to opportunist hooker Sam Matavesi who stole possession close to the hosts line. Dotting the ball down, his seventh Championship try of the season was converted by Rojas Alvarez.

The Cornish team now appeared rejuvenated, wing AJ Cant and full-back Kyle Moyle both running well before right on half-time the offer of a penalty award saw skipper Brett Beukeboom call up Rojas Alvarez whose successful kick at goal reduced the deficit to just two points. At this particular break, 12-10 was a scoreline that the Pirates likely considered themselves fortunate to trundle off to.

An excellent long-range penalty effort from Umaga extended the home team’s lead right at the start of the second half, which it was hoped would again draw a response from the Pirates. Matavesi, along with back-rowers Josh Caulfield and John Stevens tested the home defence, however it was the home side who were gleaning impressive advantage at the breakdown, whilst the Cornish Pirates line-out was also not functioning to requirement.

Walker and No 8 Tom Duncan were next to provide a little go forward, but Yorkshire Carnegie defended admirably and when they were able to kick clear a potential scoring opportunity was lost.

On 56 minutes, Umaga surprisingly missed an easy penalty opportunity from in front of the posts. However, he shortly after made no mistake with a more difficult attempt, opening an eight points gap as play now entered the last quarter.

In striving to get back into the match the Pirates were simply giving too many penalties away, the referee seemingly not, on this day, their friend.      Thus far, Yorkshire Carnegie had been the better side, though they too erred in a match that was failing to live up to expectation. Umaga also missed another penalty

For the Pirates, the need was simply to finish strongly, as there was still time to snatch a result. Sadly, though, it felt like the more they tried then yet more penalties were given away, with there also a yellow card shown to prop Tyler Gendall.

The Yorkshire team also soon after lost flanker Josh Bainbridge to the sin bin, which at least balanced personnel at 14-a-side.

With a display of late energy, the Pirates made yardage and showed good support play, and were surely unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try when home centre Andy Forsyth deliberately knocked the ball down. As it worked out, referee Mr. O’Grady showed ‘yellow’ to Forsyth and awarded the Cornish Pirates just a penalty. Skipper Brett Beukeboom once again gave Rojas Alvarez the nod to take a kick at goal which, being successful, also at least gave the Pirates a losing bonus point.

Speaking straight after the match, disappointed Cornish Pirates’ co-coach Gavin Cattle said. “We were well below our standards, slow out of the blocks and there too many individual errors. Credit though to Yorkshire Carnegie for their work at the breakdown which was very effective.

“Mistakes were made when we were under pressure but also when we weren’t, and it so disappointing when our effort and preparation ahead of the match was bang-on and our attitude outstanding.

“The game was dominated time-wise by the scrum, there a lot of stop-starts and it overall very frustrating. It also meant that by giving too many penalties away we gave them too much field position.”

Gavin added, “This is a challenging period, but not grumbling we will dust ourselves off and look to put wrongs right before getting on the road again away to Coventry next Saturday.”

Yorkshire Carnegie:   15 Jacob Umaga, 14 Chris Elder, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Elijah Niko, 10 Jade Te Rure, 9 JB Bruzulier; 1 Marc Thomas (17 Nic Mayhew, 62), 2 Joe Buckle (16 Dylan Donnellan, 78), 3 Craig Mitchell (18 Andy Foster, 53), 4 Cian Romaine (19 Fa’atinga Lemalu, 40), 5 Matt Smith, 6 Richard Mayhew (c), 7 Josh Bainbridge, 8 Dan Temm.

Replacements (not used):   20 Lewis Wilson, 21 Sam Wolstenholme, 22 George Watkins.

Yellow cards: Josh Bainbridge (72), Andy Forsyth (77).

Cornish Pirates:   15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Callum Patterson, 11 AJ Cant (22 Matt Evans, 69), 10 Will Cargill (21 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 7), 9 Alex Day (20 Jake Ashby, 69); 1 Marlen Walker (17 Jack Andrew, 60), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Tyler Gendall, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Josh Caulfield (18 Dan Lee, 53), 7 John Stevens (1 Marlen Walker, 74), 8 Tom Duncan (19 Matt Bolwell 53).

Replacement (not used):   16 Charlie Gibbings.

Yellow card: Tyler Gendall (70)

Scorers:

Yorkshire Carnegie – tries:1 Marc Thomas (8), 11 Elijah Niko (29); con: 15 Jacob Umaga (9); pens: 15 Jacob Umaga (43, 59).

Cornish Pirates – 2 Sam Matavesi (34); con: 21 Javier Rojas Alvarez (35); pens: 21 Javier Rojas Alvarez (40, 79).

Referee:   Matthew O’Grady (RFU)

Attendance:   1637

Posted in Bill's Blog


Tribute Cornwall Cup Draw

Semi final Draw.

St. Ives RFC   v    Saltash RFC

Wadebridge Camels RFC  v  St. Austell RFC.

Semi Finals to be played on or before 3rd February 2019.

Early Kick Offs advised as extra time may be needed to gain a result.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Redruth’s poor form sees return of Hambly

Redruth’s poor pre-Christmas form continued into the New Year as they slipped to a fifth straight National League 2 South defeat to Worthing Raiders 28-17.

It was the first time the Sussex club had won in Redruth and they did so thanks to three tries from winger Curtis Barnes and the trusty boot of Matt Mclean.

Tom Notman scored a couple of tries for the Reds with Connor Gilbert getting a third, whilst Aaron Simmonds kicked a conversion.

In the wake of this defeat it was announced yesterday evening that former head coach Nigel Hambly would be returning to the club as Director of Rugby with immediate effect until the end of the current season.

Redruth are home again this Saturday to Guernsey with a 1 pm kick-off.

In the South West Premier, Camborne staged a great second half comeback against Newton Abbot. Trailing 20-5 at half-time with just an Alex Ducker try on the board, the cherry and whites scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to secure a bonus point win 26-20.

Second half tries came from Ducker, his second, Josh Semmens and Declan Matthews with Dave Mankee and Rhodri McAtee (2) adding the conversions.

In Tribute South West 1 West, Launceston were made to work hard at home to North Petherton before winning 37-27. Glen Coles, Martin Kneebone, Greg Thomas (2) and Adam Collings scored the tries with Coles converting three and kicking two penalties.

Launceston are at Okehampton this Saturday for a top-of-the-table clash,

St. Ives ran riot at Alexandra Road in their “away” fixture against Coney Hill 91-12 with Pete Mabbott scoring five of his side’s fifteen tries.

In London 1 South, London Cornish made a fine start to the New Year with a 27-17 over former National League side Westcombe Park. Twenty-four 2nd half points turned the London 1 South match with Westcombe Park on its head, the exiles running out deserving winners, the points courtesy of tries from Matt Hakes, Rich Stephens, and a penalty try, with full back Dan Phoenix landing 3 conversions and 2 penalties. This 4th win in 6 matches hoists Cornish up to 8th in the table.

In Tribute Western Counties West, St Austell have opened up the promotion race with a 23-21 win at leaders Sidmouth. Ben Plummer, Hugh Noot and Chris Ashwin scored the tries with Cav Boyer kicking the other points.

Falmouth lost at home to Wellington 40-10. A J Geach with their sole try converted by Tom Edmonds who also landed a penalty.

Wadebridge Camels lost heavily at Kingsbridge 53-5, Jarred Wheatman with their unconverted try.

Truro also lost away to Paignton 23-17, Sam Rhodes and Matt Symons scored their tries with Owen Davey converting both, earlier on Justyn Irons had kicked a penalty for Truro.

Tiverton beat Saltash at Moorland 23-17. Phil Eastwell and Ryan Cruickshanks with the Ashes’ tries both converted by Kieran Down who also added a penalty.    

Posted in Bill's Blog


Pirates get back to Championship action with a win


Report By Phil Westren, photo Brian Tempest – 30th Dec 2018

Cornish Pirates 27   London Scottish 0

Under the glow of the Mennaye Field’s floodlights, on their return to Greene King IPA Championship action this result gave the Cornish Pirates deserved satisfaction. Indeed, it not only saw them end 2018 on a high with a bonus point victory, but they also ‘nilled’ their opponents and, in the process, climbed up to third in the league table.

As expected, this final fixture of the year delivered another atmospheric occasion, with the expected seasonal bumper crowd present. It also marked scrum-half Alex Day’s 100th appearance for the club.

There was just one change in the Cornish Pirates starting line-up from the one that faced London Irish in the Cup before Christmas, with AJ Cant named on the wing. He had been used as a replacement in the game against ‘Irish’, following an injury suffered by Robin Wedlake.

The calm and mild weather conditions were far better than expected for the time of year, and there was a real buzz about a Mennaye Field that had also recovered well following the Pirates last outing.

Match underway, to their credit, London Scottish dominated possession for much of the first half but had nothing to show for it due to a miserly home defence.

With the Pirates line once again proving difficult to breach, it was also pleasing that they were able to create scoring chances. Two would be taken in the first half, an opener through full-back Kyle Moyle who, following some good inter-play, notched up his seventh Championship try of the season. Fly-half Will Cargill added the extras. Then, close to half-time, following a determined drive towards the Penzance posts the ball was swiftly released to the right, enabling wing Alex O’Meara to squeeze in at the clubhouse corner for try number two.

The crowd had been entertained well enough in the first period, as they were at the start of the second half when hooker Sam Matavesi tore down the right and in the process used his potent hand-off. It certainly raised added interest for supporters in the old Western National corner (nowadays often called Naughty Boys corner), as did a run from Cant who has quickly shown a level of ability that should see him do well at Championship level.

To their credit London Scottish continued to be competitive, with play a little boisterous at times, however the mood of the Pirates was simply to give them ‘nowt’.

A Cargill penalty on 68 minutes made it 15-0, and after No. 8 Tom Duncan then scored a converted try the Pirates dug deep to secure a bonus point effort. Replacements had been made, including a debut for hooker Charlie Gibbings. Other fresh faces, namely fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez and prop Jack Owlett then made telling contributions. The former posted his penalty kick perfectly down the left touchline, and it was the latter who was in position to apply the downward pressure for try number four.

The Cup win for the Pirates against London Irish two weeks earlier had delivered the perfect Christmas present, whilst this result was one to provide genuine optimism for the New Year. For sure, a lot of hard work is and has been undertaken by individuals, with the passion of Dicky Evans also still steering the plotted course.

Cornish Pirates:   15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara (Matt Evans 68), 13 Rory Parata, 12 Callum Patterson, 11 AJ Cant, 10 Will Cargill (Javier Rojas Alvarez 74), 9 Alex Day (Jake Ashby 74); 1 Jack Andrew (Marlen Walker 58), 2 Sam Matavesi (Charlie Gibbings 74), 3 Tyler Gendall (Jack Owlett 74), 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Josh Caulfield (Dan Lee 61), 7 John Stevens, 8 Tom Duncan.

London Scottish:   15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Miles Mantella, 13 Richie Vernon (Jacob Perry 57),12 Reuben Bird-Tulloch (Jacob Perry 22, Bird Tulloch 32) , 11 Rob Stevenson, 10 Rory Jennings, 9 Grayson Hart (Josh Barton 73); 1 Jordan Brodley (Jonny Harris 61), 2 Billy Harding (Ollie Adams 76), 3 James Litchfield (Phil Cringle 48) , 4 Theo Vukasinovic (Byron Hodge 68), 5 Tjiuee Uanivi, 6 James Tyas, 7 Lewis Wynne (Matt Marley 74), 8 Mark Bright (c).

Scorers:

Cornish Pirates – tries: Moyle, O’Meara, Duncan, Owlett; cons: Cargill (2); pen: Cargill.

Referee:   Dean Richards (RFU)       Attendance:   2,963

St. Austell Brewery’s Man-of-the-Match:   Tyler Gendall

Posted in Bill's Blog


Camborne reclaim the churn

RODDA’S MILK CUP

REDRUTH 14 – 17 CAMBORNE

By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground.

Dave Mankee’s penalty mid-way through the second half proved to be good enough for Camborne to re-gain the Rodda’s Milk Cup against old rivals Redruth.

It proved to be an absorbing game with defences generally on top played out before a crowd of over 1,500 in the winter sunshine. It was by and large a good-tempered game.

Camborne’s head coach Liam Chapple was delighted with his side’s performance. “We defended so well throughout the whole game and when chances came our way we took them. Getting to half-time all square at 14-all gave us a huge lift that we could go on and get a result here. All credit to the boys for digging in and playing their hearts out. I hope we can use this result as a launch pad for our league campaign in the New Year starting at home against Newton Abbot.”

Playing down the slope first half it was Redruth who had the early pressure roared on by their home support. Having gone close early on wing Tom Notman finished off a textbook move off a scrum after Pale Nonu made good ground before scrum-half Jack Oulton provided the scoring pass.

Full-back Ashley Hosking knocked over the conversion and the Reds so it seemed were up and running.

Redruth looked to build on their early score with Sam Parsons making a return for this fixture playing in the back row putting in some strong runs.

As the game reached the half-hour marked so the fortunes changed. Within the space of a couple of minutes Camborne profited from two interceptions from deep in their own twenty-two to score. The first from a mistake from Nonu saw lock Neil Stanlieck charge up-field like a raging buffalo only to be hauled down five metres short of the Redruth line. After a couple of phases flanker Cameron Bone squeezed over to the huge roar of the Camborne end. Mankee’s conversion looked wide but was given by the referee.

Moments later it was a case of déjà-vu as man-of-the-match and winner of the Tony Pill Cup, centre Declan Matthews picked off another speculative pass to sprint in from his own twenty-two under the Redruth posts, Mankee slotted the conversion to put Town 14-7 up in front of their delirious fans.

Redruth hit back but their chances all came to nothing as the error count piled up, eventually in time added on at the end of the first half they scored a second try through centre Connor Gilbert from short-range. Aaron Simmonds on as replacement added the extras to tie it up at 14-all at half-time.

The second half proved a cagey affair both sides had chances but wasted them. Mankee was short with a penalty attempt from near half-way but some twelve minutes later he was on the money with another attempt that put his side ahead.

With time running out Redruth tried everything, however the game was held up following a neck injury to Camborne player Oakley Smitherham which necessitated in the player being stretched off to warm applause.

Redruth had a period of pressure on the Camborne line at the end but a knock-on saw Camborne re-gain the churn, despite defending for the final moments with just thirteen men, to the huge delight of their fans at that end.   

Redruth: Hosking, Notman, Gilbert, Whitworth, Bonds, Kevern, Oulton; Hodge, Brown (capt), Salt, Heazelton, Hattam, Parsons, Stevens, Nonu.

Replacements: Joyce, Barnes, Clemson, Tucker, Hosking A, Simmonds

Camborne: Long, Thomas, Semmens, Matthews, Blee, Mankee, Bawden; Hearn, Southworth, Drew (capt), Cook, Steinlieck, Bone, Nicholls, Rose.

Replacements: Trewhella, Zacharovas, Riches, Hendra, Smitherham, Brownfield.

Referee: Bradley Bignall (RFU)

Crowd: 1586

Trelawny’s Army Tony Pill Cup man-of-the-match: Declan Matthews (Camborne). A fine game from the centre who looked sharp in attack and tackled ha

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall Under 20s

COACHES THOUGHTS FOLLOWING CORNWALL UNDER 20S GAME WITH CORNWALL FIRE SERVICES

It was a steep learning curve for the Cornish youngsters against the Cornwall Fire Services XV which boasted several players with senior experience.

The final score of 52-14 to the Firemen under the Hayle floodlights was perhaps a little harsh on the lads who stuck at it and showed plenty of promise.

Speaking after the game Cornwall coaches Josh Lord and Richie Kevern gave me their thoughts. Josh felt that the lads could take a lot of heart from their performance. “There were masses of good points to take from tonight’s game, a lot of new boys coming into the squad and putting their hat in the ring for the nest trial game.

Josh acknowledged his side was up against it especially at scrum-time. “We were up against a well-drilled and solid pack with a lot of experience,  at this level you would expect them to dominate against a fairly young pack that had never played together before. I do feel that we adapted to the challenge as the game wore on and we can take a lot of credit out of the game.

“We had a good chat at half-time we set out some goals for the second forty and I felt we accomplished what we had planned, we looked a better unit and played some good rugby when we moved the ball.

Josh confirmed that the preparations are going well with training sessions at Truro College on a Sunday morning. “We are building for the opening championship game against Devon at St. Austell (Sunday 3rd Feb kick-off 2 pm). We will be building up our training ahead of our next trial game against Culdrose in January.

Josh acknowledges that the expectations are high following last season’s run to the final. “After tasting getting to Twickenham last season the boys want to go one better. I felt the score-line last year flattered Yorkshire in some ways, no complaints on the result, but we went out in the second half determined to play and not try to damage limitation. I am convinced that it’s a mindset thing as opposed to an ability thing, if we believe then we can achieve.”

Richie Kevern expressed how pleased he was to be involved this season. “It’s been great to come in and be involved with a great bunch of lads. We’ve got some exceptional talent coming through with the right attitude and they want to play, have a go.

“You saw that at times today when they move the ball they create chances and look dangerous, it’s just that final pass or offload we need to work on to complete the puzzle.

Richie was also full of praise for the attitude of the players at training. “Top draw I have to say, there is a huge buzz around the squad after last year, numbers are good at training and they all want to make the squad, it’s a great credit that they turn up having played a game on Saturday but are still keen on a Sunday morning. Josh and I are going to have a hard job picking the squad because so many boys are pushing their cases for inclusion.”        

Posted in Bill's Blog


Boxing Day fixtures 2018

BOXING DAY FIXTURES 2018

CHECK WITH CLUBS RE KICK-OFF TIMES

RODDA’S MILK CUP               

REDRUTH – CAMBORNE 2 PM

FRIENDLIES

FALMOUTH – PENRYN 2 PM

PENRYN SARACENS – FALMOUTH ONE & ALL 11 AM

CAMBORNE FESTIVE XV – REDRUTH II 11 AM

LANKELLY-FOWEY – ST. AUSTELL SINNERS 11 AM

ROSELAND – TRURO XV 12:30 PM

BUDE – PRESIDENT’S XV 11 AM

NEWQUAY HORNETS – CHAIRMAN’S XV

PIRATES AMATEURS XV – GEOFF COCK XV 2 PM

HELSTON – EXILES 11 AM

SALTASH – ST. BONIFACE OLD BOYS 11 AM

LAUNCESTON – PAST PLAYERS 11 AM

PERRANPORTH – PRESIDENT’S XV

Posted in Bill's Blog


Late Resurgence is Not Enough

Bedford Blues 27   Cornish Pirates 17

By Phil Westren

Playing their penultimate Pool 3 game in the new Championship Cup competition, despite this loss the Cornish Pirates will still ultimately progress to the quarter-finals stage – either as one of the two best third-placed teams across the three pools or as the runner-up in their pool.

The Pirates won 22-20 at home against the Blues in their Championship Cup opener and expected it to be nothing less than tough and likely close once more. Tough, it was, however but for a spirited late resurgence, it was anything but close.

One change in the backs from the side that started at Hartpury last weekend saw Alex Day selected at scrum-half, whilst in the forwards there were returns for hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie, prop Jack Owlett, the second-row pairing of Toby Freeman and skipper Brett Beukeboom, plus back-rowers Matt Bolwell and Tom Duncan.

With a festive feel about Goldington Road, after flanker Josh Buggea led the Blues out on his 100th appearance both sides went close to scoring in the opening exchanges, the Pirates following a charge down by centre Dan Koster and then Bedford who built the phases only to give a penalty away just five metres out from the Pirates line. However, in the 13th minute the home side, playing with the advantage of their renowned slope, got the scoring underway thanks toa penalty slotted by Will Hooley, a former England under 20s and present-day USA international fly-half.

 The Pirates were in general guilty of giving too many penalties away and their cause not helped when Beukeboom was shown a yellow-card for making a deliberate knock-on. It was also not long before the Blues took due advantage, when wing Pat Tapley scored a converted try between the posts.

 Having suffered something of a set-back, two minutes later the14-man Pirates fell further behind. Stretched defensively, Bedford’s replacement wing Ed Coulson was the man to ultimately make them pay with another converted try. Coulson’s early cameo then came to an end, the return to play of wing Dean Adamson following a head injury assessment, seeing Coulson take his place back on the bench.

 The penalty count against the Pirates would continue to climb, at the same time gifting Bedford opportunities to gain advantage, which they did once more before the break thanks to a try now scored by Adamson. Hooley was this time luckless with his conversion attempt, as it rebounded off the woodwork.

 In first half time remaining, further pressure applied by the Blues saw prop JackOwlett become the second Pirates player of the afternoon to be sent to the sinbin. Thankfully, the Pirates leaked no further points for the interval to arrive with the score reading 22-0.

After a truly disappointing first half, the second forty would be a real test of character for the Cornish team, the first nine minutes of which they would have to play a man short. However, there was at least initial credit due them for displaying extra energy to provide a glimmer of hope for points.

As the half progressed, and replacements were made, it would be Bedford who would score again, when midway through the period Adamson crossed for his second try of the afternoon. It was also one that secured the bonus point for the home side.

Under the glow of the Goldington Road floodlights, faithful visiting supporters could be forgiven for looking somewhat forlorn, despite an effort from full-back Kyle Moyle that saw him go close.

In general, the Pirates certainly had a little more of the play in the second halfbut there were no points to show for it until, after Coulson was yellow-cardedfor him to now assess the comfort of the sin bin seat, they made numericaladvantage count. Two fine tries were scored by wingers Alex O’Meara and RobinWedlake, the latter’s well converted by replacement Harvey Skinner. Then, deepin injury time, there was also a try out wide for centre Koster, adding to thetwo he scored the previous week. Yes, it was an admirable resurgence, but sadlyit was all just too late.

At the final whistle, with one pool game remaining it was time to sketch all the various permutations. In short, as previously mentioned, the Pirates will compete in the quarter-finals stage, their aim now to ideally secure the runners-up spot in their pool by beating London Irish at home next Saturday. It is a game now with added significance, and although a tough ask against a team they are yet to beat, the focus will be on doing just that. It will also be one of those occasions when a big home crowd can help play their part, to at the same time witness what promises to be a real Christmas cracker.

At the end of the game against Bedford Blues, Cornish Pirates co-coach Gavin Cattle said. “The penalty account against us was astronomical and ultimately if you want to win games you can’t give 20 penalties away.

“We obviously struggled at the set piece, where you need ball to play with, and in the first half we gave up the ball too easily at the attack breakdown.

“As coaches and players, we are disappointed, because there are areas of the game that we pride ourselves on that didn’t function. Injuries in certain positions haven’t helped and we’re aware there are areas of our game to work on.

“Yes, the boys are hurting from the performance today, however I’m proud that they stuck in there and showed resilience and will now want to put things right next week.”

Bedford Blues:   15 Rich Lane (22 Ed Coulson, 62), 14 Pat Tapley, 13 Lewis Robling, 12 Chris Czekaj, 11 Dean Adamson (22 Ed Coulson 17; 11 Dean Adamson, 25), 10 Will Hooley, 9 Lee Dickson (c; 21 Alex Gliksten 59); 1 Sean McCarthy (17 Toby Trinder 62), 2 Charlie Clare (16 Tadgh McElroy, 64), 3 Alex Penny (18 Ben Cooper, 62; 3 Alex Penny, 67; 18 Ben Cooper, 77), 4 Ed Taylor, 5 Mark Flanagan, 6 Justin Blanchet (19 Oli Curry, 52), 7 Josh Buggea, 8 Jarad Williams.

Replacement (not used):   20 Huw Worthington.

Yellow card:   22 Ed Coulson (71).

Cornish Pirates:   15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara (17 Tom Concu, 43; 14 Alex O’Meara, 51), 13 Dan Koster, 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez (22 Callum Patterson, 49), 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Will Cargill (21 Harvey Skinner, 57), 9 Alex Day (20 Alex Schwarz, 57); 1 Jack Owlett, 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie (16 Sam Matavesi, 33), 3 Jack Andrew 4 Toby Freeman (18 Nodar Cheishvili, 64), 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Matt Bolwell, 7 John Stevens (19 Josh Caulfield, 57), 8 Tom Duncan.

Yellow cards:   5 Brett Beukeboom (17), 1 Jack Owlett (40).

Scorers:

Bedford Blues – tries: 14 Pat Tapley (22), 22 Ed Coulson (24), 11 Dean Adamson (39, 11); cons: 10 Will Hooley (22, 25); pen: 10 Will Hooley (13).

Cornish Pirates – tries: 14 Alex O’Meara (75), 11 Robin Wedlake (77); 13 Dan Koster (80); con: 21 Harvey Skinner 77).

Referee:   Alexander Thomas

Attendance:   1986

Posted in Bill's Blog


Dramatic Late Try Seals Victory for Pirates

Photo: In the gathering gloom Wedlake scores the late winner.

 

 

Hartpury RFC 29   Cornish Pirates 36

In the very final seconds of this match, and with the scores level at 29-all, the Cornish Pirates snatched victory with a dramatic late try scored by wing Robin Wedlake, reports Phil Westren.

Having met at the Mennaye Field six days earlier, when the Cornish Pirates won comfortably 53-17, both sides had made changes for part two of this Pool 3 double header played in Round 4 of the Championship Cup.

For the Pirates, hooker Sam Matavesi and lock Nodar Cheishvili were welcomed back fresh from international duty with Fiji and Georgia respectively, the latter player making his first appearance for the Cornish team in a competitive match. Dan Koster and Javier Rojas Alvarez formed the centre partnership, Will Cargill returned at fly-half and there were also starting roles for scrum-half Alex Schwarz, back-rowers James McRae and John Stevens, and prop Tyler Gendall. Prop forward Jack Andrew had the honour of skippering the side.

Before kick-off at the Gillman’s Ground there was a minute’s silence in memory of Martin Baber, a much-respected former President of the Hartpury club who had sadly passed away earlier in the week.

Match action underway, the Pirates got off to a good start as, continuing their try-scoring exploits from the previous week, McRae delivered after three minutes with his first such score in a Pirates shirt. Rojas Alvarez converted.

The Hartpury team managed to hit back and level matters when, following an attacking line-out opportunity, experienced centre Luke Eves scored. Fly-half Luke Scully, on loan from Worcester Warriors and making his first start for the home team, added the conversion.

Hartpury held territorial advantage for a spell, their cause helped when awarded penalties. Scully also nudged them ahead with one slotted on the quarter of an hour mark.

Showing good spirit to regain the initiative, the Pirates first went close to scoring a try through wing Alex O’Meara, and then did when Rojas Alvarez, who has shown good form with the boot, now scored his first 5-pointer for the club. For good measure, he also duly converted the effort.

As the clock clicked to 30 minutes, following a line-out inside the Pirates ‘22’ the Hartpury team would score again, hooker Luke Stratford again getting on the try-scoring list as he had the previous week. Scully was again on target.

It was the Pirates, however, who finished the half strongly, with a trademark burst by Matavesi first setting up a try-scoring opportunity for Koster. It was one taken by the Kiwi, his run and hand-off seeing him score an unconverted try to the left of the posts. Hartpury tried to hit back, but on the stroke of half-time Koster was at it again. The home team’s attacking effort from the restart had been thwarted by wing Robin Wedlake, with support then arriving from Schwarz, Cheishvili and Gendall before Koster showed strength to quickly make it over the line again. It was a score that also delivered a four try bonus point, with the conversion from Rojas Alvarez giving the Pirates a 26-17 half-time lead.

After an entertaining opening forty, the Hartpury team were first to score in the second period, wing Elias Caven making it over the line and his effort converted in the glow of the floodlights by Scully. One thing seemingly for sure was that the final outcome of this game would stay in the balance and was anything but a foregone conclusion.

Into the last quarter of the match, with the Pirates line-out not functioning at its best, and with replacements being made, it was important not to slip up. Also, perhaps of no surprise, when awarded a penalty opportunity after Hartpury lost the services of prop Rupert Harden to the sin bin, the decision made was to go for the posts, which proved a worthy choice, as Rojas Alvarez stepped forward to successfully open up a five points gap.

There was still no settle, however, as at the start of a tense finish the Pirates had to withstand considerable late pressure, and especially so after Matavesi’s afternoon concluded when he was shown a yellow card.

Now was surely a chance for the Hartpury team to perhaps at least draw level, or even secure a first ever win in seven attempts against the Pirates. It was not to be.

Penalties were conceded by the Pirates, including at scrum time, and although the Hartpury side also gained a bonus point through scoring their fourth try, by replacement hooker Will Tanner and following another potent drive for the line, it was the 14-man visitors who had the last say.

Replacements for the Pirates included prop Tom Concu who has been on loan to Blackheath, and in the very final seconds the match-winning try was delivered, it one scored through patience and dogged determination. Skipper Andrew and Stevens were to the fore, and the backs worked their magic, the multiple phases of play ending when space was created to enable Wedlake to break Hartpury hearts. He had scored four tries in the league match played at the same venue back in September but had seen little ball in this particular encounter. It mattered not though, for when the vital chance came, he took it. The extra two points kicked by Rojas Alvarez also took his personal tally to 58 in four Cup games played.

Co-coach Gavin Cattle was a satisfied man after the game, commenting. “We expected it to be close considering the changes made by both teams, plus their anticipated resolve to bounce back from last week.

“The character we showed, especially at the end of the match with the skills displayed in multiple phases when under pressure was excellent, and that is something we can draw from in the future.

“Hartpury had the better of us in the scrum, appearing more destructive in the second half, however there were several positives to take out of the game. Certain players gained experience, Alex Schwarz did well in the ‘9’ shirt, as did likewise Javier at ‘12’, which gave us a different dimension, plus we scored a very good team try at the end when Robin also still had a bit of work to do but took his chance.”

Hartpury RFC:   15 Mike Wilcox, 14 Elias Caven (22 Jamie Forrester, 53; 18 Wayne Thompson, 63),13 Conner Edwards, 12 Luke Eves, 11 Harry Cochrane, 10 Luke Scully, 9 Charlie Chapman; 1 Des Merry (17 Mike Flook, 55), 2 Luke Stratford (16 Will Tanner, 55), 3 Rupert Harden (22 Jamie Forrester, 74), 4 Joe Quinn (19 Tom Everard, 50), 5 Simon Linsell (c; 6 James Stephenson, 63; 5 Simon Linsell, 73), 6 James Stephenson (20 Tawake Tomasi,40), 7 Mat Gilbert, 8 Tom Pashley.

Replacement (not used):   21 Sam Leeming

Yellow card:   3 Rupert Harden (63)

Cornish Pirates:   15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Dan Koster (22 Callum Patterson, 63), 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Will Cargill (21 Harvey Skinner, 63), 9 Alex Schwarz; 1 Jack Andrew (c), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Tyler Gendall (17 Tom Concu, 76), 4 Nodar Cheishvili (18 Toby Freeman, 54), 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Dan Lee (19 Matt Bolwell, 70), 7 John Stevens, 8 James McRae.

Replacements (not used): 16 Charlie Gibbings, 20 Jake Ashby.

Yellow card:   2 Matavesi (72)

Scorers:

Hartpury RFC – tries: 12 Luke Eves (10), 2 Luke Stratford (30), 14 Elias Caven (52), 16 Will Tanner (75); cons: 10 Luke Scully (10, 30, 52); pen: 10 Luke Scully (15)

Cornish Pirates – tries: 8 James McRae (03), 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez (35), 13 Dan Koster (37, 40), 11 Robin Wedlake (80); cons: 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez (03, 25, 40, 80); pen: 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez (64).

Referee:   Matt Turvey (RFU)

 

Posted in Bill's Blog


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