Gloucestershire’s response arrived with a try scored by lock Chris McCann and a Ben Cole penalty to lead 8-5 after 20 minutes.
Cornwall’s defence was outstanding during the whole game and they took the game by the scruff of the neck just before half-time with a couple of tries through Brixham scrum-half Noah Nash and Camborne flanker Tiann Clark, both scores were converted by Launceston fly-half Reuben Edwards for a 19-8 advantage.
Cornwall worked hard during the second half to protect their advantage but eventually Gloucestershire reduced their arrears when winger Ben McIlwraith sped in, with Cole adding the conversion.
Cornwall battled away bravely to protect their four point advantage and were rewarded late on when Gratrix powered over for his second try of the game to give Cornwall the bonus point win.
Next up for Cornwall will be a tough encounter with Hampshire, who won their opening fixture against Dorset & Wilts 24-7 at Overton, the match takes place at St. Austell on Sunday 25th February with a 1 pm kick-off.
Cornwall: C Boyce (St. Austell), D Hubble (Falmouth), J Penprase, C Gilbert (Redruth), M Blee (Camborne), R Edwards (Launceston), N Nash (Brixham); R Bentham (Launceston), L Barnes (Camborne), K Gratrix (Penryn), D Goldsmith (Launceston), J Osborne, T Clark (Camborne), W Gibson (Cardiff Uni), T Clark (Launceston, Capt).
Replacements: H Lightfoot, C Jenkins (both Launceston), J Hodge (Redruth), D Reed (Wadebridge Camels), D Matthews (Camborne), L Jolly (St. Ives), J Carr (St. Austell), E Tyler (Penryn)
Redruth’s 31-19 success against Canterbury lifts them above Henley Hawks in the league table to 5th place. The two sides meet in two weeks time at the Recreation Ground, but before that there is the game at Clifton and that fixture occupies the thoughts of head coach Pale Nonu. He said. “Next Saturday’s game at Clifton will be vital for both clubs, Clifton need the points in their bid to avoid slipping into the bottom three, whilst we really need to back up today’s performance with a win on the road.
“If we can get into the right mind set then I think we can get a good result up there, we will certainly be working on that this week in training.
Looking back at the Canterbury game Nonu was pleased with his side’s performance on the day. “Conditions were tough, the pitch was heavy and there was a stiff wind. Credit to both sides they adapted well and both played some excellent rugby at times.
One factor that disappointed Nonu was conceding Canterbury’s second try right on half time. “That was poor defending from us, we left the door open on the blindside and they took the gift. It put a different slant on the half-time chat, the boys knew they had work to do and to their credit they went about putting it right in the second half. I thought our game management in the second half was good with Richie Kevern putting us in position, his game seems to improve every week which is really pleasing, he works hard at training and stays on to do extra work so it’s paying dividends now.
Equally satisfied with the Redruth performance was forwards coach Gareth Tedstone. “I am pleased to get that bonus point win, I feel we didn’t do ourselves justice at Bury, hopefully we can go into the Clifton game with some momentum.
“Today I was pleased with the work rate and carrying from the forwards against a big heavy pack, we had to win the game another way, we couldn’t rely on out-muscling them up front, so I am really pleased with the way our lads went about it.
Brad Howe at number 8 certainly showed up well for the Reds. “Brad put in a big performance, pity he didn’t have the legs to make the line in the second half but it was tremendous effort he might have made it playing down hill but going up the slope was a hard ask.
Another forward who caught the eye was young prop Jack Hodge. “Jack’s had a fine game, he’s a very promising prospect, versatile also he can play across the front row and at only 19 has a bright future. He is learning from experienced players like Craig Williams. We will have to manage him a bit now as he will be involved with the county under 20s, by all accounts he’s made a big impression with the county coaches and is likely to feature in the group games starting next week.
Playing this important ‘home’ tie ‘away’ in the British & Irish Cup, which followed an announcement on Friday that the ground at the Mennaye Field was unlikely to be playable, the Cornish Pirates displayed wholly admirable stoicism to qualify for the quarter-finals stage.
For this rescheduled final Pool 5 encounter, which had initially been postponed two weeks earlier, lock Chris Morgan was the named skipper, whilst included on the bench were fit again returnees Tom Cowan-Dickie and Matt Evans.
On a cold and breezy late afternoon at Hartpury’s Gillman’s Ground – the kick-off was at 4pm – conditions were at least very good, and especially so when considering that this game was the third match to be played there in just four days.
The Pirates travelled, of course, in the knowledge that they needed a bonus point win to proceed in the competition, so losing prop Jack Andrew with an apparent face injury early on was a little worrying.
Hartpury’s side was a strong one, including former Bristol and Newcastle Falcons centre Luke Eves, son of Derek. Along with colleagues he showed the danger posed, however it was the fully focused Pirates who overall looked the most purposeful.
Approaching midway through the first half it was time for the visitors to open the scoring, and they did. The pack rumbled close to the opposition line and signalled a penalty the opportunity was taken to suddenly get the ball wide. Wing Alex O’Meara, a former Hartpury student, did the honours to score the game’s opening try but fly-half Will Cargill’s conversion attempt narrowly missed.
The Pirates continued to dominate and on the half-hour mark would score again. Full-back Kyle Moyle made the initial thrust and following a telling burst from flanker Alex Cheesman it was scrum-half Alex Day who crossed for a second unconverted try.
A set back for the hosts saw them lose the services of their Plymouth-born skipper, former Wales back-rower Rhys Oakley, before the break – which arrived with Pirates looking ‘good value’ for their 10-0 lead.
At the start of the second half it was Day who went close to scoring once more, with hooker Sam Matavesi again showing what a threat he can pose with ball in hand.
It was a little too early to be fully confident that the Pirates would deliver the win sought, however after No. 8 Tom Duncan scored a converted try number three, and the lively Day then deservedly notched the bonus point score, tensions were undoubtedly easing.
With an hour on the clock, feelings of relief heightened to elation, when wing Nic Coronel powered over. Cargill’s conversion made it 29-0 but there was better yet to come. It was also a time for the Pirates to empty their bench, with another ex-Hartpury man in Matt Evans making an immediate impact.
As the game approached its conclusion, with sweeping raindrops glistening in the floodlights, the Pirates crossed Hartpury’s line twice more. Replacement hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie wasted no time in scoring his seventh try of the season, converted now by Laurence May, and there was a second in the match for Duncan.
Having to switch the fixture to Hartpury under the instruction of the RFU had naturally been frustrating and disappointing for both the Pirates team and their supporters, but no better reaction could have been asked for.
Speaking after the game, co-coach Alan Paver commented:
“We are over the moon with the performance, considering some of the mental torment we have been through as a side.
“Besides having to seek a bonus point win, the fixture reversal provided an extra challenge, but we found ourselves in the right place emotionally and it showed in our performance.
“Against a decent side, in the first forty we played with a good mix of pragmatism and endeavour, so at half-time it was a case of just keeping the guys in the right frame of mind. Everyone contributed to the cause and it was great to see certain players involved who have been making their way back from injury.”
“As Graham Dawe once told me, ‘One snow flake doesn’t make a winter’, but our performance today was a little bit special. To get to the quarter-final it means so much to the club and our supporters – and we really did it the hard way!”
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara (22 Matt Evans, 60), 13 Dan Koster, 12 Nicolas De Battista, 11 Nico Coronel, 10 Will Cargill (21 Laurence May, 65), 9 Alex Day (20 Mike Pope, 62); 1 Jack Andrew (17 Billy Keast, 10), 2 Sam Matavesi (16 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 62), 3 Christian Judge, 4 Chris Morgan (capt; 18 Toby Freeman, 60), 5 Josh Caulfield, 6 Dan Lee, 7 Alex Cheesman (19 John Stevens, 62), 8 Tom Duncan.
Hartpury RFC: 15 Ed Coulson, 14 George Perkins, 13 George Boulton, 12 Luke Eves, 11 Ed Sheldon, 10 James Williams (22 Jacob Perry, 40), 9 Ewan Fenley (21 Harry Cochrane, 40); 1 Mike Flook, 2 Will Tanner (16 Will Crane, 55), 3 Rupert Harden (18 Tom Heard, 47), 4 Ben So’oialo-Chan, 5 Joe Quinn, 6 BJ Edwards, 7 Rhys Oakley (capt; 19 Tom Everard, 33; 20 Vince Everitt, 55), 8 Darrell Dyer.
Replacement (not used): 17 Dan Murphy,
Cornish Pirates – tries: 14 Alex O’Meara (18), 9 Alex Day (30, 53), 8 Tom Duncan (47, 77), 11 Nico Coronel (59), 16 Tom Cowan-Dickie (71); cons: 10 Will Cargill (48, 60), Laurence May (72).
Referee: Aled Evans (WRU)
The British & Irish Cup Quarter-Final Draw, matches to be played on the weekend 30/31 March/1 April, is confirmed now as follows:
QF 1 – Ealing Trailfinders v Cornish Pirates
QF 2 – Jersey Reds v Doncaster Knights
QF 3 – Leinster A v Munster A
QF 4 – Bedford Blues v Ulster A
The Semi-Finals, to be played on the weekend 20/21/22 April will see the winner of QF 1 play the winner of QF 4, and the winner of QF 2 play the winner of QF 3.
The Final is scheduled to take place on the weekend 11/12/13 May – Venue to be confirmed.
It proved not to be a happy return for Pirates’ coach Alan Paver to his home town of Rotherham on Saturday as a late Caolan Ryan penalty gave the Titans a first Championship win of the season and leave the Pirates high and dry.
The 27-24 defeat came on top of a disappointing week for Pirate supporters with the news that the Stadium consortium are looking for £6 million of public funds to make the project happen. As a well known politician in Europe has said; “The clock is ticking!”
Obviously players and coaches can only control what goes happens on the field, but it’s hard not to believe that the latest twist in this sorry on-going saga must have an effect on players and their morale!
Having reached half-time trailing 21-10, Nicolas De Battista with the try converted by Will Cargill who also kicked a penalty, Pirates mounted a good comeback to lead 24-21 with less than 10 minutes to play.
Tom Duncan and Chris Morgan muscled their way over the line for tries both bettered by Cargill to put them back into the lead, sadly late penalties from Lee Millar and Ryan did for the Pirates.
In National League 2 South, Redruth returned empty handed from Bury St. Edmunds after going down to a 27-14 defeat. Kyle Marriott and Chris Fuca scored a try in each half both converted by Richie Kevern.
In the South West Premier League a welcome win for Camborne 29-7, against fellow strugglers Weston-super-Mare.
James Goldsworthy (2), Ben Kemp and Harvey Bill scored the tries with Dave Mankee converting twice and kicking a penalty.
A good cross-border derby at Polson Bridge in Tribute South West 1 West as Launceston took on Okehampton winning 34-13 to maintain their 3rd spot.
Dan Pearce was the star of the show with a total of 29 points, with two tries, five penalties and two conversions. Lloyd Duke scored the other try.
In London 1 South, disappointment for London Cornish as they lost 20-21 to Chobham. The game was switched from the exiles usual home ground to Imber Court, home of Metropolitan Police. Cornish missed far too many chances and gave away too many penalties. Tries were scored by George Kimmins, Matt Hakes and Rich Stephens, with Kimmins landing a penalty and a conversion.
In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Ives keep hauling in the results to stay top of the pile. Kingsbridge were the latest side to travel to Alexandra Road and come away with nought following the Hakes 27-14 win.
Tries from player-coach Paul Thirlby, Rhys Brownfield, Martyn Lawrence and a penalty-try ensured the bonus point, Brownfield kicked the other points.
St. Austell overcame Truro in a turgid battle at Tregorrick Park 18-13. Truro led 13-8 at one stage thanks to Luke Tidball try converted by “Eggy” Williams who also bagged a couple of penalties. Saints had a Mark Martin try and a Liam Freeman penalty to show for their efforts up to that point.
Max Duggan’s try converted by Freeman edged Saints back into the lead before a second Freeman penalty ensured the win.
There was a big win for Wadebridge Camels against basement side Burnham 57-5. Camels mustered nine tries with Dom Hawkey (2), Ben Humber (2), Will Pengelly, Adam Collings, James Grubb, Gary Gynn and Jack Scott all making hay. Danny Thomas (4) and Grubb (2) kicked the extras.
A good win for resurgent Falmouth as they continue their climb up the table following their 29-15 win over Chard. Tom Edmonds helped himself to three tries with Tom Spiller getting the other. Justyn Irons banged over the other points. Video below courtesy of Kevin Bishop.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, fixtures were badly hit again with the weather with just one game surviving Penryn defeating Hayle 49-0. The win puts the Borough back at the top of the table, whilst for Hayle they are now 12 points adrift of safety and seem likely to return to the Cornwall Leagues next season.
Sam Hitchens (2), Mitch Vague (2), Vivian Wilmott (2), Josh Chambers and Grant Randlesome all crossed for Penryn with Vague kicking another nine points.
Liskeard-Looe remain top of Tribute Cornwall 1 despite not playing as their game against Camborne School of Mines was postponed.
On Sunday Cornwall Under 20s played Devon in their final warm up game ahead of this season’s Under 20 County Championship and won 26-10 at Ivybridge.
The black and golds scored four tries through Jack Osborne, Chae Jenkins, Jack Hodge and Will Gibson with Reuben Edwards kicking three conversions.
A pleasing result for coaches Josh Lord and Matt Shepherd ahead of their opening Championship fixture against Gloucestershire on Sunday 11th February at Cinderford.
The Nat West 6 Nations starts this weekend with Jack Nowell in the squad for the opening fixture against Italy in Rome on Sunday.
There were plenty of smiling faces at the Recreation Ground after the final whistle on Saturday following Camborne’s 29-7 win against Weston-super-Mare.
Two tries from No.8 James Goldsworthy and further touchdowns by Ben Kemp and Harvey Bell along with points from the boot of Dave Mankee did the business for Town.
Biggest smile of all was on the face of Liam Chapple, back for another stint at Camborne having been appointed as Director of Senior Rugby last Sunday so to get a bonus point win was just the start he wished for. “I am really pleased with that result, from the first training session to game day the boys have brought in to what I want to do. I am not going to get above myself after today, there is still a huge job to do but this result was just what the club needed at this moment.
Another bonus for the club was that for the first time this season they were able to field two recognised second rows. “It was very important to finally get Damian Cook and Ben Kemp back today, they both have a lot of experience and that showed out there today. Kempy has been out for twelve months and to play seventy minutes on your return was a big ask but he acquitted himself really well.
“All the lads played well and showed character when it mattered, near the end we were down to fourteen men after Cooky’s yellow card but we dug in and showed spirit to keep them out, that to me was very telling.
Chapple now wants his side to replicate home form on the road and with their next game at Newbury Blues who are also in the relegation mix, Chapple knows that a good result in Berkshire could go a long way in defining Camborne’s season. “Today’s result is done and dusted, we move on to plan for next Saturday, a big game at Newbury, we have a job to do up there, if we can replicate the spirit and endeavour we showed today then we will have a chance.
Chapple was full of praise for his No.8 James Goldsworthy. “He’s a class act he’s shown why the county selectors look at him, for a young man he’s played a lot of rugby and I felt he fully deserved his man-of-the-match award today.
Chapple also had words of praise for some of his new backs that he has not coached before. “I’ve only met some of these lads last Tuesday at training and been impressed. Harvey Bell looks a very, very good player, whilst Declan Matthews in the centre carried very strongly, the conditions out there today were horrendous but I thought the handling and skill level was impressive, they tried things, always looked to attack. That’s the style of play I want us do, it’s not good going through games and just going through phases, you have got to look to attack and score and build a lead.
I asked Chapple how vital it was for Camborne to stay at this level. “It’s vital for the club not just on the pitch but off it as well. Everybody has worked so hard over the years to get back to this level and move the club forward. The right attitude and commitment we will stay up, we will have a positive mind set going forward, it’s in our hands.”
Photo: Liam Chapple returns for another stint at Town
With the Cornish Pirates’ British & Irish Cup final pool game against Hartpury College called off at 11 am on Saturday morning, it seems likely the new date will over the weekend of 3rd/ 4th February, the main focus switched to Redruth game against Taunton.
It turned out to be a gripping south west derby with the Reds running out winners by 38-22, having found themselves 22-10 down early in the second half.
Kyle Marriott marked his 100th appearance for the Reds with two tries, other tries came from skipper Richard Brown, Rob Coote, AJ Cant and Mark Grubb, with Richie Kevern slotting four conversions.
It was a welcome win following two defeats on the road at the start of 2018.
Not such good news for Camborne in the South West Premier, they lost 26-12 at Bracknell and have slipped into the relegation places.
Dave Mankee kicked four penalties for the cherry and whites. Following this result the Camborne committee have re-appointed former head coach Liam Chapple as Director of Senior Rugby.
In a club communiqué Club Chairman Andy Gill stated; “Camborne RFC is pleased to announce, that with immediate effect, Mr Liam Chapple has been appointed to the position of Director of Senior Rugby. Liam’s appointment will enhance and strengthen the current coaching team by adding his wider coaching experience, player management skills and acknowledged administration skills. His appointment is confirmed until the end of the 2018-19 season.”
Chapple will take training this week alongside coaches Damien Cook and Rhodri McAtee and his charges will be looking for the support of a big home crowd against Weston-super-Mare on Saturday (2.30 pm KO).
Launceston maintained their third place in Tribute South West 1West after a 29-5 win at North Petherton.
In London 1 South, defeat for London Cornish at Thurrock 24-15. Claude Springer and Rich Stephens scored tries for the exiles with George Kimmins kicking the other points.
In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Ives march on at the top after another win this time over Paignton 29-7. Tom Nicholas, Sam Carter, Harry Parton and Lewis Thomas were among the tries.
Wadebridge Camels edged a tight affair at Truro 12-10. Will Pengelly and Jack Scott scored tries for the Camels with Joe Pretty crucially getting a conversion. Ollie Seagrove and Jack Hazelton scored unconverted tries for Truro.
Falmouth did their survival chances a power of good with a 38-12 win at Burnham.
AJ Geach, Tom Simmonds, Matt Poole, Dan Goodwin, Tom Edmonds and Seb Firth scored the Eagles’ tries with Edmonds kicked four conversions.
St. Austell’s game at Torquay Athletic was abandoned six minutes from time following an injury to a Torquay player. Tics led 21-15 at that point.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Penryn battled to a 6-0 win at Bude thanks to a couple of Tom Townsend penalties.
Lanner beat Hayle 8-3. James Carpenter scored the only try of the game with Nick Prout kicking a penalty for the Falcons. Dan Lello’s penalty gave Hayle a losing bonus point.
Saltash’s game at Tavistock and Pirates Amateurs game at Wessex were both postponed.
Sunday coming Cornwall U.20s play a warm up game against Devon at the Brickfields.
Devon defeated Gloucestershire at North Tawton on Sunday 21-7 in another warm up game.
Cornwall open their Jason Leonard Cup campaign against Gloucestershire at Cinderford on 11th February 1 pm.
Cornwall Senior Ladies held trials last weekend at both Launceston RC and Truro College looking to pick a squad for the Gill Burns Cup competition.
Finally sad news with the death announced last week of Gerald Luke. Gerald was a fine player for Penzance & Newlyn playing in the centre, also for Cornwall for whom he gained 40 caps. He played in four county semi-finals and the 1958 county final for Cornwall against Warwickshire lost 16-8 at Coundon Road Coventry.
Whilst at St. Luke’s College, Exeter, he was part of the side that won the final of the Middlesex 7’s in 1957 against London Welsh.
He also played for the combined Cornwall & Devon side, in a centre partnership with Harold Stevens, that drew 3-3 with the Wallabies at Home Park Plymouth in 1963.
In 1959 he was involved in an England Trial Match at Banbury, sadly an injury curtailed his involvement, and there was never a subsequent call up.
Photo: Sam Matavesi made his first start for the Cornish Pirates in Ulster
Cornish Pirates hopes of progression in this the final season of the British Irish Cup hang by a thread ahead of their final pool match against Hartpury College on Saturday, kick-off 2 pm.
It follows their loss at Ulster A on Friday evening 25-14; they will hope that other results go their way in their bid to secure one of the best three runners-up berths.
Pirates’ try was scored by Alex O’Meara with the trusty boot of Laurence May landing three penalties.
On Saturday, the foul weather accounted for many games in Cornwall.
Redruth travelled to Worthing in National League 2 South ending up on the wrong side of a 46-43 score-line!
For the second week running the Reds picked up a couple of bonus points on the road, but wins are proving hard to bring home this season.
The Reds tries were scored by AJ Cant, Shaun Buzza, Brad Howe, Pale Nonu, Mark Grubb and Richie Kevern, who also landed five conversions and a penalty.
Redruth play their first game of 2018 at the Rec this Saturday when they entertain Taunton (2 pm).
In the South West Premier, Camborne managed to stage their game against promotion chasing Bournemouth at a soaked Recreation Ground.
It boiled down in the conditions to the side that held it’s discipline and took it’s chances, Bournemouth did, and won, Camborne didn’t, and lost!
The visitors, playing down the slope first half ground out a 13-0 advantage at the break, with conditions worsening by the minute during the second half, the only score of the half came right at the end when skipper Jon Drew was driven over and Dave Mankee kicked the conversion for a losing bonus point in a 7-13 score-line.
The result leaves Town hovering just above the relegation places, with their next game at Bracknell likely to be a pivotal one.
In Tribute South West 1 West, Launceston defeated Newent 29-7 at Polson Bridge to move above their visitors into third place in the table.
The game was very bad tempered with each side having a player red carded and numerous stoppages for fights breaking out!
When rugby was played the Cornish All Blacks scored tries through Lloyd Duke (2), Torin Clarke, and Ben Hawke with Dan Pearce kicking the other points.
In London 1 South, London Cornish had a very good win against Gravesend. Matt Chambers (2), Matt Hakes and Tom Homan scored the tries with skipper George Kimmins kicking three conversions and a penalty.
In the Tribute Western Counties West, leaders St. Ives maintained their top spot with a bonus point win at rejuvenated Sidmouth 29-25.
Leigh Hocking (2), Chris Quick, Rob Elloway and Jamie Prisk scored the tries with Rhys Brownfield kicking a couple of penalties.
St. Austell clearly hadn’t digest defeat the previous week at St. Ives as they went down to second defeat in a row at home to struggling Tiverton 18-15.
Despite tries from Ben Chenoweth and Andy Inch and points from the boot of Liam Freeman, a late Tivvy penalty sealed the shock win.
Wadebridge Camels had a fine win at home against Torquay Athletic 43-5. Will Pengelly and Dom Hawkey each scored two tries with Cody Armstrong, Joe Pretty and Gary Gynn also touching down. Danny Thomas added four conversions.
The game between Falmouth and Truro was postponed.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, only one game involving Cornish sides survived, Hayle travelled to Honiton only to lose 33-3, Lello with their sole points.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, leaders Liskeard-Looe won 44-0 at Roseland to maintain top spot.
In Tribute Cornwall 2, Lankelly-Fowey defeated Stithians in a close game 29-22 to stay at the top.