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Cornwall ready for Herts test


Photo – Redruth’s Chris Fuca going through the moves watched by Tommy Phillips and James Goldsworthy

By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

Cornwall take on Hertfordshire in a game that will see the winners travel to Twickenham to contest the final of this season’s Bill Beaumont Cup at mid-day on Sunday 31st May.

Hertfordshire will be looking to avenge their defeats of the last two seasons, 13-9 at Hertford in 2014 and 41-29 at Camborne in 2013. Both those wins helped to book Cornwall a place at the Twickenham show-piece, only to suffer heartbreak on each occasion at the hands of the Red Rose of Lancashire.

The Herts team will arrive at Redruth on the back of two bonus point wins, however despite scoring more points than Cornwall they have conceded far more resulting in Cornwall having a marginally better points’ difference. That said Herts can afford to draw, Cornwall on the other-hand must win.

Both sides have overcome Gloucestershire and Kent to set up this virtual semi-final clash and on paper both sides would appear evenly matched.

Cornwall’s coaches and selectors have made just one change to the starting XV with Cornish All Black winger Jon Dawe coming in on the wing in place of Max Venables (Saltash), who has not recovered from a knock. Otherwise continuity is very much the word, as Cornwall look to keep a settled side for this vital clash.

Cornwall’s head coach Graham Dawe felt that the Kent game was ideal preparation for this weekend’s big clash: “They pushed all the way in that game, though we had a lot of field position and opportunities to score which we didn’t always take so if there is a lesson to learn we must nail our chances when they arise. We had a few issues last weekend but having reviewed the game I don’t think the referee got much wrong so we will have to be much smarter this week.”

  
Photos – Cornwall’s coach Graham Dawe calls the shots at Wednesday’s training, whilst skipper Kyle Marriott prepares for the tackle

Asked if he was concerned that his side wasn’t as prolific in try-scoring as Hertfordshire have been so far, Dawe was unequivocal: “You win games on pressure, field position and taking your scoring opportunities when they arise, you also have to be tenacious and I feel that this side has those qualities.

“We have got a very young back three, the Launceston pair of Billy Searle and Jon Dawe plus Redruth’s Robin Wedlake, but I’ll challenge anyone to find me a more talented trio in Cornwall that’s available to us. These boys have got a very bright future ahead of them, they are a pleasure to coach and if they are playing winning rugby then that’s all that matters.”

Dawe is looking forward to a big crowd on Saturday to get behind the boys: “Redruth is a special ground. I’ve played against the All Blacks here in front of 15,000 and the atmosphere was terrific. If we can have a good crowd here then that will lift the boys, seeing all the black and gold around the side of the pitch.”

Fellow coach Ian Morgan was just as enthusiastic about the forthcoming battle and relishing the chance to take on Hertfordshire: “It’s a shoot-out between the two sides, the winner gets to go to Twickenham, and that’s a big prize for any player. There is no question that Herts will be up for it and they have got a strong side, you just have to look through their side and see the quality they have.


Photo – Backs coach Ian Morgan getting his point across

“I think our defence has been very good this season and it will need to be top notch against this side that can score tries, but we know that we can score tries too, and the side with possession will win the game. Discipline will be key. Not giving away penalties like we did in Kent will be vital and making sure we are on the same wave-length as the officials this week.”

Morgan was asked about the walking wounded: “Lock Damien Cook will train tonight and we will assess his fitness ahead of announcing the bench. We are excited about the team named for Saturday.”

And of the crowd for Saturday he also echoed Dawe’s hopes for a big turnout; he said: “There is no doubt that a big crowd decked out in black and gold will lift the Cornish team. To run out at Redruth to a huge roar of cheering fans can really fire up the boys and is worth at least a score to us.”

Cornwall: B Searle, J Dawe, J Murphy (all Cornish All Blacks), N Webber, R Wedlake (both Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd (Cornish All Blacks); R Freestone (Clifton), J Salter (Cornish All Blacks), C Williams (Redruth), T Whittle (Camborne), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements:  C Judge (Cornish All Blacks), T Phillips (Redruth), D Cook (Redruth), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), BJ Chapman (Cornish All Blacks), S Parsons (Redruth), D Mankee (Camborne).

Herts (to be confirmed)

Referee: Veryan Boscawen (RFU)

No official Hertfordshire team news, below the team that played Gloucestershire, would expect few if any changes to this line up.

Hertfordshire: Henry Robinson (Darlington Morden Park); Nick Hankin (Bishop’s Stortford), Sam Winter (Bishop’s Stortford), Dan Watt (Old Albanian), Jimmy Spiers (Old Albanian); Tom Coleman (Bishop’s Stortford), Michael Sargent (Hertford); Ralph Adams-Hale (Old Albanian), Brett McNamee (Old Albanian, capt), Billy Walken (Bishop’s Stortford), Rob Conquest (Darlington Morden Park), Ross Hamilton (Old Albanian), Oliver Cooper-Millar (Old Albanian), Nick Stevens (Old Albanian), Steve Ball (Bishop’s Stortford).

Replacements: Will Roberts (Loughborough Students), Oliver Walliker (Hartpury Coll), Charlie Hughes (Old Albanian), Harry Green (Tring), Sam Lunnon (Old Albanian), Elliott Reeder (Old Albanian), George Elliott (Hertford)

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall v Hertfordshire – Cornwall announce starting XV


Photo – Billy Searle likely to once again have a major role against Herts

By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

Cornwall’s coaches and selectors have made just one change to the starting XV with Cornish All Black winger Jon Dawe coming in on the wing in place of Max Venables (Saltash). Otherwise continuity is very much the word, as Cornwall look to keep a settled side for this vital clash.

Venables is amongst the players vying for a place on the bench, which will be named following training tonight at Redruth.

Cornwall captain Kyle Marriott paid tribute to his squad and the loyal Cornish support ahead of Saturday’s clash he said: “The Kent game proved that we have an excellent squad and team ethos, with players wanting to pull on the jersey and win under pressure especially near the end of the game. It was also great to see Mark Grubb earn his county tie for his first appearance. There were some tired bruised and battered bodies at the end of the game. These guys fought hard for the shirt today. The travelling supporters from Trelawny’s Army, London Cornish and elsewhere was again awesome and turned this game from away fixture to one played on a neutral ground.”


Photo – Trelawny’s Army in full cry

He went on to say, “We would love to see Redruth be a real fortress next Saturday with the black and gold not only visually, but noisy and in numbers to spur these guys on.”

Cornwall: B Searle, J Dawe, J Murphy (all Cornish All Blacks), N Webber, R Wedlake (both Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd (Cornish All Blacks); R Freestone (Clifton), J Salter (Cornish All Blacks), C Williams (Redruth), T Whittle (Camborne), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements (tbc)

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall grind out vital win at Kent

BILL BEAUMONT CUP

KENT 16 – 22 CORNWALL

REPORT BILL HOOPER TASC PRESS OFFICER, PHOTOS BY SIMON BRYANT IKTIS PHOTO

Cornwall were made to work hard by hosts Kent, but in the end they pulled through to set up a pool decider against Hertfordshire, who defeated Gloucestershire 37-25 at Ware.

All Cornwall’s points came from Matt Shepherd with a try, conversion and five penalties as the scrum-half put in another storming performance for the black and golds to take the man-of-the-match plaudits.


Photo – Matt Shepherd scored all of Cornwall’s points against Kent

Cornwall will now hope for a big crowd at Redruth, to cheer the boys on to a third trip to Twickenham in as many years.

However, it was Kent who began the game the stronger enjoying both territory and possession in the Gravesend sunshine in the early stages.

Slowly Cornwall got a foot-hold on the game with Shepherd kicking the first of his penalties after 15 minutes.

Cornwall then piled on the pressure against Kent which saw the home-side reduced to fourteen as scrum-half Charlie Edwards was yellow-carded near his own line.

Quick thinking by Shepherd saw the scrum-half take a tap and go and dive over the line for what proved to be Cornwall’s sole try of the afternoon, his conversion making it 10-0 to the black and golds.

Almost immediately Cornwall were caught offside allowing fly-half Alex Gallagher to open Kent’s account with a penalty.

Billy Searle playing at full-back had another impressive game for Cornwall with some excellent touch kicking and elusive running, whilst in the pack the back row of skipper Kyle Marriott, Chris Fuca and George Jones enjoyed another big game in Cornish colours.


Photo – Cornwall’s George Jones and skipper Kyle Marriott drive on against Kent

Shepherd was on target twice more before half-time to put Cornwall 16-3 up at the break as Kent again found themselves down to fourteen as lock Royce Cadman became the latest player sent to the bin guilty of lazy running and impending a try scoring opportunity.

Despite being a man down, Kent showed their metal early in the second half, as they began to chip away at Cornwall’s lead thanks to a couple of Gallagher penalties before Shepherd calmed Cornish nerves both on and off the pitch to nudge his side further ahead with a two further penalties of his own with 10 minutes to play.


Photo – Cornwall centre Jake Murphy looks to off-load to full-back Billy Searle

Cornwall, who conceded far too many penalties throughout the match, then found themselves under the cosh as Kent looked to salvage something from the game. Cornwall lost Ben Hilton the sin-bin as the pressure mounted and eventually a powerful maul from the hosts saw them go over the line in time added on with the ball buried under a host of bodies, eventually referee Calum Howard awarded a try after consultation with his touch-judge. Gallagher added the conversion to leave Cornwall sweating on the final whistle greeted by a huge cheer from the Cornish support.

After the game Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe was pleased with the result: “I am delighted with the performance and our game management; once again our half-backs were superb and controlled the game well.

“We gave away a lot of penalties and I’ll have a chat with the referee to see what areas we fell foul. We feel a bit hard done by as we hardly won a turnover today compared to last week.

“We’ve won twice on the road and that’s always a special feeling, expectations will be high going into the game next week at Redruth but it’s a challenge we will relish.

Dawe also hopes that the fervent Cornish support will turn out in big numbers next Saturday: “The boys deserve a big crowd at Redruth on Saturday, there is no doubt that the Cornish crowd can be our 16th man and really lift the team in what will be a very tough game.”

Kent: K Leeper (Westcombe Park), R Fuller (Richmond), B Hough, D Bonner (both Westcombe Park), T Okenla (Gravesend), A Gallagher (Blackheath), C Edwards (O. Elthamians); J Green (Canterbury), J Bonner (O. Elthamians), T Read (Charlton Park), R Cadman (Canterbury), G Oram (Blackheath), T Bird (Gravesend), H Barton (Westcombe Park, capt), Z Stephens (Gravesend).

Replacements (all used): N Wakefield (Canterbury), R Nanson (Aylesford Bulls), N. Porter (O. Elthamians), D Bellinger (Westcombe Park), S Eydmann (Blackheath), G Montgomery (Gravesend), T Chapman (Blackheath).

Kent scores – Try –Bellinger, Con – Gallagher, Pens – Gallagher (3)

Yellow cards – Edwards (16), Cadman (38)

Cornwall: B Searle (Cornish All Blacks), M Venables (Saltash), J Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), N Webber, R Wedlake (both Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd (Cornish All Blacks); R Freestone (Clifton), J Salter (Cornish All Blacks), C Williams (Redruth), T Whittle (Camborne), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements (all used): M Grubb (Wadebridge Camels), T Phillips (Redruth), C Judge, BJ Chapman (both Cornish All Blacks), J Goldsworthy, (Camborne), R Friend (Cornish All Blacks), S Parsons (Redruth).

Cornwall scores – Try – Shepherd, Con – Shepherd, Pens – Shepherd (5)

Yellow card – Hilton (80)

Referee: Calum Osborne (RFU)

Crowd: 600

Posted in Bill's Blog


Kent trip will be no picnic!


Photo – George Jones enjoyed another fine game for Cornwall at Cinderford

Cornwall make two changes to starting XV to face Kent at Gravesend

By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer, photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

Cornwall will go into their second County Championship game at Kent this Saturday with confidence.

Their opening day win at Cinderford, against a Gloucestershire side keen to get revenge for last season’s loss at Camborne, was built on a powerful forward game allied with some stirring defence when needed.

Kent, who lost their opening fixture at Canterbury to Hertfordshire 31-19, despite going behind to two early scores and trailing 21-7 at the break, Kent rallied to within two points of Herts before at late converted try and penalty saw the visitors home.

Kent’s head coach Chris Wilkins was pleased with aspects of his side’s performance and will look to build against Cornwall at Gravesend on Saturday. He said: “I thought the set-piece and breakdown were excellent, as was the leadership and work-rate. It was great to see the pride the lads have in playing for Kent and our defence showed this as well, with everyone scrambling very hard.

“Having fought our way back to 19-21 down with 10 minutes left, the game was there for the taking. Unfortunately a few basic errors cost us dearly, as did a couple of 50/50 calls at the breakdown not going our way in the final quarter.

“We are all looking forward to working hard to improve our game for the tough challenge of Cornwall at Gravesend on Saturday, as we know that we will need to be at our best to get the result we desperately want.”

There is no question that Kent will be battling hard on Saturday, as a second defeat will see them needing to win at Cleve against Gloucestershire to have any hope of staying up.


Photo – Two-try hero Robin Wedlake will be hunting more tries on Saturday

Whilst Cornwall will be hoping for more of the same, with the team bringing the intensity and passion that characterized their performance against Gloucestershire.

Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe said after the game: “It was a very rewarding result for us really as we had been quite apprehensive in our approach to the game.

“What pleased me the most was that everyone in the squad bought into what we were trying to achieve. We have been together all through the winter at St. Austell on a Monday night and that has really benefited us as a group.

“We did very well to hold Gloucestershire out early on, despite the conditions, and took the game to them really.

“It’s very hard to pick out individuals, but there were a couple of guys making their debuts who played very well. It was an all-round team performance, although the front five did drive and scrum very well and controlled large parts of the game. But overall everybody was outstanding from 1 to 15.”

Cornwall make just two changes to their starting line up, with Max Venables coming in for the unavailable Steve Johns on the wing and Jamie Salter taking over hooking duties from Richard Brown, whilst on the bench Mark Grubb (Wadebridge Camels) comes in as does Redruth’s Sam Parsons.

Cornwall coach Ian Morgan knows Cornwall must be on top of their game on Saturday: “Although we won the match against Gloucestershire, there were areas of our game that we need to work on during this week. We had much of the play up front and a good defensive pattern, however we know we still need to improve our game to beat a well-drilled Kent team. It was good for us to introduce some new young faces into the match day squad with 7 guys earning a tie for their first senior appearance along with Matt Shepherd and Jake Murphy earning their county caps. Nobody should be complacent over their place; we have a number of good quality players to select from for the next games.”


Photo – Cornwall skipper Kyle Marriott – players respond to fans

Whilst Cornwall skipper Kyle Marriott said: Pulling on the Cornwall strip is a real honour for these guys and the scars and tiredness of the domestic season seems to fade away. It is also so pleasing that players from the different clubs join together at the end of each season to become team Cornwall. I want to thank the guys who are on the fringe, but turn up and train or travel with us as reserves.” He had this to say about Cornwall’s loyal fans: “The guys really appreciate the very loyal and large number of people who turned up support the team. The players really respond to the fans, and thanked them for attending and urged them to come along and support the team at the remaining games.”

Kent: K Leeper (Westcombe Park), R Fuller (Richmond), B Hough, D Bonner (both Westcombe Park), T Okenla (Gravesend), A Gallagher (Blackheath), C Edwards (O. Elthamians); J Green (Canterbury), J Bonner (O. Elthamians), T Read (Charlton Park), R Cadman (Canterbury), G Oram (Blackheath), T Bird (Gravesend), H Barton (Westcombe Park, capt), M Avaris (Westcombe Park).

Replacements: N Wakefield (Canterbury), R Nanson (Aylesford Bulls), A.N. Other, D Bellinger (Westcombe Park), S Eydmann (Blackheath), G Montgomery (Gravesend), T Chapman (Blackheath).

Cornwall: B Searle (Cornish All Blacks), M Venables (Saltash), J Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), N Webber, R Wedlake (both Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd (Cornish All Blacks); R Freestone (Clifton), J Salter (Cornish All Blacks, C Williams (Redruth), T Whittle (Camborne), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements: M Grubb (Wadebridge Camels), T Phillips (Redruth), C Judge, BJ Chapman (both Cornish All Blacks), J Goldsworthy, (Camborne), R Friend (Cornish All Blacks), S Parsons (Redruth)

Travelling Reserves: D Mankee (Camborne), J Drew (Redruth), J Dawe (Cornish All Blacks)

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall get campaign off to a winning start


Photo – Centre Nielson Webber makes a strong run

Bill Beaumont Cup

GLOUCESTERSHIRE 8 – 27 CORNWALL

at Dockham Road Cinderford

Report by Bill Hooper, photos by Simon Bryant Iktis photo

Cornwall got their County Championship campaign off to the best possible start scoring four tries at Dockham Road to record a bonus point win against Gloucestershire.

The Black and Golds were forced into a late change as Redruth lock Damien Cook’s ankle injury had not healed in time, with Camborne’s Tony Whittle stepping up from the bench.

Despite playing into the strong breeze it soon became apparent that the Cornish forwards were getting on top, especially in the maul.

A penalty from scrum-half Matt Shepherd calmed Cornish nerves, before Redruth’s young winger Robin Wedlake went in at the corner for Cornwall’s opening try following a good surge by centre Nielson Webber.


Photo – Winger Robin Wedlake stretches for the corner and Cornwall’s opening try

Further good play from Cornwall, with fly-half Lewis Webb and flanker Chris Fuca involved, saw Wedlake go over for his second score with Shepherd on the money with the extras.

Craig Jackson finally got Gloucestershire on the board as they elected to kick at goal, having spurned numerous penalties by kicking to the corner and losing possession!

Cornwall weren’t done and scored a third try just on half-time as winger Steve Johns claimed a Webb cross-field kick to feed centre Jake Murphy, who scampered in to the joy of Trelawny’s Army, Shepherd’s conversion making it 22-3 at the break.

Cornwall sealed the win just after half-time as Shepherd scored their fourth try, following more tremendous work from the forwards.


Photo – Watched by Dave Mankee, Matt Shepherd kicks for goal

Both sides used the rolling subs and also had a player in the bin, Ben Hilton for Cornwall guilty of not rolling away.

Cornwall’s superb defence kept Gloucestershire at bay until the dying moments when Leo Fielding got over, but by then it was too little too late and Cornwall are once again on the march.

In the other game in the group Hertfordshire overcame a dogged Kent side 31-19 at Canterbury.

Gloucestershire (Cinderford unless stated): C Jackson (Hartpury College); L Fielding, S Hanks, S Rodwell (London Irish Amateurs, capt), S Hawley; M Wilcox, A Frame; M Flook (Hartpury College), S Wilkes, T Brockett (Hartpury College), C Daniell (Lydney), E King, T MacDonald (Hartpury College), L Molitika (Coventry), M Uren (Dings Crusaders).

Replacements used: C Bundy, J Smart, J Lloyd (Dings Crusaders), M Reynolds, M Brown, S Arnott (Lydney), N Codlin (Coney Hill).

Cornwall (Cornish All Blacks unless stated): B Searle, S Johns (Birmingham-Solihull), J Murphy, N Webber (Redruth), R Wedlake (Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd; R Freestone (Clifton), R Brown (Redruth), C Williams (Redruth), T Whittle (Camborne), B Hilton, C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements (used): J Salter, C Judge, T Phillips (Redruth), M Venables (Saltash), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), BJ Chapman, R Friend.

Referee: Mike Hudson (RFU).

Gloucs: Try: Fielding; Pen: Jackson.

Cornwall: Tries: Wedlake (2), Murphy, Shepherd; Cons: Shepherd (2); Pen: Shepherd.

Yellow cards: Gloucs: Arnott 52; Cornwall: Hilton 61.

Crowd: 562

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall relish Gloucestershire challenge

Cornish Pirates Awards Cornwall Kit Launch 050515
Skipper Kyle Marriott wears Cornwall’s new shirt for 2015

By Bill Hooper TASC Press Officer at the Recreation Ground

Photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

The Cornwall squad assembled at Redruth RFC on Tuesday evening for the first of two training sessions this week, the second will be held at Bodmin RFC on Thursday evening.

The squad and coaches were in buoyant mood following their Tamar Cup win against Devon the previous Tuesday.

I caught up with both coaches Ian Morgan and Graham Dawe prior to the training session.

Looking back on the Devon game, I asked Morgan what lessons they had learned. He said,”Mainly organisation, we were fairly unorganised going into the game and I think at times the game showed that, having picked the squad for this Saturday we will now focus on getting that right.

“We gave some of the youngsters a run out at Brickfields and they put their hands up for the shirt this Saturday and that’s been reflected in the selection. Some of the more established players realised that they are going to have to fight for their place.”

Morgan was especially pleased with the half-back combination: “I was really pleased by the way Matt Shepherd and Lewis Webb combined last Tuesday. Shepherd is similar to Greg Goodfellow and offers a threat around the fringes. His service to Webb was great off both hands with Webby controlling the game well. Jake Murphy and Nielson Webber in the midfield proved a potent combination, so we have kept that four together for Saturday.”

Morgan was also full of enthusiasm about young Billy Searle who came on during the second half at Brickfields and has been rewarded with a starting berth at full back against Gloucestershire: “He really impressed when he came on in the Tamar Cup, so we put him at full-back with Robin Wedlake, another who had a fine game last Tuesday and the experienced Steve Johns on the wings.”

Morgan says this side will have no fear about facing Gloucestershire up at Cinderford: “These youngsters take it all in their stride, they know that Gloucestershire will come full on but they have no fear. Billy knows what’s coming his way and I have every confidence that he will more than deal with it.”

Graham Dawe was also pleased with the preparations this far and satisfied with the Tamar Cup result: “We gave debuts to a few players and they showed up well, now it’s another big step up to play Gloucestershire. Players now have got to set the tone in training tonight that they want to go up there and knock Gloucestershire over.

“We looked to put patterns in play and to dictate where we wanted to play on the pitch and give the boys some direction, if you can do that then that gives you a chance to win. Championship rugby is pressurised rugby: you have to minimize your mistakes and play in the right areas.”

Dawe, like Morgan, was very enthusiastic about some of the younger players who are now breaking into the squad: “There are some exciting young prospects, players like Tommy Phillips and Christian Judge at prop, both will start from the bench this Saturday, both will have to play some rugby as they come on and off via the rolling subs. Set-piece rugby is what it’s all about they are great lads to work with they want to improve they want to get better and they want to be successful as rugby players.”

Corwall County Championship Squad 26/02/14
Photo – Cornwall’s coaching duo of Dawe & Morgan

Dawe had no qualms about fielding the youngsters in his back three: “Losing Kieron Lewitt was a big blow but that now gives the chance to Billy Searle. He is a talented player, he can pass the ball off both hands, reads the game well and kicks well, so he has got a lot of tools to his game.

“Likewise winger Robin Wedlake, he has got good pace and looks assured. It will be a big step up for him facing Gloucestershire and the hostile crowd under a high ball, but I think he has the confidence.

Just like Morgan, Dawe is excited with Matt Shepherd coming in at scrum-half: “Again, losing Greg Goodfellow was a big blow. He’s a big match player and an experienced player, but Matt now has the chance to make a name for himself, having stepped up this season playing at Launceston. We shall see how he performs against a side with a lot of National League 1 players.”

Dawe felt that players’ fitness was an issue last season and he challenged players to go away and work on their fitness: “We asked the question and most of the players nodded in approval. We have asked them to up their fitness. Time will tell whether they have taken that message on board. It’s a slow process. Fitness is something that has to be driven from within. If you don’t challenge yourself, you can’t change anything, you just end up being the same player season on season.”

I also caught up with Matt Shepherd and asked him how pleased he was with his Tamar Cup performance: “I was really pleased with last Tuesday. I really wanted to impress before the County Championship. I got the chance with Greg getting his red card and knew I had to grasp it. I was pleased with my tries and to cap it with the man-of-the-match award.

“I think Webby and I struck up a good partnership and our performance at half back helped dictate Cornwall’s performance, both of us can interchange as and when which is a plus.

“Gloucestershire away is always hard. Last time we were up there we managed to get a win. The Cinderford pitch is wide and exposed, so it’s never a nice place to go but we will bind well as a group and go there to get the result.”

Finally I spoke to Saltash’s Max Veneables, for many a surprise choice, and asked him how he enjoyed his Tamar Cup experience. He said, “I really enjoyed it and was just glad to be out there and to have the chance to play. The call came a bit quicker than I expected but I had no complaints.

“It’s on the back of a couple of great seasons at Saltash which has seen the club rise up to Western Counties West next season. There is a good core of lads who have been there for five or six seasons now and we have grown together as a team. The colts are also going well so the club is very much on the up.

“I wasn’t too concerned about the pace of the game last Tuesday, it was a bit quicker but I just had to concentrate on what I needed to do and not make any errors. Hopefully my performance will be good enough to be involved up at Cinderford, but whatever happens I am just happy being down here and involved with the squad.”

Veneables is named amongst the replacements for Saturday’s game against Gloucestershire.

Teams:

Gloucestershire (Cinderford unless stated): C Jackson (Hartpury Coll), L Fielding, S Hanks, S Rodwell (London Irish Ams), S Hawley, M Wilcox, A Frame; M Flook (Hartpury Coll), S Wilkes, T Brockett (Hartpury Coll), C Daniell (Lydney), E King, T MacDonald (Hartpury Coll), L Molitika (Coventry), G Evans, Capt

Replacements: C Bundy, J Smart, J Lloyd, Mike Uren (both Dings Crusaders), M Brown, S Arnott (Lydney), N Codlin (Coney Hill).

Cornwall: B Searle (Cornish All Blacks), S Johns (Birmingham & Solihull), J Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), N Webber, R Wedlake (both Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), M Shepherd (Cornish All Blacks); R Freestone (Clifton), R Brown, C Williams, D Cook (all Redruth), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), C Fuca (Redruth), G Jones (Penryn), K Marriott (Redruth, capt).

Replacements: J Salter (Cornish All Blacks), T Phillips (Redruth), C Judge, BJ Chapman (both Cornish All Blacks), J Goldsworthy, (Camborne), R Friend (Cornish All Blacks), M Veneables (Saltash)

Posted in Bill's Blog


Camborne make it three on the trot

TRIBUTE CORNWALL KNOCK OUT CUP FINAL

By Bill Hooper at St. Clements Hill, Truro

Camborne made it three cup wins in a row to equal Launceston’s triple success in the mid nineties, however they needed extra-time to finally overcome a valiant St. Austell side who ended up once more losing finalists against Town.

Full-back Dan Pearce for St. Austell and man-of-the-match fly-half Dave Mankee for Camborne kicked early penalties before St. Austell’s early dominance was rewarded with a try scored by flanker Ian Venner with Pearce adding the extras.

A high tackle by St. Austell’s James Martin on Mankee saw the winger dispatched to the cooler for 10 minutes by referee Kevin Williams.

Although Mankee reduced the deficit with second penalty it was St. Austell who continued to enjoy the better of it until almost up to half-time when Dave Roberts fed Mankee from a scrum and the dancing feet of winger Alex Ducker did the rest for a score under the posts and a simple conversion for Mankee to give the Cherry & Whites an improbable 13-10 half-time lead.

Pearce missed with an early penalty at the posts in the second half as St. Austell looked to up the tempo. A string of kickable penalties came their way but each time they looked to the corner, and each time they lost possession!

Prop Hugh Noot appeared to have made the line for Saints but on the officials were unsighted. Then Camborne’s James Goldsworthy managed to get an arm under the ball as St. Austell again drove over the line. It was heroic stuff.

It looked like Camborne would hang on for the win but when skipper Steve Kenward was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on, Pearce had the chance to level the scores, he did not miss, we were into extra-time.

The pivotal moment came on 87 minutes when centre Richie Kevern charged down a Callum Wilson clearance, the ball went loose and Mankee was on hand to dot down and convert the try for a seven point lead.

Mankee then added another penalty just four minutes from time to seal the win.

St. Austell’s cup of woe was complete when lock Rob Jeffs was given a red card for a head-butt on replacement scrum-half Dean Pascoe, but by then “Up Camborne Hill” was ringing out across St. Clements Hill!

Camborne 23 pts
Tries: Ducker, D Mankee; Cons: D Mankee (2); Pens: D Mankee (3).
Yellow Card: Kenward
St Austell 13 pts
Try: Venner; Con: D Pearce; Pens: D Pearce (2).
Yellow Card: Martin
Red Card: Jeffs

Camborne: G Mankee, R Floyd, R Kevern, S Kenward (capt), A Ducker, D Mankee, T Peacock, N Endean,S Milliner, A Zacharovas, T Whittle, B Kemp, C Bone, J Goldsworthy, D Roberts.
Replacements used: K Westlake, D Pascoe, M Woolcock, N Stanleick, S Bartle, S McDonald.

St Austell: D Pearce, J Martin, C Wilson, S Rhodes, B Chenoweth, L Freeman, A Ashwin, H Noott, M Davey (capt), M Martin, J Vian, R Jeffs, J Grigg, I Venner, A Kellow.
Replacements used: A Pearce, P Winterbottom, A Barbery, D Pellow, A Mason-Maxwell, D Johns.

Referee: Kevin Williams (Cornwall RRS).

CAMBORNE REACTION – POST MATCH

Following the on-pitch presentation of the cup and mementoes to the players, Camborne’s head coach Liam Chapple spoke about his pride in his player’s performance. “I am really pleased for the boys they deserve it, not just for today but the season as a whole.

“Fair play to St. Austell they gave us a good game and it was tight, they had penalty chances which they perhaps surprisingly kicked for the corner rather than take the points, they felt confident with their forward drive but we didn’t help ourselves during the second half we made some silly decisions and tried to push things when they weren’t really on and should have played a bit more territory. In extra-time we were almost like a different team we woke up and played and got the result we deserved.

“We will enjoy the moment but for me attention has already turned to next season. We will be looking to recruit having had the injury problems we have had you have to have a bigger squad of players.

“Players will get a bit of rest but pre-season isn’t far off and myself Phil Angove and Scott Macdonald will be putting in place our plans to get the squad ready for next season. Phil helped out with a few sessions leading up to the final, the players will respect the experience and knowledge he has from 30 years of coaching, he won’t stand any nonsense and maybe that’s what some of the lads need now and again.”

Camborne’s man-of-the-match fly-half Dave Mankee was also delighted to finish the season retaining the cup: “We have had a hard season, loads of injuries and I think morale went’ down with that. Today we showed real character, that period in the second half when we had to defend we really dug deep really showed what we are about.”

Mankee felt that the turning point was his try from the charge down kick: “That was the crucial first score in extra-time and it gave us control. Kicking was difficult out there today with the swirling wind luckily I was able to judge it well and got those crucial penalties when we had the chance.”

Mankee also hopes that his season isn’t over as he hopes to be involved with the Cornwall side during the campaign: “I really enjoyed being part of the Tamar Cup win on Tuesday night and although I am not part of the squad this coming Saturday I hope I can get in at some stage during the campaign.”

In the Tribute Cornwall Clubs Cup played before hand, Veor secured their third cup success with a 10-7 win over Lanner.

It was a fitting send off for club stalwart Kevin Mankee playing his last game.

All the points came in the first half with Veor scoring a try through centre James McInnes converted by winger Bevin Stone.

Alan Rule at scrum-half was having an influential game for Lanner and they levelled matters when No.8 Mikey Allen went over with fly-half Marc Britton adding the extras.

Just before half-time Stone kicked what proved to be the cup winning penalty from in front of the posts.

Lanner threw everything at Veor in the final moments with Allan almost grabbing a second try but it was not to be for the village side in their first ever final.

Veor’s No. 8 Andrew Lancaster was voted man-of-the-match.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall name side for Championship opener

Having gone away and reflected upon Cornwall’s win against Devon in the Tamar Cup on Tuesday night, the County coaches and selectors have named their line up for the opening Bill Beaumont Cup fixture against Gloucestershire at Cinderford kick-off 3 p.m.

Among the changes from the starting XV at Brickfields sees young Launceston prospect Bill Searle starting at full back in place of Saltash’s Max Veneables, who is named amongst the replacements.

It’s certainly a brave call by the coaches and selectors, but the old saying rings true, if you’re good enough you’re old enough!

Searle certainly caught the eye on Tuesday night and his kicking from the tee was faultless also the following day he helped Exeter College to the British Colleges’ Cup against Welsh side Llandrillo.


Photo – Billy Searle performance caught selectors eye

The experienced Steve Johns is brought into the side on the wing in place of All Black Jon Dawe, who is also named amongst the replacements.

The pack sees numerous changes with Rupert Freestone moving to loose-head from hooker, with Redruth duo Richard Brown coming in at No.2 and Craig Williams at tight-head.

Both young props from the Tamar Cup Tommy Phillips and Christian Judge are listed among the long list of reserves from which a bench will be picked closer to the game.


Photo – Penryn’s George Jones will make a Championship start

Redruth’s Damien Cook partners Ben Hilton in the second row, no shortage of experience there, whilst in the back row skipper Kyle Marriott comes in at No.8 with club skipper Chris Fuca at blind-side with George Jones (Penryn) keeping his place at open-side after a fine performance at Brickfields.

Added to the potential bench are centre Sam Parsons, utility forwards Tony Whittle and Barrie-John Chapman all returning from injury.


Photo – Camborne’s Tony Whittle back in contention for the bench

The squad will train twice this week at Redruth on Tuesday and then Bodmin on Thursday before travelling to Cinderford.

CORNWALL: B.SEARLE (Cornish All Blacks), S.JOHNS (Birmingham & Solihull), J. MURPHY (Cornish All Blacks), N.WEBBER, R.WEDLAKE (both Redruth), L.WEBB (Taunton), M.SHEPHERD (Cornish All Blacks); R.FREESTONE (Clifton), R.BROWN, C.WILLIAMS, D.COOK (all Redruth), B.HILTON (Cornish All Blacks), C.FUCA (Redruth), G.JONES (Penryn), K.MARRIOTT (Redruth, capt).

REPLACEMENTS FROM: M.VENABLES (Saltash), J.DAWE (Cornish All Blacks), S.PARSONS (Redruth), C.JUDGE (Cornish All Blacks), T.PHILLIPS (Redruth), J.SALTER (Cornish All Blacks), J.GOLDSWORTHY, T.WHITTLE (both Camborne), B.J.CHAPMAN (Cornish All Blacks), M.GRUBB (Wadebridge Camels), R.FRIEND (Cornish All Blacks)

All photos by Simon Bryant Iktisphoto

Posted in Bill's Blog


Tamar Cup report plus quotes from Ian Morgan


Devon 13 Cornwall 38

Report by Nigel Walrond at Brickfields with photos by Simon Bryant Iktisphoto

CORNWALL warmed up for the County Championship by lifting the Tamar Cup for a fourth successive year with a convincing victory over their old rivals at Brickfields.

The Duchy were penalised off the park by Hampshire referee Adam Leal in the first half and struggled to get any continuity going, though they did lead 17-13 at the break.

In the second half though, as the weather conditions deteriorated at Brickfields, with rain sweeping across the ground, they maintained their discipline and scored some good tries to run out easy winners in the end.


Photo – Cornwall man of the match Matt Shepherd

Cornwall backs coach Ian Morgan said: “We needed to blow some cobwebs away and have a look at what we need to work on ahead of our opening Championship game against Gloucestershire.

“I thought the penalty count was a bit harsh against us, but I suppose the referee sees things differently to us when he is out on the field and we have got to look at our discipline.

“We probably did throw ourselves into a couple of rucks we didn’t need to, and compete for balls we didn’t have to, but it was the first game of our season and the boys were keen to impress.

“We had some new faces out there who wanted to show what they could do, and some of them stood up really well.

“As soon as we got a try in the second half we started to ring the changes, because it gave us a little bit of freedom to do so.”

One of the most pleasing aspects of the display was the performance of half-backs Matt Shepherd and Lewis Webb, who linked well and scored three of Cornwall’s five tries between them, with Shepherd also picking up the Trelawny’s Army Supporters Club man of the match award.

“They controlled the game really well, and Shep’s work rate was good and earned him man of the match, but it was nice to see the other guys come on and keep the same control,” said Morgan.


Photo – Taunton fly-half Lewis Webb had a fine game at fly-half for Cornwall

Cornwall were without the unavailable Kyle Marriott; Barrie-John Chapman, Damien Cook and Craig Williams were all rested; while scrum half Greg Goodfellow was banned by his club side Redruth after a red card against Southend last Saturday that could see him miss the whole of the Championship.

They took a fourth-minute lead when a fine touchline burst by winger Jon Dawe set up good field position, a penalty was kicked to the corner, and after initial surges by Chris Fuca and Rupert Freestone, Shepherd scored a try which he converted himself.

Cornwall then lost hooker Freestone to the sin-bin for repeated infringement by the Duchy, and Devon capitalised, with some poor tackling allowing blindside flanker Dan Williams to score a try, converted by fly half Joe Simmonds, who also added a penalty for a 10-7 advantage.


Photo – replacement Billy Searle scored a good try and kicked three conversions

A Shepherd penalty just before the half-hour mark levelled matters, before Webb grabbed his first try of the game after a quickly-taken tap penalty by Shepherd, who also converted, but Simmonds slotted another penalty in first-half injury time to cut Cornwall’s interval lead to 17-13.

A fine try by young Redruth winger Robin Wedlake in the corner lit up the start of a soggy second half, and when Webb also crossed, with Shepherd and replacement Billy Searle adding conversions, Cornwall were out of sight at 31-13 with 54 minutes gone.

Both sides rang the changes and the game became a bit disjointed, but Cornwall managed one more try, three minutes from time, when Searle got over in the corner, and converted superbly from the touchline, to give the Duchy a confidence-boosting victory ahead of their trip to Gloucestershire on Saturday week.

Devon (Brixham unless otherwise stated): Goodman, Crosscombe, MacLean, Paterson (Ivybridge), Squire, Simmonds (Teignmouth), Murphy (Tavistock), Halse (New Cross), Avery (Newton Abbot, capt), Morris, Gohl (Barnstaple), Templeton (Newton Abbot), Williams (Newton Abbot), Parsons (Teignmouth), Thomas. Replacements all used: Petherbridge (Barnstaple), Castleton (Newton Abbot), Sowden (Teignmouth), Maggs, Savage (Exmouth), Bryce, Massy-Birch (Taunton), Turner (Taunton), Manton (Taunton).

Cornwall (Redruth unless otherwise stated): Venables (Saltash), Wedlake, Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), Webber, Dawe (All Blacks), Webb (Taunton), Shepherd (All Blacks), Phillips (Redruth), Freestone (Clifton), Judge (All Blacks), Courtier (All Blacks), Hilton (All Blacks, capt), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), Jones (Penryn), Fuca. Replacements all used: Salter (All Blacks), J Drew, Brown, M Grubb (Wadebridge), Friend (All Blacks), Peacock (Camborne), Searle (All Blacks), Mankee (Camborne), Prisk.

Rolling replacements for Cornwall: Salter (All Blacks) for Jones 17, Salter for Freestone 27, Grubb for Goldsworthy ht, Prisk for Courtier ht, Friend for Shepherd 44, Peacock for Friend 51, Searle for Venables 51, Brown for Salter 59, Courtier for Fuca 59, Goldsworthy for Hilton 59, Venables for Wedlake 64, Shepherd for Friend 64, Mankee for Webber 67, Drew for Judge 72, Friend for Peacock 72.

Devon: Try: Williams; Con: Simmonds; Pen: Simmonds (2).

Cornwall: Tries: Shepherd, Webb (2), Wedlake, Searle; Cons: Shepherd (3), Searle (2); Pen: Shepherd.

Yellow cards: Cornwall: Freestone 16, Courtier 80.

Referee: Adam Leal (Hampshire).

Attendance: 467.

TASC Paul Bawden Cornwall man of the match: Matt Shepherd.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Five try Cornwall retain the Tamar Cup in style

DEVON 13 – 38 CORNWALL

Report by Nigel Walrond at Brickfields

CORNWALL lifted the Tamar Cup for the fourth successive year with a convincing victory over arch-rivals Devon at a very wet Brickfields last night.

The Duchy struggled to get any continuity going in the first half as they gave away a stream of penalties, but they stayed much more on the right side of referee Adam Leal in the second period to score some good tries.

Cornwall took the lead after only four minutes with a touchdown by scrum half Matt Shepherd, who also converted.


Photo Simon Bryant Iktisphoto – Matt Shepherd goes over for Cornwall’s first try

But repeated infringements by Cornwall led to hooker Rupert Freestone being sin-binned, and while he was off, Devon scored a try through Dan Williams, converted by Joe Simmonds, who also kicked a penalty for a 10-7 advantage.

Cornwall responded just before the hour mark with a Shepherd penalty to level the scores, before more good work by the visitors’ man of the match Shepherd set up a try for fly half Lewis Webb, improved by Shepherd.

In first-half injury time, Simmonds slotted another penalty for Devon to cut Cornwall’s lead to 17-13 at the break.

The Duchy made an impressive start to the second half, and tries by young Redruth winger Robin Wedlake and Webb again, converted by Shepherd and replacement Billy Searle, all but wrapped the game up at 31-13.

With three minutes left, Searle grabbed the last try of the game in the corner, and banged over a superb touchline conversion to complete an excellent victory for Cornwall.

Devon (Brixham unless otherwise stated): Goodman, Crosscombe, MacLean, Paterson (Ivybridge), Squire, Simmonds (Teignmouth), Murphy (Tavistock), Halse (New Cross), Avery (Newton Abbot), Morris, Gohl (Barnstaple), Templeton (Newton Abbot), Williams (Newton Abbot), Parsons (Teignmouth), Thomas.

Replacements all used: Petherbridge (Barnstaple), Castleton (Newton Abbot), Sowden (Teignmouth), Maggs, Savage (Exmouth), Bryce, Massy-Birch (Taunton), Turner (Taunton), Manton (Taunton).

Cornwall (Redruth unless otherwise stated): Venables (Saltash), Wedlake, Murphy (Cornish All Blacks), Webber, Dawe (All Blacks), Webb (Taunton), Shepherd (All Blacks), Phillips (Redruth), Freestone (Clifton), Judge (All Blacks), Courtier (All Blacks), Hilton (All Blacks, capt), J Goldsworthy (Camborne), Jones (Penryn), Fuca.

Replacements all used: Salter (All Blacks), J Drew, Brown, M Grubb (Wadebridge), Friend (All Blacks), Peacock (Camborne), Searle (All Blacks), Mankee (Camborne), Prisk.

Scores – Devon: Try: Williams; Con: Simmonds; Pen: Simmonds (2).

Cornwall: Tries: Shepherd, Webb (2), Wedlake, Searle; Cons: Shepherd (3), Searle (2); Pen: Shepherd.

Yellow cards: Cornwall: Freestone 16, Courtier 80.

Referee: Adam Leal (Hampshire).

Attendance: 467.

TASC Paul Bawden Memorial man-of-the-match: Matt Shepherd

Posted in Bill's Blog


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