Photo: Sam Matavesi in action for Cornwall in 2016 Bill Beaumont Cup Final
Trelawny’s Army are indebted to Neale Harvey for allowing us to re-print his article that appeared in Sunday’s The Rugby Paper and which concerns us all.
EXCLUSIVE By NEALE HARVEY
Lancashire head coach Mark Nelson has slammed cost-cutting proposals that could see the England Counties team and the County Championship axed.
The Rugby Paper understands elements within the RFU hierarchy view county rugby as an unnecessary financial burden and that behind-closed-doors talks aimed at slashing the Union’s commitment to it have been taking place for months.
England Counties take on their Scottish counterparts at Moseley this Friday and while this summer’s proposed tour to Portugal and Spain is expected to go ahead, the scheduling of future tours and matches during the Six Nations remain shrouded in doubt.
With the long-term future of the historic County Championship also being debated, Nelson told The Rugby Paper: “Elements within the RFU would happily see County rugby go but in my view it’s a fundamental part of rugby below the professional game.
“County rugby is a different competition; it’s the only representative chance the majority of club players ever get. It gives those players an opportunity to represent their Counties at Twickenham and then to tour with the Counties’ national team.
Photo: Ben Hilton & Aaron Penberthy, just two of the many Cornish players to have represented England Counties
“It’s a massively important part of the English game and people who seek to undermine that or bring about its demise are being massively detrimental to the game. I know discussions are taking place but I don’t understand the arguments against it.”
Nelson fears money used to fund County rugby will be diverted into leagues.
He added: “Clubs are looking for more funding to go around the Championship, National One and National Two, so they’re looking to cull other areas of the game to service those needs, with the County Championship potentially a victim.
“But where do they see the game going? Do they see it just becoming about league rugby with no cups, no variety and a ceiling at the top of National One?
“County rugby is aspirational and on the 2004 tour to Canada we had Ben Foden, Shaun Perry, David Strettle and Matt Jess in our team, but if you do away with it you will be condemning potential top players like them to a diet of league rugby.”
Unwelcome news in Sunday’s papers that the County Championship is once again facing an uncertain future. Both the Rugby Paper and the Sunday Independent carry an article by Neale Harvey that certain power-brokers in the RFU are again considering scrapping the competition, along with the various England Counties sides, senior, under 20 and under 18 as part of a cost-cutting exercise!
It seems strange that the RFU, the richest rugby union in the world, should deem it necessary to make cuts to grassroots rugby, it’s very lifeline. Quite rightly people will demand to know why this should even be up for discussion and to what projects they envisage putting extra resources from these savings to?
Developments at Twickenham will be followed closely, should they propose to go ahead with this ill-advised plan.
On the playing front it was a very successful afternoon in the Greene-King Championship for the Cornish Pirates as they won in some style 42-27 at Yorkshire Carnegie.
Coach Gavin Cattle described the win as “One of the highlights of the season.”
Hitherto, Yorkshire Carnegie had only lost one game this season but they were rocked by tries from Kyle Moyle, Tom Duncan (2), Alex Day, Brett Beukeboom and Jack Andrew, with Laurence May converting all six. The win leaves the Cornish Pirates in fifth place just two points behind Ealing with a game-in-hand.
In National League 2 South, Redruth slipped to defeat as a late penalty gave visitors Old Elthamians the spoils 20-17.
A result that puts paid to the Reds outside hopes of promotion for this season. Despite missing key players Kyle Marriott and Alex Ducker, Redruth gave a good account of themselves against the well-organised London outfit.
Pale Nonu and Jack Oulton scored tries for Redruth both converted by Brett Rule who also kicked a penalty. BJ Chapman had a big game for the Reds as did Shaun Buzza when he came on.
In National 3 SW, Camborne made it back-to-back wins for the first time in 2017 as they won 35-16 at Newton Abbot. Murray Westren opened the try scoring with further scores coming from Damien Cook, Josh Semmens and Taron Peacock. Rhys Brownfield kicked three conversions and three penalties. The win puts Town back into a play-off place ahead of their game in a fortnight’s time at home to leaders Old Redcliffians.
Launceston gave a good account of themselves against Old Reds in Bristol only going down 21-17. Jordan Duke and Andy Knight scored tries with Martin Kneebone converting a penalty-try.
The result sees the Cornish All Blacks slip back to second from bottom as sides around them won.
In Western Counties West, Truro took the spoils in the Cornish derby at Bude 24-7. Truro’s tries cane from Josh Symons, Ben Teasdale (2) and Luke Trescothick with Ashley Hosking kicking a couple of conversions. For Bude Matt Williams scored a try converted by Dan Pearce. Sadly the game was marred with a red card to Truro prop Ethan Pattison.
St. Ives had a good win at home against Burnham-on-Sea 39-5. The Hakes scored seven tries through Pete Mabbot (2), Liam Jolly, Jacob Ninnes, Joe Parma, Ben Taylor and Martyn Lawrence. Grant Thirlby kicked a couple of conversions.
Wadebridge Camels had a good win up at Wellington winning 25-12. Camels scored twenty-two first half points through tries from Will Pengelly, Rhys Bright and Matt Ballard with Callum Wilson kicking two conversions and a penalty. In the second half Wilson added a further penalty.
St. Austell lost a promotion chasing Cullompton 19-11. Max Duggan scored the Saints only try with Liam Freeman and Cav Boyer kicking penalties.
In London 2 SW, London Cornish maintain their lead at the top of the table following a 41-14 win at Andover. Miles Rushworth scored three tries for the exiles with other scores coming from Matt Hakes, Tom Patton and Chris Kolapo-Ajala. George Kimmins added four conversions and a penalty.
In the Cornwall & Devon League, leaders Falmouth gained revenge against the only side to have defeated them this season, Plymstock. The Eagles scored nine tries in a 57-6 win with wing Dan Hubble notching five! Other scores came from Seb Firth, Tom Spiller, Matt Brewer and John Baglow with Justyn Irons adding six conversions.
Saltash remain in second place after winning 43-25 at Tavistock
Penryn lost at struggling Honiton 25-12. Grant Randlesome and Kirky Oldfield with their tries, Matt Horton kicked a conversion.
Pirates Amateurs were defeated 36-28 at Topsham, while Bodmin lost at home to Plymouth Argaum 38-12.
Lanner narrowly lost at St. Day to promotion chasing Paignton 20-17.
In Cornwall 1, Newquay Hornets and Hayle had big wins against a depleted School of Mines 89-7 and Veor 69-3. Liskeard-Looe defeated Helston 41-10 and St. Agnes ran riot against Roseland 50-0.
In Cornwall 2, Lankelly-Fowey beat leaders Illogan Park 34-16 to close the gap at the top to just three points. Perranporth won at home to Redruth Albany 57-12. Stithians had a walkover against Camelford.
Finally in this season’s Bottle Match, Camborne School of Mines relinquished the trophy they won back last season to Royal School of Mines 33-19.
Plenty of smiles up at Polson Bridge on Saturday evening after Launceston’s 43-12 win against Newton Abbot. It was the Cornish All Blacks first bonus point win this season and a result which gives them a fighting chance to avoid a second successive relegation.
Try scores for Launceston were Marc Williams Fred Bulut, Tom Sandercock, Ryan Westren, Andy Knight, Rikki Bentham and Greg Thomas. Martin Kneebone added four conversions.
Also in National 3 SW, Camborne battled to a win against Bromsgrove 20-13. Cherry and Whites’ tries came from Sam Bartle, Rhodri McAtee (a corker of a try) and Malcolm Hearn, with Rhys Brownfield kicking a conversion and replacement Dave Mankee adding a late penalty.
A good debut from Jordan Rose for Town, also good to see Jon Drew back from suspension adding his experience to the front row.
In National League 2, Redruth couldn’t make it a perfect seven wins on the trot as they slipped to defeat at Cinderford 23-21. Matt Bowden scored two tries with Sam Parsons also crossing. Brett Rule converted all three scores.
Truro came out on top in a ding-dong Western Counties West Cornish derby at St. Clements Hill winning 25-17 against Wadebridge Camels. The lead changed several time before Truro made sure of the spoils with a fourth try.
Truro’s tries were scored by Luke Tidball (2), Ben Teasdale and Josh Symons with Ashley Hosking adding a conversion and a penalty, for the Camels Hugo Culverhouse and Matt Ballard (2) scored tries with Danny Thomas kicking a conversion.
St. Austell defeated Crediton at Tregorrick Parc 31-10 thanks to tries from Max Duggan, George Knowles, Ben Chenoweth, Cav Boyer and Shane Johns. Liam Freeman kicked three conversions for the Saints.
St. Ives won 22-8 at Tiverton. Tom Chandler, Pete Mabbut and Sean Stevens scored the Hakes’ tries with the referee also awarding them a penalty-try that Jordan Gott converted.
Bude lost 16-10 at Burnham-on-Sea.
Up in London 2 SW, London Cornish’s game against Portsmouth had to be abandoned after 64 minutes due to a serious injury to a Portsmouth player. The exiles were leading 29-0 at the time and must now wait to see if the result stands.
Falmouth Eagles continue to fly at the top of the Cornwall & Devon league following their 34-0 win at Plymouth Argaum. Falmouth scored five tries through Tom Spiller (2), Dan Hubble, Tom Tonkins and AJ Geach. Justyn Irons kicked the other points.
Penryn grabbed maximum points following their 43-0 win at home to Topsham. Borough fielded their new signings Kieron Vinson and Matt Healey both signed from Truro.
Borough’s tries were scored by Andy Seviour (3), Ben Birkett, Matt Horton, Grant Randlesome and Will Paine, with Horton kicking four conversions.
Pirates Amateurs defeated Bodmin 33-6 at the Mennaye. The Ams scored tries through Danny Toolan, Dan Magee, Chav Lonsdale and Joe Chadwick with Magee kicking the other points.
Lanner beat Withycombe 20-17 at St. Day thanks to tries from Robbie Kessell, Adam Harris and Gizzy Beesley plus a conversion and penalty from Nick Prout.
Saltash had a walkover against Tamar Saracens.
In Cornwall 1, it’s very much as you were, Newquay Hornets maintained their top spot with a comfortable win against St. Agens 34-5.
Hayle keep the pressure on Hornets following their 27-10 win at a gutsy Helston.
Camborne School of Mines travelled to their old ground to take on Veor but it was the new tenants who prevailed 13-12. The Students travel to London this week for the annual “Bottle Match” against Royal School of Mines on Saturday.
Liskeard-Looe had a big win at Roseland 40-8.
In Cornwall 2, Illogan Park remain undefeated following a close shave with Stithians 8-6. Lankelly-Fowey won 22-20 at St. Just and Perranporth defeated Camelford 40-14.
Good to see Jack Nowell have a good game with England in Cardiff on Saturday evening, whilst Cornish Pirates Josh Caulfield came on for England Under 20s during their win against the Welsh on Friday evening.
Cornwall Under 20s put on a superb show of running rugby at Camborne on Sunday afternoon running in ten tries against Berkshire in their first County Championship pool game.
After a shaky opening Cornwall gradually got on top going ahead with a try from Toby Robinson. Further first half scores from Declan Matthews and Ethan Tyler along with a couple of conversions from Cavan Boyer gave Cornwall a 19-0 half-time lead.
Photo: Cornwall’s Cavan Boyer, chased by Berks Jacob John
In the second half Cornwall ran riot with further tries coming from skipper Will Gilder, Matthews, Boyer, Tyler (2), Harry Smith and Seb Firth. Boyer kicked a further three conversions and Tyler added two more.
Berkshire saved their blushes with a penalty from Jake Finlay, to leave the final score Cornwall 64-3 Berkshire!
It was a win and performance that delighted and pleased head coach Mike Rawlings. He said after the game. “I was so pleased to see the boys’ hard work over the past few weeks and months pay off today. I can remember only too well being on the wrong end of similar score-line a couple of years ago when Cornwall lost a semi-final to Yorkshire here at Camborne.
“I did think we were up against it early on as Berkshire dominated but the guys weathered the storm and that built confidence and the guys thought we can do this.
And Rawlings was full of praise for the whole squad. “They really showed their skills levels out there today, but there is still much to work on, our set-piece wasn’t up to scratch and Bryn Jenkins and I will look at that and work on it. Our fitness really told in the final quarter they fell away badly but we kept our energy levels up and finish strongly with that final try.
Cornwall’s next game is at Redruth on Sunday 26th February when they take on Gloucestershire, who lost their opening game at Lydney to Hampshire 12-10.
Also on Sunday the Cornish Pirates were in Championship action when they took on London Scottish at the Mennaye.
A late penalty-try award converted by Laurence May gave the Pirates a 25-24 win.
Pirates’ other tries came from Alex Cheesman and Toby May, with the rest of the points from Laurence May’s boot adding a further conversion and two penalties.
It’s a weekend off for Pirates this week before they travel to Yorkshire Carnegie on the 18th February.
On Saturday Redruth made it six wins on the bounce in National 2 South with a hard-fought 10-3 win against Bury St. Edmunds. Fortunately for the Reds they scored their points early on through catch-and-drives from Tommy Phillips and Shaun Buzza as conditions deteriorated rapidly and the pitch began very heavy.
The win keeps Redruth well placed prior to Saturday’s trip to Cinderford.
Head Coach Marek Churcher was happy with the win in such conditions. “Conditions were awful today so to get the win is all that matters. We started very well I thought our accuracy was spot on our tempo was good and I thought we might run away with the game, I think we are guilty of losing our concentration when we get ahead early on. Having said that it became very difficult after about fifteen minutes as the pitch cut up with all the rain we have had recently.”
Falmouth’s game at Tamar Saracens in the Cornwall & Devon League was postponed.
In Cornwall League 1, Newquay Hornets got an important win at Liskeard-Looe 18-5, whilst challengers Hayle had a resounding win at home against Roseland 70-5, Doug Arnull scoring three of the Lions’ eleven tries.
Helston won a tight game at Veor 27-24, Decarlo Trerise with two of their four tries. Camborne School of Mines got the better of St. Agnes 12-5, both the student’s tries scored by Tommy Lee
In Cornwall 2 there was only one game played, Illogan Park winning 55-10 at Perranporth. Redruth Albany had a walkover against Camelford whist the game at Stithians against St. Just was postponed.
Truro defeated Torquay Athletic 31-5 to get to the final of the SW Intermediate Cup. Ethan Tyler (2), Jack Hazelton and Darren Jacques scored Truro’s tries with Ashley Hoskin converting all four and adding a penalty.
Truro now face a trip to Chew Valley, on the outskirts of Bristol on Saturday 25th February.
Saltash defeated last season’s defeated National finalists Withycombe in the Senior Vase 24-14, the tie was played on the all-weather pitch across the Tamar at Keyham. Tries were scored by No. 8 Steve Hillman prop Adam Coutts flanker Lewis Wells and wing Will Morton with Kieran Down adding a couple of conversions.
Saltash are at home to North Somerset side Winscombe in the SW Senior Vase final again on the 25th February.
On Saturday Jack Nowell came off the bench to help England come from behind to defeat France 19-16 at Twickenham in the RBS 6 Nations. Well done Jack.
Photo: Tommy Phillips in action for Cornwall against Berkshire last season
Following a trial session before Christmas, the Under 20 squad have trained for a number of weeks. In preparation for the Championship they played a friendly against Devon U20 at Launceston RFC on the 22 January winning 33 – 19. Their first game in the Championship this year will against Berkshire at Camborne RFC, with a 2 pm kick off.
CRFU President Peter James said “This is the first game at this level for some of the team and they start with a tough game trying to avenge last year’s defeat up at Sonning I want to thank the coaching team of, Mike Rawlings, Bryn Jenkins, and Matt Shepherd. Also we must not forget the medics, backroom staff and team manager Chris Lea for their work in pulling together the team. I also offer my congratulations to Will Gilder of St Austell RFC who has been appointed the captain for the coming season”.
Speaking about his appointment newly appointed captain Will Gilder said. “I am honoured to have been asked to captain the Cornwall U20 team this season. Pulling on the shirt means an awful lot to us guys and being made captain is the icing on the cake. Berkshire are a side that beat us last year and we know they will come down here with a strong squad so we need to be on top of our game for 80 minutes, to come away with a result.
Gilder plays his club rugby for St Austell RFC, and is in his second season with the U20. He will be in good company with five other Saints in the starting line up.
Cornwall faces two other games in the group stage during February and March, depending on results, with the quarterfinals being played at the end of March.
Coach Mike Rawlings said. “There have been a lot of changes in the squad from last year and we have a number of guys who will be with us for a further one or two seasons, it will be a steep learning curve for some at this new level. It is testament to the guys who have trained on Sunday mornings; it is never easy after games for their own clubs on the Saturday. They have trained hard and know they face a difficult task, but they will be extremely proud to pull on the famous black and gold shirt of Cornwall. ”
Cornwall also face Gloucestershire on Sunday 26 February at Redruth RFC, before a final pool stage game away against newly promoted Hampshire at Overton RFC on Sunday 19 March 2017.
CRFU Chair Denis Preece said. “This is the first opportunity for some of these players to represent Cornwall at senior level. A number of the players, who have gone before them, have gone on to represent the full County 15 and some have played at Twickenham!! Last season Tommy Phillips through his performances with Cornwall was selected not only for the England Counties U20 squad but was made vice-captain. I would ask that the good folk of Cornwall come out and support the young Cornwall players”
Cornwall Under 20 team manager Chris Lea said; – “This squad is a mixture of players from last season, new players nominated from clubs and guys who have progressed through the Under 18 age group. We have had fantastic numbers coming forward this season and it is testament to the ground work we have put in over the past 5 years. It is great to see these guys getting progression through the County system and a number of former players are now playing at Premiership and Championship level, as well as clubs within Cornwall”
CORNWALL RFU UNDER 20 TEAM V BERKSHIRE
SUNDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2017 @ CAMBORNE RFC 2 PM KO
1) ADAM WRIGHT REDRUTH RFC
2) MATT HEALEY TRURO RFC
3) LEWIS LEE ST AUSTELL RFC
4) MATT SCOTT SALTASH RFC
5) CORY TEAGUE WADEBRIDGE CAMELS RFC
6) CAM SAYER CAMBORNE RFC
7) WILL GILDER (Captain) ST. AUSTELL RFC
8) MAX DUGGAN ST. AUSTELLRFC
9) NOAH NASH BRIXHAM RFC
10) CALLUM BOYCE ST. AUSTELL RFC
11) ETHAN TYLER TRURO RFC
12) TOM SANDERCOCK LAUNCESTON RFC
13) DECLAN MATTHEWS REDRUTH RFC
14) CAVAN BOYER ST. AUSTELL RFC
15) TOBY ROBINSON ST. AUSTELL RFC
16) JAMES BISHOP ST. IVES RFC
17) KIERON VINSON TRURO RFC
18) JACK OSBORNE LAUNCESTON RFC
19) HARRY SMITH WADEBRIDGE CAMELS RFC
20) SEB FIRTH FALMOUTH RFC
21) REUBEN EDWARDS LAUNCESTON RFC
22) HARVEY JONES UNATTACHED
23) CALLUM HAYNE ST. AUSTELL RFC
24) MATT BLEE CAMBORNE RFC
25) AARON VINSON LANKELLY FOWEY RFC
26) CALLUM DEWSON LAUNCESTON RFC
Cornwall name side to face Berkshire.
Coaches – Mike Rawlings, Bryn Jenkins, Matt Shepherd
With the Cornish Pirates Championship game at London Welsh being cancelled as the Welsh exiles find themselves in liquidation the centre of attention switched to the Reds’ trip to Barnes in National League 2 South.
Having scrapped home by a single point 33-32 the previous week against Exmouth, Redruth answered any critics with five try win on the road 33-0!
Reds’ tries came through Alex Ducker (2), Penalty-try, Kyle Marriott and Lewis Vinnicombe. Brett Rule kicked three conversions with Angus Taylor adding a fourth.
The win sees the Reds up to third in the table, four points adrift of both Chinnor and Bishop’s Stortford.
In National 3 SW, Camborne slipped to a narrow defeat at Salisbury 16-14 when the home side kicked a penalty from half-way with the final kick of the game.
Town had to travel with a makeshift side as injuries continue to blight Liam Chapple’s options. Josh Semmens scored Camborne’s try with Rhys Brownfield kicking three penalties.
Launceston’s good run of form continues as they won on the road again this time at Bromsgrove 27-22. Tom Sandercock, BJ Chapman and a penalty-try award along with kicks from Martin Kneebone and Greg Loydall making up their tally.
In Western Counties West, Wadebridge Camels beat Burnham 24-15 to go above Truro in the table. Camel’s tries came from Jacob Johns, Rhys Bright and a brace from Matt Ballard, Danny Thomas kicking two conversions.
Truro slipped up at Wellington 20-14, Ollie Seagrove scored Truro’s try with Ashley Hosking adding three penalties.
A lively Cornish derby at Alexandra Road saw St. Ives get the better of St. Austell 33-19. Steve Kenward and Jo Parma each bagged a brace of tries with Tom Chandler getting the Hakes’ fifth. Jordan Gott added four conversions.
For the Saints Shane Johns and Chris Ashwin crossed for tries with the referee also awarding them a penalty-try converted by Cav Boyer who also bettered Ashwin’s score.
Bude picked up a vital win at home against Tiverton 26-24. Dan Pearce scored a couple of tries and added three conversions. Bude’s other tries came from a forward effort and a penalty-try.
London Cornish were held to a second away draw 28-28 at Camberley. Chris Smart, Oli Low, David Smith and a penalty-try award all were converted. Cornish remain well in command at the top of London 2 SW.
In the Cornwall & Devon League leaders Falmouth continue to boss proceedings. Despite a tough error strewn first half that Pirates Amateurs edged 9-6 on the scoreboard despite losing new signing Everard Reid to a yellow card for a head tackle.
The Eagles stepped up a gear in the second half scoring five tries through Jamie Caruana, David Jones, Justyn Irons, Matt Brewer and replacement Dan Hubble. All five tries came from great backline play. Irons having kicked two first half penalties added a third in the second half as well as four conversions for a twenty-two point haul.
Reid coped a second yellow for the same offence that saw him sent off and all the Amateurs had to show was a try from Jack Nicholson converted by Dan Mcgee who kicked their first half penalties, final score 42-16.
Saltash had a good win at Withycombe 23-16. James Moriarty, Will Morton and Steve Hilton scored their tries with Kieran Down kicking their other points.
Penryn won 56-0 at Bodmin with centre Andrew Seviour scoring four tries. Other scores came from Aaron Cockrell, Phil Hinchley, James Salisbury, Grant Randlesome, George Mitchell and Will Paine with Mitch Vague knocking over three conversions.
Lanner lost to improving Honiton 26-5 with Adam Harris getting their only try.
In Cornwall 1 the top two Newquay Hornets and Hayle fought out a 10 all draw. Veor remain third after their 22-3 win at Roseland, whilst Liskeard-Looe won at St. Agnes 33-8. Helston defeated School of Mines 38-17.
In Cornwall 2, Illogan Park are top despite not playing as Redruth Albany couldn’t raise a side. St. Just beat Perranporth 19-15 and Stithians won at Lankelly-Fowey 17-13.
Cornwall Under 20s get their Championship campaign under way at Camborne on Sunday when they take on Berkshire Under 20s kick-off is 2 pm. All support welcome.
Redruth head coach Marek Churcher has been appointed Cornwall’s backs coach taking over the role from Ian Morgan who stepped down earlier this season.
Speaking about the appointments to the coaching staff Cornwall’s head coach Graham Dawe said, “We have been steadily putting in the building blocks for the 2017 season with players, medics etc. and this appointment is one of the final pieces. Marek is a highly respected coach, working not only with Truro College, Exeter Chiefs Academy but is also head coach at National League 2 side Redruth. He brings a wealth of knowledge both technically, but also in-depth player knowledge, at all age levels within the county.
Also assisting Graham this season will be Tristan Lark as strength and conditioning coach, and he went on to say “I’m pleased to welcome Tristan to be part of the coaching team, also Rhodri McAtee who is also on board as a skills development coach. I look forward to working closely with all of them over the coming months.
Churcher is looking forward to his new role.“It was a real honour to be considered for the position of backs coach for the county team. It is somewhat ironic that I was coached by Graham when I played for Plymouth Albion, and of course was immensely proud to have pulled on the black and gold at senior level as well. There is vibrancy about the whole set up and I am really looking forward to getting stuck into my new role.
Photo: Rhodri McAtee in action for Cornwall against Herts 2013
Cornwall RFU President Peter James also welcomed Marek into his new role. He said. “I am delighted to welcome Marek as part of the coaching team to work alongside Graham Dawe for the coming season. It is pleasing to see a talented Cornwall club coach have the opportunity to work with the full county squad.”
Cornwall first training session will be early in February in preparation for the Tamar Cup, and County Championship games.
Yesterday evening, players, coaches and officials from the Cornwall RFU assembled at St. Austell Brewery Visitors Centre to plot a chart that will hopefully bring Cornwall a third successive Bill Beaumont Cup, reports Bill Hooper.
With a new group there were some new faces and inevitably some familiar faces from previous seasons who will not be participating this season.
Tristan Lark has replaced James Earp as strength and conditioning coach this season whilst a replacement backs coach is set to be formally announced very shortly, possibly later today.
Cornwall Chairman of Selectors Terry Carter said. “Selecting an enlarged squad for the team building event has been challenging with a number of new guys coming onto our radar this season. We feel we have a good balance of players with experience and determination to represent Cornwall. We have players representing a number of clubs some who have come through our development program alongside those who have progressed from our under 20s.”
On the player front it was good to see players such as Tommy Phillips, Shaun Buzza, Jack Oulton, Joel Matavesi and Alex Ducker whom have had an outstanding season for Redruth in the fold alongside seasoned campaigner Chris Fuca.
Photo: Joel Matavesi (Redruth)
Whilst from Camborne, exciting centre Jack Simmons, last season’s Cornwall Under 20 skipper, Jon Drew, and Richie Kevern amongst the Town contingent.
Photo Jon Drew (Camborne)
Prop Digby Parsons and fly-half Fraser Honey represented Launceston with former All Blacks, Ben Hilton, Jake Murphy, Robbie Dugard, Richard Friend ready for another campaign.
In addition Tom Cowan-Dickie, Matt Shepherd and Robin Wedlake, Plymouth Albion stars from last season’s campaign will once again feature for Cornwall this season.
For Cornwall coach Graham Dawe it was a chance to touch base with his new squad and get to know the players ahead of working with them. “Tonight is important in the scheme of things, said Dawe. “Some of the players here tonight I haven’t seen play and don’t know too much about but obviously come highly recommended by our selectors, we always look to uncover a nugget or two and see how far they can go. One such player could be Brixham player Dom Connor a utility back row forward who was educated at Liskeard.
Photo: Graham Dawe
Dawe isn’t too concerned about the new format of the competition. “We can’t control those matters, so we must concentrate on what we can influence, our performance and our results. The next few weeks is going to be about moulding a team from a new squad, we’ve lost a few players from last season but I am keen to see what the new lads coming in have to offer and see how much they want the shirt.
The added attraction for Cornish fans this season is a Championship clash against old foes Devon to which Dawe gave a wry smile. “We aren’t going to get ahead of ourselves, it’ll be a great occasion for the fans but I am not going to get wrapped in the hype that will surround that game, it’s another game, another hurdle to overcome on the road to where we want to be.”
Photo: Dom Connor (Brixham)
Former Cornwall skipper, and no doubt a contender for the role again this season, Ben Hilton always gets a buzz when the county squad come together. “It’s good that we have this get-together, it’s something I wanted the county to do when I first became skipper and eventually we got there and now it’s the norm. This shows that we mean business and that we take the competition seriously. The players come into the set-up and are won over by just how much this means to us all.
Photo: Ben Hilton (Barnstaple)
Hilton has no doubts that Cornwall will there or thereabouts again this season. “Two is not enough, we have to push the boundries we have to push forward the ambition. We want a third win on the trot, we want to put Cornwall on the map and fly the flag proud and bold, and say to people we are here, we are who we are do not forget Cornwall as a rugby hotbed.
“It is difficult sometimes for people to realise that there is rugby beyond Exeter and that there is a lot of talent west of the Tamar and if the Cornwall rugby team can be a vehicle for young talent to progress, like Billy Searle now at Bristol, then all well and good.
“I have had so much from my county career including playing for England Counties which has been a huge honour last season we saw Tom Cowan-Dickie, Matt Shepherd and Craig Williams all involved either during the spring games or the summer tour, so I hope other Cornwall players can taste some of that this season.
Jake Murphy is another who is looking forward to the new campaign. “Another campaign, it doesn’t seem five minutes ago that we were celebrating our win at Twickenham. It’s a new challenge with some new players coming in so we have to see how we gel as team going forward. We know the other counties are out to topple us and it’s going to be tough with our first two games on the road. I have no doubts that Graham and the coaching squad will make sure we are focused to meet the challenges ahead.
“Graham has the knack of unearthing new talent each season, see where Billy Searle is now, Christian Judge now in the Championship with Bedford so playing for Cornwall will open doors for players.
Tom Cowan –Dickie is relishing getting stuck in for Cornwall again this season. “Looking forward to it off the back of last season’s win, hopefully we can pull it off again this season. I was fortunate enough last season to play with Cornwall and also England Counties, that was a great thrill for me last year and I hope for it again this season.
All photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo
Video by Kevin Bishop from last Sunday’s Cornwall Under 20s win against Devon
Photo – Last season’s squad in action against Berkshire
Cornwall 33 Devon 19
U20s coaches Mike Rawlings, Bryn Jenkins and Matt Shepherd will have been pleased by the bright start their squad have made to the season prior to the Championship pool matches. With conditions good at Polson Bridge the crowd were able to see the new crop of talented Cornish lads run in five tries against their Devon counterparts.
After three weeks of training the large training squad of over 60 players representing many Cornish clubs brought together by Colin Hatch was reduced to 34 for the game against Devon. The numbers of players available at this age group is quite remarkable and represents the effort that has been invested into developing players out of Colts or College rugby. The coaches had to maintain the tricky balance of giving all the players a good chance to show their skills as the next match day squad will be reduced to 22 with 4 reserves. To come away with a win as well was really fine work and the players were really keen to make sure that the chance to play in the black and gold shirt was a proud moment and a chance not to be missed.
The tries were scored by Ethan Tyler (2) Toby Robinson, Aaron Vinson and Max Duggan but they were down to good continuity and possession and effort by their team mates. Tyler and Boyer added the conversions. Devon for their part scored three tries, (one of those a penalty try) and added two conversions. But the organisation and preparation of the Cornwall squad was very apparent and the players stuck to the plan.
There now follows one more training session at Truro College and then it’s off to Camborne on Sunday 5th February (kick off 2pm) to play Berkshire in the first of the three pool games. The focus and attention to detail will provide the selected squad every opportunity to make Cornish supporters proud.
Cornwall squad picked to play Devon
Lewis Lee, Adam Wright, Matt Healy, Aaron Vincent, Callum Dewson
Jake Clemson, Matt Scott, Corry Teague, Noah Stainer Smith.
Harry Smith,Will Gilder, Max Duggan, Cam Sayer, Jack Osborne, Keane Whittaker.
Callum Voyce, Toby Robinson, Tom Sandercock, Harvey Jones
Declan Matthews, Jack Osborne, Ethan Tyler
Dan Hubble, Seb Firth, Cam Boyer, Reuben Edwards
Cornwall Under 18 Players in South West squad;
Four Cornish lads from this season’s Cornwall Under 18s have been picked for the South West squad ahead of the Divisional match against London and the South East at Staines in February. The players are: Jake Clemson (St Ives), Keane Whitaker (St. Austell), Kyle Bradley (Helston) and Jack Old (Wadebridge Camels).
The players will play a warm-up game against Gloucester Academy U.17s at Hartpury College at the end of the month before the game against London and the South East, which will be watched by England selectors looking to pick a squad to travel to Ireland at Easter.
A win was the only objective for Camborne on Saturday and they got just that with 25-18 success against Ivybridge.
It’s been a tough few weeks at Crane Park and the Cherry and Whites mounting injury crises will not ease matters in the short term.
Having been in charge for a couple of league games Liam Chapple has had a chance to assess the situation. “I don’t think there is any need to panic. For a promoted club we are sitting in an enviable position. I’ve brought Rhodri McAtee and Timoci Kava in to bolster the squad and will be looking to bring in a few more. The players I hope to bring in will add to the quality we already have. Last week we lost three of our squad with injuries so it would be naive not to try and get some players in.
“I thought both Kava (lock) and McAtee (flanker) did well today, Rhodri was the first to put his hand up to help us out in that position, that’s testament to his commitment to this club. Both players are still getting used to our patterns and systems and that will come in the next couple of weeks.”
Camborne’s points came thanks to tries from James Goldsworthy, Rhys Brownfield and a forwards try that has been attributed to either Goldsworthy or Jon Drew, depending on the source, whilst Dave Mankee kicked a further ten points.
This Saturday Camborne travel to Launceston for what should prove to be a right ol’ battle with both sides needing the win for different reasons.
Elsewhere in National 3 SW, Launceston couldn’t back up there win last week at Ivybridge with a second success on the road at Salisbury where they lost 14-7. Ryan Westren scored their try converted by Fraser Honey.
The Cornish Pirates kept their hopes alive of a best runners-up spot in their British & Irish Cup pool with a 34-10 win against Ospreys at Maesteg.
Pirates’ tries came from the forwards with Brett Beukeboom (2), Tyler Gendall and Marlen Walker all crossing whilst the referee also awarded the visitors a penalty-try. Laurence May added a couple of conversions and a penalty with Craig Cargill also adding a conversion.
In National 2 South, Redruth followed up their fine win against Chinnor the previous week with a 28-14 win at Redingensians. Unsurprisingly Alex Ducker scored another couple of tries with Lewis Vinnicombe and Shaun Buzza also dotting down. Brett Rule kicked the other points. The only sour note being a red card for centre Pale Nonu early in the second half for an illegal tackle.
In Western Counties West, Truro turned on the style to defeat Tiverton 41-14. Tries came from Ben Teasdale (2), Ethan Tyler, Josh Symons, Luke Tidball, Ethan Pattison and Lewis Bowns. Ashley Hosking added three conversions.
Wadebridge Camels defeated St. Austell 22-13 in a hard-fought Cornish derby. Tom Rawlings, Dickie Dawe and Matt Ballard scored the Camels’ tries with Dan Thomas kicking the other points.
For the Saints, who had Adam Kellow sent off for a high tackle early in the second half, Liam Freeman scored all their points with a try, conversion and two penalties.
St. Ives lost a tight game 24-26 at home to Torquay Athletic.
Bude picked up a win 12-8 over Sidmouth at Bencoolen. James Comber scored both tries with Dan Pearce kicking a conversion.
In London 2 SW, having dropped their first points of the season last week in a draw, London Cornish got back to winning ways with a 33-13 win against Old Reigatian to open up a fifteen point gap at the top of the table.
In the Cornwall & Devon League, leaders Falmouth defeated second placed Paignton 34-0 at the Rec to go nine points clear at the top, with a game in-hand. The Eagles’ tries came from Dan Hubble, Tom Simmonds, Trevelyan Ward, Tom Spiller, Tom Edmonds and John Baglow, whilst Edmonds added a couple of conversions.
Penryn warmed up for the visit of Falmouth this Saturday with 27-5 win at Tavistock. Andrew Seviour, Grant Randlesome, Mitch Vague and James Salisbury scored the Borough’s tries with Vague adding two conversions and a penalty.
Saltash are back up to second following a 69-0 win at Moorlands against Argaum. Ryan Cruickshanks led the scoring with three of Ashes’ eleven tries.
Lanner won 27-6 at Bodmin and Pirates Amateurs defeated Tamar Saracens 10-7.
There was a surprise in Cornwall 1 when Liskeard-Looe defeated Hayle 8-3 at Lux Park. Chris Chew scored the East Cornwall Lions try.
Newquay Hornets are top following their 19-7 win against Helston. Roseland beat School of Mines 18-7 and Veor won at St. Agnes 16-8.
In Cornwall 2 Lankelly-Fowey are top after their 15-8 win against Redruth Albany. Stithians are second on points difference after beating Perranporth at home 22-14. St. Just inflicted a heavy defeat on a valiant Camelford 84-0.
This Sunday sees Cornwall Under 20s in action at Polson Bridge against Devon, kick –off 2 pm. This is a friendly game before Cornwall kick off the Championship proper against Berkshire at Camborne on Feb 5th.