Welcoming Yorkshire Carnegie to the Mennaye Field, the Cornish Pirates recorded a thoroughly deserved and eagerly sought-after win in what was their final Greene King IPA Championship home match of the season, reports Phil Westren.
In a precarious position at the start
of the season, under the direction of Chris Stirling the strengthened opponents
had climbed to sixth in the league table, just one place below the still
The return of scrum-half Alex Day
was the one change in the Pirates backs from the side that started at London
Scottish last time out, whilst in the forwards Danny Cutmore took the place of
an injured Toby Freeman in the second-row and John Stevens was named to wear
the number ‘7’ shirt.
After all present had observed an
impeccable minute’s silence in respect of innocent victims earlier killed or
injured at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, and also not forgetting journalist
Lyra McKee who was tragically murdered during Easter in Northern Ireland, on an
otherwise perfect afternoon the Pirates also got off to a perfect start.
Young full-back AJ Cant opened the
scoring in just the first minute, his effort at the Newlyn gate corner well
converted by fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez.
Yorkshire Carnegie, however, were
quick to respond, with full-back Chris Elder firing his penalty strike through
the Penzance posts.
Although Elder soon pulled a
long-range penalty attempt to the left of the posts, the visitors soon took the
lead for the first time after some potent forward play ended with hooker Dylan
Donnellan identified as a try-scorer.
A successful Rojas Alvarez penalty
saw the Pirates back in front, but when they looked to attack down the left an
error gifted Elder a 45-metres run in for a try that he also converted.
A second Rojas Alvarez penalty
narrowed the deficit to just two points, but after home flanker Matt Bolwell
was yellow-carded ‘Carnegie’ scored a converted try through winger Myles
Thoroughgood. On the stroke of half-time it left the scoreline reading 13-22.
The Pirates had played some
industrious rugby and the line-out was functioning well. At scrum time,
however, they had been put under pressure.
Whistle blown to start the second
period it was not long before the still 14-man Pirates were back into the
match. No. 8 Tom Duncan made a telling intercept, and with speedster Robin
Wedlake lending support the wing crossed for his tenth Championship try of the
season. Replacement fly-half Will Cargill, on for the injured Rojas Alvarez,
landed the conversion.
Several Pirates were having
impressive games, and none more so than hooker and man-of-the-match Dan Frost,
who four minutes later showed immense grit and strength to score a converted
try at the Penzance posts.
The Pirates went down to 14 men for a
second time in the match when Duncan was sin-binned and during his absence
Chris Stirling’s side got back in front with a converted try scored at the old
Western National corner by wing Elijah Niko.
In what was proving as hot a contest
on the field as the weather enjoyed off it, the pendulum swung back to the
Pirates when, on about the hour mark, Cargill kicked a penalty to again give
the Pirates a lead.
By now there was a sense that with
the spirit displayed by the Pirates they genuinely looked the likely winners,
which of course proved to be the case. Although feeling unfortunate to lose a
third player of the afternoon to the sin bin when Cant was yellow-carded,
following a late red card shown visiting replacement hooker Joe Buckle the
result was wrapped up thanks to a second penalty kicked by Cargill.
To survive three sin-binnings
against opponents who were striving to build on a five-game winning run was
truly commendable and the players deserved to enjoy their post-match
celebrations. Along with their supporters, they surely did.
Cornish Pirates’ co-coach Alan Paver
had also envisaged the game being exciting and positive to overall make for
smashing occasion, and he was proved right.
Hey, you can’t beat the return of
that good old – good feel factor!
Cornish Pirates: 15 AJ Cant, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata (Dan Koster 64), 12 Callum
Patterson, 11 Alex O’Meara, 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (Will Cargill 38), 9 Alex
Day (Alex Schwarz 61); 1 Marlen Walker (Jack Andrew 61), 2 Dan Frost, 3 Jack
Owlett, 4 Danny Cutmore, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Matt Bolwell, 7 John Stevens
(Dan Lee 64), 8 Tom Duncan.
Replacements (not used): Tom Concu, Jake Clemson.
Yellow cards: Bolwell, Duncan, Cant.
Yorkshire Carnegie: 15 Chris Elder, 14 Myles Thoroughgood, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Pete Lucock
(George Watkins 44), 11 Elijah Niko, 10 Jade Te Rure (Tom Bullough 65), 9 Sam
Wolstenholme; 1 Tom Hill (Andrew Foster 65), 2 Dylan Donnellan (Joe Buckle 61),
3 Craig Mitchell, 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 5 Matt Smith, 6 Richard Mayhew (Josh
Bainbridge 54), 7 Lewis Wilson, 8 Dan Temm.
Three tries in the space of sixteen minutes at the beginning of the second half by mercurial Camborne winger Alex Ducker helped Cornwall retain the Tamar Cup, for an eighth year in succession, against old foes Devon at a balmy Brickfields yesterday evening.
Ducker a late call
up, who ended his club season on Saturday by scoring four against Ivybridge to
break David Weeks’ club record at Camborne, carried on his stellar form in the
black and gold.
Apart from Ducker’s performance, there was plenty to enthuse about the Cornwall performance, ahead of more testing challenges in this season’s Bill Beaumont Cup, not least a return against Devon at Brixham on the 18th May.
Devon had the better
of the early exchanges taking a deserved lead thanks to a penalty from fly-half
Briant then coughed up a golden chance for the home side with the line begging.
Cornwall began to
get their maul working with skipper Ben Hilton, flanker Tony Whittle and Ducker
all going close, before they got it right from a catch-and-drive with hooker
Tommy-Lee Southworth dotting down from the drive, fly-half Fraser Honey split
the uprights on his home turf.
Leading up to half-time Devon pressure saw a clever chip over the top from centre Mitch Pinkus with scrum-half Ben Watts winning the race to the touchdown for Putt to make the half-time score 10-7 to Devon.
Cornwall made four
changes at half-time and re-jigged the backline, which saw full-back Matt
Shepherd move to outside centre and Harvey Bell from wing to full-back.
It didn’t take long for the re-shuffle to work as Ducker arched his way to the line for the first of his tries with barely a minute on the clock, Shepherd kicking a fine touchline conversion.
Although Putt pulled
three points back for Devon with a penalty, Cornwall were soon deep in the
Devon twenty-two with the ball moved wide for Shepherd to serve up Ducker for
his second try, once more Shepherd banged over the extras for some daylight on
The Cornish forwards
continued to drive hard working an overlap for Ducker to get his third try,
needless to say Shepherd slotted his third conversion to effectively seal the
Devon put Cornwall under pressure in the closing stages but the Cornish defence was top draw and kept Devon at bay, which was as equally satisfying as the result.
coach Graham Dawe was satisfied with the performance on the night. “We have had
some good training sessions prior to tonight and looked at a number of players.
Some of the lads have put their hands up for selection in the Championship.
“I thought Tony Whittle
had a good game for us and I thought Rupert Edwards and Dan Sanderson gave us good
options in the second row along with Hilts.
“Rightly a lot of
praise will go to the backs but you have to get your foundations right up front
to get them good ball and we showed that.
“We shall have to
see who’s available for the Kent game, hopefully we will have some of the lads
from Redruth, Launceston and St. Ives also in the mix.”
Briant, Billy Pinkus, Rhys Palmer, Mitch Pinkus, Kieran Lee, Tom Putt, Ben
Watts; Matt Dowick, Dean Avery, Charlie Tribble, Tim Coats, Karl Pearce, Tom McGratton,
Ben King, Caleb Sampson.
Walker, Aiden Taylor, Olly Schuster-Wood, Tom Bottoms, Dean Abrams, Peli Vea,
Jacob Nash, Ryan Lee, Lewis Paterson, Connor Bedwell, Jake Neville, Jordan
Watson, Jake Prophett-O’Neill, Josh Luxon.
Devon scores: Try,
Watts, Con, Putt, Pens, Putt 2
Cornwall: Matt Shepherd, Harvey Bell, Jon Dawe, Declan Matthews, Alex Ducker, Fraser Honey, Noah Nash; Dan Job, Tommy-Lee Southworth, Andrius Zacharovas, Ben Hilton (Capt), Rupert Edwards, Adam Hughes, Tony Whittle, Grant Randlesome.
Noot, Miles Davey, Charlie Nicholson, Dan Sanderson, Lewis Wells, George Jones,
Darren Livett, Taron Peacock, Fraser Nottle, Rhys Brownfield, Kyle Spear, Oliver
Cornwall travel across the Tamar on Tuesday evening, 16th April, to
take on Devon at Plymouth Albion’s Brickfields ground at 7:30 pm in this
season’s Tamar Cup.
Cornwall will be looking to retain the Cup they defended successfully last season when they defeated Devon 24-12 at St. Austell.
Head coach Graham Dawe will once again be looking to field a competitive side running the rule over certain players with a view to the upcoming Bill Beaumont Cup campaign which begins against Kent on May 4th.
Cornwall Senior XV continue their preparation for
the 2019 Bill Beaumont County Championship with the annual Tamar Cup
game with Devon to be played at Brickfields Plymouth on Tuesday 16th April with a 7.30pm kick off.
This comes at a time when clubs and players are battling for promotions, some through the play-offs, making a big demand and asking for a big commitment from the players. Terry Carter and CRFU selectors want to put out on to the pitch the best team and are very aware of what is being asked of our players due to RFU league schedules and the timing of the Championships but the determination of Cornish players to pull on the ‘black and gold’ and represent their county is still as evident as it always was during previous campaigns with some that have ended up at Twickenham.
Wednesday 10th April is the last
training session for coaches Graham Dawe and Marek Churcher to assemble
the squad for the Tamar Cup. Captain Ben Hilton expects a busy evening
as players go through the preparation with injured and unavailable for
selection players on the touchline also making sure they are in the
frame for Championship games selection. At the St Austell Brewery team
building event senior players talked about the pride of being the best
and of playing for Cornwall being special and an honour.
Cornwall RFU look forward to some healthy support from Trelawny’s Army on the night.
Although the Cornwall Rugby Football Union (CRFU) 2019, Under 20 County
Championship campaign has ended, eight of their players have been invited to
the South West training day, being held on Easter Sunday, at Keynsham RFC.
This is the next stage for the players who will hope it will end with
them earning selection for the England Counties Under 20s.
CRFU President Peter James said “It is a great honour for these guys to have been selected due to their performances in the Jason Leonard Cup playing for Cornwall.”
The eight players represent four different Cornish clubs along with Bath
University. The majority come from
Redruth with all four players having played for the National League 2 South
team this season.
The players selected are;
Torin Clarke – Launceston
Connor Gilbert – Redruth
Jack Hodge – Redruth
Rory Mead – Bude
Mawgan Osborne – Penzance & Newlyn Colts
Jake Penprase – Bath University
Aaron Simmonds – Redruth
James Tucker – Redruth
Almost fifty players from eight counties have been invited to train at
Keynsham RFC. From that day the South West selectors will pick a South West
team, who will play against the other regions in Derbyshire on the weekend of 11
/ 12 May.
The Cornwall U20 team manager Colin Hatch said; -”These eight guys are now up against the best players from our region this season, and will need to perform on the day to get selected for the South West team. We are all immensely proud of their achievement in being selected and representing Cornwall at this level. We would also like to thank Trelawny’s Army Supporters Club, who once again have assisted these young guys with their travelling expenses to this training session in Bristol.”
Trelawny’s Army are delighted to help with the cost of travel for the lads and wish them every success.
Despite the Cornish Pirates playing with a truly commendable spirit throughout, five tries from London Irish, all converted by Ireland international Ian Keatley, saw the visitors to victory, reports Phil Westren.
The teams had already played
each other three times this season, the Pirates in their last meeting recording
a first ever win against
London Irish, which back in mid-December had delivered a perfect
Christmas present. Following that loss, it was always likely that ‘Irish’ would
seek their revenge, with the added incentive of striving to hone towards almost
certain promotion at the business end of the season.
Pirates made three changes in their starting line-up from the one that ran out
at Bedford the previous weekend. AJ Cant slotted in on the left wing and in the
front-row Sam Matavesi was named at hooker and Jack Owlett at tight-head prop.
The visit of London Irish,
combined with that of the Falmouth Marine Band plus sunny weather, helped
create a real pre-match buzz about the ‘Mennaye’, and it one certainly enjoyed
by both sets of supporters.
After a lively start from the competing
teams, it was London Irish who opened their account in the twelfth minute with
a try scored at the old Western National corner by centre Tom Stephenson. Fly-half
Keatley followed up with the first of his five conversions slotted in the
In the period that followed the
visitors dominated possession, ending with Stephenson making it over the line
again for a second converted score.
Conditions were, of course, much
better than Irish had experienced on their last visit to Penzance, and fielding
a side littered with international performers there were threats aplenty for
the Pirates to contend with.
There was credit due the Cornish
team for efforts made in also striving to launch attacks. Centre Rory Parata
and wing Robin Wedlake were to the fore, alongside willing ball carriers in
hooker Sam Matavesi and flankers Josh Caulfield and Matt Bolwell. The Pirates
line-out also functioned well, as did their scrum which was holding up
commendably well against larger opponents. Despite these positives, however, it
was the defensive determination and line speed display of their opponents that
was mightily impressive. Indeed, here was a squad that had arrived fully focused,
their collective will to deliver at a level this particular scribe has seldom
After Pirates’ centre Javier
Rojas Alvarez was luckless with a penalty attempt on 32 minutes, just before
the break the visitors extended their lead when a run from Luke McLean was
given support by scrum-half Ben Meehan who scored a converted try to the left
of the Newlyn posts.
London Irish proceeded to notch a
bonus point just four minutes into the second half, it the turn of right-wing
Ben Loader to get his name on the scoresheet. Making a counter-attack from some
40 metres out, in what seemed just a flash he dotted the ball down at the
Penzance posts, with Keatley’s fourth conversion making it 0-28.
Showing resolve, the Pirates
maintained their effort and boosted by fresh legs gained ultimate reward. After
pressing close to the line, it appeared that London Irish were about to clear
the danger, only for Matavesi to pounce and score a try converted by Rojas
Now was a period when the Pirates
looked in control and pressing for a second score wing Cant was unlucky not to
gather and make it over on the left. It felt that their efforts were deserving of
further points, but it was not to be, Meehan’s second try of the match, again
converted, delivering for London Irish their keenly sought-after victory.
Speaking after the game, Cornish
Pirates’ co-coach Gavin Cattle had praise both for London Irish and his own
team. He commented.“We have to commend
London Irish for a complete professional performance. They made us work for everything
and controlled field position, especially with the breeze advantage in the
“Looking at how we played, there were certainly
positives to take from the match. Our discipline was improved and sticking in
the fight we reacted well from our defeat at Bedford.
“There are a few battered bodies and seeing the effort
put in every week I’m just proud of the boys. Today was a case that at times
you just have to tip your hat to a better team.”
CornishPirates: 15 Maliq Holden,
14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata (Dan Koster 6), 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 11 AJ
Cant, 10 Will Cargill (Callum Patterson 54), 9 Alex Schwarz (Alex Day 54); 1
Marlen Walker (Jack Andrew 40), 2 Sam Matavesi (Dan Frost 70), 3 Jack Owlett, 4
Toby Freeman, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 Matt Bolwell (John
Stevens 53), 8 Tom Duncan (Dan Lee 53).
London Irish: 15 Alivereti Veitokani, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Tom Stephenson, 12 Fergus Mulchrone, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Ian Keatley (Jacob Atkins 74), 9 Ben Meehan (Scott Steele 74); 1 Gordon Reid (Lovejoy Chawatama 74), 2 Dave Porecki (Michael van Vuuren 74), 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Franco van der Merwe (Barney Maddison 73), 5 Josh McNally (c), 6 Albert Tuisue, 7 TJ Ioane, 8 Ofisa Treviranus (Jake Schatz 73).