London Cornish get back to winning ways

Match Report: London Cornish 25 – 6 Effingham & Leatherhead

London Two South West by Mark Digby, photo Ben Gilby

Following last Saturday’s late heartbreak high upon the hills of the North Downs, London Cornish returned to the REMPF aiming not to crash down to earth with a second successive defeat. Any fears were abated as the Exiles fortress remained intact, with patience being the key to a 25-6 victory over visitors Effingham and Leatherhead.

A mild, crisp autumn afternoon provided the calm for Cornish to start on the front foot from the kick off, and in almost a repeat of seven days earlier, they would again dominate possession and territory for much of the first half. Early pressure would soon bear fruit when after just four minutes, Effingham and Leatherhead conceded a penalty for Luke Spells to despatch successfully from the boot to strike three upon the scoreboard in his side’s favour.

IMG_6763 ciaran actford

Within minutes, an exchange of kickable penalties for both sides attempted to define the game but to no avail. Cornish would, as in previous weeks, find themselves their own worst enemy by allowing the Eagles’ Brian Collins two chances to punish them. However, they were fortunate not to be behind, as Collins could only find success with just one from two between the half way and forty metre lines, and with Spells also replying from the boot at Sir’s behest, the Exiles would regain the lead at 6-3 after less than fifteen minutes.

The remainder of the half would see a familiar pattern. Cornish continued to dominate both possession and territory, but a resolute and very well organised defensive effort from the visitors firmly put up the ‘No Entry’ sign, as the Black and Gold attack could advance no further than 15 metres from the Eagles’ line. The visitors themselves offered infrequent charges into enemy territory, only to also be repelled by stubborn defence, as they failed to penetrate the opposition twenty two. Spells had a chance to further the lead from a penalty on the half hour, but was unsuccessful for the first time in the game.

Half time came with the score remaining 6-3 to Cornish. Was the ghost of Warlingham about to haunt the spirit of Trelawny?

In the early exchanges of the second half, the spectre seemed to be appearing, as Effingham and Leatherhead began to shake off the shackles of the first forty minutes. Either side of an enforced fifteen minute break, due to a knee dislocation suffered by the Eagles’ No.8, the visitors began to push Cornish back as far as five metres from the line. With Spells again unable to find his kicking boots with an early penalty attempt, and Collins despatching his second successful kick, the spirit of the Might Warl was becoming ever apparent, as the scores were level after 54 minutes.

However, the Black and Gold had other ideas, and hatched a plan to exorcise the ghost from the hills. Successive changes from the bench were made with Rich Fisher replacing Harry Somers, and Phil Dale making his comeback after injury, to swap places with Joe Skinnard at Fly Half. The alterations appeared to be what was required, as Cornish found renewed impetus following the re-start.

Patience was finally rewarded, as it would prove to be pretty much one way traffic for the final twenty five minutes. Continued pressure from the Exile’s pack would force errors from the visitor’s, as fatigue began to set into the Eagle’s previously resolute defensive wall. On the hour, a penalty was awarded that Dale opted to kick towards the corner. Mark Osei-Tutu attempted to peel off the back off the Cornish pack following the line out, but was thwarted yet again. However, Cornish regrouped and formed another rolling maul which, from twenty metres, could not be stopped. Chris Anstey touched the ball down for try number one, in a move that any great Cornish team of the past, and indeed future, would be proud of. Unfortunately, Spells could not convert, but at 11-6, a gap was appearing that would only grow.

Patience finally brought confidence, momentum, and finally just reward, as relentless Cornish pressure continued to wear down the visitors. With ten minutes to go, Anstey crossed the line again in a similar move to the first try, this time a huge shove from the Black and Gold from ten metres. Spells rediscovered his kicking compass to add the extras, 18-6.

However, Cornish were not finished, and on the stroke of full time, Osei-Tutu would add the cherry on the cake with a fine twenty metre dash, following more forward pressure to dive under the posts, and score his seventh try of the season. Spells again converted to make a final score of 25-6 to the Exiles. The ghost was vanquished as Cornish solidified second place in London Two South West.

London Cornish Director of Rugby, Dickon Moon gave his thoughts after the game:

“It was a very similar performance to recent weeks, but what I was really pleased about, was that we defended a lot better today. We had to stop giving away kickable penalties, and I was very pleased that we kept Effingham and Leatherhead down to a few long pots at goal. They are a tricky side, and will definitely be top four/five this year, and have improved and recruited very well, so we can be really pleased with 25-6, as last week’s defeat shook everyone, which Warlingham deserved (the win). Onward and upwards with 25 points from a possible 30 in the first six games, which we’ve got to be happy with.

Some lessons learnt from last week, as maybe we could have taken a few more shots at goal, but Warlingham defended superbly. It was the right result, and it gave us a good shake up. What was good for us, was that we had Phil Dale back today following his operation in the summer. We’ll have more depth at nine and ten, plus we have other players to come back in the forthcoming weeks. Given our position, and that historically we improve as the season goes on, this is very encouraging.

Farnham (away next week) had a great season last year, and gave Totton a tough game last week. We will look at selection, as I anticipate another tough day at the office, but we will certainly give them something to think about, and look forward to visiting their new ground.”

Posted in Bill's Blog

Town overcome fiesty Matson

Photo Tyler Gendall receives the “Tony Mead” Memorial Shield as Cornwall U.20 Player of the Year from BBC Radio Cornwall’s Dick Straughan

Camborne maintained their push near the top of Tribute South West 1 West on Saturday with a 27-15 win over Gloucestershire side Matson.

You can read my match report in the link.

After the match head-coach Liam Chapple gave me his thoughts on the game. He said. “The conditions played a massive part in the game today; we won the toss and elected to play into the wind. We rode out the storm first half and then took control in the second period scoring four good tries in the second half.

“We were perhaps a little too impatient during the first half when we spurned chances to score, in the second half we were more patient and the scores came.

“We knew what to expect from Matson and some of our younger players will now understand what they are likely to face up there in the return, you have got to let the rugby do the talking and not fall in to the trap they want to set. I was proud that the boys kept their discipline and stuck to the game plan to get the five points.”

Matson were certainly a hard physical side and I thought local referee Nicholas Searle did well to keep the game under control, there were just a couple of bouts of handbags as the visitors looked to provoke Camborne.

Also disappointing was the fact that one of their “supporters” elected to boo Grant Thirlby’s kick at goal. There is no need for that sort of behaviour, after a good talking to I am pleased that he desisted from further boorish behaviour!

St. Austell showed improved form despite losing at home to leaders Ivybridge 14-12. Having gone down 14-0 early in the game Saints fought back with four penalties from Dan Pearce before Adam Kellow was deemed held up over the line in stoppage time, so close to a morale boosting win.

In the British & Irish Cup; Cornish Pirates almost repeated their league success at Castle Park but in the end lost their second pool game to Doncaster Knights 29-25.

Paul Jarvis did the damage against the Pirates with three tries.

You can read Martin Woollatt’s match report in the link. plus Ian Davies’s reaction here

Having been awarded the Cornwall Under 20 Player of the Year award this week it was disappointing to learn that young prop Tyler Gendall will miss the rest of the season due to an ACL injury.

He has been a sensation in the Pirates’ front-row seemingly improving with each game. I wish him all the best as he battles to get back to full fitness following surgery.

In National League 2 South; it was defeats for both Cornish clubs. Redruth travelled to Hyde Park to take on high-flyers Taunton. The Reds sensed a win at the break as they led 17-10 thanks to tries from hooker Richard Brown and No 8 Kyle Marriott both converted by scrum-half Ashley Hosking who also added a penalty.

Taunton stormed back in the second half, however Redruth had a chance to perhaps tie the game in the final moments but the chance went begging at Taunto held on for a 24-17 win. Still a losing bonus point for the Reds who continue to pick up points from all their games thus far this season. Report here

Photo – Greg Goodfellow receives the “Bill Osborne” Memorial Shield as Cornwall Player of the Year from BBC Radio Cornwall’s Dick Straughan

Disappointment for the Cornish All Blacks who let slip a 22-5 half-time lead to succumb at Polson Bridge 26-22 to Chinnor.

Director of Rugby Neil Bayliss, summed it up when he said that his side needs to play for 80 minutes not just 60!

When they did play they scored tries through forwards Ben Hilton (2) and Jamie Salter with Matt Shepherd kicking the rest of the points. Report here

In Tribute Western Counties West; frustration for Truro as their game at St. Clements was abandoned after 47 minutes when referee Al Denham picked up an injury. They were leading Tiverton 17-9 at the time but will have to do it all over again.

Wadebridge Camels spanked Penryn 32-0 at the Molesworth Field. Camels scored tries through Gary Gynn (2), Matt Ballard, Richard Treleaven and Ben Miskowicz with Mark Kempthorne adding a penalty and two conversions.

Struggling St. Ives lost at home to Okehampton 59-10 scoring tries through Tom Chandler and Mark Eager.

In London 2 SW, London Cornish lost for the first time this season at Warlingham 16-15. See Mark Digby’s match report in the previous blog entry.

In Tribute Cornwall and Devon League; Pirates Amateurs continue to hang on to the coat-tails of leaders Withycombe after defeating Paignton 33-10 at the Mennaye.

Steve Kent (2), Nick Hitchens, Rhys Brownfield and Jamie Semmens all crossed for the Amateurs with Brownfield kicking four conversions.

Saltash are in third following their 53-11 win against cross-Tamar foes OPM’s at Moorlands.

Whilst Liskeard Looe won the basement battle at South Molton 21-18.

Reports on both games from the Plymouth Herald in the link.

Bodmin got their first league win of the season defeating Honiton at Clifden Park 41-22, with Paul Carter scoring three tries and Wendon and Josh Taylor the other two. Tayloe added all five conversions plus a couple of penalties.

Bude defeated Hayle at Bencoolen 30-23. There was a brace of tries scored by both Harry Goodrun and Rick Herzog with Adam Williams also crossing. Goodrum also dropped a goal and Alex Rakhshami kicked a conversion.

For Hayle Scott Harvey and Neil Mitchell scored tries with Dan Magee kicking the rest of the points.

Falmouth lost at Crediton 22-3 with Justyn Irons kicking their sole points with a penalty.

In Tribute Cornwall 1; there were wins for Newquay Hornets 35-5 at home to Stithians, Illogan Park away to School of Mines 22-14, Veor defeated Helston 48-8 at Wheal Gerry and Perranporth who won at Roseland 5-3.

In Tribute Cornwall 2, Lanner travelled to Camelford and won 29-0, whilst St. Just defeated Redruth Albany 19-12.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Exiles toppled at Warlingham

London Cornish scaled the heights of the North Downs looking to continue their reign at the top of London Two South West, only to find themselves toppled by last minute, last kick of the game heartbreak reports Mark Digby.

The league leaders were in confident mood, facing a Warlingham side yet to experience home success this season. Cornish started off like an express train, determined to make their mark, and from the kick off, they spent the first twenty minutes of the game camped in opposition territory, and the majority of this around a small portion of the field in the far corner on Warl’s five metre line.

Despite numerous attempts to expand play across the width of the pitch, the Black and Gold were sucked back into the same corner time after time. Three significant factors to consider for this apparent vacuum of territory – 1. Weather – swirling wind and rain. 2. Sir’s management of the scrum and ensuing breakdown. 3. Warlingham’s excellent defence.

Following this long period of skulduggery and pitch wearing, the home side finally breached the half way line, only for Cornish to regain possession and return back to the far corner within around fifteen seconds. Constant pressure from the Black and Gold’s traditional Cornish bossing of the packs led to a Warlingham forward being sent to the sin bin for ten.

Just as the home side thought they had successfully rode the storm of being short handed, Cornish would finally gain the score their superior possession and territory deserved. In a rare spell of play on the opposite side of the field, Ciaran Acford collected the ball from yet another scrum, and squeezed his way through the seemingly impenetrable home defence to score his third try of the season. Unfortunately Luke Spells’ conversion attempt went wide of the posts. 0-5.

Photo Ciaran Acford squeezes in

The visitors would go into the break with their lead increased further. Black and Gold pressure saw them awarded a penalty which was kicked across the pitch, taking play back into the home twenty two on the now well worn far side. A wonderfully executed catch and drive move from the line out, saw the Cornish pack advance fifteen metres. Mark Osei-Tutu found a rare gap and crossed the line, but with the ball adjudged to have been held up, a chink in Warl’s armour was found following a five metre scrum. Sam Williams received the ball to surge across the line, and this time the score would count to open the scrum half’s account for the season. Spells was this time successful in adding the extras to make the score 0-12.

Photo – lineout action

The wind would seek to work in Warlingham’s favour in the second half. As Cornish did in the opening period of the game, the hosts found greater possession and territory, and a reshuffle in their pack appeared to galvanise their resolve and confidence. As they gained the upper hand, Cornish would begin to concede what became a series of penalties to the opposition. Home full back Joe McEvoy had an opportunity to reduce the lead from the boot. His attempt missed the goal, but he would make no mistake shortly after. The ball was struck from the wing with accuracy and aplomb to make the score 3-12.

With growing confidence, ‘The Mighty Warl’ gave a fine display of attacking rugby. Following a scrum in the centre of the park, Dave Thornton went on a powerful, mazy run surging 30 metres before a Black and Gold tackle at the five metre mark. However, quick ball saw Jack Atkinson fed to score a deserved try for the hosts. With McEvoy again successful with the conversion, the score was now 10-12, and the game on a knife edge.

LCRFRC v Warlingham
Photo – Mark Osei-Tutu sets off on another run

London Cornish responded positively, with a ten minute spell of sustained pressure, with around half of that period spent camped on the home try line. Again Osei-Tutu crossed the line only for the ball to be held up by the stubborn Warl defence. Despite some calls for a penalty try from Cornish following numerous infractions at the breakdown. Warl eventually regained possession and territory, and on 66 minutes, earned a penalty to take the lead for the first time in the game. McEvoy’s boot turned the score around to 13-12.

Three minutes later, McEvoy spurned a chance to extend the home lead. Following much prevarication by the referee and some of the players following a possible knock on and a bout of hangbags in the Cornish half, a penalty was awarded, but the full back could not find the posts.

With the clock running down and four minutes left to play, It was Cornish’s time to create pressure to earn themselves a penalty, after a Warlingham player was adjudged to be not rolling away, and Spells made no mistake from his boot to regain the lead 15-13. Tension rose to match the altitude level. Could the spirit of Trelawny carry the Black and Gold to a fifth successive league win? Alas, no.

The reliable boot of McEvoy would put paid to ambitions, as Cornish were penalised for holding on. From 37 metres, the ball was despatched perfectly to send Cornish home with their first defeat, but with at least a losing bonus point as reward for their endeavours.

Photos by Ben Gilby.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Goodfellow & Gendall scoop TASC awards



With Cornwall once again reaching a Twickenham final in the Bill Beaumont Cup it was inevitable that there would again be no shortage of candidates in the running for the Cornwall Senior Player of the Year award, to succeed last year’s winner Darren Jacques now with Truro.

In the end a very close poll saw REDRUTH scrum-half GREG GOODFELLOW emerge as the player with the most votes, defeating by just one vote former winner of the award, Cornwall skipper and lock Ben Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), with prop forward Jamal Ford-Robinson, formerly with Cambridge but now at the Cornish Pirates finishing third in the poll.

Picture – Simon Bryant Iktis photo – Goodfellow on the break at Twickenham

Goodfellow a former Scotland Under 21 player played for Hawick and the professional Borders Reivers North of the Border player before heading South turning out for Mount’s Bay, Coventry and the Cornish Pirates before signing for Redruth. Following a first spell at the Reds Goodfellow spent some time in France playing for Figeac before returning to Redruth were he has remained since.

Goodfellow blessed with an electric pace constantly put Cornwall on the front-foot throughout the campaign making him a firm favourite with the crowd.

He was instrumental in the build-up to both Cornish tries scored at Twickenham by Truro winger Lewis Vinnicombe and prop Ford-Robinson.

Commentating on his award after Redruth’s win against Canterbury Goodfellow said. “It’s a real privilege and honour but much of my performance comes off the back of the hard work the rest of the team puts in. Naturally I am delighted to have been voted the recipient of the shield for last season and I thank all those members of Trelawny’s Army who voted for me.”

The TONY MEAD MEMORIAL SHIELD for the CORNWALL U.20 PLAYER goes to tight-head prop forward TYLER GENDALL, the young prospect spent last season with the St. Ives club his performances for the Hakes and Cornwall Under 20’s – when Cornwall reached the quarter-finals of the U.20 County Championship – saw him earn a Player Development Fund contract with the Cornish Pirates and described by Cornish Pirates’ forward coach Alan Paver as “A diamond in the rough.”

Photo – Simon Bryant Iktis photo – Tyler Gendall on the charge

Definitely one to watch for the future. He has already made his Championship debut for the Pirates this season coming off the bench in the opening game against Yorkshire Carnegie at the Mennaye, and has been a regular in the match day squad so far this season, continuing to improve with each performance, evidenced again last Sunday when playing for the Cornish Pirates in the British and Irish Cup tie at the Mennaye against Bedford Blues.

Both players will receive their awards on Wednesday evening, at the St. Austell Brewery Visitor Centre, at the conclusion of TASC AGM, with BBC Radio Cornwall’s Dick Straughan being a special guest along with officials and coaching staff from Cornwall R.F.U.

More pictures of the evening are available via the TASC Facebook page.

There will be further comment, reaction and pictures from the evening in due course.

Posted in Bill's Blog, Club News

Pirates get Cup campaign off to winning start, whilst big day for Lanner Falcons

The Cornish Pirates came out on top in a cracking opening pool game in this season’s British & Irish Cup against old foes Bedford Blues 35-34 at the Mennaye on Sunday.

As the score-line suggests it’s was a classic ding-dong affair with the lead changing hands no less than six times!

The Cornish Pirates pack put in an awesome performance with Jamal Ford-Robinson, Tom Channon and Tyler Gendall immense in the front row and Will Carrick-Smith matching St. Michael’s Mount for sheer physical presence in the line-outs. As for flanker Alex Cheesman, an absolute animal at the breakdown – along with skipper Chris Morgan- and scorer of two tries.

Picture by Simon Bryant Iktis photo – Tyler Gendall Cornish Pirates

Out wide the pace of Kieran Goss and the implacable kicking of Kieran Hallett were in part key to the win, whilst replacement Bertie Hopkin took his try well. Tom Kessell buzzed at scrum-half looking to boss the game.

You can read Bill Sobey’s match report from the WMN in the link here.

In National League 2 South mixed fortunes for our two Cornish sides. A welcome win for Redruth after three successive defeats. The Reds put in their best performance of the season thus far in defeating Canterbury 38-15 in front of county coach Graham Dawe who was present along with fellow selectors Julian Wilce and Trevor Spargo.

There were some good performances for the Reds notably from man-of-the-match hooker Ben Priddey and winger Jack Kessell who was a constant threat with the ball in-hand going forward.

Redruth v Clifton 191111
Picture Simon Bryant Iktis photo – Rhodri McAtee in action for Redruth

It was a win that pleased head coach Steve Larkins who felt that the side were beginning to play to the patterns that the coaching staff had laid down for the season.

You can read my report from the West Briton site in the link.

The Cornish All Blacks brought home a losing bonus point from their trip to Dorking where they lost 20-17, having trailed 20-3 after 24 minutes.

Head coach Neil Bayliss felt that the poor start left them with a mountain to climb having to play catch up for the rest of the match.

You can read Conrad Sutcliffe’s report from the WMN in the link.

In Tribute South West 1 West; disappointment for both Cornish sides on the road.

Camborne travelled to league leaders Ivybridge and put up a tremendous fight before finally going down 39-34. The Cherry and Whites brought a couple of bonus points back from their trip which will be of some comfort.

Dave Mankee, Sam Bartle Rob Floyd and Stuart Milliner all crossed for tries whilst the boot of Mankee added a further fourteen points.

St. Austell’s disappointing season continues despite picking up a losing bonus point from their defeat 23-20 at Drybrook. Ben Chenoweth, Konnor Ewudzi and Jack Grigg scored the Saints’ tries with Andy Ashwin kicking a conversion and penalty.

In Tribute Western Counties West; match of the day for the Cornish was at the Memorial Ground when Penryn entertained Truro.

It was a classic tale of two halves with yellow cards and missed penalties all thrown into the mix of a cracker.

Truro raced into a 18 point lead thanks to tries from Carl Ranscombe (2) with Eggy Williams kicking a couple of penalties and a conversion.

Ben Birkett got a try back for the Borough early in the second half. Both sides had men in the bin as Borough edged closer thanks to a try from Dan Kirk that Jake Seviour converted. Ben Jordan scored a third try for Penryn at the end but the conversion, which could of won the game, was missed to leave Truro winners 18-17.

Wadebridge Camels lost at Sidmouth 20-15 with Matt Ballard scoring Camels only try.

Struggling St. Ives lost at Teignmouth 72-21, Jamie Prisk (2) and Tom Nicholas scored tries for the Hakes.

Another storming win for London Cornish 53-23 over Portsmouth in London 2 SW. Read the report in the previous blog entry.

In Tribute Cornwall and Devon League; Pirates Amateurs maintained their good run with a 41-3 win at Old Plymouthian and Mannamedian. Danny Toolan (2), Trev Dugdale, Rhys Brownfield, Sam Skinner Ryan Stanley and Jack Nicholas all crossed for the Ams tries with Brownfield also kicking three conversions.

Saltash came out on top of the East Cornwall derby defeating strugglers Liskeard-Looe at Lux Park 66-11.

Match report from the Plymouth Herald in the link

Falmouth defeated Bude in a mid-table battle 20-10 at the Rec. Josh Semmens, Andy Monroe-Lott and Tom Spiller all scored tries for the Eagles with Justyn Irons kicking the other points.

Freddy Sexton and Adam Williams scored un-converted tries for Bude.

Hayle defeated Bodmin 33-32 to leave the visitors still seeking their first win.

Freddie Carter, Scott Harvey and Doug Arnull acored the Lions’ tries with Dan Magee kicking the rest of Hayle’s points.

Bodmin crossed the Hayle lin four times thanks to Cody Armstrong, Luke Richard, Jamie Taylor and Oliver Wendon, with Taylor kicking the other points.

In Tribute Cornwall League 1, Newquay Hornets maintained their fine start with a win against Roseland 45-8. Perry Hughes scoring three tries.

Illogan Park defeated Stithians 58-9, Nick Prout scoring three of the “Rats” nine tries.

Helston and Camborne School of Mines drew 7-7.

Veor got back to winning ways defeating Perranporth at Ponsemere Valley 24-7.

In Tribute Cornwall League 2; it was a big day for Lanner as they played their first ever league fixture. The Falcons defeated St. Just 69-0 in front of big crowd with Ben Hocking and Adam Harris scoring three tries each.

Camelford won at Lankelly-Fowey 27-18, Ben Palmer scoring three tries for the North Cornwall side.

Commiserations to Cornwall Under 18’s who lost at Wadebridge to Devon 25-22 on Sunday.

Watch out for news of Trelawny’s Army Player of the Year Awards to be presented this Wednesday.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Four-Midable Cornish Secure Top Spot!

London Cornish 53-23 Portsmouth

Report and Pictures by Ben Gilby

London Cornish recorded their fourth straight bonus point victory as they swept aside Portsmouth 53-23 at The REMPF.

Pompey arrived in South-West London with a weakened pack, and they didn’t make the best of starts when their kick-off failed to go ten metres. From the resulting scrum, the ball was fed to winger Robin Heymann on the right, who blazed past the visiting defence to score within the opening minute. Luke Spells‘ conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

The visitors then settled, and gained a penalty. They opted to tap and go, with Rob Giquel feeding Daniel Gates, but just as the Hampshire side began to make ground, they knocked on. The game went through a period of successive penalties, awarded by Argentinian referee Alvaro Delbarco, officiating at his first game in England. Only one of these led to any points, and it was Portsmouth full-back Chris Morgan who bisected the posts successfully.

Cornish responded powerfully, and shortly after the re-start, were awarded a penalty which was kicked to the corner. From the resulting line-out, the pack’s power was far too great for the visitors makeshift affair, and Mike Bond was driven across the whitewash after 10 minutes. Spells converted from just in from touch, and the Black & Golds were 12-3 ahead. The Exiles now had the bit between their teeth, and Spells fed Hakes who went on a trademark run up the left, which was finally ended when he was tackled into touch. Shortly afterwards, ‘The Exiles’ were awarded a penalty and Spells kicked the conversion to extend the lead to twelve points.

Just three minutes later, one of the more unusual episodes of the season so far took place. Portsmouth winger Dave Jones received a pass in the centre, around 20 metres out. To the vast majority of the spectators, Jones appeared to knock-on as the ball looked to have fallen to the ground. However, there was no whistle. Jones picked up the ball and plunged over the line between the posts. Morgan converted and the visitors were right back into it at 15-10.

This shock score clearly galvanized the Hampshire men, who had a period of concerted pressure. With ‘The Exiles’ on the back foot, referee Delbarco awarded Portsmouth a penalty, which Morgan kicked. The score was now at 15-13, and it was very much game on.

With seventeen minutes to the break, Cornish showed the grit and determination that got them over the line at Winchester last time out – they stole line-out ball, Williams fed Spells who drifted past Portsmouth’s defence to plunge over for a vital score. He got up and kicked the conversion, and things looked rosy again, with the score-line now beginning to reflect the balance of play once more at 22-10. Just three minutes later, the try scoring bonus point was secured for the fourth time in four games this season with half an hour gone. Matt Hakes went on another powerful run, he fed Anstey, who in turn played in Joe Skinnard. Skinnard beat his man and passed to Spells who went over for his second try in five minutes. The conversion was good.

IMG_6757 somers line out

Pic – Harry Somers competes in the lineout

Portsmouth had the final chance of the half when they were awarded a penalty at the scrum. Cornish appeared to have control of Pompey’s put-in and had begun driving the visitors back – however the visitors were awarded a penalty as the referee adjudged the ‘Black & Golds’ pulled it down. Morgan’s kick missed, and Cornish went in at the break 29-13 ahead.

The visitors came into the second half strongly and became far more competitive at the scrum. On 49 minutes, with momentum from one such scrum, Pompey won a penalty which Morgan kicked. Cornish replied well, and within three minutes extended their lead. They worked the rolling maul superbly – Will Carew-Gibbs made the yards, before handing over to Oli Low, who put in a great shift in the front row. The maul advanced further before coming out to Robin Heymann who danced round the Pompey tackles to claim his second try of the afternoon. Spells’ conversion missed.

The next quarter of an hour became a bit of an arm wrestle, with play based in the middle third of the pitch. Mark Osei-Tutu got things moving again with some eye catching runs. From one such attack, Cornish were awarded a penalty which was kicked to touch. Unfortunately, the following line-out was not straight, but the ‘Black & Golds’ gained instant turn-over ball, and Craig Chatley could only be halted illegally. With the penalty in the centre, ten metres out, Cornish opted for the scrum. When the ball came out, it was fed to Osei-Tutu who drove across the line, with Spells adding the extras, which took Cornish’s lead out to 41-16.

There is no doubt that, as the game went on, Portsmouth’s makeshift pack began to gel, and this basis led to their second score of the game. The ball went out to replacement Robert Paterson who ran through to dot down. Morgan’s conversion was good.

The last ten minutes largely belonged to Cornish – another monster rolling maul saw Bond drive the ball forward over 25 metres. When Portsmouth finally did stop it, Cornish merely re-set, went again, and Will Carew-Gibbs grounded the ball. Spells converted. With five minutes left, Matt Hakes scored ‘The Exiles’ eighth try of the afternoon after some great build-up play from Ciaran Acford.


IMG_6763 ciaran actfordPhoto – Ciaran Acford on the break

So, a fourth successive bonus point cemented Cornish’s place at the top of London Two South-West. One of the major positives to come of this game was the feeling that the Exiles players clearly felt they had more in them and could improve further. The stats are impressive – this was London Cornish’s 14th win in their last 16 league matches – and over the last twelve months, the ‘Black & Golds’ have suffered only five losses in twenty-three games. Whatever way you look at it, this is highly impressive.


Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornish Pirates make it back-to-back wins

The Cornish Pirates backed up last Sunday’s first Championship win of the season against Moseley with another win this time at Doncaster Knights 24-22.

Trailing 10-3 at half-time the Pirates turned the game round with tries from Tom Kessell, Matt Evans and Kieran Hallett all converted by Hallett who also kicked a penalty.

It makes for a more comfortable position for the Cornish Pirates prior to three successive weekends of British and Irish Cup action starting with the Bedford Blues at the Mennaye next Sunday.

You can read Nigel Walrond’s match report from the Sunday WMN in the link.

Not such good news for both our sides in National League 2 South as both recorded defeats.

The Cornish All Blacks entertained promotion favourites Henley Hawks at Polson but went down in the last ten minutes to a 22-32 defeat.

Jake Murphy, Sam Chapman and Jamie Salter all scored tries for the All Blacks with Kieron Lewitt kicking the other points.

They will look to bounce back on the road at Dorking next week.

Redruth will also be disappointed as they lost by just a point at Old Elthamians 13-12. Ashley Hosking kicked four penalties for the Reds but a last gasp try converted by the home side left the Reds with just a losing bonus point to show for their long day trip to South London.

Read Ed Bawden’s match report from Redruth RFC website the link.

In Tribute South West 1 West, it was a day of frustration for both Cornish sides but for differing reasons.

St. Austell’s game at Tregorrick Park against Cullompton was abandoned after 28 minutes with the saints leading 12-3 when referee Simon Lord sustained an injury. The game will be replayed at a later date.

Camborne despite winning 21-13 against Drybrook were left disappointed by the number of missed opportunities not take to secure the try-scoring bonus point.

The Cherry and Whites scored tries through flanker Cameron Bone, No.8 Dave Roberts and hooker Sam Bartle with fly-half Dave Mankee adding all three conversions.

Next up for Town a trip to leaders Ivybridge who have taken maximum points from their five games thus far.

My West Briton web report in the link with apologies to Dave Mankee who ended up as Rob!!

In Tribute Western Counties West, Truro are up to second following another fine home win this time against Sidmouth 55-26.

Truro scored nine tries with Luke Tidball and Rikki Brandham each scoring a brace whilst Ollie Dell, Luke Trescothick, Jake Champion, Josh Heath and a penalty-try award made up the rest of the tries. Champion kicked two conversions with Craig Williams adding a further three.

Penryn, who face Truro next Saturday at the Memorial Ground, lost by a single point at Torquay Athletic 22-21. Matt Williams and Tom Hoban (2) scored the Borough’s tries with Matt Horton adding all three conversions.

Wadebridge Camels defeated Wellington 15-12 at home thanks to a try from Matt Ballard and a penalty-try award. Mark Kempthorne kicking the rest of the points.

St. Ives’ difficult season continues as they lost 55-5 at Kingsbridge, Jamie Prisk with their only points.

There was no league game for London Cornish as they were due to play in the 1st round of the London and SE Intermediate Cup, however their opponents Old Cooperians forfeited the tie to allow Cornish to progress.

In Tribute Cornwall and Devon League, Pirates Amateurs maintained their good run with a sixteen try demolition of Liskeard-Looe at the Mennaye. Rhys Brownfield scored four tries and twelve conversions for a personal tally of forty-four points in a 104-7 win.

Saltash are just behind the Ams in third place following their 49-5 win at Moorlands against Honiton. Max Venables leading the way with three tries three conversions and a penalty.

Bude got back to winning ways with a 24-14 win at home to Exeter Saracens. Billy Roberts, Adam Black, Joe Wilson and Matt Williams scored the tries to make it a bonus point win with Olly Denford adding two conversions.

Falmouth won at Bodmin 12-3.

Hayle won at South Molton 41-7. Scott Harvey (2), Phil Tonkin (2), Doug Arnold and Talan Daniels all scored tries for the Lions with McGee kicking the other points.

It was the opening day in both Tribute Cornwall 1 and 2. In Cornwall 1, Newquay Hornets won at Perranporth 68-0 to go top. Illogan Park defeated Roseland at Philleigh 26-15, Helston won at Stithians 34-14 and finally Camborne School of Mines caused an upset winning at Veor 26-20.

In Cornwall 2, there was sadly only one game played as St. Agnes defeated Redruth Albany 65-7. Lankelly – Fowey conceded the points to St. Just, whilst St. Day have given notice that they are to quit the league due to a shortage of players. They hope to continue as a veteran’s side and will play friendly games where possible during the season. We wish the club, formed back in 1894, well for the future.

Plymouth Albion are set to host England Under 20’s Six Nations match against Italy Under 20’s at the Brickfields on Friday 13th February kick-off 7-45pm.

Ticket details will be available via Albion’s website or via the ticket office phone line on 01752 565064.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Pirates’ success both on and off the pitch – whilst All Blacks make it two on the trot

It turned out to be pretty satisfactory weekend for all Cornish Pirates supporters.

Results, both on and off the pitch. Friday’s decision by Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee to defer hearing the three planning proposals on the agenda until such time that the Inox plan was ready was a shot in the arm for everyone battling for the Stadium for Cornwall at Threemilestone.

The on Sunday a morale boosting first win of the season as the Pirates powered to a bonus point win over a brave Moseley side 29-19.

It all looked plain sailing at half-time the Pirates led 19-0 and then 22-0 early on during the second half. Moseley’s late rally made it a bit of a squeaky bum time until Tom Kessell’s second try made by a powerfully strong run almost to the line by replacement No.8 Matt Bolwell calmed everyone’s blood pressure.

Photo – Simon Bryant Iktis photo, Ian Davies Pirates’ head coach happy with Sunday’s 5 points against Moseley

Onwards and upwards must be the motto going forward. I know Director of Rugby Ian Davies does not like place any greater importance on a particular game, but I am sure he was happy with five points and a win on Sunday.

Read Martin Woollatt’s report from the Western Morning News

The Cornish All Blacks had a great 35-22 win at Ding’s Crusaders to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Matt Shepherd and Sam Chapman scored the All Blacks’ tries with the boot of Kieron Lewitt landing seven penalties and both conversions for a twenty-five point haul.

You can read head- coach Neil Bayliss’s reaction from the game in the Western Morning News link.

In the other game in National League 2 South there was disappointment at the death for Redruth in their game at home to Clifton when Callum Sheedy’s drop-goal won the game with the final kick for the visitors 23-20.

redruth v clifton
Photo – Phil Richards, Robin Wedlake (Redruth) about to set off on a storming run that led to Reds’ second try

You can read my match report from the West Briton site in the link.

In Tribute South West 1 West, Camborne’s win at Cullompton 31-23 will have delighted head-coach Liam Chapple. The Cherry and Whites were awarded a couple of penalty-tries as well as touchdowns from Dave Roberts, Cameron Bone and Sam Bartle. Dave Mankee kicking three conversions. Next up Drybrook at the Rec.

Martin Symons report on the Camborne game in the link

St. Austell’s difficult start to the season as they slipped to a third defeat in four games going down at Clevedon 11-5. Konnor Ewudzi with the Saint’s sole points.

In Tribute Western Counties West, Truro backed up their big win last Saturday at home to Tavistock with another win at Wellington 39-23. Truro’s tries were scored by Carl Ranscombe (2), Ben Teasdale, Darren Jacques, Matt Cross and Daryl Riches. Jake Champion kicked three conversions and a penalty.

Penryn got back to winning ways defeating highly fancied Teignmouth 23-22 at the Memorial Ground. The visitors could have won with a last minute kick but sadly for them it was missed!

Grant Randlesome and Josh Chambers crossed for Penryn’s two tries with the boot of Matt Horton adding thirteen points.

Fuller report via Ross Hancock from the Packet site

Wadebridge Camels also made it back-to-back wins with a 15-11 success at Tavistock. Sam Stone and Dan Lumb scored the Camel’s tries with Mark Kempthorne kicking a conversion and penalty.

St. Ives are sadly propping up the table following a fourth defeat this time at leaders Tiverton 53-0.

See the previous blog entry for news on London Cornish’s fine win in London 2 SW at Winchester.

In Tribute Cornwall and Devon League, Pirates Amateurs are up to second following their fourth win at Honiton 34-30. Dan Toolan, Jack Nicholas, Steve Evans, Josh Stevens and Harrison Peters all crossed for tries with Rhys Brownfield kicked the rest of the points.

Saltash won at Hayle 48-17 with Ryan Cruickshank (3), Shaun Crawford (2), Max Veneables (2) and Will Morton all crossing for the Ashes. Veneables also added four conversions.

For the Lions, Scott Harvey, Mark Lea, and Talan Daniels all scored tries with Harvey kicking a conversion.

Falmouth finally got a win defeating South Molton 43-3 at the Rec

Read George Thorpe’s report from the Falmouth Packet in the link.

Bodmin lost by a point at Exeter Saracens 36-35, whilst Liskeard-Looe slipped to another defeat at Lux Park 12-27 to Paignton.

Following a good start to the season Bude have become a little unstuck as they lost again at Crediton 49-0.

Next weekend sees the start of both Tribute Cornwall 1 & 2.

A link to the Plymouth Herald site which has a round up of various games including some involving Cornish sides.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Exiles maintain fine start in London 2 SW

Match Report: Winchester 26 London Cornish 27

By Mark Digby, photos by Ben Gilby

Cornish travelled down to Hampshire looking to continue the one hundred per cent start to their 2014/15 campaign against a Winchester side looking to improve on their fifty per cent opening with a home win. The Black and Gold arrived at the home of King Arthur’s round table with their entire regular front row missing, so the pressure was on before the team set foot on the dry, dusty pitch. What ensued was a tight battle of cat and mouse, where a spirited and resilient London Cornish would eventually triumph and take a third bonus point win in a row back up the M3 to the capital, to see them once again topping London Two South West.

The home side started the stronger of the two, with Cornish acquainting themselves following some changes to the starting line up, and in particular amongst the pack. Winchester soon reaped the benefits of their early pressure by scoring the first try of the game after five minutes. Successive Cornish infringements led to Winchester earning a scrum in the visitor’s twenty two, from which a space was created for Jack Hiscock to burst through the centre and over the line. The extras were added by Johnny Morris to opening the scoring at 7-0. Far from denting Cornish confidence, going behind appeared to galvanise the team, and cohesion appeared almost immediately.

With the black and gold’s pack at the epicentre of their attack, Winchester were pushed back as the ball was worked from side to side. The visitors’ maul pushed their way forward, earning a penalty, which was kicked to the corner. Traditional Cornish grunt and power creaked open a gap for the so solid Mark Osei-Tutu, to force a way through to the line. With Luke Spells’ first conversion attempt missing the target, they were still behind, but for how long? Alas it would seem a little longer, as a Cornish forward was dispatched to the bin, and the resulting penalty kick for Morris edged Winchester ahead to 10-5.

As ‘The Exiles’ returned to the full compliment, Spells would weave his magic from the boot with a penalty at goal to close the gap to 10-8, but then within ten minutes, the home side would increase the gap again to five points, as following an exchange of forays down each other’s wings, Somers was adjudged to be offside, and Morris yet again stroked the ball between the big sticks.

lc v winchester 2014 Photo – Rob Healey tackled by Winchester’s Rob Rees

An exchange of converted scores before half time would see Winchester go into their dressing room ahead. Ben Ievers would push Cornish in front for three minutes, following a wonderful jinking, twenty five metre dash that any centre would be proud of, but Winchester’s pack earned a well worked try born of forward guile, as the visitors were driven back over their own line, for Sullivan to touch the ball down, with Morris proving infallible with the boot. 20-15.

The visitors started the second half with their tails up. Consistent pressure would force Sir to reach for his yellow card yet again. This time, a Winchester forward was sent to the naughty corner, with which Cornish grasped the opportunity with both hands. The third try was almost a copy of their first, as they opted to kick to the corner, and allow the pack to do what they do best. The pack found an opening for Ciaran Acford to cross the line, and with Spells converting, Cornish were ahead on 47 minutes 20-22.

lc v winchester 3 2014 bPhoto – LCRFC’s Ciaran Acford poised to dart for the line

For much of the second half, both defences held firm, as wave after wave of attackf rom either side were repelled. The tension rose as either side knew that it would come down to errors, as whoever made less mistakes would likely triumph in this battle for Arthurian pride. Would those from the city of the round table edge it, or those with roots firmly entrenched in the land of the King’s birthplace triumph to see Excalibur rise from Loe Pool? Winchester took back the lead through two penalties from Morris’ trusty boot on 53 and 64 minutes, with the first of the two dispatched expertly from around 45 metres, but with the score   at 26-22, Cornish were not prepared to go home with a losing bonus point. More pressure led to a second home yellow card – as a forward went for coming in from the side.

lc v winchester 2 2014 b Photo Cornish’s  Will Carew-Gibbs powers on

With only twelve minutes left on the clock, the black and gold took advantage to go ahead once more with less than five minutes remaining. Hamish Cuming took the honours, as the Cornish pack turned over the ball from a home line out. Spells could not convert, so at 26-27, the game was sitting on the edge of Excalibur. On the stroke of eighty, Cornish were pinged for crossing, and so although Winchester’s penalty kick was just over the half way line, Morris had kicked from a similar distance earlier, and with six successful attempts from six, Winchester could surely smell victory. A deathly silence fell over the ground, and with baited breath the ball was struck. It fell short. Sir called time less than a minute later. Excalibur belonged still to Cornwall.

A delighted Dickon Moon spoke after the game. ‘A particularly gratifying win, after losing our starting front row. We fielded an untried front row who were excellent today. This (Winchester) is a particularly difficult place to come to, and this is possibly our first win here. It is particularly good to earn the bonus point, which shows we have great spirit. We had so much travelling support today, with some making the trip over from the Isle of Wight, so it was good for them to see us win. The bandwagon keeps rolling – We have a cup match next week and then Portsmouth at home (league), so we hope to have a few (players) back for that. It was a big win for us today.’

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornish Pirates v Moseley – this Sunday

Cornish Pirates v Moseley

An ‘as expected’ tough September for the Cornish Pirates will see their playing month end with the visit of Moseley to the Mennaye Field on Sunday (ko 3pm).

Three games into this season’s Greene King IPA Championship and the Pirates presently prop up the 12-team league table, with zero points to their name. As for Moseley who finished seventh in the league last season, they are presently ninth, having also experienced an almost equally tough start as the Pirates. A 22-all home draw opener against Jersey chalked up two league points to start their season, but they followed that result with two losses. Going down 23-7 to Worcester Warriors, however, was no disgrace, and nor was a 28-32 result against Yorkshire Carnegie last weekend, when they at least earned a bonus point.

Despite never having never lost a league fixture against them in Cornwall, the Pirates will be aware that the famous Moseley club poses a threat. Their team is seemingly on the up again, and seen as dangerous opponents the Cornish Pirates will hope that a big crowd gathers at the Mennaye Field on Sunday to provide support needed as the Pirates go in search of points.

Tickets for Sunday’s game will be available at the gates on the day, but in advance they can also be purchased on-line at and from the club’s ticket office 01736-331961, which is open Monday – Friday from 9am – 12 noon. Also, as recently announced, Cornish Pirates’ Advance Adult & Concession Tickets are now on sale at the following Rowe’s Cornish Bakers shops: Camborne -Commercial Square, Falmouth – Market Street, Helston – Meneage Street, Penzance – Causewayhead & Market Jew Street, Redruth – Fore Street, Truro – Victoria Square & Piazza, Back Quay.

Pirates On Loan

It was last week announced that a small number of players in the Cornish Pirates squad will be going on short term loan to various clubs. This has a benefit of giving certain players important game time, which in some cases is especially beneficial as as they return to full fitness.

The following is a list of the players concerned and the clubs they are going/have gone on loan to:-

John Stevens – Redruth
Rob Elloway – Bournemouth
Craig Holland – Worthing
Jake Parker – Chinnor

Commenting with reference to these helpful loan arrangements, the Director of Rugby at the Cornish Pirates, Ian Davies, said:

“It is a win win situation for us really. We build up strong relationships with National League clubs and also our players get a chance to get valuable game time as they continue to return back from injury.”

Posted in Bill's Blog

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