Winning starts for Cornish Pirates & the Reds

Photo – Ian Davies pleased with Pirates winning start. Photo Simon Bryant Iktis photo

Just the start the Pirates wanted an 18-14 win, following the decision in July that will enable their new home in Truro to be built.

There is no question that there is a spring in the step down at the Mennaye, both on and off the park.

The visit of Nottingham brings back to Cornwall a dear friend of Cornish rugby, former Pirate Martin Haag. Those of an older generation will remember his exploits for Cornwall, St. Ives and Bath.

Former Penryn player Toby Freeman also played for Nottingham and his return to Cornwall enabled to meet up with his old playing companion from Ordiza, Spain, recently retired player Tom Parker, who played for and captained the Spanish National team. Yes, he is related to Pirates back row player Jake Parker.

A glorious afternoon (typical as the schools go back) greeted the players for this opening IPA Greene-King Championship game.

The first half was a cagey affair with just a Kieran Hallett penalty separating the sides.

The second half was better, an early try by Nottingham centre Pila Iongi, converted by Lawrence Rayner, who had inexplicably fluffed a first half penalty attempt from in front of the sticks, put the visitors ahead.

Nottingham then had loose-head prop Kieran Davies yellow carded and whilst he was off the Pirates bagged a couple of scores.

The first a well-worked unconverted try from a driving maul from hooker Rob Elloway.

Elloway made way shortly after for Tom Channon, who went off on strong run up to the twenty-two. The ball ended up with centre Tom Hendrickson who showed great balance as he sped in for a cracking score at the posts.

Hallett then added a second penalty to put the Pirates 18-7 up, but a late try from centre Viliami Hakalo again converted by Rayner gave the visitors a losing bonus point to take home.

Following the game Director of rugby Ian Davies expressed his satisfaction with the win and praised his side’s commitment, whilst acknowledging there was still plenty of work to do prior to their trip to Jersey.

In National League 2 South, it proved to be an afternoon of contrasting fortunes for our Cornish sides.

Redruth got off to a flying start with a 37-16 win at Redingensians. The Reds ran in six tries through prop Tom Cowan-Dickie (2), flanker Ben Priddey, centre Neilson Webber, winger Alex Ducker and No. 8 Kyle Marriott. Ashley Hosking and Murray Westren each kicked a conversion with Hosking also adding a penalty.

Not such a good day for Launceston at Polson Bridge as they went down to defeat 3-47 against Old Albanian, recent signing Fraser Honey kicking their solitary points.

In Tribute South West 1 West, a much changed Camborne side put up a good fight against the league favourites Weston-super-Mare before going down 21-23 at home.

Sam Matavesi, Ben Jordan and Andrius Zacharovas scored tries for the Cherry and Whites with scrum-half Taron Peacock adding all three conversions.

In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Austell made a fine start in their bid to bounce back up at the first attempt beating Tiverton 29-15 at Tregorrick.

Saints scored four tries through Ian Venner, Sam Rhodes (2) and Ben Chenoweth, Andy Ashwin kicked the rest of the points.

A depleted Penryn side went down to a Gareth Evans inspired Okehampton 29-19. Kirk Oldfield, Ben Trevaskis and Dan Booth scored tries for the Borough with James Salisbury adding a couple of conversions.

Newly promoted Saltash went down at Moorlands 14-20 to Kingsbridge. Flanker Lewis Wells scored a try for the Ashes with Max Veneables kicking three penalties.

Wadebridge Camels lost a tight affair at Devonport Services 29-25, tries were scored by Rich Trevarthen (2) and Rhys Bright along with penalty-try converted by Matt Grubb who also landed a penalty.

Truro defeated Cullompton 20-18 at St. Clements Hill. Tries for Truro were scored by Darren Symons and Ben Teasdale with Toby Armstrong kicking both conversions and a couple of penalties.

In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, there was a fine start for St. Ives as they won 36-21 at Plymstock. The Hakes scored five tries through Lewis Thomas, Neil Corin, Paul Thirlby, Nathan Allen and Martin Lawrence with Grant Thirlby kicking four conversions and a penalty.

Falmouth got off to a winning start defeating Tavistock 22-5 at the Rec. Tom Edmonds, Tom Spiller and Rafael Baragwanath scored tries for the Eagles with Justyn Irons kicking the other points.

Hayle won the Cornish derby defeating newly-promoted Newquay Hornets 25-19 after a ding-dong battle, Alex Thornton, Tony Matthews and Damien Lynes scored tries for the Lions with Lynes also kicking tow conversions and a couple of penalties.

For the Hornets, Dick Burns, Taylor Stevens and Cornwall Under 20 player Sam Furse scored tries with Burns kicking a couple of conversions.

Bude earned a fine draw at Paignton 24 all. Kingdom, Comber and Ball scored their tries with Pearce adding all three penalties and a conversion.

Pirates Amateurs went down to defeat at Withycombe 29-15. Steve Evans and Tom Excell scored tries with Jack Lonsdale kicking a penalty and conversion.

Bodmin went down to a narrow defeat at Exeter Saracens 31-29 but at least picked up a couple of bonus points. Cody Armstrong (2), James Taylor and Lee Taylor scored tries for Bodmin with James Taylor kicking the other points.

Sad news this past week with the death Cornwall RFU President John Grindle. I am sure everyone will wish to convey their condolences to John’s wife Joyce, family and friends.

The funeral will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, 12 noon at St. Columb Major Parish Church.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Get your scores in to Peter Richmond

Peter Richmond, BBC Radio Cornwall

The league season is fast approaching and, as I am sure you will all agree, each of our Cornish clubs could do with as much publicity as it can get.

Peter Richmond from BBC Radio Cornwall needs no introduction. Peter tells me that rugby is far behind soccer & cricket in getting half-time & full-time scores to him, so he can relay them on to listeners.

Please could all clubs contact Peter by Twitter, Facebook or text with their scores so we can match the ’round ball sports’ with news & info.

Not everybody does Facebook or Twitter & such people rely on scores over the radio & press.

Let’s make sure we give the duchy the rugby coverage it deserves, and outdo the round ball guys!

Peter’s Twitter feed is @P9Richmond, or text 07967 801013.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Major honour for LCRFC’s Dickon Moon

Report & photo Ben Gilby

London Cornish RFC’s Director of Rugby Dickon Moon has been named as the recipient of the prestigious Paul Smales Medallion, which is awarded annually to a Cornish man or woman, currently not living in Cornwall, who has made an outstanding contribution to the enhancement of the people and heritage of Cornwall.

Moon, who has also served on the Cornwall County Rugby side’s coaching staff in recent seasons has been the club’s Director of Rugby since 2003, and the citation on the award, given by the Gorsedh Kernow, notes his “outstanding service to Cornish rugby”.

Commenting on the announcement of his award, Dickon Moon said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award, which I will accept in person on behalf of everyone associated with London Cornish RFC at the Gorsedh event in St Austell on September 5th. It is a timely boost for the club with the new season nearly upon us, and I continue to be immensely proud in my role with London Cornish RFC, our association with Cornwall RFU, and our strong links across Cornish rugby.”

The news of the award has been received with huge pride by those connected to London Cornish. Adrian Williams, who jointly founded the club back in 1962 spoke on behalf of everyone at the club when he said: “To have maintained the true traditions of Cornish Rugby in London for all these years is testimony to Dickon’s efforts and commitment.  As a fellow Redruth-born Cornishman, I am delighted for him and trust the boys will be able to secure promotion this year as a ‘thank-you’ for all that he has done over the years.”

NB: The medallion is named after Paul Smales who founded the Cornish Music Guild and the Cornish Literary Guild. He was chairman of the Cornish Barristers Association and forged links with the Cornish diaspora particularly the USA.

Posted in Bill's Blog

A flowing display at Footes Lane

Guernsey 12   Cornish Pirates 71

By Phil Westren

For a second year running the Cornish Pirates faced Guernsey in a pre-season friendly match played at the Footes Lane Stadium in St. Peter Port.

The visiting Pirates won 62-8 last August and as expected they also won convincingly this time around, 71-12. However, the islanders also deserved due credit, not only for scoring two second half tries but also for being competitive throughout.

Guernsey tested the Cornish Pirates early on, but following two unconverted tries notched by wing Craig Holland and flanker Joe Atkinson the visitors went 10 points up.

By half-time the score was extended to read 0-24 thanks first to a try scored by centre Toby May and then the award of a penalty try. Fly-half Will Cargill slotted both conversions.

On a fine and balmy evening at Footes Lane the crowd had very much enjoyed the rugby on offer, enticed also with the smell of burgers cooking on the barbecue, and in a contest that the Pirates were always going to win with more than a bit to spare, they were quick to add to their tally in the second half when replacement centre Tom Hendrickson crossed for a converted score.

Photo – Simon Bryant: Pirates’ scrum-half Alex Day

A converted try for replacement prop Jack Andrew and a try for No. 8 Matt Bolwell made it 0-43, and a second try for Holland, converted this time by replacement Kieran Hallett, brought up the 50 mark.

There was, however, considerable credit to the home side, who play their competitive rugby in National League 3 London & SE, and for whom ‘Pirate’ scrum doctor Alan Paver guested on the night, as they admirably responded to display a purple patch in a contest that certainly provided a flowing display of rugby.

An interception led to a converted try for Guernsey scored by speedy replacement Anthony Armstrong, and although replacements Kyle Moyle and Adam Jamieson hit back with converted scores for the Cornish side, to the delight of the home support fly-half Glen Walters dotted the ball down to register Guernsey’s second five-pointer.

To complete the night’s scoring, Hallett had the last say with a try to which he also added the extras.

With support kindly given the Cornish Pirates by the Guernsey Sports Commission, after the best part of a week spent training on the island, and also cementing excellent community relations once more, this match had again proved a worthy occasion, for both teams.

Guernsey RFC head coach Jordan Reynolds has welcomed the Cornish Pirates visiting the island, as besides pluses acquired from game time he and his side had also during the week learnt much from training sessions taken by Pirates’ Director of Rugby Ian Davies, Ian’s coaching colleagues Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver, and squad members in general.

At the end of the game Ian felt that Guernsey had stepped up a mark from last year and he wished them a successful season. Commenting with reference to his own team’s performance, he said:

“Our aim was to bring energy to the game and to play at a high tempo, which we did.

“There are still areas to work on, as is always the case, and especially so in pre-season, which is what such games are about.”

Guernsey:   15 Matt Armstrong, 14 Ben Challinor, 13 Ned Brown, 12 Blair Campbell (capt), 11 Dave Davison, 10 Glen Walters, 9 Malcolm Barnes; 1. Alan Paver, 2 Tom Ceillam, 3 Layton Batiste, 4 Lewis Hillier, 5 Dale Martin, 6 Dom Rice, 7 Robin Le Cocq, 8 Matt Thomas.

Replacements (all used):   Alex Mills, Gus Brayah, Bradley Choules, Chris Ahne, Adam Nixon, Jim Elliot, Anthony Armstrong.

Cornish Pirates:   15 Bertie Hopkin, 14 Kyle Moyle, 13 Toby May, 12 Alex Dancer, 11 Craig Holland, 11 Will Cargill, 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Tom Channon, 3 Francisco Deformes, 4 Marcus Garratt, 5 Will Graulich, 6 Joe Atkinson, 7 Alex Cheesman (capt), 8 Matt Bolwell.

Replacements (all used):   Rob Elloway, Jack Andrew, Adam Jamieson, Chris Morgan, Laurie McGlone, Jack Oulton, Mike Pope, Kieran Hallett, Rheon James, Tom Hendrickson.


Guernsey – tries: Armstrong, Walters; con: Walters.

Cornish Pirates – tries: Holland (2), Atkinson, May, penalty try, Hendrickson, Andrew, Bolwell, Moyle, Jamieson, Hallett; cons: Cargill (4), Hallett (4).

Referee:   Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU)


Cornish Pirates v Camborne Tuesday 25 August

Continuing the build up to their important home game opener in the Greene King IPA Championship – against Nottingham on Sunday 6 September (ko 3pm) – the Cornish Pirates will play the ‘Cherry & Whites’ of Camborne at the Mennaye Field on Tuesday evening, 25 August, kick-off 7:45pm.

The gates at the Mennaye Field will be open at 6.30pm on the night, and admission – sit or stand where you like – is just £5 for adults and £1 for children aged 5-16 (for under 5s it is free). For Cornish Pirates’ 2015-16 season ticket holders entry is free.

Posted in Bill's Blog

“Mad George” to stage charity fund raiser

Charity Fundraising Match

One of Cornish grass roots rugby’s most enduring and popular characters is staging a Charity match at Camborne Rugby Club’s Recreation Ground on Sunday 30th August.

George Simmons began playing in Mining Division rugby in 1968 for the now defunct Ormdale, going on to represent Redruth Albany, Illogan Park and Veor. Remarkably, ‘Mad George’, as he is affectionately known, is still turning out nearly 50 years later for amongst others Camborne Veterans, Bolingey Barbarians and the Rucking Feasters at St Just.

Following a recent battle with cancer himself, George is seeking to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and the Sunrise Centre at Treliske, where he has been treated. The game, which kicks off at 2:30 pm, will see a combined Camborne/Veor XV lock horns with George’s Invitation XV, who will take to the field wearing striking pink jerseys generously sponsored by Mill Autoquip, supplied and specially designed by Kitworld.

A good sized crowd is expected, with a variety of children’s entertainment and refreshments available. Admission is £3 per adult with children free to come along to support this worthwhile event.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Pirates cast a spell over Wizards

Picture by Simon Bryant Iktis photo – Cornish Pirates centre Tom Riley

The Cornish Pirates continued their pre-season preparations with hard-fought 31-29 win against Welsh Premiership side Aberavon at the Mennaye.

It was typical curate’s egg pre-season fare, good in parts, plenty of work to come as conceded Director of Rugby Ian Davies post match: “It was entertaining, both sides looked to throw the ball around, both sides scored some cracking tries, a few defensive lapses but it is what it is – pre-season.

“I was pleased with our performance at the breakdown and in the collision; we worked on that during the week knowing how Welsh sides go about that area. We didn’t drive too much today, that’s still work in progress but if it had a Championship game you would have seen more of that.

“We fell foul of the referee a little during the second half, having benefited from the decisions during the first half – just one of those things.

“We are having a look at Chris Morgan playing in the second row. It’s a natural progression, as we have got a lot of competition for places in the back row. I think John Stevens had a good game, probably man-of-the-match for me, he did really well playing the full eighty.

“We look to have great competition all over the park for places, and that’s got to be a good thing for the squad a whole. Maybe last year the gap between first and second team was greater, but now there are a lot who can put their hand for that first team berth.”

First half scores from Stevens No.8 Laurie McGlone and centre Tom Hendrickson, plus the boot of Kieran Hallett, put the Pirates in a good position at half-time 24-10.

The pick was McGlone’s training park score off the top of a lineout and a great angled burst to the line.

Aberavon, who had scored a couple of first half tries through impressive winger Aaron Grabham turned the game on it’s head with further tries from scrum-half Dave Pritchard, full back Richard Carter and replacement David Evans with fly-half James Garland converting two of the scores.

Pirates roused themselves during the final moments to snatch the win thanks to a converted try from Laurence May.

Congratulations to Luke Cowan-Dickie, who came on during the second half of England’s 19-14 win over France in the first of the warm up games for the Rugby World Cup, to earn a first cap.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Children’s Hospital SW overwhelmed with support shown to them

Photo by Brian Tempest shows players Tyler Gendall and Luke Jones making the presentation

Cornish Pirates’ chosen charity for Championship Rugby Season 2014 -15 was Children’s Hospice South West’s ‘Little Harbour’ hospice at Porthpean, near St. Austell.

In total, the magnificent sum of £4,625.64 was raised through match day collections and a shirt auction, plus prop Paul Andrew’s ‘Face Fuzz’ fundraiser. The specific aim from the outset was help upgrade televisions in the children’s bedrooms, and to also place in amenity rooms.

Cornish Pirates’ players Luke Jones and Tyler Gendall visited Little Harbour last Friday to present the cheque. They also took the opportunity to present a framed 2014/15 team photograph, which was signed by Cornish Pirate squad members.

Mary Murfin, Community Fundraiser for Children’s Hospice South West said: “We have been overwhelmed by the fundraising that the Cornish Pirates have done for CHSW and the new larger televisions for the children’s bedrooms with compact DVD players really will make a huge difference to all the children and families who we support.”

Mary added: “Thank you to everyone who contributed to this fantastic fundraising throughout the season, we are all so grateful.”

Posted in Bill's Blog

Charity fund raising at the Mennaye

Photo – Ben Gilby with Jeannette Preston of Falmouth-based testicular cancer charity ‘Pants’, raising money at Cornish Pirates on Saturday

Falmouth-based Cancer Charity ‘Pants’ was one recipient of a testicular cancer fundraiser held at Cornish Pirates’ ground the Mennaye, Penzance, on 8 August 2015, as Pirates supporter Ben Gilby raised money for two cancer charities.

Ben, who is on the committee of the Cornish Pirates Supporters Club, and also volunteers as press officer at London Cornish RFC, is presently recovering from testicular cancer, and was keen to give a bit back to two charities that are continuing to give him great support: The Royal Marsden Cancer Hospital; and the Falmouth based testicular cancer charity ‘Pants’.

The event took place in superb West Cornwall sunshine, as summer arrived (albeit for one day!) in Penzance. The afternoon saw Cornish Pirates host ten-a-side rugby union tournament as part of their preparations for the new Greene King IPA Championship season. The tournament involved two Pirates sides (‘Team Paver’ and ‘Team Cattle’), plus Redruth and Launceston. A brilliant afternoon of high-paced rugby was interspersed with a bucket collection for ‘Pants’ which raised over £200. The rugby community and Cornish businesses also donated some quite amazing auction lots, which, when all the proceeds come in, looks set to raise well over £1,500.

Reflecting on the day, Ben Gilby said: “I can’t thank Cornish Pirates enough for their support in my fundraising, they have been absolutely brilliant. The Pirates players took time out for photos on the day, and I would also like to thank the supporters of Redruth and Launceston for all their donations as well. It was great that the Cornish rugby community came together to support us on the day.”

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornish Pirates & Redruth benefit from joint training session

Report by Bill Hooper, Photos Simon Bryant Iktis photo

There was a good crowd at the Recreation Ground on a dry and bright Tuesday evening to see both sides benefit from a joint training session and 2 x 30 mins mini-games.

Photo – Reds Kyle Marriott gets to grips with Pirates’ Jason Atkinson

The Pirates crossed the line for six tries against none conceded but that was not the idea of the session. Cornish Pirates Director of rugby Ian Davies felt that evening was beneficial in the context of his squad’s pre-season: “It’s good to build on from last Saturday’s 10s tournament at the Mennaye. Tonight we were able to execute some of our players in contact situations and try out a few moves in preparation for Saturday’s game against Aberavon at the Mennaye (kick-off 5pm).

Photo – Ian Davies looking forward to the season

“We have put together a very exciting squad for this season and I certainly have great optimism for the forthcoming campaign. With the good news re the stadium in recent weeks there is a good buzz around the club both on and off the field, the future is now clearer. It was good to see players like Kyle Moyle looking sharp coming back from injury whilst others such as Tom Duncan and Tyler Gendall aren’t far off a return.”

However, the fear of injury is never far away and both camps look to have players who will miss the start of the season, Kieran Goss (Pirates) and Dave Mankee (Redruth).

In the Reds camp, head coach Steve Larkins was satisfied with his side’s performance against quality opposition. “We’ve had a good training session which turned into a bit of game. I enjoyed it. I thought we acquitted ourselves well. It was a shame we picked up a couple of injuries but hopefully they will prove not to be too serious. I was pleased with our scrum and lineout, especially during the first 30 when we had our first choice pack on, playing up the slope.”

Photo – Redruth’s Steve Larkins happy with the Reds pre-season

One player who caught the eye for the Reds was prop Tom Cowan-Dickie: “He is certainly one for the fans to watch this season: he is a quality player and very versatile as you saw tonight capable of playing in a number of positions.”

Another was recent signing from Camborne, Kieron Westlake who started in the back row before moving out into the backs: “He is another very versatile player,” said Larkins, “normally, a back-rower but a very good footballer. He can kick, run and tackle. A very talented player.” As far as recruitment of players goes, Larkins feels that the Reds are pretty much there: “I am hoping to pick some loan players, maybe two or three to strengthen the squad, but overall I am pretty happy. We had seven, eight or even nine players missing tonight, so it’s very pleasing that the youngsters stepped up. We will be ready for that first league game on the road.”

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cheque presentation following superb fundraising day

Following the successful events held on the 13 June, the final monies have been received and a presentation event has been held at Marie Therese House, Hayle where Sereli is an in-patient. Sam Matavesi said: “It is fantastic to see the event being wrapped up and we are able to present a cheque to Marie Therese House to show our appreciation of the time, effort and support that they have given to our dad.”

The day’s event was the idea of Sireli and his three sons. Sireli Matavesi suffered a life changing event in 2014; an operation to save his life caused him to be paralysed. He received treatment in Salisbury before moving to Marie Therese House in Hayle, where he has undergone intensive physiotherapy to aid his recovery.

He wanted to raise funds for Marie Therese House and other causes close to his heart. Sereli said: “I will be forever indebted to all the staff at Marie Therese House, but also all of the people who were involved with the day in so many ways. I will not single out people but just a massive thanks to all the sponsors, players, Camborne RFC, people who generously donated items, and of course the Cornish public who came along on the day to support me and my three boys.”

The fundraising day took place on Saturday 13 June at Camborne RFC, where a number of events took place. There were three rugby matches: Marie Therese House Staff v Bawden’s select team; a Fijian Barbarians team V Camborne Vets; and culminating in the Matavesi Select XV versus a Camborne Select XV. The main game was watched by a crowd of just under 3,000, the largest at the Recreation ground for some time. Some typical barbarians’ style out of hand running rugby was enjoyed for the full 80 minutes, with the final score being Matavesi XV 71 – 42 Camborne Select XV. The thee Matavesi sons played the first half for their Matavesi XV, then changed kit and played the second half for their beloved Cherry & Whites.

The captain of the Matavesi XV was youngest son Joel. He said: “It was such a special day for dad and all the family and to be able to provide a cheque to the value of £17,495.80 to Marie Therese House is a real bonus. Joel also wanted to express the thanks of brother Josh, who is away on international duties with the Fijian Rugby team in preparation for the forthcoming World Cup.”

A spokesperson for Marie Therese house said: “The Friends and staff at Marie Therese House are blown away at the total raised and would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who took part and contributed to such a fantastic day.  After discussion with Sireli, some of the money raised will be used to replace two of our ceiling track hoists which have recently been condemned.  The money raised will also allow us to fund an additional new ceiling track hoist which will benefit patients and staff.  Any remaining monies will be used to purchase additional equipment in the future.”

Sereli was a rugby player being a Fijian Barbarian. His three sons Josh, Sam and Joel have followed in his footsteps: Josh is a Fijian international, and plays for the Ospreys in the RaboDirect Pro 12 League; Sam is also a Fijian international and having played for Plymouth Albion in the RFU Championship, he has for this season re-signed for Camborne and will assist with coaching at Veor; whilst Joel the youngest brother also plays for Ospreys. The other connection that they all have is they have represented Cornwall but also their beloved Camborne RFC.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Older posts