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

Moseley Game Requires Buccaneering Spirit

Three games into the season and clubs and supporters alike are beginning to get inkling as to how their season is likely to pan out.

Many will say too early to call but the gut feeling isn’t too far wrong even at this early stage.

The Cornish Pirates difficult start to the campaign continued on Sunday when they travelled to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol and came away with a 45-17 defeat.

It’s been a tough start for a predominantly young squad facing three sides who will figure in the top half of the table this season.

The current campaign is all about survival at this level while hoping that matters off the pitch concerning the STADIUM can finally take a decisive step forward.

This Sunday’s game against Moseley, the first against a side likely to finish in the bottom third of the table, is the first of the Pirates’ BIG games this season in their bid to maintain Championship rugby in the Duchy.

It’s not quite “backs to the wall” but it will require a certain buccaneering spirit to get the campaign up and running and give the coaches, players and supporters something tangible to build on going forward.

It’s going to be their results against sides like Moseley, Plymouth Albion, Jersey, Nottingham and Bedford Blues plus their ability to pick up bonus points where they can that will determine their season.

Support is a key to their success, so getting as many down to the Mennaye to get behind the boys and shout like mad is the part we can ALL play.

You can read Nigel Walrond’s account in the link.

In National League 2 South on Saturday; a loss on the road for the Reds but a welcome first win at Polson for the All Blacks.

Redruth lost for the first time this season 27-20 at Cambridge, not a ground that holds many happy memories for the Reds!

Despite the loss a late rally saw Redruth pick up a losing bonus point with a performance that left head-coach Steve Larkins happier than the win over Launceston the previous week.

They will look to get back to winning ways this Saturday at home to Clifton.

Ed Bawden’s report in the link

The Cornish All Blacks got the win that Director of Rugby Neil Bayliss was looking for as they defeated Shelford 23-15 at Polson despite not playing to their full potential.

Read Suzanne Cleave’s report in the link

In Tribute South West 1West, I took in the game at the Recreation Ground as Camborne got back to winning ways following last week’s loss at Cleve. Clevedon were dogged opponents before three tries in the last ten minutes saw Town complete another bonus point home win 34-23.

Head-coach Liam Chapple is still waiting for his side to deliver an eighty- minute performance and conceded that their defence needs tightening up at times. Another good performance from scrum-half Taron Peacock who scored a couple of tries as did full-back Grant Thirlby with another former Red Ben Drew scoring their other try.

My report in the link

St. Austell slipped to a first home defeat of the season losing 13-30 to Cleve. Trailing 15-6 at the break with just a couple of Andy Ashwin penalties to show for their efforts they shipped further tries in the second half which just a try and conversion from Dan Pearce as consolation.

In Tribute Western Counties West, Penryn after two home wins were defeated in their first trip over the border going down 29-7 at Tiverton. Tom Hoban got their try which Callum Hinchley converted.

Truro got back to winning ways after their loss at Okehampton the previous week with an emphatic 92-10 win at St. Clements against a hapless Tavistock.

Carl Ranscombe lead the try scoring bagging five of Truro’s fourteen tries, whilst Jake Champion added eleven conversions to his hat-trick of tries.

Wadebridge Camels got their first win of the season defeating Okehampton 15-15 at the Molesworth Field. Dan Briskham and Cam Lees scored the two Camels’ tries with James Grubb kicking a couple of penalties.

St. Ives’ difficult start to the season continues as they slumped to a third defeat this time at home to Exeter University by 7-77. Ben Jenkins got the Hakes only try which Jacob Ninnes converted just on half-time.

In London 2 SW London Cornish made it two wins from two with a 26-10 win over KCS Old Boys. See the previous blog entry for Ben Gilby’s report.

In Tribute Cornwall & Devon League Pirates Amateurs maintained their fine start to the season with a third win at home against old rivals Hayle 25-6. Nick Hitchens, Danny Toolan and Rhys Brownfield scored the Ams’ tries with Brownfield also kicking a couple of penalties and conversions. For the Lions Dan Magee kicked a couple of penalties.

Bude’s two match winning run came to an end as they were defeated by league leaders Withycombe 29-5. Adam Black with the North Cornwall side’s only try.

Saltash defeated Falmouth 32-17 at Moorlands thanks to tries from Will Morton (2), Steve Hillman and Max Venables with Venables also kicking three conversions and two penalties.

For the Eagles Tom Spiller & Andrew Munroe-Lott (2) scored tries with Spiller kicking a conversion. Falmouth will look to get their season up and running at home to South Molton on Saturday.

Liskeard-Looe slipped to a third defeat as they lost at OPMs 31-8, Pete Regan scored the Lions’ try with John Thompson adding a penalty.

St. Agnes will represent Cornwall in the RFU Junior Vase following their win against Veor 21-15 in the final of the county qualifying tournament.

Some County fixture news;

The Tamar Cup match against Devon will be held at Plymouth Albion’s Brickfields Ground on a date to be arranged in late April next year.

Cornwall’s Under 20 fixture against Devon has been scheduled for Sunday January 25th at Ivybridge RFC

The other U.20 pool 3 fixture will be against Gloucestershire in Cornwall date and venue to be confirmed.


Posted in Bill's Blog

Gritty Cornish win a thriller!




‘The Exiles’ remain top of London Two South-West with a 100% record following a great win over an impressive KCS Old Boys outfit, reports Ben Gilby

Both teams came into this game with bonus point wins in their opening matches of the season. Cornish made four changes to their starting line-up from last week’s 36-0 win over Weybridge Vandals with Rob Healey, Tom Lloyd, Chris Anstey and Ben Ievers coming in. Will Carew-Gibbs also returned and was on the bench.

The opening points of the afternoon were scored pretty much immediately. Cornish were penalised after just 11 seconds, and KCS centre Tom Dugarin kicked the penalty for the visitors. Kings’ good start could have got even better when they were awarded another penalty three minutes later as Cornish went off their feet. The penalty was advanced ten metres after a Cornish forward shook his head at the decision. This made it kickable, but Dugarin’s attempt missed.

What was notable throughout the first half was KCS’ excellent ability in launching long clearance kicks to touch which not only relieved some of the pressure they were under, but put the ‘Black and Golds’ on the back foot simultaneously. However, from one of these clearing kicks, Rob Healey passed to Joe Skinnard who fed Mark Osei-Tutu and the Cornish number eight burrowed over for the opening try. Spells’ conversion attempt was good and, somewhat against the run of play, Cornish led 7-3 after 11 minutes.

Harry Somers gathered the re-start and passed to Healey who launched a superb kick from one ‘22’ to the other, with the bal bouncing out of play. KCS hit back, and ‘The Exiles’ had to be on their mettle defensively as the visitors’ Nelson fed Williams who was met by a huge Black and Gold brick wall, who gained a penalty for their efforts. Four minutes later the pacey Kings full-back Will Nelson made a searing break, but the Cornish defence was too strong again.

This determination by ‘The Exiles’ paid dividends when, soon after, from a great break from Mark Osei-Tutu, a rolling maul was set up, and Ben Devonport grounded the ball with Spells once more adding the extras. Despite KCS having much of the territory and ball in the opening half an hour, it was Cornish who were 14-3 ahead – which served to highlight the importance of taking your chances when you get them!

lc V kcs 1 APhoto – Luke Spells looking to offload vs KCS OB’s

Just before half-time, Kings were denied by a series of huge defensive efforts from Cornish. They were also awarded another penalty, which Dugarin missed. It was the big Black & Gold defensive effort that sealed the eleven point half-time lead which was probably harsh on KCS.

There was no further scoring until six minutes from the final whistle – but this does not mean the second half was dull and turgid – it was anything but. Two very good teams were going at it hammer and tongs, with Cornish gaining more of the ball and getting increasingly on top in the forward battle. This, plus some excellent passing movements saw KCS more on the back foot as the game developed.

Cornish had a series of scrums within five metres of the Kings line, a number of re-sets and penalties against the visitors ended with a visiting forward sin-binned. Try as the Black & Golds might, they could not score during this period; something which the visitors deserve real credit for. Shortly after KCS returned to their full compliment, it was Cornish’s turn to receive a sin-binning, with a forward shown the yellow card for a rucking infringement.

LC V KCS 3 APhoto – Harry Somers ready for the lineout

KCS began to assert a period of pressure, and it was no surprise when, with seven minutes left, their captain Jonny Kiddle made an impressive break and offloaded to George Taylor who grounded the ball with ease. Dugarin’s conversion was successful and KCS were back in it at 14-10. At this point, with Cornish down to fourteen men, KCS could have been forgiven for thinking the points were heading their way. But they reckoned without a quite stunning last five minutes from Cornish.

Still down to fourteen men, The Black & Golds showed a seriously impressive determination to win. Just three minutes later, Cornish stole line-out ball just five metres out. The pack launched an earth-shattering drive and Mark Osei-Tutu grounded the ball. Spells’ conversion missed, but the lead was now out to nine points.

Cornish were not finished yet, and continually pummelled away at the KCS defence, who were finding it difficult to stem the black and gold tide, despite having a man advantage. Into stoppage time, Cornish won a penalty fifteen metres out. It was in an eminently kickable position, but the kick was turned down – thoughts were on a bonus point try. From the resulting line-out, another astonishingly powerful drive from the pack saw Cornish over the line, with Tim Homan grounding the ball. Spells’ conversion was good, and ‘The Exiles’ celebrated an excellent win, with that ‘last play of the game try’ sealing top spot in the table for another week.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Cornwall RFU confirms senior representative rugby teams’ management for 2014-15

Cornwall XV 2014

Cornwall at Twickenham 2014

Cornwall Rugby Football Union (CRFU) confirmed this week the management structure for the senior representative rugby teams for the 2014-2015 season.

Senior Men’s XV
Coach – Graham Dawe
Coach – Ian Morgan
Strength & Condition Coach – James Earp
Team Manager – Ewart White
Assistant Team Manager – Trevor Spargo

Under 20 XV
Coach – Mike Rawlings
Coach – Brynn Jenkins
Coach – Tom Rawlings
Coach – Ian Morgan
Team Manager – Chris Lea
Assistant Team Manager – Colin Hatch

Senior Women’s XV
Coach – Paul Woodhead assisted by Andy Demaine,
Niall Devenish, David Roberts and Martin Rodea
Team Manager – Amy Collins
Assistant Team Manager – Maggie Notman

Cornwall Clubs’ XV
Coach / Team Manager – Stuart Hood & Robin Johns

County Selectors
Terry Carter, Graham Still, Alan Milliner, Trevor Spargo & Julian Wilce

CRFU President John Grindle said, “I am delighted that the CRFU have made an early decision on these very important appointments. This will enable the individuals to get on with the planning stage for the coming season. I am also delighted that there has been little change in the structure and this bodes well to enable them to build on the good work that has been put in over the past couple of years.”

The first representative game for Cornwall is in the County Championship Under 20 competition where Cornwall will be home to Gloucestershire on Sunday 30 November. Letters have been sent to all clubs within the County asking coaches to put forward names of suitable players by the 15 September to the manager Chris Lea or Colin Hatch. Preparation is already under way for training and selection sessions and to build a squad for the season. Eligible player must be under 20 by the first day of September 2014, and at least 17 years of age on the day of the match.

Team Manager Chris Lea said, “I am pleased that we have kept together the same management set up as last season and hope to build on the progress we made. We only lost a few players on age grounds but during the off season Tyler Gendall, Locryn Williams and Brad Howe have all joined the Cornish Pirates Player Development Squad. This is a loss to us but we offer them our congratulations and wish them every success in their aim of becoming professional rugby players. We are looking for new talent to join the section of Cornish rugby and I would urge all club’s to come forward and nominate suitable players for us to consider.”


Pic Simon Bryant Iktis photo – Tyler Gendall in action for the Cornish Pirates against Aberavon

The three players mentioned above plus Jack Innard from this season join Under 20 players from the previous season who entered the ranks of professional rugby, Max Bodilly, Tom Hendrickson, Matt Bolwell, Kyle Moyle, and Mike Roach. Having Ian Morgan assisting with the coaching also allows players to have a pathway into the Senior Men’s XV, last season Tyler Gendall and Neil Stanleick were both selected as travelling reserves in County Championship fixtures.

Cornwall Clubs’ XV give players in Cornwall 1 and 2 leagues the opportunity of pulling on the famous black and gold shirt. Stuart and Robin will be talking to those clubs and observing players at that level for selection. It is hoped that this season we will play a game against similar league level from Devon for the first time. If it is a success it could well become an annual event in the Club’s calendar.

The Senior Women’s XV compete in their own County Championship competition, players are drawn mainly from Liskeard Leopards, Newquay and Penryn. New players are always welcome and anyone interested in joining as a player or assisting should contact Ann Demaine in the first instance.

The RFU launched a new Women and Girls (WAG) strategy document on the September 3 at the Houses of Parliament which aims to bring rugby to an additional 100,000 women and girls on the back of the England Women’s World Cup success.

Cornwall Senior Women’s team manager Amy Collins said, “England already has the largest Women and Girls player base of 180,000 and in Cornwall we aim to do our bit at all levels to raise the numbers even further.”

The Senior Men’s XV have retained the services of Graham Dawe, Ian Morgan and James Earp, with Julian Wilce joining the team of selectors. Julian represented Cornwall on 17 occasions whilst playing for Launceston and Wadebridge Camels.

CRFU Chair Denis Preece said, “It’s good news that we retained these people to build on the work they started last season. I know we were all disappointed to lose a second Twickenham final but that is now history and we start the build up to the 2014 / 2015 season. I am also delighted to welcome Julian as one of our selectors; he brings with him experience both at club and county level.”

greg Goodfellow cornwall v N Mids 2014 - 2

 Pic Simon Bryant Iktis photo – Greg Goodfellow Cornwall’s scrum-half  celebrating a try

Cornwall Coach Graham Dawe said, “I am pleased to have been asked to continue in my role as coach of Cornwall and work alongside Ian and Earpy again. We all saw the passion that rugby generates in the County, that’s with the players, back room staff and of course the supporters in fact everybody who is involved. We have held a debrief meeting and want to build on the good points but also improve on the areas where we were not quite as strong. The coaching staff and selectors have been out before the official season kicks off looking at existing and new players that come to our attention.”

 The senior XV dates and fixtures for the coming season have been released:

Saturday 9 May away to Gloucestershire
Saturday 16 May away to Kent – Gravesend RFC
Saturday 23 May home to Hertfordshire
Finals day Sunday 31 May @ Twickenham

Posted in Bill's Blog

Derby Day Spoils for the Reds

National League 2 Cornish Derby lived up to it’s promises on Saturday, a game that was decided when Kieron Lewitt’s last-gasp penalty effort flew wide of the posts to leave the Redruth faithful in jubilation with a 14-13 win and two wins from as many games to start the season.

Redruth head-coach was happy with the win but less so with his side’s performance. Plenty to work on before the trip next Saturday to Cambridge.

Naturally Launceston’s Director of Rugby Neil Bayliss was less happy following a second defeat for his side by a single point.

Both tries were conceded when the All Blacks were down to fourteen men, which tells it’s own story. He hopes his side will be able to get that elusive first win at Polson next week against Shelford.

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

On Sunday the Cornish Pirates lost for the second time this season in the Greene King IPA Championship 30-19 to London Scottish.

Plenty of faces in the crowd from Redruth to see old favourites mark Bright and PJ Gidlow, whilst former Pirates Ben Prescott and Max Maidment were also in the exiles line-up.

Sadly for PJ a heavy collision with Rheon James in mid-field saw the centre stretched off, happily he made a full recovery after the match.

As for Brighty, another five star performance as he again helped himself to a hat-trick of tries for the second game running and then had a big hand in Miles Mantella’s bonus point 4th try for the Scottish.

The Cornish Pirates scored a couple of tries of their own with Tom Riley’s great run setting up winger Kyle Moyle for a great finish in the Newlyn gate corner, whilst scrum-half Tom Kessell’s quick thinking got a try near the end.

Cornish Pirates’ Director of Rugby Ian Davies described Bright as the best forward in the Championship

“It was a better performance from us from last week, though the final result is a fair the margin of victory probably not, but we will move on.

“Our work rate was right up there and we showed some good attacking intent we moved the ball around and our defence was a lot better than last week and we kept going until the end. We competed well and nullified much of what they wanted to do, it was an attritional game you saw that with the number of injuries coming off but you can’t give a powerful pack like that field position and we did that on too many occasions.

“We were in the game until be gifted them two scores within a couple of minutes, the first from a penalty which they drove over and then the next from an up and under with the bounce of the ball going their way, twelve points conceded in quick time.

Injury worries again surfaced for the Pirates, with the influential flanker Alex Cheesman going off and seen on crutches after the game.

There are already muttering in some quarters as the Pirates have lost two from two with the prospect of a trip next Sunday to face Bristol at Ashton Gate. I say keep the faith, the Pirates are battling on two fronts both on and off the pitch, though their next home game against Moseley will be a big one as far as their season is concerned. Now is the time for supporters to get behind the team and the club.

Bill Sobey’s match report can be found in the link 

In the Tribute regional leagues; in Tribute South West 1 West after two opening day wins for Camborne and St. Austell at home last week both tasted defeat on the road this.

Camborne travelled to Cleve and lost 15-12. Camborne took a 5-0 lead with a try from flanker George Hall but things went awry for the Cherry and Whites as big lock Ben Kemp was red carded for punching!

Despite this handicap Camborne re-took the lead with a try and conversion from Dave Mankee to lead 12-10, but a yellow card for winger Scott Murray saw Town down to thirteen allowing Cleve to score a winning try.

St. Austell went down heavily at North Petherton 32-6 with just a couple of Andy Ashwins penalties to show for their efforts.

In Tribute Western Counties West, Penryn made it two wins on the trot with 50-12 win over St. Ives. Borough scored tries through Josh Chambers (2), Matt Horton Ollie Evans, Andy Seviour, Adam Hughes, Grant Randlesome and a penalty-try.

Nathan strick’s boot added the other points. For the Hakes Ben Taylor and Tom Chandler scored tries with Jake Ninnes adding a conversion, it’s worrying times at the Hakes having lost so many players during the summer.

A late penalty gave Okehampton a 26-23 win over visitors Truro, a game that saw the lead change hands five times. Chizzy Gilbert, Ieuan Boon and Carl Ranscombe scored tries for Truro with Jake Champion kicking a conversion and two penalties.

A second loss for Wadebridge Camels as they went down 63-7 at Kingsbridge, it’s a result that will hurt coach Mike Rawlings and will be a blow to the Camels’ hopes of bouncing back after relegation last season. Still early days.

In London 2 SW, London Cornish defeated Weybridge Vandals 36-0, see my previous blog entry for a report by Ben Gilbey.

In the Tribute Cornwall and Devon League, Bude had a tough game at home to newly promoted Bodmin eventually winning 35-18 thanks in part to four tries scored by young Bradley Janes with Jason Bolt and Mark Parsons also dotting down. Olly Denford kicked a conversion and Alex Rakhashani a penalty to complete the seasiders’ haul.

For Bodmin Lee Taylor and Paul Carter scored tries with James Taylor kicking the rest of the points.

Pirates Amateurs won at Falmouth 21-18 Craig Stephens (2) and Steve Evans scored tries for the Ams with Evans adding all three conversions.

Simon Bailey and Nick Caine scored the Eagle’s tries with Justyn Irons kicking the rest of the points.

Hayle won their opening game of the season defeating visitors Paignton 22-12. Scott Harvey scored the only try with Dan Magee kicking the rest of the points.

Withycombe accounted for Liskeard-Looe 67-0 with the omens already looking bleak for the East Cornwall Lions.

Saltash bounced back from an opening day defeat to win at Exeter Saracens 35-10. Saltash tries were scored by wing Will Morton, prop Simon Nance, centre Sean Crawford, fly-half Ollie Mulberry and full-back Max Venables, who also kicked five conversions.

In the RFU Junior Vase Cornwall Qualifying semi-finals, Veor defeated Illogan Park 28-5 and St. Agnes won at Roseland 30-10.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Opening Day Win for Cornish Exiles in London SW2


By Ben Gilby, Press Officer LCRFC       

The Exiles opened their London Two South-West league season with a comfortable win over Weybridge Vandals at The REMPF.

On a mild afternoon with an occasional stiff breeze, it was Cornish who started the strongest, earning a penalty within the opening forty seconds of the game. Luke Spells kick was good, and The Exiles had their first points of 2014/15. Vandals hit back and earned a penalty, and James Parker got excellent distance on his kick to find touch just five metres out, but Cornish’s defence drove hard and forced a penalty to clear their lines.

It became obvious early on that the Black & Golds’ pack had the advantage, and with seven minutes gone, a giant rolling maul made over twenty metres, with Ciaran Acford grounding the ball. Spells’ conversion was good and it was 10-0. Just three minutes later, Cornish launched a dazzling attack; Tim Homan found Craig Chatley on the left. His ball inside found Mark Osei-Tutu who reached for the line, but Vandals’ scrum-half Dave Parker stole the ball to clear.

Weybridge earned a period of possession, but a combination of handling errors and choosing the wrong option prevented them from getting on the scoreboard. Cornish came into it once more as the game neared the twenty minute mark as Spells made a break, and offloaded to Bond, who in turn found Harry Somers. Vandals were penalised, but Spells kick at goal missed. Another chance was lost shortly afterwards when Heymann found Hakes. The ball then came to Joe Skinnard, but the move ended when the ball was knocked on.

The final ten minutes of the half was generally error-strewn with typical opening day handling errors. Cornish had one further chance before the half-time break when Nigel Johnston’s injection of pace carved through the Vandals defence. Homan and Bond combined, but the ball ended in touch. At half-time, the score was 10-0 to Cornish.

IMG_6529Pic Ben Gilby Mark Osei-Tutu makes a break

 The second half was just two minutes old when The Exiles increased their lead. Mark Osei-Tutu picked up the ball from the back of the scrum and made fifteen metres on a storming run. From the resulting ruck, Weybridge turned over the ball, but another Vandals error saw them lose possession immediately to Matt Hakes, who sprinted down the left hand side to ground the ball. Spells’ conversion attempt missed.

The following period of the match was punctuated by constant penalising of both teams, but it was now becoming abundantly clear that Cornish had more in the tank, and with 57 minutes played, Matt Hakes intercepted a Vandals pass and cut in from the left to dot the ball down under the posts. Luke Spells’ conversion extended the home side’s lead to 22-0. The Exiles now had the bit between their teeth and were threatening constantly. A great move at pace between Johnston and Heymann, saw the ball fed to Dave Theobald, but play was stopped due to an injury to Weybridge’s Craig Decoteau.

Cornish kept going, and it was only a matter of time before the bonus point try arrived. Just three minutes later, Joe Skinnard fed Luke Spells, who put in Matt Hakes who secured his third try of the afternoon. Luke Spells landed a superb conversion from wide out on the left hand touchline for 29-0. The Black and Golds scented blood, and from the re-start, mounted another attack with Robin Heymann tackled into touch just two metres from the try line. From the resulting line-out, the ball was gathered and a huge rolling maul sent Cornish forward at a rapid rate of knots, the move ended with Mark Osei-Tutu grounding the ball for the home side’s fifth try of the afternoon. Spells’ conversion was successful.

The last ten minutes saw the game going to uncontested scrums with Weybridge not able to produce another front rower. This nullified Cornish’s dominance and there was no further scoring.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Redruth get off to a flyer


Here we go again, the season is up and running as most clubs return to the their league programs, with the Cornwall 1 & 2 clubs battling it out for places in the RFU Junior Vase competition proper.

I took in the games at Camborne and the Cornish Pirates this weekend, plenty of talking points from both games, more of that later.

Top of the bill has to be Redruth’s great start to their National League 2 South campaign with a good win 36 – 31 and five league points at Southend, never an easy place to get a result.

Despite leading 15-6 at half-time and then 22-9 early in the second half, the Reds found themselves behind 28-22 with just 10 minutes to go.

Tries from Rhodri McAtee and Tom Simmons both converted by Ashley Hosking swung the game back finally in the Reds’ favour.

You can read Ed Bawden’s match report from Sunday’s Western Morning News in the link.

The Cornish All Blacks could only salvage a losing bonus point at Polson Bridge losing 18-19 against a Bishop’s Stortford side that many pundits are tipping to be there or thereabouts come April in the promotion stakes.

Trailing 15-6 at the break the All Blacks stormed back during the second half but the visitors managed to score a third try to put the game safe.

Pale Nonu scored a try on his return to Polson as did debutant Matt Shepherd.

Match report by Suzanne Cleve from Sunday’s Western Morning News in the link.

All roads will lead to the Recreation Ground next Saturday when Redruth take on the Cornish All Blacks in the first of this season’s Cornish Derbies.

On Sunday at the Mennaye the Cornish Pirates got their season off to a disappointing start going down to Yorkshire Carnegie by 29-18.

Head coach Ian Davies was disappointed with the result and more than a little perplexed that his side were penalised so often by the referee especially at scrum time. In a game of some 41 penalties it was surprising that no yellow cards were shown!

He also felt that a missed penalty by Kieran Hallett just before half-time coupled with Yorkshire Carnegie scoring an early second half try through flanker Chris Jones effectively took the game away from the Pirates.

Former International Jones had a big game for the Yorkshire side showing his class throughout.

On the plus side the Pirates showed plenty of endeavour and worked hard playing to the end to score a couple of tries through their Canadian Internationals Matt Evans and Aaron Carpenter, also a lot of the boys were playing their first Championship game having made some big steps up from lower levels, it is inevitable that it will be a learning curve for many as the season progresses. Flanker Alex Cheesman again showed his undoubted class in the Pirate’s back row, though they did miss club skipper Chris Morgan out following his injury against the Reds.

For a full report you can read Bill Sobey’s from today’s Western Morning News in the link.

In the regional leagues; Tribute South West 1 West, there were winning starts for both Cornish clubs. Camborne needed a last gasp penalty-try to defeat North Petherton 40-34, in a roller-coaster of game that Camborne at one stage looked set to run away with.

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

Post match reaction from Head Coach Liam Chapple will be in this Thursday’s West Briton.

St. Austell defeated Bridgwater & Albion 25-17 at Tregorrick Park. Saints pulled away in the final ten minutes to secure the win thanks to a Jack Grigg try. Other tries came from Paul Winterbottom and Sam Tank with Andy Ashwin kicking the points.

In Tribute Western Counties West Truro got the better of Kingsbridge 29-21 at St Clements. Truro scored tries through Ieuan Boon, Jake Champion, Will Booth and Ollie Dell with Champion adding three conversions and a penalty.

Penryn also had an opening day win against Sidmouth 25-10.

Wadebridge Camels had an opening day loss to the much-fancied Exeter University side 23-21. It was a last gasp drop-goal that gave the students the spoils at the Molesworth Field.

Camels fought back with tries from Dom Hawkey and Ben Miskey with their other points coming from the boot of Sam Fox and Dan Thomas but were pipped at the death.

St. Ives lost at home to Devonport Services 27-17.

In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League; there were good wins for Bude 49-36 at South Molton and Pirates Amateurs 50-0 at the Mennaye against Exeter Saracens. Saltash lost at Moorlands 27-24 to Crediton, Bodmin, their first game at this level, 26-15 to Withycombe, Falmouth at Paignton 34-5 and Liskeard-Looe at Lux Park to Honiton 8-37. Hayle’s game against OPM’s was postponed due to a wedding.

Good report from the North Devon Journal on Bude’s win in the link

In the quarter-finals of the qualifying competition for the RFU Junior Vase, Veor beat Lanner 19-8, St.Agnes defeated Lankelly-Fowey 68-12, Roseland beat Camelford 31-0 and Illogan Park won at St. Just 69-7.

Posted in Bill's Blog

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