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CORNWALL BACK IN BUISNESS

Cornwall couldn’t have hoped for a better start in their quest to regain their place in the County Championship proper next season following an emphatic 66-8 win, scoring no less than eleven tries over Oxfordshire in their opening County Shield match at Redruth on Saturday in front of a sizeable crowd.

Played in fine weather though with a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch, which proved troublesome to the goal kickers, Cornwall stamped their authority on the game from the kick-off, as No 8 Sam Hocking made the first of his telling carries. The Cornwall pack carried far too many “big guns” for the Oxfordshire eight who had a torrid afternoon as the rampant Cornish forwards dominated.

The opening score wasn’t long in arriving, though it came from an intercept by Redruth centre Simon Peters who sprinted along the eastern Bank touchline to score near the posts after only 2 mins, Mark Scrivener added the conversion. Oxfordshire briefly rallied to cut the deficit with a penalty from fly-half James Cathcart after 5 mins. Cornwall then took hold of the game to score a further four tries during the first half, Lewis Vinnicombe showed some blistering pace in helping himself to a couple of tries, with scrum-half Mark Richards and flanker Chris Fuca scoring the others in a Redruth try scoring spree during the opening 40 minutes. Mark Scrivener adding a couple more conversions and a penalty. Oxfordshire managed to pull a try back through winger Nick Sevier to leave the half-time score 34-8 to Cornwall.

Early in the second half Vinnicombe completed his try scoring hat-trick with a touchdown in the Piggy Lane corner of the ground. Cornwall continued to dominate though several promising moves broke down. As the game moved into the final quarter Cornwall brought on their bench players who were keen to make their mark on the game. Referee Mr. Higginson had no hesitation in awarding Cornwall a penalty try following sustained pressure on the Oxfordshire line, remarkably the conversion from in-front of the posts was missed as the ball appeared to tumble over as the luckless kicker Jamie Semmens was about to make contact with the ball. It mattered not. Cornwall’s eighth try was scored by skipper Josh Lord, who led his side by example throughout, a blistering run by the back row forward saw him run in from 35 meters cutting through the visitor’s defence, like a knife through butter. Leading at this stage by 49-8, Cornwall looked to finish with style with further tries from Jamie Semmens, replacement fly-half Marek Churcher and a spectacular score from replacement loose-head prop Jason Bolt in the Piggy Lane corner, Semmens converting the final score.

Speaking after the match county coaching co-ordinator Benji Thomas was delighted with such a dream start, he paid tribute to his players, all week he had instilled in them pride in playing for Cornwall and he felt that they had shown that today. He couldn’t have asked anymore from his players, especially pleased with the interplay between forwards and backs, felt that Jason Bolt’s final try really summed up the style he was looking for.

Proud skipper Josh Lord was equally very happy after the match, he felt that the squad had gelled very well despite the minimal preparation time they have had together. Josh paid tribute to his teammates and also the crowd who got right behind the team. Looking to take the next step next Saturday at Hertford, players have got Twickenham in their sights and are determined to get there. Heartened by the great support at Redruth today and hoping that as many as possible can get to Hertford next week to cheer the boys on.

CORNWALL 66 Pts

Tries- Peters, Vinnicombe (3), Richards, Fuca, Penalty, Lord, J. Semmens, Churcher, Bolt Conversions – Scrivener (3), J. Semmens. Penalty- Scrivener

OXFORDSHIRE 8 Pts

Try- Sevier. Penalty – Cathcart

Cornwall: J. Semmens, N. Pedley, R. Westren, S. Peters, L. Vinnicombe (O. Faulkner 47), M. Scrivener (M. Churcher 59), M. Richards (R. Pellow 57); D. Jacques (R. Bolt 57), J. Salter (D. Semmens 68), P. Andrew, J. Griffiths (B. Jenkins 68), B. Hilton, J. Lord (Capt), C. Fuca (A. Nicholls 57), S. Hocking.

Oxfordshire: H. Jones, P. Huxford (A. Pearson 54), M. Goode (K. Sewell H/T), R. Williams, N. Sevier, J. Cathcart, A, Cope; J. Winpenny, D. Needham (J. Eckheret 57), T. Whelan (A. Cawston 57), M. Hutchings (Capt), S. Black, P. Rowe, S. Bannister, E. Rixon.

Referee: Mr. N. Higginson (Devon R.R.S.)

Posted in Bill's Blog


JOSH LORD TO CAPTAIN CORNWALL IN SHIELD OPENER

The Cornwall side chosen to play Oxfordshire tomorrow at REDRUTH kick-off 3pm;

Team as per this mornings WMN;

15. Jamie Semmens (Mount’s Bay), 14. Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth), 13. Ryan Westren (CAB’s), 12. Simon Peters (Redruth), 11. Sam Parsons (Cornish Pirates), 10. Mark Scrivener (CAB’s), 9. Mark Richards (Redruth); 1. Darren Jacques (Redruth), 2. Jamie Salter (Mount’s Bay), 3. Paul Andrew (Mount’s Bay), 4. John Griffiths (Mount’s Bay), 5. Ben Hilton (Mount’s Bay), 6. Josh Lord (CAB’s, capt), 7. Chris. Fuca (Redruth), 8. Sam Hocking (CAB’s).

Reps: Marek Churcher, Ricky Pellow, Darren Semmens, Andy Nicholls, (all Mount’s Bay, Jason Bolt, Bryn Jenkins (both CAB’s), AN Other?

Posted in Bill's Blog


BIZARRE RESULTS HELP CONDEMN CAB’S

Uncanny…that’s the way it seems to me that not one of the results went Launceston’s way on Saturday. Fair enough that the CAB’s lost at Franklins Gardens against Northampton Saints 81-0, there was never any possibility that the CAB’s could pull off what Exeter Chiefs, Nottingham or the Cornish Pirates had failed to do all season and beat Northampton. The biggest surprise was Bedford’s loss at home to Pertemps Bees, I felt that Sedgley Park would probably beat Rotherham but not by the margin they did. It’s all very similar to the fate that befell Launceston a few seasons ago when they spent one season in National League 2 before being relegated back to National 3 South, on that occasion they needed one result to go their way for safety, none did and down they went.

Still their battling performances over the last few weeks have given us interest. Credit to coaches Chris Brown and Jon Hill as well as the squad of players. I have no doubt that the Cornish All Blacks will be a formidable force in National League 2 next season it promises to be a very passionate league full of local interest with Redruth and Mount’s Bay also in the mix.

The Cornish Pirates rounded off an indifferent season, just like the curate’s egg, good in parts, with a surprising 31-18 defeat at Camborne against London Welsh. Camborne was a pretty lively place to be on Saturday with it being Trevithick Day, so the Pirates set off with rush of steam, with two tries in the opening few minutes, the first from Bristol bound Vunga Lilo and the second from Jimmy Moore. To say the train left the rails would be an understatement, back came the Welsh exiles to score a couple of converted tries through Liffchack and Sampson, Jones adding the extras to lead 14-10. Ollie Thomas, who had an indifferent game, that can be the nature of the beast when you have a player blessed with pace and balance, but whose kicking can sometimes let you down, replied with a penalty. Thomas was at fault over the exiles third try scored by Etheredge. Worse was to come as Noah Cato scored a fourth try for the visitors before half-time to leave the Pirates trailing 28-13.

Following some magic from Rhodri McAtee, Iva Motusaga scored a third try for the Pirates. Jones’ penalty edged London Welsh further ahead and took the game away from the Pirates.

It’s going to be an interesting few weeks to see how the squad shapes up for next season. Two pieces of news coming out of the Pirates’ camp, the hoped for signing of Plymouth Albion’s Jannie Bornman has fallen through due to visa problems, so the former Albion player looks set to follow Tim Cowley off to France, out of contract prop Sam Heard has gone up to Guinness Premiership side London Wasps to help them out as they are short of props. We all hope it goes well for Sam and that he gets something permanent out of the experience, I am sure he will benefit enormously from working with another former Redruth player, Phil Vickery.

Redruth brought the curtain down on their season with a 39-16 win over Nuneaton on Saturday. It was party time in “Hell Fire Corner”, you can read my match report from the main site. Head Coach Nigel Hambly was philosophical after the game reflecting on the season as a whole. He felt that finishing 9th was not acceptable to a club like Redruth even allowing for the 10-point deduction they would only have finished 7th. Pre-season hopes of being involved in the promotion race went un-fulfilled. He felt that the club “could have done better”. Each season the league gets tougher and tougher and all the clubs have to up their game.

Only one Cornish side were involved in the promotion play-offs at the weekend, a big crowd of over 400 at the King George V Playing Field saw Helston fail in their quest to reach the Cornwall & Devon League next season. On the day they were well beaten by Old Public Oaks 24-0.

And so this Saturday sees the start of Cornwall’s latest County Shield campaign at Redruth against Oxfordshire kick-off 3pm. Let us all hope that especially in this year, which has seen us remember and commemorate Cornwall’s great County Championship win in 1908 against Durham, Cornwall can win again and reclaim her place in the County Championship proper next season.

I hope that “One & All” will get themselves down to Redruth on Saturday and “Cheer like mad for Cornwall” as the old programs of days gone by always urged. As ever the boys wearing the shirt on the field will give their all for Cornwall, we on the terraces and the stand MUST do the same. UP CORNWALL!

Posted in Bill's Blog


NEWQUAY HORNETS PROMOTED, AS CAB’S SWEAT IT OUT

Not really the result that Launceston were hoping for on Saturday losing at home to Bedford by 22-18, though the losing bonus point has given them an extra point over Sedgley Park in the relegation battle in National League 1. It’s all going to boil down to the Sedgley Park v Rotherham Titans result, although it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Pertemps Bees somehow conjure up a result at Bedford. All the Cornish All Blacks can do on Saturday is go out and play their game at Franklins Gardens.

The Cornish All Blacks were rocked by the Bedford Blues who scored two converted tries in the opening quarter, flanker Mouritz Botha scoring the opening try after six minutes followed by a slick effort from centre Tom Youngs, full-back James Pritchard converting both scores. Launceston pulled a try back through top try scorer Matt Jess just before half-time to turn around nine points adrift.

Full-back Jon Fabian chipped away at the Bedford lead with a couple of penalties, however Pritchard nudged the visitors further ahead with a penalty before the Blues struck with a killer blow as Botha scored his second try. Launceston threw everything at Bedford eventually being awarded a penalty-try for persistent infringing, Fabian adding the conversion. Try as they might Launceston couldn’t get another try as Bedford effectively saw time out.

The Cornish Pirates gave another disappointing performance on the road as they lost at Moseley 29-20, a game on paper they should have won comfortably! Charlie Sharples, Jack Adams, Nathan Bressington and Oliver Atkinson scored the midlanders tries as they claimed all five points. The Pirates also suffered the displeasure of referee Mr. Rose who sent Sam Heard, Alan Paver and Chris Cracknell to the sin-bin. Cracknell and Heard made up for their misdemeanours by scoring tries as did Brian Tuohy. The end of season can’t come soon enough it seems at the Pirates. Earlier this week the Pirates announced the signings of Brett Davey as assistant coach and Canadian prop forward Iain Exner from French Pro 2 club la Section paloise, or Pau if you prefere.

In National League 2, Redruth completed their away program with a much-needed win after last Saturday’s poor performance. The Reds won at relegated Henley Hawks 22-5 scoring four tries through Lewis Vinnicombe (2), Steve Wood, against his former club, and Gareth Griffiths who also kicked a conversion. Liam Wordley replied with a second half try.

Mount’s Bay were probably still in celebratory mood as they made the trip to East London to take on Barking in their final game of the season. The East Enders needed a win to stave off any relegation worries and they got it with a 16-14 win over the champions. Adam Nicholls and John Griffiths scored the Bay’s tries with Tim Mosey and Jamie Semmens kicking the conversions. A busy summer in perspective as Bay look to strengthen for next season’s tough campaign in National League 2.

The final Saturday in the Tribute leagues saw the final outcomes decided. Credit to St. Ives as they took their bow from South West 1 losing by only one point 11-10 at Weston-super-Mare. The Hakes tries came from No 8 Andrew Skinner and wing John Smith. We all hope that St. Ives can bounce back next season in South West 2 West. The other sides relegated with St. Ives are Reading and Maidenhead. Chinnor are promoted to National League 3 South whilst Bracknell are in the play-off against the second team from London 1 Worthing.

Camborne put up a good fight at champions Exmouth in South west 2 west before going down 32-16. Town lead at half-time 16-7, thanks to a try from Joe Parma converted by Dave Mankee who also landed three penalties. In the second half the Cockles pulled away to cap a fine season. Camborne will hope to bounce back next season in Western Counties West, although it seems likely that some of the current squad will be moving on. Barnstaple finish runners-up and will have home advantage against Salisbury in the play-off. Going down with Camborne are Barton Hill and Hornets.

In Western Counties West, the major Cornish interest was at the bottom, Penryn continued their fine end-of-season form as they won 22-6 at Hayle to put the final nail in the Lions coffin and send them down with the Borough to the Cornwall & Devon league next season. Chris Mann, Syd Savas, and Kevin Hughes scored Penryn’s tries with Alex Stuthridge kicking the other points. Ben Eddy kicked a couple of penalties for Hayle.

In a repeat of the Cornwall Knock Out Cup final Wadebridge Camels defeated Bude 35-7 to cement third place in Western Counties West. Matt Ballard scored three tries with Andy Cameron and skipper Gary Gynn also scoring. Jamie Kneal kicked a couple of conversions and two penalties. Matt Trewin scored and converted Bude’s only try.

So Western Counties West sees Paignton crowned as champions with Sidmouth in the play-off against Old Redcliffians.

London Cornish made sure of finishing in fifth place in London 3 SW following an 18-10 win over KCS OB’s in their final league match of the season. Dickon Moon’s match report is available in the forums.

Cullompton’s win over Tavistock saw them win the Cornwall & Devon league whilst Newquay Hornets go up as runners-up, and will look to make an impact in Western Counties West next season. Hornets rounded off another fine season with a 24-0 win at Honiton. Andy Burbidge, Ashley Mann and Steve Potter scored the Hornets’ tries with Ryan Johns kicking the other points. Well done to Newquay Hornets on another great promotion.

Truro finished in fourth spot winning 21-6 at Wessex, Matt Trevail, and Scoble scored tries for Truro with Scott Martin kicking two penalties a conversion and a drop goal.

Falmouth’s game at Okehampton was abandoned after 60 minutes following an injury to Falmouth player Tom Spiller, which necessitated him being airlifted to Derriford by Air Ambulance, we wish him a speedy recovery. For the record Okehampton were leading 13-0 at that point.

Wessex, Honiton and Teignmouth are the three clubs to be relegated from the Cornwall & Devon league, OP&M’s are winners of Devon 1 and Saltash winners of Cornwall 1, the final spot will be decided this Saturday when Helston meet Old Public Oaks in the play-off for promotion.

To finish off news from across the channel in Brittany where Vannes completed their program in the Jean-Prat Trophy their first experience at this level, which corresponds to level 3 in England, the Bretons won their final game at home against the group winners Périgueux 12-6 in front of a good crowd of 1,600. Vannes will look to build on this experience for next season.

Posted in Bill's Blog


MOUNT’S BAY CROWN FINE SEASON

Where else can one start this week other than sending warmest congratulations to Mount’s Bay RFC on writing yet another fantastic chapter in their all too brief history. The champagne corks popped all over the Mennaye as the Bay celebrated a seventh promotion in eight seasons! With the National League 3 South safely secured Mount’s Bay can now plan for their next campaign in National League 2, who knows they may even still meet the side they defeated 28-16 on Saturday Cinderford next term, should they prevail in the play-off with the runners up from National League 3 North either Darlington Mowden Park or Fylde.

Cinderford to their credit fully tested the champions-elect, taking the lead with a try from their scrum-half Dickens, then pulling further ahead with a penalty from Trigg on 26 mins. Lee Jarvis, playing his final match at the Mennaye, opened Bay’s account with a penalty after 31 mins. Bay got on level terms shortly after with a fine try from winger Jon Marlin. Just before half-time Jarvis made up for his missed conversion kicking a 35 metre drop goal to give Bay a 11-8 half-time advantage. Cindeford levelled after the break with a second Trigg penalty. Bay were in determined mood and not to be denied with flanker Adam Nicholls scoring a couple of tries within eight minutes both of which Jarvis converted to put the home side in a commanding position. A second Jarvis penalty completed Bay’s haul before Cinderford had the final say with their second try scored by Wallis.

The burning of the midnight oil by the Polson Escape Committee earned yet another marvellous result for the Cornish All Blacks as they came from behind to beat Moseley at Billesley Common 12-10, thanks to four penalties from full-back Jon Fabian. Launceston are now out of the bottom two level on points with Sedgley Park but having won two games more than their rivals. The next assignment will be a tough home match with Bedford Blues, I think that the Cornish All Blacks have got the heart to win and give themselves another fighting chance.

Redruth came off second best to promotion chasers Manchester in their National League 2 encounter at the Recreation Ground as the Cheshire side won 42-10. Paul Thirlby, celebrating his 100th appearance for the Reds scored a fine second half try in the Piggy Lane corner, which Gareth Griffiths did well to convert, Griffiths also kicked a penalty, that was as good as it got for Redruth, trailing 9-0 at half-time they were undone by five second half tries, though it will be the manner of the defeat that will have left coach Nigel Hambly fuming.

No game this weekend for the Cornish Pirates, though as ever at this time of the year it’s the player transfer speculation that hits the headlines, skipper Tim Cowley’s move to the French Top 14 side Bourgoin-Jallieu was confirmed this week as was winger Vunga Lilo’s move to Guinness Premiership side Bristol. Joining the Cornish Pirates next season will be backs Marika Vakacegu (Pertemps Bees) and Tom Luke (Doncaster Knights) as well as back row player Chris Morgan (Newbury Blues). The trio joining already announced signings of Nicky Griffiths (Ospreys), Jannie Bornman and Ben Gulliver (both Plymouth Albion) and Michael Burek from French side Pau.

In the Tribute regional leagues it was the penultimate round of matches with several decisions reached.

In South West 1, St. Ives put up a far better performance than expected against topside Chinnor only going down by 29-10. Mark Sherris kicking a penalty and converting No8 Andy Skinner’s try.

In South West 2 West, Camborne completed their home program with a disappointing defeat 39-5 against St. Mary’s Old Boys, winger Rob Floyd scoring Town’s only try.

In Western Counties West, both Wadebridge Camels and Bude may well have been slightly hung-over from last weekend’s Cornwall knock Out Cup final as they both lost. Camels went down away at Devonport Services 34-26 despite scoring four tries through Alistair McLennan, skipper Gary Gynn, Jake McCarroll and Mike Shipple. Bude’s home defeat to Withycombe by 16-7 did Hayle no favours at all at the wrong end of the table. Andy Yates scored the try with Paul Williams adding the conversion.

Hayle’s defeat at Tiverton coupled with Withycombe’s surprise win at Bude leaves the Lions in a hopeless situation and the drop to the Cornwall & Devon league looks on the cards just 12 months after they missed out to Barton Hill in the promotion play-off to South West 2 West. No 8 Rob Heath scored both Hayle’s tries with Adam Keverne kicking a penalty and conversion.

Penryn having seen off old rivals Falmouth last week in a friendly secured only their second league win of the current campaign with a 6-0 over Kingsbridge thanks to a couple of Alex Suthridge penalties.

A much better performance for London Cornish in their final home league match in London 3 SW, however they couldn’t prevent play-off chasers Purley John Fisher winning 14-3. Read Dickon Moon’s report from the forums.

More champagne corks popped over at the Sports Centre where Newquay Hornets secured a second successive promotion following their 20-8 win over Okehampton in the Cornwall & Devon League. Whether the Hornets go up as champions will be decided in the final round of matches as they still trail leaders Cullompton by a single point. Ashley Mann and James Bayley (2) scored the tries with Ryan Johns kicking the other points.

Truro almost gave Newquay a helping hand as they led Cullompton 12-10 with time almost up thanks to four Scott Martin penalties, it was not to be as Cullompton scored a second try in injury time to win 17-12.

Teignmouth scored an upset at the Recreation Ground defeating Falmouth 6-5, the Chiefs’ try being scored by Andy Palmer.

The final round of matches in Cornwall 1 and 2, saw Saltash crowned winners of Cornwall 1 thanks to a 6-5 win over Liskeard & Looe. Helston finish second and will play-off for a place in the Cornwall & Devon League next season after a 15-10 win at St. Austell. They will meet either Plymouth Barbarians or Old Public Oaks on Saturday week. St. Just and Bodmin are relegated back to Cornwall 2 to be replaced by Illogan Park who come up as champions of Cornwall 2 following a 25-7 win over St. Agnes and Redruth Albany 89-14 winners over Lankelly-Fowey.

Posted in Bill's Blog


PIRATES & ALBION SHARE SPOILS

Honours even at the Recreation Ground Camborne on Sunday afternoon as the Cornish Pirates drew 17-17 with Plymouth Albion in front of a large crowd despite the bitterly cold conditions. Albion have had a hard time of late but you can always guarantee that coach Graham Dawe will always have something special lined up when he crosses the Tamar to head west. The Pirates faithful will have been mightily impressed by Albion’s flanker Jannie Bornman who has signed for the Pirates next season.

Bornman gifted Rhodri McAtee the Pirates opening try as the Welsh Whippet pounced on the big South African’s error in his own 22 to gleefully score with less than two minutes on the clock, Gareth Steenson adding the extras. Ross Laidlaw cut the deficit with a penalty on 5 mins before reducing the arrears to one point with a second penalty after 24 mins. Albion maintained the pressure especially after Pirates’ Chris Cracknell was sin-binned, however the score remained 7-6 to the Pirates at half-time.

Albion were quicker out of the straps in the second half with Bornman driving over for try to give his side the lead. Laidlaw and Steenson then swapped penalties to leave Albion 14-10 up. The home side pressed for a score, which finally came as McAtee scored his second, try of the game Steenson once more adding the conversion. Albion were not yet done as Laidlaw kicked a fourth penalty to tie the scores. Steenson had the chance to win it for the Pirates but his last gasp penalty attempt sailed wide. On balance a draw was a fair result, both sides are already eying next season and the battles ahead!

Marvellous, superb or simply stunning the superlatives roll of the tongue when you examine the Cornish All Blacks’ latest relegation defying win at the Pillar Data Arena, a 41-0 thrashing of Esher to gain ample revenge for the 20-0 defeat inflicted upon them at Polson earlier in the season. Matt Jess scorched in with three tries to add to the scores from Marc Dibble, Sam Alford and Tinus Du Plessis. John Fabian added three conversions and a penalty with Mark Scrivener coming on and kicking a fourth conversion. Launceston travel to Moseley next Saturday to play their re-arranged league match, they are now only four points adrift of Sedgley Park. Anything can happen!

Saturday saw the finals of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Knock-Out Cup and the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup, both finals being played at St. Austell RFC. In the Junior event Newquay Hornets hope to make it the first leg of a cup and promotion double as they defeated Saltash comfortably 33-8. Ryan Johns scored two tries and converted four of the Hornets five tries, Steve Potter, Ashley Mann and Lee Woodhatch scoring the other Hornets tries. For the Ashes Dominic Hill scored a try with Will Virgo kicking a penalty.

In the senior final, the first to see two former Junior Cup winners contesting the senior final tie, Wadebridge Camels defeated Bude 15-5. Jamie Kneale opened the scoring for the Camels before lock Richard Hawkey crashed over for the opening try, moments later it was Camels full back Dan Briskham who carved his way through the Bude cover from his own 22 to score a breathtaking try which was converted by Kneale for 15-0. In the second half Bude could only manage to pull back one try through flanker Dave Uglow, leaving Camels skipper Gary Gynn to lift the cup high for the Camels.

Space this week to look over the channel to rugby in Brittany, Vannes who as I reported had qualified for the play-offs in the Jean-Prat trophy in France for clubs in Fédérale 1 (level3) have had a tough old time in their pool. They have found the three sides from the southwest Lavaur, Lannemezan and Périgueux too hot to handle. With five games played and five losses to their name they will hope to round off with a win in their final home match of the season against Périgueux on the 20th April. Another indication of the rise of rugby in Brittany is the fact that the French Rugby Federation (FFR) will be holding it’s annual conference this July 10th – 12th in Vannes. Conference details

Finally four great matches in this weekend’s Heineken Cup quarter-finals leaving us with London Irish vs Stade toulousain at Twickenham on Saturday 26th April and Saracens vs. Munster on the Sunday at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Could it be a Toulouse vs Munster final in Cardiff? The whole place will rock!

Posted in Bill's Blog


CAB’S ALIVE & KICKING

Like a man sinking in quicksand whose hand is gripped at the last moment the Cornish All Blacks lived to fight another day with a thrilling 27-5 victory over the Newbury Blues at Polson on Saturday. The five-point haul lifted the Cornish side off the foot of the table five points away from Sedgley Park and safety.

It was one of the Cornish All Blacks’ recent loan signings from Worcester Warriors No8 Gavin Quinnell who was driven over for the opening try after only five minutes. Full-back Jon Fabian made up for his earlier conversion miss to stroke over a penalty after 15 mins. He was on target again on 32 mins as he converted centre Peter Fisher’s try after 32 mins , which left the home side 15-0 up at the break.

Just two minutes after the resumption it was the club’s top try-scorer this season winger Matt Jess who raced in for his side’s third try. Fabian was once more on target with the extras. Newbury briefly rallied scoring a try through winger Tom Tombleson. The bonus point try came courtesy of Jess who scored his 13th league try of the season to no-doubt rekindle the interest other sides are showing in the Heamor-Flyer.

After the brilliance of their win over Doncaster at Camborne last Sunday the Cornish Pirates found Rotherham Titans less to their taste as they surprisingly slumped to a 20-10 loss at Clifton Lane. All the Pirates points came from their Exeter Chiefs bound duo fly-half Gareth Steenson and flanker Chris Cracknell. Doncaster leap-frogged the Pirates once more into fourth place following their 11-3 win over Bedford.

In National League 2, Redruth gave the leaders Otley a mighty tussle only ceding in the 10th minute of time added on to an Otley penalty, which gave the Yorkshire side a 20-18 win. The losing bonus point earned together with Nuneaton’s win at Dry Leas over Henley Hawks ensures Redruth will once again be playing at this level next season. All action flanker Steve Wood scored a fine first half try, which fly-half Gareth Griffiths converted to add to an earlier penalty to leave the visitors 10-7 up at half-time. Griffiths kicked a second penalty and winger Rob Thirlby a try to put the Reds 18-17 up with time running out, Robin Kitching’s late late strike snatched the win away from the Cornishmen.

Mount’s Bay made the long journey to North Walsham’s Scottow ground a real pleasure as they recorded a 20-5 win, which now leaves them within touching distance of winning National League 3 South and promotion next season. Saturday week’s encounter at the Mennaye against Cinderford will in all likeliness be the decider and will no doubt draw a large crowd to see the Penzance based side make that final push. John Marlin, Darren Semmens and Tyron Child scored the tries with Lee Jarvis kicking a penalty and conversion. Belated congratulations to the Bay for their fine win on Easter Monday over a Cornish All Blacks XV in the final of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Super Cup, the first leg of another double.

In Tribute South West 1, St. Ives long season at the foot of the table will soon be at an end as they lost for 18th time 28-10 at Coney Hill. Chinnor look to be heading back to National 3 South after their 39-17 win over 2nd place Bracknell who will play-off with the runner-up from London 1 for the remaining spot.

Tribute South West 2 West saw Camborne slip to another defeat 41-0 at Torquay Athletic, Western Counties West beckons for the “Town” next season, as they will look to re-build. Exmouth wrapped up the league title with Barnstaple in the play-off berth.
Tribute Western Counties West has seen some cracking performances from our North Cornwall clubs this season with two games to play Wadebridge and Bude lie in 3rd and 4th places a real credit to rugby in that part of the Duchy. However the big question in recent weeks has been Hayle’s fight against relegation. Twelve months ago the “Lions” were contemplating facing Barton Hill in the play-off for a spot in South West 2 West. Well Hayle played the side above them Withycombe last Saturday in a game they had to win, they did, 7-3. Adam Redgrave was the Hayle hero scoring and converting his try to give his side a lifeline.

Wadebridge Camels warmed up for their Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup final next Saturday with a 29-12 win over Ivybridge. Despite going 12-0 down the Camels gave their Devon opponents the hump scoring tries through Alasdair MacLennan, Gary Gynn, Ollie Hawkey, Jake McCarroll and Sam Stone.

Opponents next Saturday Bude warmed up with a good 26-3 win over Devonport Services. Dave Risdon, Ollie Denford and Rob Uglow (2) scored the tries with Paul Williams kicking a couple of conversions.

Penryn travelled to table toppers Paignton and found the South Devon side to hot to handle as they lost 72-3. Paignton remain top one point ahead of local rivals Sidmouth.

In London 3 SW, London Cornish slumped to a 20-10 defeat at home to Tottonians in what Director of Rugby Dickon Moon described as “a very poor performance”. Dickon’s report is available in the link.

The champagne corks can’t pop just yet but Newquay Hornets are also in touch of a second successive promotion, only Tavistock who have a game in-hand can spoil the party but they will have to take maximum points and the Hornets none to upset the promotion party. Newquay ran up a big score at bottom of the league Teignmouth in the Tribute Cornwall & Devon league encounter winning 64-5. Cullompton who are one point ahead of Newquay are defiantly up.

Truro enjoyed a good win at Honiton winning 24-5 with tries from Owen Hambly, Luke Trescothick, Ross Martin and Scott Martin. Falmouth got no joy from their longest trip of the season to Wellington losing 10-3.

This Saturday as has already been mentioned see’s the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup Final when two former winners of the Junior Cup meet for the first time in the senior final Wadebridge Camels taking on Bude at St. Austell RFC with a 5pm kick-off. In the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup that precedes it Saltash play Newquay Hornets, kick-off 2pm.

Posted in Bill's Blog


REMEMBERING 1908

This coming Friday, March 28th marks the centenary of arguably the greatest Cornish sporting achievement, the winning of the County Championship in 1908 at a packed (17,000) Recreation Ground in Redruth.

It was all the more remarkable as it was the only national competition held in that era. It was the pathway to the England team so the very best players competed.

It was the first time that Cornwall had topped the competative South West group having beaten Somerset in their opening fixture 25-6, Cornwall lost to joint reigning champions Devon 17-8 before defeating Gloucestershire 34-10. As per the rules of the period teams level on points had to play-off, so Cornwall faced Devon again this time at Redruth defeating them 21-3. They then travelled to Gloucester to face the mighty Gloucestershire side winning 15-3. That win put them in the semi-final where they faced Middlesex at Redruth beating the London side 19-3.

So to the final against the other co-holders of the title Durham. Victory was hard fought but earned against the northerners by 17-3, with Redruth’s Bert Solomon scoring two tries, “Maffer” Davey, Barrie Bennetts and Nick Tregurtha also crossing the opponents try line.

The final whistle brought great excitement as the crowd acclaimed their heros.

One Hundred Years on Cornwall salutes it’s heros from that famous day in grateful remembrance;

Cornwall: E. J. Jackett (capt, Leicester), B. Bennetts (Devon Albion), B. Solomon (Redruth), F. Dean (Devon Albion), J. Jose (Devon Albion), T.G. Wedge (St. Ives), J. Davey (Redruth); J. G. Milton (Camborne School of Mines), A. J. Milton (Camborne School of Mines), F. Jackson (Leicester), R. Jackett (Falmouth), A.J. Thomas (Devon Albion), R. Davey (Redruth), T. Lawry (Redruth), N. R. Tregurtha (St. Ives).

Posted in Bill's Blog


REDRUTH EDGE NEARER SAFETY

Redruth’s fine win on Saturday against an already relegated Halifax side puts them 17 points clear of Henley Hawks the nearest side in the relegation zone with a maximum 20 points to play for. Following the disappointment of their trip to Westcombe Park the Reds owed it to themselves and their supporters to put in a strong performance. Six tries scores in a 38-3 win sent the crowd homeward bound in a happy mood. Tries came through the Thirlby brothers Rob and Paul scoring one a-piece with No 8 Mark Bright claiming a brace, PJ Gidlow and a penalty try award. Returning fly-half Gareth Griffiths kicked four conversions to complete the scoring.

Head coach Nigel Hambly gave starts to some of his squad players, with Ben Fox and Steve Wood starting in the backrow and Simon Peters in the centre. Wood had a stand out game playing his heart out. The only cloud was the injury to lock Damien Cook who went off with a knee injury after 16 mins.

Down the road at the Mennaye, Mount’s Bay played what is likely to be their penultimate home game of the season (assuming of course that they gain automatic promotion and are not involved in the play-off), scoring ten tries in a 64 – 12 win over Luton. The tries flowed like champagne with Ben Hilton (2), Tyron Child (2), Adam Nicholls (2), Jon Marlin, Tim Mosey (2) and Andrew Cheung-Fook all scoring. Lee Jarvis kicked seven conversions. With just three games left to play Bay are now 8 points clear of Cinderford who they play at the Mennaye on April 12th.

The only other league game concerning a Cornish club was Camborne who at the third time of asking completed their fixture at St. Mary’s Old Boys. Camborne were unable to build on their success from last week going down 15-8, Rob Floyd scored the try and Josh Matavesi dropped the goal.

On Sunday at Launceston, Cornwall reclaimed the Tamar Cup in a tight match by 10-7 over old rivals Devon. Cornwall’s try was scored by Cornish All Blacks’ Sam Hocking with Camborne’s David Mankee kicking the conversion and a penalty.

According to the Australian RFU website it appears that the Wallabies match against the Barbarians due to be played at Wembley Stadium to commerate their winning the 1908 Rugby gold medal at the London Olympics of that year against Cornwall will take place on Wednesday 3rd December, with an evening kick-off. It’s going to be very difficult for a large Cornish present to be there but I hope that as many as possible can go along to the game, to remember the achievement of that Cornish side 100 years ago. It is very much a part of our local rugby folklore.

Posted in Bill's Blog


BAY & HORNETS BOTH SIGHT THE FINISHING LINE

Saturday’s fine win at Lydney by 30-6, and let’s face it any win at Regentsholme is an achievement, sees Mount’s Bay five points clear of second place Cinderford in National League 3 South with just four more matches to play Bay scored two tries in each half to secure the all-important bonus point. Lee Jarvis scored Bay’s opening try after 25 mins before hooker Jamie Semmens grabbed the second just before half-time to leave the visitors 10-6 up at the turn. After the break Tyrone Child claimed a third try following a charge down before lock Richard Carroll, on a try-scoring burst at the moment scored the fourth try 7 mins from time. Jarvis converted both second half tires as well as a couple of second half penalties.

Sunday afternoon saw the Cornish Pirates secure a six-try win over struggling Sedgley Park by 36-10 a result, which also helps the Cornish All Blacks in their desperate fight to avoid the drop after just one season in National League 1. Despite trailing to an early Park penalty the Cornish Pirates upped the pace to score their opening try after 19 mins through winger Vunga Lilo. Four minutes later it was Cornishman Adryan Winnan who raced in for the Pirates second try of the afternoon. Centre Steve Winn scored the third try for the home side after 34 mins. Fly-half Olly Thomas had difficulty his kicking in the first half but no problems in the second as he converted flanker Chris Cracknell’s try as well as the final two tries. Replacement hooker Darren Dawiduik scored a fifth try shortly after coming on for Rob Elloway. The last Pirates’ try was scored by Jimmy Moore. Park battled away to the end and were rewarded with a converted try scored by Chris Biers.

On Saturday the Cornish All Blacks played their third match in seven days when they lost 62-0 at Exeter Chiefs. Launceston did well to contain the Chiefs to just 15-0 at half-time but in the second half Exeter ran riot scoring a further seven tries.

In Tribute South West 1, relegated St. Ives gave a good account losing 29-7 at home to Old Patesians. The Hakes led at half-time 7-5 thanks to a converted try by Matt Thomas, sadly they couldn’t build on the lead during the second half.

In Tribute South West 2 West, Camborne notched up their first win of the season with a home win over visitors Barton Hill. Camborne won by 20-3, hooker Sam Bartle and a second half penalty try award made up Town’s two tries. David Mankee converted both scores adding a penalty as well. Young Josh Matavesi dropped a goal to complete the scoring.

In Tribute Western Counties West, Wadebridge Camels remain in third place despite their reversal at Minehead Barbarians 20-8. Gary Gynn scored the Camels’ try with Matt Bailey kicking a penalty.

In winning 8-7 at Hayle, Bude consolidated their mid-table position leaving their hosts in a precarious position second bottom in the league. It was a game of two halves as Bude scored all their points in the first half. Matt Trewin kicked a penalty before Ollie Denford scored Bude’s try after 20 mins. In the second half and despite tremendous pressure Hayle could only score one converted try through Adam Keverne with Ben Eddy adding the extras. Withycombe’s win over Kingsbridge 13-7 didn’t help Hayle’s cause either.
Already relegated Penryn put up a tremendous fight at home to promotion chasing Sidmouth before going down 10-6 to their visitors. Alex Suthridge kicked a penalty and dropped a goal for the Borough.

In London 3 SW, London Cornish battled out a 9-9 draw at Effingham & Leatherhead, DoR Dickon Moon has a comprehensive match report in the forums.
Outside of Mount’s Bay, Newquay Hornets look like Cornwall’s only other promotion bet this season in the leagues outside of Cornwall. Hornets who came up from Cornwall 1 last season cemented their top spot in the Cornwall & Devon league with a 21-0 home win over Wellington. Ashley Mann scored a couple of tries with Rob Johns scoring their third try as well as kicking all three conversions.

Falmouth beat Crediton 17-7 at the Recreation Ground with Darren Pellow scoring a brace of tries with Tim Gay grabbing a third, James Instance kicked a conversion.

Spoils were shared at St. Clements where Truro drew 10-10 with Okehampton. Truro scored two tries through Matt Trevail and Joe Williamson.

On Sunday after Cornwall U.20’s played their second match in this season U.20’s County Championship at North Petherton against Somerset U.20’s. Unfortunately Cornwall lost their second game in this season’s championship 20-11 a result, which ends Cornwall’s hopes for this season.

In the RBS 6 Nations tournament, Wales secured the Triple Crown with a fine 16-12 win at Croke Park over Ireland. Scotland surprised England with an easy win over the auld enemy 15-9 to reclaim the Calcutta Cup. On Sunday France playing in glimpses won against plucky Italy 25-13.

So to the final round of matches next weekend. Scotland will find it tough in Rome, though I think they can win 20-14. England will want to give their fans something to cheer about against Ireland, I think they will win 18 – 12 in a tense match. Finally I expect Wales to complete the Grand Slam against France, but I do think France will give them a fright on the way, 22 – 18!

Posted in Bill's Blog


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