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CORNISH PRIDE IN LEADING THE LIONS

COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE MAN, no doubt about it Cornwall’s very own Raging Bull did the buisness at Newlands on Saturday as he captained the British and Irish Lions to an important win over Western Province, just a week before the first test against the Springboks. If Phil Vickery isn’t wearing the No. 3 shirt next week there will be another Cornish uprising that’s for sure!!

Phil’s gone about his buisness in his usual calm manner and has peaked at the right time to stake his claim to be in the starting XV. The lions are comming to the boil just at the right time, next Saturday’s test match is sure to be a cracker.

Well done to Peter Joyce and Owen Hambly who both had a fine tour with England Counties to South Korea and Japan as the Counties won all three matches.

Last Saturday night I watched a great final in the French Top 14 as Perpignan won the famous Bouclier de Brennus for the first time since 1955, beating poor old Clermont Auvergne, once again the bridesmaid as they lost their 10th final!

A famous win for the French today as they beat the New Zealand All Blacks in Dunedin in the 1st test.

Posted in Bill's Blog


LIONS’ CAUTIOUS START

Very much a first game of a tour performance is the best you could describe the British & Irish Lions’ opening win of their 2009 tour of South Africa at an almost deserted Stadium in Rustenburg. For 60 minutes the unthinkable was on the cards an opening match loss against a side that will be the weakest opposition on tour. Trailing 25-13 to the Royal Bank XV, the Lions managed to claw their way out of a deep hole, thanks in part to their replacements, which included Cornishman Phil Vickery to finally run out 37-25 winners. Full back Lee Byrne was the pick of the Lions with skipper Paul O’Connell leading by example. Much work to do on the training paddock before their next match against the Golden Lions on Wednesday, they will need to shift up a few gears to win that one for sure!

The various County Championship competitions reached their finales yesterday with the northern counties completing a clean sweep. In the plate final Durham saw off Kent 29-14, whilst at Twickenham in the early kick-off 10 am, Cheshire beat Hertfordshire 30-22 in the Shield final before Lancashire won the Bill Beaumont Cup defeating Cornwall’s conquerors Gloucestershire 32-18 to win the title for an 19th time. Jeff Probyn writes an interesting article in this week’s Rugby Paper that the County game must be run purely for amateurs and that academy players from the professional teams should not be allowed to play. I think he is correct.

The main event in South Africa was of course the final of the Super 14 played in Pretoria, which saw the Blue Bulls thrash Waikato Chiefs 61-17, the gauntlet has been well and truely thrown down to the Lions with a performance like that!!

An England XV lost to the Barbarians at Twickenham 33-26 in an entertaing game whilst over in Canada, Wales defeated their hosts 32-23, with former Pirate Ed Fairhurst scoing one of Canada’s tries.

Next Saturday sees the final of the Top 14 French Championship with Clermont Auvergne playing their 10th final having lost the previous nine against Perpignan who last won the Bouclier de Brennus in 1955. Can USAP make it a Catalan double after Barcelona’s win the Champions League final last Wednesday?? It will be colourful for sure with eurosport 2 showing the game live in the UK from 8pm next Saturday. For the record Clermont beat defending champions Toulouse on Friday night 19-9 in Bordeaux, whilst the following day Perpignan saw off Stade Francais 25-21 in Lyon.

Finally good luck to Redruth’s Peter Joyce and Owen Hambly as they set off today to the Far East with England Counties for their matches in South Korea and Japan. I reckon Joycer would look some smart in one of those Samurai outfits!!!!

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GLOUCESTERSHIRE DENY CORNWALL

Gloucestershire will play the Bill Beaumont Cup Final next week at Twickenham after defeating Cornwall 34-19 at Cinderford on Saturday.

Jaike Carter was the hero for Gloucestershire as he ran in three tries, with Jonny May scoring a fourth for the home side, whilst Birmingham & Solihull fly-half Mark Woodrow kicked all four conversions and a couple of crucial penalties.

For Cornwall Sean Hawkey, Luke Collins and Hano Dirksen all scored tries with Adryan Winnan adding a couple of conversions.

So not to be this season, but a big hand for the Cornish players who have given us a great few weeks. Well done lads you’ve done Cornwall proud.

Posted in Bill's Blog


SECOND WIN FOR CORNWALL

CORNWALL followed up the fine win over Devon last Saturday with an impressive display against Somerset at Redruth in this season’s Bill Beaumont Cup, winning by 38-0, scoring six tries. Sean Hawkey capped a fine display with a hat-trick of tries, with other scores comming from hooker Owen Hambly, fly-half Lewis Webb and winger Hano Dirksen. Adryan Winnan kicked four conversions in tricky kicking conditions.

Cornwall travel to Cinderford next Saturday to take on Gloucestershire, who face Devon on Sunday at Kingsholm, to decide the Southern Group and who goes on to play the final at Twickenham.

Posted in Bill's Blog


CORNWALL MAKE GREAT START

For those in Black & Gold on Saturday afternoon at Plymouth Albion’s splendid Brickfields stadium, it was a day to remember as Cornwall knocked the County Championship kings these past few seasons off their lofty perch. OK granted Devon are not the reigning champions but three wins out of the last five finals is pretty impressive, Cornwall have only got three wins in 125 years of trying!

Head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas has got a magic formula, which tends to get the very best from the players he gathers around him. He gets the boys to “buy into” the Cornwall ethos despite comming from various clubs who as in the case of Redruth and Launceston have been league rivals all season. Cornwall skipper Ryan Westren made a telling remark about the crowd and the atmosphere on Saturday “That was like how I remember the County Championship being when I was a kid. The support was fantastic.”

The players had big smiles on their faces after the match and they were entitled to them after a job well done. Mark Bright. a Kiwi, felt elated after gaining his first Cornwall cap just talkiing to him you could see that mean’t a great deal. Lewis Webb who had a fine game at fly-half admitted to feeling nervous before his first senior apperence for Cornwall and paid tribute to scrum-half Mark Richards who guided him through his first cap. “One and All, Onen hag Oll”, that’s the Cornish motto and that’s the Cornish spirit.

There were some big performances in the Cornish side on Saturday, none less that the man who has been Trelawny’s Army Player of the Year on no less than three occassions, Richard Carroll. Richard led that Cornish pack by example in a commanding performance. In the backs Mal Roberts kicking with that of Richards were key components in our win, but the tackling in mid-field was awesome, skipper Ryan Westren, Paul Thirlby and Lewis Webb put in some big hits to stop the opposition dead, Tom Rawlings was there to putting in the big hits when it mattered.

The Devon match is now history, what counts now is the next match against Somerset on Saturday at Redruth. The boys deserve a big crowd to get behind them and act like a 16th man. It has always been said that the crowd at Redruth is worth a five point start for Cornwall. So let us all do our bit on Saturday and get behind the team and support them as only a Cornish crowd can. It’ll lift the team to greter heights.

To reach a Twickenham final is a marvellous achievement, despite losing Saturday’s EDF-Energy Junior Vase final to Brighton Blues by 32-20, Liskeard /Looe are to be congratulated on a fine season that has seen the club win promotion to the Cornwall & Devon League next season and also win the Lockie Cup. It was a marvellous day out for the fans from the SE Cornwall towns and one that will not be forgotten. You did Cornwall proud.

Posted in Bill's Blog


CORNWALL’S TEAM SELECTION FOR DEVON

15. Malcom Roberts (Cornish All Blacks & Army), 14. Willem Dirksen (St. Ives), 13. Ryan Westren (Cornish All Blacks, Captain), 12. Paul Thirlby (Redruth), 11. Sean Hawkey (UWIC & Wadebridge Camels), 10. Lewis Webb (Cornish All Blacks), 9. Mark Richards (Redruth), 1. Darren Jacques (Redruth), 2. Owen Hambly (Redruth), 3. Sam Heard (Unattatched), 4. Luke Collins (Cornish Pirates), 5. Richard Carroll (Unattatched), 6. Sam Hocking (Cornish All Blacks), 7. Tom Rawlings (Cornish All Blacks), 8. Mark Bright (Redruth).

Replacements: 16. David Pascoe (Penryn & Navy), 17. Brett Rule (Redruth), 18. Peter Joyce (Redruth), 19. Damien Cook (Redruth), 20. Chris Fuca (Redruth), 21. Danny Clackworthy (Hayle), 22. Scott Hobson (Bath).

To travel: 23. Jason Bolt (Cornish All Blacks), 24. Ben Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), 25. Steve Kenward (Redruth).

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STADIUM FOR CORNWALL – A MUST

Camborne on Trevithick Day is probably not the best time to play your final league game of the season, the weather certainly didn’t help as the Pirates lost to London Welsh 10-8 in a very average game, which will only live in the memory for the sole fact that we said farewell to a good number of the present squad, non more so than Heino Senekal and Iva Motusaga whom have been immense during their time with the Pirates. Today’s confirmation as well that Bertrand Bedes has signed for Bristol next season. Bon vent Bertrand.

The defeat to their National League 1 opponents left the Cornish Pirates with a 7th place finish in the final table. Trailing 3-0 at half-time to an Aled Thomas penalty, the Pirates conceeded a penalty try early in the second half after a series of collapsed scrums near their line, Thomas’ conversion giving the Welsh exiles a 10-0 lead. And that’s how it stayed untill 10 minutes from the end as finally Marika Vakacegu, another making his final apperence in a Pirates shirt, flew in to score a fine try. Rhys Jones couldn’t land the conversion, but he did a penalty a few minutes later, but that was as close as the Pirates would get.

So a lot of work for the new coaching team prior to the start of the Championship next season. Brett Davey had this to say about his time in the Duchy. “I have enjoyed it here, it’s been frustrating at times and there are a few things I would change. But what you have here is a good supporter base, it just needs a stadium. I think the stadium for Cornwall is massive, I don’t think you can underestimate how important it is because with that you are not just talking about the Pirates being a Championship side, but possibly one of the top sides in England, that is how important it is.

“I think you would get the cream from a lot of places with a great support base. You only have to look at Munster, it is a very, very similar situation. It’s very parochial and you have an idenity here. It needs one thing. Hopefully that one thing will come but that’s for other people to decide.”

In National League 2, Birmingham & Solihull duly confirmed their promotion to the Championship next season with a 31-7 win over long time league front runners Redruth. Redruth’s first-half try was scored by Damien Cook with Brett Rule adding the conversion.
Despite this Redruth finish up in 3rd place their highest ever placing in the league structure.

The Cornish All Blacks, after a string of poor results finally nailed a win with a 33-23 win over Southend at Polson. The All Blacks scored five tries through Tom Rawlings, Hamish Smales (2), Jason Luff and Gary Kingdom. Adam Staniforth anf Jon Fabian kicked the conversions. A result that leaves Launceston 6th for the moment though Cinderford could overtake them as they have two games still to play.

Mount’s Bay ended the season as they began with a defeat to Tynedale this time going down 32-14 at the Mennaye. Dan Hawkes and Sam Roberts scored Bay’s tries with Hawkes adding the conversion. Bay will look to re-group next season a rung below in National 2 South.

Liskeard and Looe were the only Cornish side involved in the league play-offs this season and the Lions duly secured a spot in the Cornwall & Devon League next season with a 20-0 win over Torrington at Lux Park, thanks to tries from Lewis Elliot, Baz Hocking and Andy Sheer. Hocking adding a conversion and penalty.

There was a great deal of anxiety on Saturday evening when news came through of Graham Dawe’s injury. We were all delighted to hear yesterday that Dawsey had been released from hospital. Dawsey hang those boots up m’ ansome, you’ve done enough!!

A great evening on Saturday at the Lostwithiel Golf and Country Club when Trelawny’s Army hosted members of the 1999 County Champioship winning team. Although not everyone was able to make the evening a great time was had by those who could make it. It was great to see Deano, Jimmy Tucker, Jason Atkinson and the others once more. A great night.

Posted in Bill's Blog


END OF SEASON BLUES SURROUND PIRATES

Poor old Brett Davey was as baffled as the rest of us as he seeked to come to terms with the latest disappointing performance from the Cornish Pirates as they lost for the first time in Cornwall to the Doncaster Knights by 33-23 yesterday at Camborne. It wasn’t just the players who gave a below par performance. Not for the first time this season the standard of refereeing was once more called into question by a bizarre performance, which left many a seasoned onlooker more than just perplexed. With the game at this level moving more and more professional then performances by the officials need to be up to scratch, people’s livelihoods will depend on it much more, a fact of the modern game.

Both sides had a player dismissed Matt Evans for the Pirates for stamping and Adam Kettle for Doncester for throwing a punch. For the visitors, former Pirate and son-in-law of Pirates CEO Rod Coward, Wes Davies scored a couple of tries, Davies is rumoured to be heading back to Cornwall next season according to today’s Western Morning News. There other tries were scored by scrum-half Matt D’Arcy and a penalty try, following a succession of collapsed scrums near the Pirate’s line. Jamie Lennard chipped in with a couple of conversions, two penalties and a drop-goal, For the Pirates there were tries from Marika Vacacegu, Nicky Griffiths and Heino Senekal with Rhys Jones adding a couple of penalties and a conversion.

So Saturday the Pirates will look to round off the season with a win against London Welsh, but given the up and down nature of this season there is no certainty of success. For many of the current squad it will be their final apperance in a Pirate shirt as well as coach Brett Davey who is moving on after taking over in January after Mark Hewitt’s dismissal.

Next Saturday will also mark the final commentary from Dave Martin who has been the voice of rugby on BBC Radio Cornwall for many years. Thank you Dave for bringing many wonderful matches to us over the years.

In National League 2 it was party time at Redruth as the Reds finished on a high at home winning 18-14 against a Stourbridge side who were fighting to stave off being dragged into the relegation battle at the foot of the table. Young scrum-half Nick Simmons scored a fine try with Rob Thirlby grabbing another during the second half. Mark Scrivener kicked a penalty and conversion, whilst Brett Rule added a second penalty early in the second half. The match marked Richard Carroll’s final game for Redruth. What a sevent he has been to both Redruth and Cornwall, though he may still feature for Cornwall in this season’s County Championship!

The Cornish All Blacks lost at Westcombe Park 34-19. The CAB’s scored their 19 points when they were already 34-0 down. Adam Staniforth, Jason Luff and Tony Roques scored tries with Staniforth adding a couple of conversions. The end of season can’t come soon enough at Polson.

Likewise for Mount’s Bay once again rocked by late withdrawls before their fixture at Waterloo. to their credit they did at least score four tries through Brett Stroud, Richard Bright, Duke Seymour and Tim Mathias, in a 51-31 defeat to claim a bonus point. Dan Hawkes kicked all four conversions and a penalty.

It was the final day in the Tribute South West Leagues. In South West 2 West, St. Ives lost their final game at Sidmouth 21-20. For the Hakes Hano Dirksen and Tom Outram scored tries with Rudi Meredith and Dirksen adding the conversions. Meredith ended the afternoon at Exeter Hospital following an ankle injury. Dirksen added a couple of penalties. St. Ives finish in 4th position in Tribute South West 2.

In Tribute Western Counties West it was a day of utter frustration for Wadebridge Camels as they lost out on a play-off place as they were defeated at North Cornwall rivals Bude 25-16. For Bude Lee Weston, Matt Trewin and Olly Denford all scored tries with Ollie Rayner kicking the other points. For the Camels Alisdiar Maclennan scored a try with Josh Taylor adding the conversion and three penalty goals. A third place finish for the Camels they will hope for more next season, whilst Bude ended up eleventh.

Newquay Hornets ended their season witha 39-20 defeat at Devonport Services to leave them in sixth place in the league. Camborne lost 32-3 at Weston Hornets with just a Joe Parma drop-goal for their efforts a very disappointing season sees them finish a lowly ninth!

In London 3 SW, coach Dickon Moon’s call for a “big finish” fell on deaf ears as the exiles lost at home to London Irish Amateurs 17-9. It has still been a fair season for Cornish who finish 5th in the league. Next season Cornish will hope to challenge for promotion to London 2 South.

In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Penryn clinched the league title with 23-7 win at Crediton. A couple of tries from scrum-half Dave Pascoe and a try by No.8 Rob Trevaskis helped the Borough on their way. Truro finished in third place and will be promoted thanks to the league re-jigging. They finished their program with a 110-3 win over Saltash scoring sixteen tries with Luke Trescothick grabbing five of them and Joe Williamson three. Ashes finished in tenth spot in the league. Hayle lost to Tavistock 19-3 to finish in nineth,whilst Falmouth propped up the table after another big defeat 76-0 at home to Okehampton.

In Tribute Cornwall 1, Stithians followed up their Skinners Cornwall Clubs Cup final win over Bodmin with a second win over the same opponents in a week 49-10 to claim the Cornwall 1 title. St. Austell who won 71-3 at Helston go into next weekend’s play-offs against Devon side Torrington for promotion to the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League. Veor ended up champions of Tribute Cornwall 2, but of course Cornwall 1 and 2 combine for next season to form one league.

Posted in Bill's Blog


CORNISH PIRATES SINK ALBION

In front of an excellent 4,306 Easter Sunday crowd at Camborne the Pirates defeated old foes Plymouth Albion 30-14 in a gripping National League 1 encounter. A result which leaves Graham Dawe’s charges uncomfortably too close to the relegation battle with tricky fixtures to come against Leeds and Moseley!

For the Pirates it was a first success in the league against Albion since the 2005/6 season. Rhys Jones helped himself to a 20 point haul scoring a try two penalties and three drop-goals! Pirates other tries came from flanker Blair Cowan and replacement full back Paul Devlin after some great work from Rhodri McAtee. The best Easter treat for the Cornish fans as the Pirates look to end their season on a high with a mouthwatering fixture against Doncaster Knights at Camborne next Sunday before rounding off their season the following week on Saturday 25th April again at Camborne against London Welsh.

Congratulations to Stithians on their 33 – 15 win over Bodmin in the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Club Cup Final at St. Austell on Easter Monday. Also to St. Ives on winning the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup 10 – 3, thanks to two unconverted tries scored by Stuart Turnbull and Richard Humphreys. Well done the Hakes.

Posted in Bill's Blog


CAMBRIDGE EXTINGUISH REDS’ HOPES

Cambridge will be the only side to complete the league double over the Reds this season as they defeated their visitors 21-18 at Grantchester Road to finally end Redruth’s lingering hopes of promotion to next season’s “Championship”.

It was certainly a fine match with the result in doubt up to the final whistle as Redruth searched for a score to win the game. For the Reds Lewis Vinnicombe and Emyr Lewis scored tries with Brett Rule converting a try and kicking a penalty, Mark Scrivener a replacement for Rule during the second half kicked a further penalty.

A plus for the Reds during the last two games has been the maturity shown by the young half back pairing of scrum-half Nick Simmons and fly-half Rule.

Redruth will no doubt want to close out the remaining two fixtures of their season on a high with Stourbridge the visitors to Redruth a week on Saturday in their final home match of the season.

The Cornish All Blacks were held by Blackheath at Polson in an 18 – 18 draw. Gary Kingdom scored both the Cornish All Blacks’ tries after half-time also adding a conversion. Adam Staniforth kicked two early penalties first half.

Mount’s Bay, although now confirmed as relegated put up a spirited second half performance to get a bonus point scoring four tries in a 40-26 loss. Brett Stroud (2), Tim Mathias and a penalty try award were the Bay’s try scorers with Dan Hawkes adding three conversions. Bay’s injury woes continue as centre Sam Parsons had to go off with a dislocated shoulder!

In National League 1, the Cornish Pirates picked up the five points on offer at Park Lane with a performance that was like the curate’s egg, good in parts, pretty ordinary in others. The Pirates scored five tries in their 35-27 win with Aisea Havili, Heino Senekal, Paul Devlin, Rhodri McAtee and Mike Burak all crossing the whitewash. Simon Whatling adding tow conversions and two penalties. With their away fixtures now finished the Pirates have three games at Camborne to complete the season starting with Plymouth Albion on Easter Sunday, an Albion side in need of points to keep out of the relegation dog-fight.

In the Tribute regional leagues, South West 2 West, St. Ives with only fourteen men after flanker Justin Paul was sent off for foul play, lost at home to Clevedon 7-6, Karl Martin kicked a couple of penalties for the Hakes.

In Western Counties West, Wadebridge Camels kept their hopes of a play-off place alive with a 27-7 win over Devonport Services. Dan Briskham (2), Tom O’Donnell and Matt Angwin scored the four Camels’ tries with Josh Taylor kicking a conversion as well as a penalty and Jake McCarroll a further conversion the other points.

Newquay Hornets couldn’t do their neighbours any favours as Ivybridge won 41-16 at the Sportscentre to keep a point ahead of the Camels. Romey Vassell scored the Hornets’ only try with Sam Cullen adding the conversion and a penalty.

Camborne had a good win at home against Tiverton 21-12 ahead of their Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup final against St. Ives on Easter Monday at St. Austell. Alex Hinds, Stuart Milliner and Dave Mankee scored Town’s tries with Mankee adding all three conversions.

Bude won the basement battle at Withycombe 13-7, though neither side will be relegated due to the league re-structuring. Paul Williams scored Bude’s try with Ollie Rayner adding the conversion and two penalties.

Up in London 3 SW, London Cornish’s play-off prospects look over as they lost at Tottonians 16-10. Dickon Moon’s match report will appear in the link.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Penryn secured promotion with a 60-8 win at the Memorial Ground against local rivals Falmouth. Matt Symons led the scoring with four tries, whilst Syd Savvas (2), Dave Pascoe (2), Taron Peacock and Charlie Ross also crossed the Falmouth line. Peacock also added five conversions. For Famouth Steve Roe scored a try and Tom Spiller added a penalty.

Truro are likely to go up to Western Counties West as well after their 32-0 win at Hayle. Luke Trescothick, Matt Trevail, Ross Martin and Michael Patterson all scored tries with other points coming from the boot of Scott Martin, 3 conversions and a penalty with brother Ross adding a drop-goal.

Saltash lost at Moorlands 23-6 to Bideford, Steve Down kicked two penalties.

Well done to Truro College on their win last Wednesday in the final of the Daily Mail RBS U.18 Cup Final at Twickenham winning 39-18 over St. Peter’s Gloucester.

This weekend sees the usual Easter program with old favourites Old Dunstonians returning to Cornwall for the 75th year. Their opening game on Good Friday will be against Penryn 5-30pm before playing Falmouth on Saturday and Truro on Easter Monday. On Easter Sunday there is the Penryn Tribute 7’s whilst Imperial Medics are also on tour playing at Redruth on Good Friday, St. Ives on Saturday and Pirates Amateurs on Easter Monday.

So the format for the Championship and the British & Irish Cup has been announced (in the Rugby Times at least). With the Championship set to run from the first weekend of September until May 2010. The regular season will see each of the 12 teams play each other home and away (22 matches), after which the top eight sides will be split into two pools of four to contest the championship, the winners and runners-up of each pool will play semi-finals with the final probably at Twickenham, whilst the bottom four sides will play-off for relegation. This format currently is used in France in their Federale Championships.

The Cup sounds exciting, with teams from the four Irish provinces, six Welsh Premiership clubs, and both Scottish districts joining the 12 Championship clubs with pools of 4 x 6 clubs to play each side once (5 games) with either two home or three away or three home two away. matches to be played during the 6 Nations with only the pool winners advancing to the semi-finals, the final to be played in May. The RFU want the pools to be regionalised so it could be the Cornish Pirates, Plymouth Albion, Exeter Chiefs, Cardiff RFC, Leinster and Edinburgh!!!!

Finally good luck to the clubs contesting the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup Finals on Easter Monday, only two finals now that the much maligned Super Cup has been scrapped for this season as the fixtures have not been completed in time.

Bodmin v Stithians in the Clubs Cup Final at 12-00 pm

St. Ives v Camborne in the Cornwall Cup at 2-30 pm

Both finals will be played at St. Austell RFC.

Posted in Bill's Blog


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