Herts defeat Cornwall

JASON LEONARD CUP QUARTER-FINAL

HERTFORDSHIRE U.20S 28 – 19 CORNWALL U.20S

Commiserations to the Cornwall players. Well done to Herts and good luck for the semi-final.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall stretch resources for Herts test

CORNWALL RFU UNDER 20 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP 2019 The Jason Leonard Cup.

Cornwall Rugby Football Union (CRFU) 2019, Under 20 County Championship campaign is now into the knock out stage of the Jason Leonard Cup. Cornwall will play Hertfordshire at Cheshunt RFC with a 13:30 kick off time on Sunday March 31st.

rnwall RFU President Peter James said “This will be a real test for a young side that need to pull themselves back together following the defeat against Gloucestershire 2 weeks ago. An away trip to Hertfordshire who topped their group is a daunting task, but one this team I am sure will relish.”


Connor Gilbert (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s on the charge. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Coach Josh Lord said. “We make no excuses for our last performance which was below the standard these guys are capable of, and we expect. Hertfordshire will go into this game as favourites especially with home advantage and rightly so, it is up to these guys now to perform to their true potential if they wish to progress in the competition. From now on in, it is winner takes all.”

Torin Clarke (Launceston Captain of Cornwall U20s. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Cornwall Captain Torin Clarke said. As a group of players we felt we let our coaches and of course the supporters down at St Austell last week. It is easy to make excuses the true fact is we did not perform well enough on the day and Gloucestershire were a class outfit and that reflected in the score line.”

Hertfordshire won all of their group games with victories over Sussex, Eastern Counties and finally last week over Kent to top their group. Cornwall defeated Devon and Hampshire before losing to Gloucestershire coming runners up in their group and therefore earning an away quarter-final place.

Owen Davey (Truro) of Cornwall U20s looks for support. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 17/03/19, Cornwall U20s, Gloucestershire U20s, Jason Leonard Cup, CRFU, Sport, Rugby Union, St Austell, Tregorrick Park, Cornwall, England

The Cornwall U20 team manager Colin Hatch said. “Unfortunately we have picked up a few injuries and of course most teams will be playing on Saturday before we make a long trip to Hertfordshire to play on Sunday. This gives an opportunity for a couple of the squad members to get a run out at this crucial stage of the competition.”

Cornwall find themselves without prop Jack Hodge, who picked up a calf problem in the last game, whilst Aaron Simmonds, Alistair Harding and Charlie Levick are also missing from the backs.

Redruth’s Luke Barnes gets his first start at loose head prop, whilst St. Ives’ Aden Brassington starts at seven again in the pack. A change at fly half sees another Red James Tucker fill the spot with Will Trewin moving to centre. Jake Penprase moves to wing joining St. Austell’s Ben Plummer whilst Launceston’s Reuben Edwards covers full back. Camborne’s Adam Long comes onto the bench along with debutant Tom Wallace an exciting prospect and recent signing at the Borough via Waikato.  

James Tucker (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s steps inside. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo


                           Hertfordshire U20 v Cornwall U20

Sunday 31 March @ Cheshunt RFC 13:30 kick-off

Cornwall Squad 

1 Luke Barnes Redruth 
2 Rory Mead Bude
3 Chae Jenkins Launceston
4 Dan Goldsmith  (Vice-Captain) Launceston
5 Mawgan Osborne P&N Colts
6 Torin Clarke  (Captain) Launceston
7 Aden Brassington St Ives
8 Jamie Eddy Redruth
9 Owen Davey Truro
10 James Tucker Redruth
11 Jake Penprase Bath Uni
12 Will Trewin Cardiff Met
13 Connor Gilbert Redruth
14 Ben Plummer St Austell
15 Reuben Edwards Launceston
16 Harry Lightfoot Launceston
17 Cain Worley N/A
18 Eddy Hall Pirates Amateurs
19 Alex Bartlett Launceston
20 Stan Somers Falmouth
21 Tom Wallace Penryn
22 Adam Long Camborne
  Travelling reserves
23 Jack Hodge Redruth
24 James Murray Redruth
25 Lawrence Armstrong Launceston

Coaches – Josh Lord + Rich Kevern

Medical cover – Graham Ashton + Lauren Albury

Kit – Paul Hurrell (Head) + Colin Hatch

Posted in Bill's Blog


Lacklustre Reds fall to Barnes

REDRUTH 20 – 22 BARNES       

By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground.

Redruth’s Jeykll and Hyde season continued with this disappointing ill-disciplined home defeat to Barnes.

No question the Reds were the architects of their own downfall with a display that frustrated and clearly annoyed Director of Rugby Nigel Hambly as he spoke animatedly to his players in the post match huddle.

There was a sombre atmosphere as the players remembered their former teammate James Huxtable, who tragically passed away a year ago.

The players wore James’ final club Belsize Park socks in his memory, whilst the fly-half shirt worn by Richie Kevern had no number, with the actual 10 shirt hanging in the home dressing room on the peg that was James’ during his spell at the club.  

Barnes had first use of the slope, despite falling behind to a Redruth penalty, kicked by full-back Aaron Simmonds, were soon level when Josh Hammett replied in kind.

Barnes pressure led to Redruth losing the influential player/coach Pale Nonu to the sin bin on the half-hour mark allowing the visitors to take full advantage scoring an unconverted  try through skipper Jamie Collins.

Redruth’s growing woes were compounded when they lost Simmonds to a red card. The full-back was adjudged to have made contact with his knee to an opposing player’s head.

Barnes capitalised scoring a second try from another drive through prop Alistair Ryan with Hammett adding the extras for a useful 15-3 lead at the break.

Redruth looked to claw back their deficit playing down the slope, however Barnes defended well leaving the Reds frustrated. They eventually got some reward as Dean Bonds got in amongst the forwards to score in the corner as Barnes lost lock Matt Steele to a yellow card as the pressure finally told.

Scrum-half Jack Oulton looked to put Redruth on the front foot kicking to the corner from a penalty which led to a penalty-try to the home side and lifted the crowd.

Redruth looked to have saved the game when centre Jack Simmons scored following good work from skipper Richard Brown and Nonu, but crucially the conversion was disallowed by the referee, despite both assistants raising their flags!

With time running out back came Barnes piling on the pressure which eventully told as they scored a try through scrum-half Josh Davies to allow Hammett to kick what proved to be the winning conversion.

Barnes then survived a late penalty attempt from Oulton that sailed wide and summed up Redruth’s day.   

Redruth: A Simmonds, T Notman, J Simmons, P Nonu, D Bonds, R Kevern, J Oulton; L  Kivalu, M Gidlow, J Tompsett, T Prisk, L Hattam, J Clemson, S Stevens, B Howe.

Replacements: R Brown, C Williams, L Barnes, J Tucker, N Webber.  

Redruth scores: Tries, Bonds, Penalty, Simmons, Pen, Simmonds.

Yellow Card: Nonu (30)                                                           

Red Card: Simmonds (37)

Barnes: T O’Toole, R Martey, D Holmes, N Van Buuren, T Pearce, J Hammett, J Davies; G  Hunter, G Head, A Ryan, M Steele, J Collins, J Van der Poel, C Smyth, M Wakeling.

Replacements:  F McArthur, J Garrett, R Nimmo, F Avis, G Davies.

Barnes scores: Tries, Collins, Ryan, Davies, Con, Hammett 2, Pen, Hammett

Yellow Card: Steele (53)

Referee: James Milliner 

Crowd: 650

Redruth man-of-the-match: Jack Oulton, another solid performance from the scrum-half on a difficult afternoon, kicked Redruth into good positions and gave his usual spiky performance. 

Posted in Bill's Blog


TASC presents match balls to Cornwall Under 20s

Match balls presented by Trelawnys Army to the Cornwall U20s. (L to R) Richard Kevern Coach of Cornwall U20s, Ian Gordon, Torin Clarke (Launceston Captain of Cornwall U20s,
Bill Hooper and Josh Lord Coach of Cornwall U20s. – Photo mandatory by-line:
©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Ian Gordon, Hon.Sec, Trelawny’s Army and Bill Hooper. Press Officer presented match balls to Cornwall Under 20s ahead of their game against Gloucestershire Under 20s at St. Austell RFC last Sunday.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Three Cornish girls feature for England Ladies U.20

On a busy afternoon of International rugby, England Ladies Under 20s played their return fixture against France Ladies Under 20s at Newbury.

In the England side there were three Cornish girls, wing Merryn Doidge started the game with front row forward Charlie Budge and flanker Ebony Jefferies on the bench.

Sadly the English side couldn’t overturn the result of the first game lost 31-12 in Strasbourg last weekend as the French girls ran out 40-14 in the return.

Thanks to Will Doidge (Merryn’s Dad) for the photo of the girls at Newbury.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall outplayed by strong Gloucestershire side

JASON LEONARD CUP

U.20 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP

CORNWALL 0 – 48 GLOUCESTERSHIRE

By Bill Hooper at Tregorrick Park, St. Austell.

Cornwall Under 20s were given a sharp lesson by their Gloucestershire opponents who dominated the game from the first whistle to the last.

On the day Cornwall had no answers to a side that was quicker in thought, deed and utterly clinical in execution.

With wing Rueben Edwards forced to withdraw from the side during the warm up, there was a late call up for Falmouth’s Alistair Harding, sadly neither he nor Charlie Levick on the other wing so much ball for eighty minutes.

Dan Goldsmith (Launceston) of Cornwall U20s secures the ball at the line-out. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 17/03/19, Cornwall U20s, Gloucestershire U20s, Jason Leonard Cup, CRFU, Sport, Rugby Union, St Austell, Tregorrick Park, Cornwall, England

Gloucestershire elected to play with the strong breeze first half and they made the best use of it running up 22 points for a healthy half-time lead.

Cornwall lost their skipper Torin Clarke after just six minutes with a nasty gash to the forehead, which resulted in a trip to the local hospital for eight stitches, resulting in Falmouth’s Harry Somers coming off the bench.

That was the first of a string of injuries that Cornish players picked up throughout the game.

Gloucestershire used the wind well pinning Cornwall deep in their twenty-two, scoring a first try after just seven minutes when wing Brandon Pettitt forced his way in at the corner.

Owen Davey (Truro) of Cornwall U20s on the attack. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 17/03/19, Cornwall U20s, Gloucestershire U20s, Jason Leonard Cup, CRFU, Sport, Rugby Union, St Austell, Tregorrick Park, Cornwall, England

Play was scrappy but the Cornwall pack was in difficulty at scrum-time as Gloucestershire put the squeeze on to good effect.

Following a quick tap the visitors got a second try through lock Sam Gregory with fly-half Tom Price adding the first of his four conversions.

Gloucestershire maintained the tempo adding further tries from Pettitt and skipper Adam Hopkinson  before half-time to wrap up the bonus point.

Jake Penprase (Bath Uni) of Cornwall U20s battles for the ball on the ground with Sam Gregory (Cinderford) of Gloucestershire U20s. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 17/03/19, Cornwall U20s, Gloucestershire U20s, Jason Leonard Cup, CRFU, Sport, Rugby Union, St Austell, Tregorrick Park, Cornwall, England

Cornwall needed a quick start to the second half, cruelly  the wind dropped in it’s intensity and the pain continued as replacement hooker Spencer Miller drove over for his side’s fifth try as the visitor’s stranglehold continued.

Cornwall could not break the line despite efforts from centres Jake Penprase and Connor Gilbert in mid-field, whilst the support was too often lacking. 

Instead, the Gloucestershire continued with further tries from the excellent Tom Knight at scrum-half, and a brace late on from replacement back Nathan Brookes to complete their win and book a home tie with Kent in the last eight.

James Tucker (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s is tackled by Nathan Brookes (Newent) of Gloucestershire U20s. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 17/03/19, Cornwall U20s, Gloucestershire U20s, Jason Leonard Cup, CRFU, Sport, Rugby Union, St Austell, Tregorrick Park, Cornwall, England

The Cornish pack battled away gamely but with too many key players picking up injuries they couldn’t make any headway.

James Tucker showed some good touches at fly-half late on as Cornwall tried to salvage some pride but it all came to nothing.

The result means that Cornwall must now travel to face Hertfordshire in the last eight on Sunday 31st March at Cheshunt RFC with a 1 pm kick-off.    

Cornwall’s backs coach Richie Kevern was very disappointed with the performance of his side. “It’s certainly not the result we wanted today, it was a catalogue of errors, we looked flat, we couldn’t string any phases of play together. We didn’t play into the wind very well first half whilst Gloucestershire used it very well and punished us. I have to say hats off to them for the game they played. 

Cornwall U.20 head coach Josh Lord

Head coach Josh Lord echoed the thoughts of Richie Kevern. He said. “It was massively frustrating watching that game, we were outplayed and out performed in all areas of the park. We looked flat out there, hopefully this will shake any complacency the lads might have had after their win at Hampshire out of the system. They need to go away and realize what level of performance will be required when we go to play Herts, they have to have a good look at themselves and sort it out, I am sure there will be a reaction from the lads after that performance today and we will see a different side against Herts.”

Cornwall: A. Simmonds (Redruth), A Harding (Falmouth), J Penprase (Bath Uni), C Gilbert (Redruth), C Levick (Penryn Colts), W Trewin (Cardiff Met), O Davey (Truro); J Hodge (Redruth), R Mead (Bude), C Jenkins (Launceston), D Goldsmith (Launceston), M Osborne (Pz& N Colts) T Clarke (Launceston, Capt), E Hall (Pirates Amateurs), J Eddy (Redruth).

Replacements: L Barnes (Redruth), C Worley (Unattatched), S Somers (Falmouth), H Lightfoot (Launceston), J Murray (Redruth), B Plummer (St. Austell), J Tucker (Redruth).

Gloucestershire: B Dunn (Spartans), W Bawden (Cinderford), J Guy (Newent), T Hargan (UWE), B Pettitt (Avonmouth OB), T Price (Cleve), T Knight (O. Patesians); K Wilson (Thornbury), J Jackson (Dings), B Phillips (O. Patesians), J Holliday, S Gregory (both Cinderford), B Davies (Royal Agri Coll), J Du Plessis (Avonmouth OB), A Hopkinson (Gloucs Uni, Capt).

Replacements: S Miller (Gloucs OB), E Manley, J White (both Gloucs Uni), J Du Plessis (Avonmouth OB), T Broady (Spartans), N Brookes (Newent), G Sanderson (Gloucs Uni).

Gloucestershire scores: Tries, Pettitt 2, Gregory, Hopkinson, Miller, Knight, Brookes 2, Cons, Price 4   

Referee: Dan Driscoll (Devon RRS)   

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall 0-48 Gloucestershire

Cornwall Under 20s were given a torrid afternoon by a very good Gloucestershire side at St. Austell who scored eight tries.

The result means that Cornwall now travel to face Hertfordshire Under 20s in the quarter-finals with the game being played on Sunday 31st March at Cheshunt RFC kick-off 1 pm.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall & Gloucestershire name sides for Sunday clash

CORNWALL RFU UNDER 20 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP 2019

 The Jason Leonard Cup.

Cornwall Under 20s take on their Gloucestershire counterparts this Sunday at St. Austell RFC in their final pool game, kick-off 13:30.

Both sides are through to the quarterfinals; however the winner of this game will guarantee themselves a home tie in the last eight against either Hertfordshire or Kent, who also meet on Sunday.

Additionally, both sides have an almost identical record going into the final game, however Gloucestershire have single point better points difference, so Cornwall must win to top the group.

Cornwall team huddle prior to kick-off. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 24/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Hampshire U20s, CRFU, U20s County Championship, Jason Leonard Cup, Sport,Rugby Union, Hooks Lane Ground, Havant, Hampshire, England,

Cornwall RFU President Peter James said “This is not only the final pool game but it is the pool decider to see who will gain the home quarterfinal on Sunday March 31. Gloucestershire are a hot bed of County rugby and have always provided strong opposition, I am sure this match will be no different”

Aaron Simmonds (Redruth) of Cornwall U20s kicks a conversion. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 24/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Hampshire U20s, CRFU, U20s County Championship, Jason Leonard Cup, Sport,Rugby Union, Hooks Lane Ground, Havant, Hampshire, England,

Coach Richie Kevern said. “The guys earned a very impressive win at Havant two weeks ago against Hampshire on the 4G pitch. Gloucestershire like us have won their opening two pool games and so this is all to play for. If anything Gloucestershire have a slight edge as they have a better point’s difference by 1 point, so a win or a draw will see them earn a home quarterfinal, whereas Cornwall needs to win to get a home quarterfinal”

Cornwall have made a couple of changes in the back row where Eddy Hall gets his first start and Jamie Eddy starts at No.8 after missing the last game. Skipper Torin Clarke moves from No.8 to the blindside. Falmouth’s lock Stan Somers comes onto the bench having missed the Hampshire game as does St. Austell’s back Ben Plummer.

Torin Clarke (Launceston) Captain of Cornwall U20s comes off the field after the match. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo – 24/02/19, Cornwall U20s, Hampshire U20s, CRFU, U20s County Championship, Jason Leonard Cup, Sport,Rugby Union, Hooks Lane Ground, Havant, Hampshire, England,

Cornwall Captain Torin Clarke said. “The guys put in a tremendous shift up at Havant but know this will be a much more physical game against a traditional Gloucestershire side. We need now to put behind us the last two games and concentrate on putting in a performance against the pool leaders.”

The Cornwall U20 team manager Colin Hatch.”To recognise the commitment to the Cornwall U20 team, 3 players will be awarded their U20 caps for making 7 or more appearance in the Jason Leonard Cup. Prop Chae Jenkins along with fellow prop and Vice-Captain Jack Hodge will be joined by Captain Torin Clarke in collecting their caps at the end of the match. This is a fantastic achievement and makes a total of 8 caps awarded so far this season.”

Entry is by program £5, with under 16s free entry. As ever your support for the lads on the afternoon will be much appreciated as they strive to earn a home quarterfinal on Sunday March 31st.  

                           Cornwall U20 v Gloucestershire U20

Sunday 17 March @ St Austell RFC 13:30 kick off

Cornwall Squad 

1 Jack Hodge (Vice Captain) Redruth 
2 Rory Mead Bude
3 Chae Jenkins Launceston
4 Dan Goldsmith Launceston
5 Mawgan Osborne P&N Colts
6 Torin Clarke (Captain) Launceston
7 Eddy Hall Pirates Amateurs
8 Jamie Eddy Redruth
9 Owen Davey Truro
10 Will Trewin Cardiff Met
11 Charlie Levick Penryn Colts
12 Connor Gilbert Redruth
13 Jake Penprase Bath Uni
14 Reuben Edwards Launceston
15 Aaron Simmonds Redruth
16 Luke Barnes Redruth
17 Cain Worley N/A
18 Stan Somers Falmouth
19 Harry Lightfoot Launceston
20 James Murray Redruth
21 Ben Plummer St Austell
22 James Tucker Redruth
  Travelling reserves
23 Alex Bartlett Launceston
24 Josh Hart  
25 Adam Long Camborne
26 Alistair Harding Falmouth
27 Tom Wallace Penryn
28 Angus Hallam Redruth
29 Lawrence Armstrong Launceston

Coaches – Josh Lord + Rich Kevern

Medical cover – Dr John Garman, Sam West + Graham Ashton

Kit – Paul Hurrell (Head) +Colin Hatch

                          Gloucestershire Squad

  Players Name Club / University
1 Kieren Wilson Thornbury
2 James Jackson Dings Crusaders
3 Beck Phillips Old Patesians
4 Jonny Holliday Cinderford
5 Sam Gregory Cinderford
6 Ben Davies Royal Agricultural College
7 Jared Du Plessis Avonmouth
8 Adam Hopkinson (C ) Gloucs Uni
9 Tom Knight Old Patesians
10 Tom Price Cleve 
11 Brandon Pettitt Avonmouth
12 Tom Hargan UWE 
13 Jack Guy Newent
14 Will Baldwin (VC) Cinderford
15 Bradley Dunn Spartans
16 Spencer Miller Gloucs Old Boys
17 Euan Manley Gloucs Uni
18 Jacob White Gloucs Uni
19 Joshua Du Plessis Avonmouth
20 Tom Park Royal Agricultural College
21 Nathan Brookes Newent
22 George Sanderson Gloucs Uni
23 (TR) Brodie Cook Old Richians
24 (TR) Tom Broady Spartans
Posted in Bill's Blog


1969, a trip down memory lane

It’s hard to believe that on this very day 50 years ago I went to watch my very first rugby match.

As a 12 year old I went along to the game with other school mates, having first attended lesson that Saturday morning, yes at Truro Cathedral School we had lessons on a Saturday morning, and luckily having avoided detention that week.

I can remember we travelled to Redruth by coach, probably dear old Bobby Mitchell from Perranporth with our headmaster Mr Mischler leading the party, a former scrum-half who played at Oxford University but sadly didn’t get his Blue.

We all had our tickets, something like 2/6 to get in as a child and got our programs 2 bob.

Arriving at the ground we were swept along by a tide of people, it seemed as if the whole of Cornwall was present that day.

We eventually managed to get onto a bank (where the Tribute suite is situated today), squeezed in like lemons.

The huge roar that greeted the side as they came out was enormous with the North Bank a wall of humanity with the temporary stand erected at the top.

There were people spilling onto the pitch such was the crush, as well as spectators in the trees down the bottom end by Piggy lane.

I can remember supporters carrying an effigy of “Bonzo” Johns, which looked more like “Bertie” Bassett.

A that time Penryn were the force in Cornish rugby with players like Roger Harris, Colin Kneebone, Roger Hosken, Gerry McKeown, Vernon Parkin, Kenny Plummer and of course skipper Graham Bate

The game was special to me as my form teacher was Roger Harris (Sir!), Cornwall’s hooker that day, he was also married to my cousin Jenny, so part of the family. There was huge pride in this school boy as “Porky” Harris, his teachers nickname at school, kicked the first points for Cornwall with a penalty torpedo style.

Cornwall managed to reach half-time 9-3 up, thanks to a further penalty from Raymond George and a drop goal from David Chapman, having played up the slope, but they lost wing Derek Prout to injury, no replacements in those days, so had to play with fourteen men.

Lancashire came back to snatch the win 11-9, inspired by Dick Greenwood, Will’s father.

Cornwall had a penalty chance but as George ran up to kick the ball, the ball toppled over, and the kick went askew.

There was huge disappointment as the spectators trooped out after the game, but they acknowledged that the better side had won on the day.

For me I was bitten by the bug, so the day was a winner. Thanks guys.

Cornwall: G Bate (Penryn, capt), K Plummer (Bristol & Penryn), V Parkin (Bristol & Penryn), G Jones (US Portsmouth), D Prout (Northhampton & Redruth), T Palmer (Gloucester & Truro), D Chapman (Hayle); B Stevens (Penzance & Newlyn), R Harris (Penryn), C Johns (Redruth), B Ninnes (St. Ives), C Kneebone (Penryn), R George (Redruth), R Hosken (Harlequins & Penryn), G McKeown (Penryn).

Posted in Bill's Blog


Pirates pick up losing bonus point from Notts trip

t

 Nottingham 20   Cornish Pirates 18

Report by Phil Westren, Cornish Pirates Media Officer. Photo Brian Tempest

Post their Sunday exit from the semi-final of the Championship Cup at Ealing, a short turnaround for the Cornish Pirates saw them return to Greene King IPA Championship action for this Friday night fixture at Nottingham’s Lady Bay Sportsground. For an at present ‘bare bones’ Cornish Pirates squad it was also always going to be a tough ask, however they at least departed with a losing bonus point.

The Pirates lost home and away to Nottingham last season but emerged 36-28 victors when the two teams met at the Mennaye Field in October. As for their respective league positions ahead of this Round 16 game, Nottingham were in sixth place and the Pirates in fifth.

With several players having picked up injuries against the Trailfinders, certain changes in personnel were inevitable. In the absence of Kyle Moyle, Maliq Holden was named at full-back for what was also his Championship debut, whilst Robin Wedlake switched from left to right wing in place of Alex O’Meara. The experienced Matt Evans was selected in the number ‘11’ shirt, a fit again Will Cargill returned to the starting line-up at fly-half and Javier Rojas Alvarez slotted in at inside centre. In the forwards, Tom Duncan was named to start at No. 8 and Dan Lee moved to the blind-side flank in place of the injured Matt Bolwell. One other change saw Josh Caulfield named to partner skipper Brett Beukeboom in the second-row.

On a February evening at ‘Lady Bay’ that was cool but also calm and dry, after Canadian international fly-half Shane O’Leary kicked the game off for the ‘Green & Whites’ it was not long before Holden was quickly into the action. Bravely taking a high ball, he was fouled in the process, resulting in a penalty awarded the Pirates. Cargill then kicked well to the corner, and after Caulfield provided clean line-out ball it was hooker Dan Frost who, for a second week running, was the first name on the scoresheet, his second minute try added to the opener he scored at Ealing. Cargill’s conversion went wide of the posts.

A period of play that followed saw the Pirates guilty of giving too many penalties away, enabling O’Leary to soon slot a successful kick at goal and scrum-half Murray McConnell to then score an unconverted try from a line-out close to the Pirates line.

Midway through the first half a Cargill penalty levelled matters at 8-all, however the home side soon regained the lead when their slick handling enabled wing David Williams to score another unconverted try, this time wide out on the right.

Unfortunately, 13-8 would soon change to 20-8 after Nottingham’s full-back Sean Scanlon ran all of 60 metres for a superb try this time converted by O’Leary.

As half-time approached the Pirates went through a considerable number of phases to fully test the home defence. They did extremely well to keep their composure and the just reward was their second try of the match, again scored by that man Frost. It left Cargill with a less than straightforward chance to reduce the deficit, but he did just that for the teams to return to the changing rooms with a scoreline reading 20-15.

The Pirates also started the second half in positive mode, Holden again a willing competitor and an early penalty opportunity also earned that was kicked by Cargill.

Further enterprise followed from the visitors, including a bout of clever passing with Rojas Alvarez and flanker Stevens to the fore. Discipline had at this stage improved, in a match that thus far was proving wholly entertaining.

When a next considered kickable penalty was awarded the Pirates, it was a long-range effort from Rojas Alvarez, that fell just short.

Considering their quick turnaround, into the last quarter would be an added test for the Pirates, who were grateful twice to Wedlake for tidy work at the back that prevented possible Nottingham scores.  

Time ticking away and with several fresh legs arriving off the bench a tense finale was likely expected, and likely more points, but it wasn’t to be. The penalty slot by Cargill on 43 minutes had surprisingly proved to be the last points of the match.

The Pirates were to be admired for their overall gritty effort, however Nottingham managed to hold territorial advantage and frustrate, and to ultimately secure their narrow victory.

At the end a losing bonus point was the least the Cornish team deserved, with a chance to now recharge batteries ahead of a welcome home game scheduled against Jersey Reds on Sunday 10th March.

Speaking after the game against Nottingham, Cornish Pirates co-coach Gavin Cattle said. “We were playing a good Nottingham side and I am proud of the effort shown by our players, especially considering such a short turnaround. Their physicality was right up there.

“Sometimes in sport it’s more than just winning. We went close but it was the sheer effort witnessed that was deserving of praise.”

Nottingham: 15 Sean Scanlon, 14 David Williams, 13 Will Millett, 12 Luke Peters, 11 Billy Robinson, 10 Shane O’Leary, 9 Murray McConnell (22 Darryl Veenendaal, 49); 1 Owen Hills, 2 Luke Cole, 3 Oisin Heffernan (18 Billy Walker, 28), 4 Tom Holmes (c; 19 Llewelyn Jones, 58)), 5 Sam Lewis (16 Ben Brownlie, 63), 6 Shane Buckley, 7 Jordan Coghlan, 8 Josh Poullet (20 Will Owen, 40).

Replacements (not used): 17 George Thornton, 21 Gearoid Lyons.

CornishPirates: 15 Maliq Holden, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata (22 Dan Koster, 68), 12 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 11 Matt Evans, 10 Will Cargill (21 Harvey Skinner, 74), 9 Alex Day (20 Alex Schwarz, 63); 1 Jack Andrew, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Tyler Gendall, 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Dan Lee (19 James McRae, 57), 7 John Stevens (16 Sam Matavesi, 68), 8 Tom Duncan.

Replacements (not used): 17 Tom Concu, 18 Danny Cutmore.

Scorers. Nottingham – tries: 9 Murray McConnell (14), 14 David Williams (29), 15 Sean Scanlon (34); con: 19 Shane O’Leary (35); pen: 10 Shane O’Leary (8).

Cornish Pirates – tries: 2 Dan Frost (2, 40); con: 10 Will Cargill (40); pens: 10 Will Cargill (25, 43).

Referee: Andrew Jackson (RFU)         

Posted in Bill's Blog


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