Devon v Cornwall 220413

Cornwall v Hertfordshire 180513

Photos – by Simon Bryant Top Darren Jacques, middle skipper Ben Hilton, bottom Cornwall coach Dave “Benji” Thomas

By Bill Hooper from the pitch side at Twickenham

At the end of a fantastic game of rugby and following the players receiving their medals from Bill Beaumont, I managed to catch up with Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas and some of the players for their take on the day.

Despite losing once again against a very good Lancashire side, Benji wanted to look at the positive moments from the day. “Yes I am gutted to have lost, but I am really gutted for all the fantastic support that Cornwall had here this afternoon. It was phenomenal to see the number of Cornish people in the stands and all the messages of support we had from all over Cornwall and all over the country from expatriate Cornish men and women wishing us the best of luck.”
“The boys gave it 120% but today it just wasn’t quite enough. The Lancashire boys play in higher leagues than most of our players and I think that showed in much of what happened today. We made a mistake and they capitalised and scored points either with the boot or tries. You can’t afford to make those mistakes and they immediately profit from it.”

“I thought our forwards played really well, we out-scrummaged them our mauls worked really well. Sam Hocking had a fantastic game for us as he has all the way through the campaign, but all the players have stepped up, I think we have again raised the bar of county rugby and it augers well for next season.
Despite the fact that the Cornwall scrum was in the ascendancy throughout “Benji” was perplexed by the referee’s interpretation especially during the first half. “We didn’t get any favours there despite being the dominate scrum, we could have had a number of penalties as we destroyed their scrum, instead he penalises us! Then in the second half he gave us the penalty-try!”

When reflecting on his time as county coach stretching on and off back to 1975. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it working with some exceptional players finishing off with the great squad of players we had here today.”

“However, I will be continuing working with the development of younger players, so hopefully I will unearth a few more gems for Cornwall yet!”
Cornwall’s skipper Ben Hilton couldn’t hide his disappointment having collected his runners-up medal from the RFU president’s box.

“I am very disappointed. A great occasion, a great performance to a degree. All for the bounce of the ball or an off-load we would have been right there. Right now the disappointment is very raw, I am running through in my mind all the decisions in the game and asking myself did we do the right thing. Naturally I am devastated for our marvellous supporters who have made a great effort to come here today to support us. If anyone needed a win it was us today without them we would never have got here.”

Hilton was also perplexed by some of the referee’s interpretations. “I kept asking him for his reasons, but all kept saying was that we were not doing things for him in the right way! I think it was very clear to the spectators what was going on. On another day we would have got those key scores.

Also Hilton agreed that Cornwall hadn’t helped themselves by allowing Lancashire to pick up scores as Cornwall had themselves scored points. “That was a big problem we got a little over zealous in our 22 making breaks and trying to finish off in first phase very risky in a final. The ball goes loose and we are in trouble.”

Did he hoped to return to Twickenham with Cornwall. “I hope so I will do everything I can to come back and win this.”

Redruth’s Darren Jacques was disappointed with the final result but full of praise for the fantastic Cornish support.

“We knew we were strong up front and they looked to match us, they tackled well and counter-rucked well but it seemed every time we made a mistake their backs capitalised on it. They had some very sharp operators in their back-line fair play to them.”

“It’s very disappointing, we wanted to do it for the fantastic support, all the boys did. The Cornish support has been terrific all the way through the championship.”

“I was disappointed with the way the ref penalised us in the scrums during the first half. He pinged me twice for scrummaging when we were the dominant scrum and turned the ball over on their put in! They take their prop off as they are struggling and then at the next scrum he gives us a penalty because they can’t take the pressure. I thought the referee did a good a job but at times they are baffling!

“I don’t want to take anything away from Lancashire because they did play some fine rugby.”

“That second half performance from us was based on our team spirit. I’ve never played in front of such a great crowd as today.”

“I am looking forward to going on tour to Belgium with England Counties. I’ve got into the side thanks to the performances of the Cornwall squad so I am very thankful to all the boys.” Darren will be joined on the tour by Cornwall skipper Ben Hilton and centre Nielson Webber.

“I do feel I still have some unfinished business after today’s result, but whether I can commit to a full county program after a long hard league season I am not sure, I have got a young family and need to spend time with them, but if Cornwall need a prop for a one off game I will not let Cornwall down.”

Posted in Bill's Blog



By Bill Hooper at Twickenham

Lancashire’s fly-half Chris Johnson, who kicked fifteen points, masterminded his side’s Bill Beaumont Cup triumph over a courageous Cornwall side that almost pulled off a remarkable comeback only to see the Red Rose county finally secure their 22nd County Championship title as young winger Ben Rath sped in for his side’s fourth try with just three minutes left on the clock.

When Johnson kicked the final conversion to put Lancashire nine points up at 35-26, Cornwall knew the game was up and that there would be no 4th title to add to the Duchy’s successes of 1908, 1991 and 1999.

Disappointingly, Cornwall committed far too many errors, especially during the first half. They were left playing catch up rugby for most of the game compounding their frustration by conceding points soon after scoring themselves.

However, the Cornish forwards were tremendous, the front row of Darren Jacques, Richard Brown and Craig Willimas had their opposite numbers in all sorts of bother, whilst locks Damian Cook and skipper Ben Hilton were in the thick of the action, however it was flanker Sam Hocking who once again stood out with some huge carries, no tries this time but a massive work rate and contribution to Cornwall’s cause.

With Twickenham bathed in glorious sunshine, and England and the Barbarians having provided a fitting warm-up game, it was Cornwall who registered the opening points as Lancashire were penalised just inside their own half. Paul Thirlby took on the kick and sent it between the uprights to huge cheers from the massed Cornish crowd.

Cornwall’s advantage was short-lived as they were penalised for going off their feet. Johnson stepped up to level the scores.

The warning signs were evident for Cornwall every time Lancashire moved the ball wide; it came as no surprise when winger Nick Royle finished off a blistering attack in the corner following some good back play from Rath and Sean Taylor. Johnson was on cue with the conversion for a useful 10-3 lead.
Thirlby having missed moments earlier with a penalty attempt, kicked his second of the game to cut the deficit.

Almost immediately Lancashire had scored a second try as further fine back play put No. 8 Dominic Moon in the clear.

Cornwall brought Tom Rawlings into the back row in place of Ashley Lawton. Scrum-half Greg Goodfellow set off on one of his trademark breaks that saw him almost up to the Lancashire 22, sadly the ball was lost forward as looked to off-load.

Cornwall despite exerting tremendous pressure in the set-piece were falling foul of referee Mr Falla who continued to penalise them.

To make matters worse Cornwall conceded a third try as they looked to move the ball from their own half saw a pass intercepted with Royle the happy recipient galloping in for his second score. Johnson’s conversion putting his side 22-6 up and Cornwall were facing a mountain with just over thirty minutes played.

Cornwall got a penalty from a scrum, which Jake Murphy kicked to the corner. From the catch and drive Cornwall got another penalty that was taken quickly with centre Nielson Webber, though tackled short, able to plant the ball over the try-line. Thirlby couldn’t add the extras but that score gave Cornwall heart as half-time approached.

Cornwall looked fired-up at the beginning of the second half; the forwards looked to dictate play. Penalties came Cornwall’s way with Murphy kicking for the corner. Another driving maul was heading for the Lancashire try-line until it was halted illegally by Lancashire prop Daniel Birchell. Mr Falla ran under the posts to award the penalty-try with Birchell invited to spend ten minutes in the bin. Thirlby’s conversion brought Cornwall right back into the game at 18-22.
Johnson and Thirlby swapped penalties as the game moved into the final quarter. But once again Johnson gave his side some breathing space with a neat drop-goal for a seven point margin.

With the clock ticking down, Cornwall needed a try; it came from a catch-and-drive with Goodfellow slipping the ball to Lewis Vinnicombe, the Redruth flyer crossed in the corner. Thirlby’s conversion would have tied the scores but he miss-cued his attempt to leave Lancashire with a slim advantage.
Johnson again turned provider to set up the title clinching score for Rath and crush Cornish hopes.

Despite the loss the huge Cornish crowd at Twickenham cheered their heroes in appreciation of their efforts over the past month to get Trelawny’s Army back to rugby HQ.

Cornwall 26 pts
Tries – Webber, Penalty-try, Vinnicombe, Conversion – Thirlby, Penalties – Thirlby (3)

Lancashire 35 pts
Tries – Royle (2), Moon, Rath, Conversions – Johnson (3), Penalties – Johnson (2), Drop-goal – Johnson
Yellow Card – Birchell (53)

CORNWALL: Jake Murphy, Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Nielson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman, Paul Thirlby, Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Hocking (un-attached), Ashley Lawton (Camborne)
Replacements (all used): Neal Turner, Jon Drew, Luke Collins (all Redruth), Tom Rawlings (Cornish All Blacks), Matt Shepherd (St. Austell), Steve Perry (un-attached), Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth)

LANCASHIRE: Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers), Nick Royle (Vale of Lune), Chris Briers (Fylde), Jack Ward (Preston Grasshoppers), Ben Rath (Fylde), Chris Johnson (Fylde), Steve Collins (Sedgley Park); Dan Birchall (Fylde), Jon Matthews (Otley), Simon Griffiths (Fylde), Paul Arnold (Fylde), Louis McGowan, Capt, (Sedgley Park), Jon Nugent (Stade Dijonnais), Steve McGinnis (Fylde), Dominic Moon (Preston Grasshoppers)

Replacements (all used): Pete Altham (Fylde), Gareth Gore (Preston Grasshoppers), Phil Mills (Preston Grasshoppers), Evan Stewart (Fylde), Phil Baines (Preston Grasshoppers), Tom Webb (Fylde), Andy Riley (Sedgley Park)

Referee: Wayne Falla (RFU)

Crowd: 20,000 plus

Cornwall–man-of-the-match: Sam Hocking

Lancashire–man-of-the-match: Chris Johnson

Posted in Bill's Blog


Redruth v Clifton 191111

McAtee in action for Redruth against Clifton in November 2011

Cornwall v Hertfordshire 180513

McAtee in action last Saturday for Cornwall against Hertfordshire – Photos Simon Bryant

Former Cornish Pirate Rhodri McAtee has signed for National League 2 South Redruth for next season.

McAtee who last season played for Plymouth Albion in the RFU Championship has signed for the Reds on a player/coach basis.

McAtee has previously spent periods on loan at the Redruth club and has always thrilled the Redruth crowd with his pace and play. The Welsh Whippet is a crowd pleaser and his pace has brought Rugby World Cup 7’s honours with Wales.

McAtee, 29, says “I’ve been looking forward to signing a lot – I came for a couple of game before and really liked it here, and the other players are great, so I’m very happy to be back.”

Regarding his coaching role, Rhodri is looking to tap into his long experience of professionalism. “I’ll be hoping to help move the team on, bringing with me what I’ve picked up over the last 10 years or so.”

McAtee’s has been enjoying playing for Cornwall this month, being part of the team who defeated Hertfordshire to book a place at Twickenham on Sunday, but he won’t be joining the 12 other Redruth players at the headquarters of English rugby.

Redruth’s Director of Rugby Adrian Edwards is delighted at McAtee’s arrival, saying “He complements the excellent squad we already have and he’ll bring his skills from a professional environment to Redruth Rugby.”

A firm favourite at the Mennaye many Pirate supporters were sorry to see Rhodri depart the far south west at the end of last season.

McAtee’s wealth of experience will be invaluable to the young Redruth backs as the side looks to build on last season’s encouraging fourth place finish in the league.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Nielson Webber, Sam Hocking & Greg Goodfellow

England Counties bound Nielson Webber, Sam Hocking and the cany Scot Greg Goodfellow at training on Wednesday evening

Gavin Cattle chats to Lewis Vinnicombe

Cornish Pirates’ Gavin Cattle chatting to Cornwall’s Lewis Vinnicombe

Ashley Lawton

Camborne’s Ashley Lawton starts at No.8 for Cornwall – Photos Bill Hooper

Cornwall held their final training session at Redruth’s Recreation Ground on Wednesday evening in front of numerous members of the press and media.

Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas announced his County Championship Final team to take on Lancashire at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon kick-off 3-15 pm.

With Launceston’s Barrie-John Chapman forced to miss the final having picked up an eight week playing ban for foul play in a league game against Worthing, Camborne’s Ashley Lawton, who has bided his time on the bench during Cornwall’s three pool games, comes into the starting XV.

Understandably, Lawton was delighted to have been given the nod by the selectors. “I am over the moon, delighted to be starting on Sunday and very much looking forward to it”, remarked the Cherry and White.

Recalls are also seen on the bench as Redruth duo Lewis Vinnicombe and Neal Turner are back in the match day 22, whilst fellow Red lock Luke Collins comes onto the bench for his first county call up of the season. Collins has found memories of Twickenham having scored a try at rugby HQ for England Counties against France Fédérale in 2009.

Paul Thirlby, Steve Perry, Lewis Vinnicombe Darren Jacques, Ben Hilton, Sam Hocking and Chris Fuca are survivors from Cornwall’s last appearance at Twickenham, in the 2008 County Shield Final lost to Northumberland 25-11.

CORNWALL: Jake Murphy, Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Nielson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman, Paul Thirlby, Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Hocking (un-attached), Ashley Lawton (Camborne).

Replacements: Neal Turner, Jon Drew, Luke Collins (all Redruth), Tom Rawlings (Cornish All Blacks), Matt Shepherd (St. Austell), Steve Perry (un-attached), Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth)

LANCASHIRE: Sean Taylor (Preston Grasshoppers), Nick Royle (Vale of Lune), Chris Briers (Fylde), Jack Ward (Preston Grasshoppers), Ben Rath (Fylde), Chris Johnson (Fylde), Steve Collins (Sedgley Park); Dan Birchall (Fylde) Jon Matthews (Otley) Simon Griffiths (Fylde) Paul Arnold (Fylde) Louis McGowan (Sedgley Park) (Captain) Jon Nugent (Stade Dijon) Steve McGinnis (Fylde) Dominic Moon (Preston Grasshoppers)

Replacements – Pete Altham (Fylde) Gareth Gore (Preston Grasshoppers) Phil Mills (Preston Grasshoppers) Evan Stewart (Fylde) Philip Baines (Preston Grasshoppers) Tom Webb (Fylde) Andrew Riley (Sedgley Park)

Posted in Bill's Blog



Cornwall skipper Ben Hilton commiserates with Herts Stef Liebenberg – Photo John Beach

Cornwall v Hertfordshire 180513

Dave “Benji” Thomas Cornwall’s inspirational head coach – Photo Simon Bryant / Iktisphoto. Mobile: 07990592945

At a RFU Disciplinary Hearing held in Bristol on Tuesday evening Cornwall skipper Ben Hilton was cleared of an incident of foul play during the game between Worthing and the Cornish All Blacks in National League 2 South.

However, there was not such good news for fellow All Black Barrie John Chapman who was found guilty and suspended for eight weeks. He will be free to play again on October 14th.

Also it has been confirmed that Cornwall coach Dave “Benji” Thomas will be standing down from his post after the final against Lancashire. “Benji” first coached Cornwall in a county championship match away back in 1975 when Cornwall lost at Redruth to the then reigning champions Gloucestershire 9-6. St. Ives’ Peter Hendy captained Cornwall that day.

Said Thomas.“I am absolutely delighted, instead of finish my time as head coach with a defeat against Hertfordshire at Camborne, I a bowing out at Twickenham, and I think that is brilliant. I feel I have been in this position long enough. I am sure there are younger men who can come in and do it. I have enjoyed every minute, but I just think it’s time for me to stop.

“With all the youth rugby coaching I do in Cornwall, it’s time to let someone else have a go with the county team, but what a way for someone to come in and take the job, off the back to a trip to Twickenham.

Posted in Bill's Blog



Damian Cook takes no prisoners!


Darren Jacques on the charge

When the news filtered through that Lancashire, despite their loss to Cheshire by 20-13, had qualified for the Bill Beaumont Cup Final, memories flooded back of the two previous occasions that Cornwall played Lancashire in a County Final, 1969 at Redruth an 11-9 defeat, also in 1992 at Twickenham when the Red Rose won again 9-6.

After two narrow defeats against Lancashire in finals, can Cornwall make it third time lucky this Sunday?

In 1969, Cornwall, despite leading at half-time 9-0 thanks to two penalty goals kicked by Roger Harris and Raymond George along with a drop-goal from scrum-half David Chapman, and with a crowd of some 21,000 squeezed into Redruth’s Recreation Ground, couldn’t contain the second half comeback from a Lancashire side lead by skipper Dick Greenwood.

Tries from No.8 Eric Lyon and winger Tony Richards together with a penalty from centre Chris Jennins tied the scores at 9-9 (remember a try in those days was only worth three points).

With the crowd having to be cleared to allow Jennins to take the conversion, the Lancashire centre kicked what proved to be the winning conversion.
George had a penalty chance for Cornwall, but the ball toppled over just as the flanker was to put boot to ball.

Cornwall had no complaints at the final whistle as Lancashire had proved to be the better side on the day and fully deserved their win.

Cornwall: G Bate, Capt, (Penryn), K Plummer (Bristol & Penryn), V Parkin (Bristol & Penryn), G Jones (U.S. Portsmouth), D Prout (Northampton & 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)

In 1992 Cornwall returned to Twickenham, supported by well over 40,000 fans, as defending champions and favourites to retain their crown against a Lancashire side that was without many of their Orrell players who had shone in their semi-final win against Hampshire.
The favourites tag has always sat uneasily on Cornish shoulders and so it was to prove once more.

They couldn’t replicate their marvellous semi-final win against Yorkshire at Redruth 22-3, with tries from wingers Tony Mead and David Weeks and goals kicked by full back Kevin Thomas. It was for me the finest playing performance by a Cornwall side during this golden period of Cornwall county rugby.
Matters were not helped when fly-half Billy Peters was forced to leave the field after just four minutes.

Thomas gave Cornwall a 22nd minute lead with a penalty, however Lancashire struck back with an extraordinary try. Lancashire full back Mike Jackson fielded a kick before launching a high speculative kick towards the Cornwall goal-line, the ball bounced wickedly in-goal right into the welcoming hands of the up-rushing Jackson! Paul Grayson kicked the conversion and Lancashire led 6-3.

Grayson then extended Lancashire’s lead with a forty metre penalty goal for 9-3.

Thomas replied with a second penalty goal and Cornwall then threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Lancashire as they stormed their line, but they couldn’t get another score.

Cornwall: K Thomas (Redruth), A Mead (Redruth), C Laity (Neath), M Brain (Clifton), D Weeks (Camborne), W Peters (Bath) (S Whitworth, Redruth 4mins), R Nancekivell (Northampton); J May, B Andrew, R Keast (all Redruth), A Reed (Bath), T Cook, G Williams , Capt, (both Redruth), A Bick (Penzance & Newlyn), J Atkinson (St. Ives)

Replacements (not used) M Gomez, C Whitworth, A Ellery, M Phillips, J Mortimer (all Redruth)

Posted in Bill's Blog



Nielson Webber looks to support Richard Brown – photo John Beach


Darren Jacques leads another powerful Cornish maul – photo John Beach

Redruth’s loose head prop Darren Jacques has been called up for England Counties’ tour to Belgium next month.

Counties will combine playing two games in Belgium against Presidents XV on June 12th and then Belgium XV on June 16th with coaching clinics and outreach visits.

Also crossing the Channel and heading to Belgium Launceston’s Nielson Webber who has certainly caught the eye in the black and gold this season

Congratulations to both Darren and Nielson you will do Redruth, Launceston and Cornwall proud en Belgique!

Posted in Bill's Blog


Cornwall v Hertfordshire 180513

Cornwall v Hertfordshire 180513Cornwall v Hertfordshire 180513

Top Scrum-half Greg Goodfellow gets the ball away v Herts. Bottom Left Fly-half Paul Thirlby claims Cornwall’s final try. Bottom right Lock Damian Cook on the charge against Hertfordshire – Photos Simon Bryant/Iktisphoto. Mobile: 07990592945.

CORNWALL will contest the final of the Bill Beaumont Cup next Sunday against old rivals Lancashire at Twickenham.
It follows Cornwall’s magnificent win on Saturday against reigning County Champions Hertfordshire by 41-29 at Camborne.

It was a game and occasion that matched the heady days of the late 80′s and early 90′s when Cornwall graced HQ’s hallowed turf.
Not since 1999 have Cornwall played in a County Championship Final and that famous win against Gloucestershire.

Cornwall took to the field to the strains of “Trelawny”, and huge cheers from a packed West Bank and around the ground.

However, it didn’t begin too brightly, as Cornwall fell behind to an early try scored by Hert’s centre Sam Winter who made the most of some poor defending by Cornwall. The centre picked his way through the Cornwall line to score near the posts. Full-back Richard Gregg added the conversion.

Cornwall hit back almost immediately as flanker Sam Hocking picked the ball up from a ruck as Hertfordshire hesitated before galloping in from 35 meters to score in the Park Gate corner. It was his third try in as many matches for Cornwall this season in the Championship. Thirlby couldn’t add the difficult conversion.

Gregg increased the visitor’s lead with a penalty, before Cornwall’s scrum-half Greg Goodfellow snipped from a ruck to run in Cornwall’s second try after 17 minutes under the posts, Thirlby’s conversion putting Cornwall 12-10 ahead.

Despite Herfordshire being reduced to fourteen men when Gregg was sin-binned for a professional foul, Cornwall couldn’t take advantage. Two Thirlby penalty attempts sailed wide as Stefan Liebenberg got the first of his three tries from a quick tap. Jimmy Speirs adding the extras.

Cornwall laid siege to the Hertfordshire line as the half came to an end but couldn’t force their way over, it remained 17-12 to Herts at the break.
The Black & Gold’s got off to a great START at the beginning of the second half with a penalty from Thirlby being just what was required early doors.

Cornwall then launched a great attack in which Chris Fuca, Darren Jacques and Hocking were involved, the ball was moved right with centre Nielson Webber putting winger Richard Bright away to finish in style in the scoreboard corner for 20-17.

Cornwall then came again, a great run from centre Steve Johns was taken on by skipper Ben Hilton and Goodfellow before full back Jake Murphy rounded off the move with the all-important fourth try for Cornwall. Thirlby having missed with his previous attempt struck the conversion sweetly for a ten point lead 27-17.
Back came Herts as we knew they would with Liebenberg grabbing his second and Gregg the conversion.

Cornwall piled on the pressure near the Hertfordshire line with the Cornwall scrum utterly dominant referee Shane Lewis awarded the home side a penalty-try, which Thirlby converted to stretch Cornwall’s lead to 34-24.

Liebenberg completed his personal tally of tries with another short-range snip from a penalty, however Gregg crucially missed the conversion to leave Cornwall still five points to the good.

Despite missing with a drop-goal attempt, Thirlby was on-hand to score Cornwall’s sixth and final try as the forwards notably Darren Jacques and Richard Brown, drove up to the Hertfordshire line, his conversion sealed a great win and a day at Twickenham next Sunday.

At the final whistle Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas paid tribute to his team and the magnificent Cornish support. “It was an emotional day, the ground was packed! I haven’t seen a crowd like this at a Cornwall game for many years. They were fantastic and lifted the boys at crucial times to secure the win. All credit to them, but also the boys who played, they really played out of their skins.

Thomas felt that the early scores at the beginning of the second half was key to the win. “We had our tails up in the second half and getting those early scores was vital. We put them under tremendous pressure, it’s very hard playing out of the West Bank corner and we came away with the ball which made a huge difference.
“It’s Lancashire once again in the final, memories of our narrow defeat to them in 1992. What a day out for all the boys, this is what they aspire to, to play on the Twickenham pitch in front of hopefully a good Cornish crowd.

Sam Hocking who scored Cornwall’s opening try was equally thrilled at the prospect of a Twickenham trip. “Absolutely thrilled to be going to Twickenham next Sunday with Cornwall. I was pleased with my try, the longest one of the year, I was struggling to recover from that run in.”
Hocking also paid tribute to the Cornish support. “The crowd was massive for us today, we defended will for the first half to keep them to just 17-12 and then we were able to get the early scores in the second half to dictate play.”

Hocking had a final plea to the Cornish support. “Please come along next week at Twickenham your support will make a huge difference to the team. You were all magnificent today.”

Tries – Hocking, Goodfellow, Bright, Murphy, Penalty-try, Thirlby, Penalty – Thirlby, Conversions- Thirlby (4)

Tries – Winter, Liebenberg (3), Penalty – Gregg, Conversions – Gregg (2), Speirs
Yellow Card- Gregg (32)

Cornwall: Jake Murphy; Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Rhodri McAtee (Plymouth Albion); Paul Thirlby; Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Hocking (unattached), Barrie Chapman (Cornish All Blacks)

Replacements (used):Tom Rawlings (Cornish All Blacks), Ashley Lawton (Camborne), Matt Shepherd (St Austell), Lewis Paterson (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman (Redruth).

Replacements (not used): Ben Priddey (Redruth & Royal Navy), Jon Drew (Redruth)

Hertfordshire: Richard Gregg (Old Albanian), Tom Newton (Tring), Sam Winter (Bishop’s Stortford), Dom Regan, Jimmy Spiers, James Shanhan, Stefan Liebenberg (all Old Albanian); Jim Remfry (Barnes), Jared Saunders (Saracens), Sam Staff, Ross Hamilton (both Old Albanian), Craig South (Hertford), Brett McNamee, Capt, Rob Fahrenheim, Matt Chambers (all Old Albanian)

Replacements (used): Aaran MacDougal,Andrew Abraham, Rob Schillaci (all Old Albanian), Liam Chennals (Tring)

Replacements (not used): Tom Mowbray (Chinnor), Charlie Hughes (Old Albanian), Laurence Tausaosi (Tring)

Referee: Shane Lewis (RFU)

Crowd: 3,500

Cornwall man-of-the-match: Sam Hocking

Posted in Bill's Blog



Trelawny’s Army will be in full cry on Saturday – Photo John Beach


Cornwall’s head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas ponders Hertfordshire’s downfall – Photo John Beach

Cornwall’s build up to their winner takes all pool decider against Hertfordshire at Camborne this Saturday has been dealt a blow with the withdrawal from the squad of flanker Sam Matavesi.

Matavesi 21, who plays for Plymouth Albion but hails from Camborne, has been called up to the Fiji squad for their summer series of matches against Canada, Tonga, Japan, USA and the Classic All Blacks, which forms part of the Fiji RFU centenary celebrations.

Naturally, Matavesi – who qualifies for Fiji by his father Sireli who settled in Camborne following touring with the Fijian Barbarians – has been one of the standout players for Cornwall during their opening two Bill Beaumont Cup matches, is over the moon by the call up.

“I had an email from them asking if I was able to play for them and would I,” said Matavesi. “It just went from there.

“It is such a massive thing. It is crazy, absolutely crazy. I am still shocked now.

“I fly out Saturday evening.

Sam’s elder brother Josh has already played for Fiji on six occasions the last being at Twickenham against England last November.

Whilst everyone is delighted for Sam, his call up leaves Cornwall’s coach Dave “Benji” Thomas with a selection dilemma for Saturday’s big game and looking to plug the gap left by Matavesi’s absence.

In that connection, Sam Hocking moves from No.8 to openside with BJ Chapman starting at No.8.

In another change former Cornish Pirate Rhodri McAtee will start Saturday’s game in place of Redruth’s Tom Notman who drops to the bench. Otherwise the team will be very much the same as took on both Gloucestershire and Kent.

Cornish All Blacks’ Tom Rawlings makes a welcome return to the Cornwall side and will look to make his usual impact on the game from the bench.

There are injury concerns regarding both Craig Williams and Paul Thirlby, however both have declared themselves fit and raring to go for Cornwall.
A big crowd at Camborne bedecked in the black and gold is just what the boys have asked for, to get behind them and support them for a full 80!!

Cornwall: Jake Murphy; Richard Bright (both Cornish All Blacks), Steve Johns (Coventry), Neilson Webber (Cornish All Blacks), Rhodri McAtee (Plymouth Albion); Paul Thirlby; Greg Goodfellow; Darren Jacques, Richard Brown, Craig Williams, Damian Cook (all Redruth), Ben Hilton, Capt, (Cornish All Blacks), Chris Fuca (Redruth), Sam Hocking (unattached), Barrie Chapman (Cornish All Blacks)

Replacements: Ben Priddey (Redruth & Royal Navy), Jon Drew (Redruth), Tom Rawlings (Cornish All Blacks), Ashley Lawton (Camborne), Matt Shepherd (St Austell), Lewis Paterson (Cornish All Blacks), Tom Notman (Redruth).

Posted in Bill's Blog





Cornwall Rugby Football Union (CRFU) participation in the 2013 Bill Beaumont County Championship continued on Saturday with a fine but hard win away to Kent.

CRFU President Ken Plummer said “Another difficult away game which was played with passion and determination by the men in Black and Gold. A well-deserved but hard fought victory, winning 17 -23”.

Cornwall faces 1 final game at home to the reigning County Champions Hertfordshire, before the final is held at Twickenham on Sunday 26th May.

Cornwall head coach Dave “Benji” Thomas said – “The match against Kent was as difficult, a long drive up on Friday evening and then facing windy conditions with heavy squally showers was all test’s this squad had to pass. Kent was trying to avenge a defeat of two years ago and the determination of these lads was outstanding. They played with heart and pride to ensure a climax to the pool stage next week at Camborne”.

Cornwall’s only home game is against Hertfordshire, this Saturday 18th May at Camborne RFC with a 3PM kick off.

Cornwall Captain Ben Hilton said; – “This game proved that we have an excellent squad and team ethos, with players wanting to pull on the jersey and win!!! The new playing kit maintaining the traditional colours has certainly stood up to two extremely hard games. It looks good and displays our main sponsor St Austell brewery with its “Tribute” logo”. He further commented “The boys really appreciated the very loyal & vocal number of supporters who had travelled up to support the team.” He further commented “The players really respond to this support, and urged everyone to come and support the team and the County on Saturday. This is a massive game for us, win it and we go to Twickenham, be noisy and let Hertfordshire feel a true Cornish rugby welcome”.

CRFU Hon Secretary Alan Mitchell said; – “It was fantastic to witness the effort put in by everyone involved in the team and to come away with a win away at Kent was superb!!” He went on to say;- “2 tries for Cornwall scored by Richard Brown and Sam Hocking, converted by Jake Murphy and Paul Thirlby, who also added three penalties securing a great win for the Cornwall”.

The home game at Camborne RFC on May the 18th kicks off at 3pm; a schools “tag rugby” event takes place in the morning with the winning teams playing for a new cup during the half time interval. The tag teams will also be invited to form a tunnel for the teams to run onto the pitch at 3pm. This is an “all pay” game with entry price to the Ground being £10, under 16’s are free.

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