Cornwall’ great day 30 years on

A look back from the archives.

Oh yes, Cornwall!

The greatest comeback in the history of Cornish rugby sent Duchy fans delirious with delighted disbelief at the end of Saturday’s tumultuous triumph at Twickenham.

As the final whistle blew, signalling an unforgettable 29-20 victory over the White Rose of Yorkshire, the realization suddenly dawned that Cornwall had bridged an 83-year gap and become county champions for the second time. A sea of black-and-gold bedecked supporters instantly invaded Twickenham’s hallowed turf as Trelawny’s Army raced to hail their conquering heroes.

Players were hoisted shoulder-high amid scenes of joyous Cornish celebrations, before injured skipper Chris Alcock led his 15 heroes up the steps to claim the county championship trophy from the Duke of Edinburgh. The rapturous roar that greeted the players as the coveted prize was held aloft could probably have been heard in neighbouring Richmond.

Yet three-quarters of an hour earlier the cherished Cornish dream had seemed to be vanishing in the icy wind swirling round the Twickenham stands. With twenty minutes left to play, Yorkshire had just scored a controversial try to set up a seemingly unassailable 16-3 lead and leave Cornwall with a veritable mountain to climb.

But from that moment on Alcock’s army was suddenly galvanized into a gargantuan effort that saw them snatch a sensational victory from the jaws of defeat. First quicksilver scrum-half Richard Nancekivell darted over for a try, then Grant Champion landed a penalty and suddenly Cornwall were only four points adrift.

In a nail-biting, nerve-tingling climax Nancekivell raced over for the equalising try in the dying seconds, leaving Champion with a conversion attempt to clinch the title. The whole of Cornwall held its breath in anticipation, but his kick slid just wide of the right hand post.

The miss proved to be a blessing in disguise for the thousands of supporters watching at home on television all over Cornwall, as well as for the estimated 40,000 Cornish fans in the crowd, who had given the occasion a cup final atmosphere rarely seen at the home of English rugby. The players’ response in extra time was nothing short of magnificent, with Cornwall’s pack in particular firing on so many cylinders that even the famous All Blacks would have been hard pressed to stop them.

Certainly Yorkshire had no answer as veteran winger Tommy Bassett emerged from under a ruck of players to claim the try that gave Cornwall the lead for the first time in the match.

The icing on the Cornish cake came from St Ives fly-half Billy Peters, who stormed over the line in the second period of extra time to complete a momentous comeback that will live long in the annals of the game — and in the memories of all those lucky enough to have seen it.

It was heady stuff for the Duchy’s fervent fans, among whom was 103-year-old Bill Osborne of Redruth, believed to be the only man alive to have witnessed Cornwall’s last championship victory way back in 1908. With him were three generations of the Osborne family — his son Frank, 75, grandson Barry, 50, and great-grandson Simon.

The following is from the same edition of The Cornishman (April 25th, 1991). It’s the more detailed account of the match that appeared on the sports pages. It’s taken from the Penzance edition — hence the particular references to the St Ives players.

Cornwall — the glory boys!

Paul Bawden reports from Twickenham

A superb grandstand finish in extra time made Cornwall the rugby champions of England. After trailing 16-3 a quarter of an hour into the second half, on Saturday, the Duchy rallied and showed the form which took them to the Twickenham final.

What a team effort it was.

What was the spark which ignited the fire in Cornish bellies midway through the half, when all had seemed lost? The crowd of well over 30,000 Cornish supporters — Trelawny’s Army — had gone quiet at this stage, and only the beat of Falmouth Marine Band’s bass drummer could be heard.

Skipper Chris Alcock, injured early on, continued to see his side trail, and then went off for further attention. Mark Chatterton came on to play on the right wing — his best position — with Tony Mead switching inside to centre. Former St Ives player, Glyn Williams, took over as skipper, with Grant Champion leading the outsides.

Play was soon transformed, to the delight of Trelawny’s Army! Basically, the Cornish front five, apart from some penalty kicks conceded by Reed, had held their own with the bigger Yorkshire pack. The form of the Cornish front row was telling.

For almost an hour the Yorkshire side had prospered, with flankers Simon Tipping and Peter Buckton excelling, backed by Sean Bainbridge at No.8. Halfbacks Townend and Scully had the edge over Nancekivell and Peters. The Yorkshire threes, backed by Liley, were ahead of their counterparts.

Scores in the 13th, 26th and 42nd minutes had given the White Rose a lead of 10-3 at the break. Champion had kicked a penalty goal in the 40th minute after he and Peters had missed with shots at the sticks.

Fullback Liley handled twice in a move with Harrison, the former England international wing, and now Yorkshire skipper. This sent centre Johnson over for the opening score. The fullback later slotted over two penalty goals, in spite of the hisses and jeers of a minority of poor sports in Cornish colours.

Cornwall were slow, fumbled, marked poorly, and just failed to get into the match. And they shaped little better in the opening minutes of the second half. With Yorkshire piling on the pressure, a penalty was conceded from a kickable position. There was drama as Liley came forward for the kick. He was alert to advice from his skipper, Harrison, who had led Yorkshire to a win over Middlesex four seasons earlier at Twickenham. Liley tap-kicked the ball, fed to Scully, who crossed for the try as Cornwall went into a huddle. Liley converted for a 16-3 lead after 55 minutes’ play.

Many felt that this was the final nail in the Cornish coffin. How wrong the Jonahs, and certainly many of those in the press box, were.

Cornwall came back slowly. Williams was inspired, Nancekivell was productive. From a scrum Nancekivell scurried over for Champion to add the extras. With 15 minutes left, could Cornwall work that old rugby wizardry and score at least twice for victory?

Champion missed with a shot at the posts. Chatterton made a dash down the wing, but touch judge Howard intervened — a foot had gone into touch. Champion, however, booted a penalty to make it 16-12 with just minutes left. A charged-down kick set up a scrum, and Nancekivell, playing superbly, went over for the try, making it 16-all.

Could Champion, under the most intense pressure possible, kick the match-winning conversion? The answer, alas, was no. The police officer, easily Cornwall’s top points scorer, fired to the left of the posts. Extra time of ten minutes each way had to be played.

And Cornwall were on the rampage! Each and every player rose to the occasion, while the sea of black and gold yelled itself hoarse.

Cornwall’s hour had come. Williams, Dawe, Keast, May and Reed were magnificent. Dawe showed international class.

Champion faced the posts, once more, for a penalty, and his kick was spot on. St Ives’ Tommy Bassett was all over the pitch, playing the game of his life. He joined the forwards in a surge to the line which brought a try for a 7-point lead at the halfway stage of extra time.

More drama followed in the early moments of the final period, with Billy Peters, another of the St Ives players, going over for a try. Coolly, Champion converted for a 29-16 lead. It was fantastic, with 26 Cornish points coming in as many minutes.

The third St Ives man in the side, Jason Atkinson, was in cracking form.

Cornwall were virtually unassailable, but Yorkshire showed some of that Cornish spirit. In the dying minutes the Yorkshiremen ran the ball wide, at pace, for right winger Harrison to go over in the corner. Liley hit the upright with his conversion, and the final whistle from referee Mr Roger Quittenton, of the Sussex London Society, opened the floodgates for a sea of black and gold to swamp the pitch.

Justice was done, Cornwall had stuck to their task. Inspired by Glyn Williams, they had won the county title for the first time in 83 years.



tries, R. Nancekivell (2), T. Bassett, W. Peters; penalty goals, Champion (3); conversions, Champion (2).


tries, Johnson, Scully, Harrison; penalty goals, Liley (2); conversion, Liley.



K. Thomas, A. Mead (Plymouth Albion), C. Alcock, capt. (Royal Navy and Camborne) (replaced by M. Chatterton (Exeter) in the 56th minute), G. Champion (Devon and Cornwall police), T. Bassett, W. Peters (St Ives), R. Nancekivell (Northampton), J. May (Redruth), G. Dawe (Bath), R. Keast (Redruth), A. Reed (Bath), M. Wesson (Plymouth Albion), G. Williams (Redruth), A. Bick (Plymouth Albion), J. Atkinson (St Ives).


J. Liley (Leicester), M. Harrison, capt. (Wakefield), J. Georgiou (Halifax), P. Johnson (Headingley), E. Atkins (Harrogate and the Army), S. Townend, D. Scully (Wakefield), J. Woodthorpe (Harrogate), S. Cruise, R. Burman (Wakefield), I. Carroll (Otley), S. Croft (Harrogate), S. Tipping (Otley), P. Buckton (Liverpool St Helens), S. Bainbridge (Morley).

A link to the interviews aired by BBC Radio Cornwall, compiled by Ross Ellis to mark the 30th anniversary of Cornwall’s historic win

Posted in Bill's Blog

County Championship Survey

County Championship survey
We are contacting you to help us understand the views and opinions of all individuals in the community game on the County Championship competition.

The results of this survey will feed into the independent review of the County Championship across the senior men’s, senior women’s and men’s U20 competitions, which has been commissioned by the Community Game Board (CGB) and aims to take all feedback into consideration before providing recommendations/options to the CGB on the future and format of the competition.

This survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, and will close at midnight on Sunday 25 April 2021.
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Posted in Bill's Blog

Ealing too strong for Pirates

Cornish Pirates 10   Ealing Trailfinders 38

By Phil Westren, at the Mennaye Field.

It was said pre-match that unbeaten league leaders Ealing Trailfinders were the team to beat. So, when the Pirates got within two points of their visitors early in the second half, plus with wind advantage at their backs, they appeared surely in with a shout. Ultimately, however, soon losing two men to the sin bin would unfortunately prove costly.

Ahead of this hard-fought encounter the Pirates welcomed fly-half Luke Scully back from injury. Alex Schwarz was selected to partner him wearing the ‘9’ shirt and Antonio Kiri Kiri was named at ‘7’.

When the team emerged from the tunnel, lock Danny Cutmore and fit again wing Robin Wedlake led the side out, each set to make their 50th appearances for the team. Both sides then lined up with the match officials in front of the stand, ready to observe a two minute silence following the sad passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on Friday.

As a mark of respect, the teams and match officials also wore black armbands and the club flags were flown at half-mast.  

The Trailfinders opened the scoring in just the third minute, when one of their own celebrating a 50th appearance, prop Elliot Millar-Mills, drove over for a try at the old Western National corner. Fly-half Craig Willis added the extras.

In a match that was competitive and feisty, as the Pirates looked to make a quick response it was perhaps no surprise that ‘Sir’, referee Mr. Leal, stepped in to speak to both captains.

Line-out play was less than fluid and scrums were also not best functioning, however when the Ealing team once again threatened they too made mistakes, enabling the Pirates to relieve pressure.

There was a setback when, after a delay in play, Scully departed proceedings with a leg injury, though his replacement Will Cargill soon after slotted a well-struck penalty.

3-7 looked a likely half-time score, but after further pressure mounted by  the Trailfinders another try scored on the left, this time by wing James Cordy-Redden, made it 3-12 at the break.

Pumped up to start the second period, the Pirates began well. After Cargill put up an high up and under, two Ealing defenders were unable to control the bounce of the ball. Hooker Dan Frost gained possession, and offloading to Shae Tucker the centre scored a converted try to the left of the Newlyn posts. Willis had been one of the luckless defenders who in the process received an injury and had to be replaced.

It all looked very promising for the Pirates, but that would soon change, because after experiencing a relentless period of pressure, and an inevitable number of penalty awards, Cornish Pirates’ skipper Tom Duncan was sent to the sin bin, followed just three minutes later by Tucker.

The Trailfinders, with former ‘Pirate’ Max Bodilly operating at outside centre, were now on full throttle, resulting in a try scored at the clubhouse corner by wing Angus Kernohan and then one at the Penzance posts by flanker Kieran Murphy. Full-back David Johnston converted both.

Among the Pirates replacements was backrower Matt Bolwell, now proudly making his 100th appearance for the club. There was no lack of determination, with sore bodies a certainty after the game, however all the effort in the world could not prevent two more tries being scored by the visitors. The first was a converted effort by replacement scrum-half Jordan Burns, who has punished the Pirates with his try-scoring ability in the past, and the last was by another impressive replacement in hooker Shaun Malton.

The final result was yet another statement made by the Ealing team, but if the Pirates looked for solace at least they managed to prevent the Londoners making it past the 50 points mark for the first time this season. In all honesty, however, it is solace the Pirates simply would not have sought.

Speaking after the game, Cornish Pirates’ captain Tom Duncan commented: 

“Our discipline unfortunately let us down today and we gave away far too many penalties.

“We knew this game was going to be such a big one for our season so there was a lot of energy and emotions especially in the first 20 minutes, although it did settle down.

“Some fifty fifties didn’t go our way but we have to take that result on the chin, return to the drawing board and learn from it to come back much stronger.

“We are a tight, proud and hardworking group who care about each other, so to lose by such a margin does and should hurt. It is disappointing and upsetting and will hurt tonight and tomorrow but come Monday we must put it behind us and prep for Nottingham away next weekend. Our aim must be to achieve five points league points from each of our remaining games and then see where we are at the end of the season.”

Cornish Pirates:   15 Tommy Wyatt, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Shae Tucker, 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Luke Scully, 9 Alex Schwarz; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Jay Tyack, 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 8 Tom Duncan (captain).

Replacements (all used):   Jack Andrew, Tom Channon, Sam Rodman, Matt Bolwell, John Stevens, Rhodri Davies, Will Cargill, AJ Cant.

Yellow cards:   Duncan, Tucker.

Ealing Trailfinders:   15 David Johnston, 14 Angus Kernohan, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Pat Howard, 11 James Cordy-Redden, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Craig Hampson; 1 Will Davis, 2 Alun Walker, 3 Elliot Millar-Mills, 4 Bobby de Wee, 5 James Cannon, 6 Kieran Murphy, 7 Simon Uzokwe, 8 Rayn Smid (captain).                                                                                            

 Replacements (all used):    16 Shaun Malton, 17 Kyle Whyte, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Simon Linsell, 20 Harry Casson, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Luke Daniels, 23 Guy Thompson.

Scorers:  Cornish Pirates – try: Tucker; con: Cargill, pen: Cargill.                                                 

Ealing Trailfinders – tries:  Millar-Mills, Cordy-Redden, Kernohan, Murphy, Burns, Malton; cons: Willis, Johnston (3).

Referee:   Adam Leal (RFU).

Cornish Pirates ‘Tribute’ Man of the Match:  Danny Cutmore.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Knights win joust at Castle Park

Doncaster Knights 17   Cornish Pirates 15

By Phil Westren

Travelling ‘Up North’ for this Round 4 game in this season’s Greene King IPA Championship, the Cornish Pirates expected a tough examination against Doncaster Knights at Castle Park, as both sides arrived at this stage of the campaign each with three wins under their belts.

And the outcome? Well, in what was expected to be closely fought contest, it was the home side who emerged narrow winners, a late penalty from fly-half Sam Olver proving decisive.

Following knocks picked up in the home win against Bedford Blues, neither fly-half Luke Scully or wing Robin Wedlake were available for this encounter. Will Cargill was selected to wear the number 10 shirt, Maliq Holden moved from 15 to wing and Tommy Wyatt, who has impressed thus far with his appearances off the bench, was ready to make his first start at full-back. At inside centre there was a welcome return from injury for club captain Nicolas De Battista, who replaced the previous week’s man-of-the-match and named replacement Shae Tucker.

In the pack, Fa’atiga Lemalu returned to the starting XV to partner Danny Cutmore in the second row, Josh Caulfield dropped back into the blindside flanker berth and John Stevens switched to the openside in place of Antonio Kiri Kiri, who was named on the bench.

Play underway in dry but at times blustery conditions, the Pirates were soon down to 14 men after referee Mr. Woodthorpe showed ‘yellow’ to flanker Josh Caulfield for making an adjudged dangerous tackle. Also adding to the frustration, the Knights were quick to benefit from early numerical advantage when from a driving maul flanker John Kelly suddenly strode unopposed to the line for a try converted by Olver.

Appearing to settle into mode, playing towards the clubhouse end of the ground, following a couple of penalty awards Cargill looped a fine pass right to No8 Tom Duncan who crossed out wide for an unconverted try.

As evenly contested as had been expected, both sides also made their share of mistakes. For Donny’s lock Jerry Sexton, brother of Ireland’s skipper Jonny Sexton, his led to him being shown a yellow card.

The Pirates unfortunately lost the services of the luckless De Battista, who was helped off with what looked like a lower leg injury, but they would at least shortly after take the lead. Making his 50th appearance for the club, hooker Dan Frost was his usual all action self, and after the Pirates drove strongly to the line, aided with a little extra weight from a couple of eager backs, the award of a penalty try was signalled. The Knights also went down to 13 men when No8 Guido Volpi was a third player in the match sent to the sin bin. 

Neither team would lose the services of any further personnel before the break, and although both had opportunities to register further points, 7-12 is how it stayed.

A break made early in the second half by Knights’ scrum-half Guss Warr, who has played for Sale Sharks, raised alarm bells, but it was a well struck penalty from Cargill that nearing the hour mark would extend the Pirates lead.

The Knights would hit back when a spell of intense pressure ended with a converted try scored by centre Connor Edwards, and it was now very much ‘game on’.

Into the last quarter, crowd or no crowd, the tension was somewhat heightened, and despite far from being a classic it was no surprise that in the build up this contest was dubbed the Championship tie of the round.

Sadly, for the Pirates, in the dying minutes Olver’s penalty from in front of the posts would prove decisive, although there was still drama as Cargill, who had played well, saw his injury-time penalty effort narrowly miss. Wings Alex O’Meara and Maliq Holden also combined on mazey runs that provided last ditch hopes, but it wasn’t to be.

Come the final whistle it was case of credit due the still unbeaten Knights for having shown considerable steel to register their victory. Such a result was long overdue, as their last win against the Pirates was back in February 2016.

Speaking at the end of the match, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Alan Paver said:

“Expecting a really tough test, that it exactly what we got. However we had opportunities and ultimately only have ourselves to blame.

“Unfortunately we forced things at times and went away from the game plan and we also weren’t able to convert at crucial times. Having said that, though, I have to say credit to Doncaster for staying in the fight and getting what they deserved.”

“Statistically our driving line out and our scrums are going well, plus we are being super physical, but there is a need to layer discipline into our play because it is an area that has let us down at times and our penalty count is far too high.

“Come the end we were naturally disappointed as it was in our hands and we had plenty of opportunities, but we just lacked composure and our accuracy when we attacked wasn’t quite where it needed to be.”

Doncaster Knights:   15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Charlie Foley (22 Mark Best, 56), 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Guss Warr (21 James Mitchell, 58); 1 Bomber Hislop (captain; 17 Conrad Cade, 64), 2 Ben Hunter, 3 Gaz Denman (18 Joe Jones, 46), 4 Matt Challinor (19 Will Britton, 64), 5 Jerry Sexton, 6 John Kelly, 7 Sam Graham (20 Conor Joyce, 56), 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacement (not used):   16, Peter Roberts,23 Howard Packman.

Yellow Cards:   5 Jerry Sexton (28), 8 Guido Volpi (29).

Cornish Pirates:   15 Tommy Wyatt, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Nicolas De Battista (captain; Shae Tucker, 28), 11 Maliq Holden, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier; 1 Marlen Walker (17 Jack Andrew, 64), 2 Dan Frost (16 Tom Channon, 64), 3 Jay Tyack (18 Sam Rodman, 64), 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu (19 Matt Bolwell, 56), 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 John Stevens (20 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 51), 8 Tom Duncan (captain).

Replacements (not used):   21 Rhodri Davies, 22 Harry Bazalgette.

Yellow Card:   6 Josh Caulfield (4).


Doncaster Knights – tries: 6 John Kelly (8), 12 Connor Edwards (60); cons: 10 Sam Olver (8, 60); pen: 10 Sam Olver (75).

Cornish Pirates – tries: 8 Tom Duncan (14), Penalty try; pen: 10 Will Cargill (56).

Referee:   Anthony Woodthorpe (RFU)   

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Win Keeps The Pirates on Track

Cornish Pirates 27   Bedford Blues 12

Cornish Pirates made it three wins out of three in the Championship, and with a satisfying bonus point to boot gained against Bedford Blues, reports Phil Westren from the Mennaye Field.

Flanker John Stevens, who was man of the match when the Pirates played Saracens two weeks previously, returned to the starting line-up for this encounter, with Josh Caulfield moving up into the second row in place of Fa’atiga Lemalu. Ready to make his 50th appearance for the club was centre Rory Parata, whilst a fresh face on the bench, keen to taste his first action this season, was a fit again Will Cargill.

The home side looked purposeful in the opening exchanges, only to see Blues’ full-back Rich Lane – one four players in the Bedford side who have played for the Pirates in the past – gifted an intercept that saw him run clear to the Penzance posts. Fly-half Will Maisey added the conversion.

It was not the start the Pirates either wanted or could have anticipated, however they all but immediately hit back. Gifted a penalty, fly-half Luke Scully made a fine kick to touch into the old Western National corner, and from there a potent driving maul ended with hooker Dan Frost identified as a try-scorer. Scully was luckless with his conversion attempt from out wide.

Midway through the first half, after Bedford Blues lost the services of former Pirates flanker Joe Atkinson to the sin bin, the Pirates looked to up the tempo in an effort to take advantage. Wing Alex O’Meara first attacked with pace down the right, and then, after the visitors fluffed at a line-out, the Pirates worked play quickly left for wing Robin Wedlake to cross for an unconverted try.

The Blues looked to respond, only for Pirates’ flanker Stevens to scrabble possession and man-of-the-match centre Shae Tucker then make good yardage to near halfway. But, it didn’t stop there. Awarded a penalty the ball was again posted into the Western National corner, and from a slick-line-out ploy it was prop Marlen Walker who scored what proved an unconverted try.                                                  

With a little over half an hour gone the Pirates could now eye a bonus point providing fourth try, which was duly delivered. Flanker Antonio Kiri Kiri used his pace to take play to near the Newlyn posts, and from there Caulfield maintained the advance and scored after swatting off would be defenders. Scully’s conversion made it 22-7, which is how it stayed come the break.

Hopes were high that the Pirates could kick on still further in the second period, however it wasn’t to be. Clinical line-out efficiency did lead to Walker bagging a second try in the match, but with half an hour still to play that was it points-wise for the Cornish side.

Blues’ centre Reuben Tulloch-Bird made a fine break, from which a supporting colleague should perhaps have scored, however hooker Jacob Fields would eventually make up for that disappointment with a try wide out left to which replacement fly-half Thomas Mathews was unable to add the extras.

In general the whole structure of the game was now broken up, and although the Pirates created opportunities they also erred too often, leaving promise of the first half to ultimately simply evaporate.

Reflecting at the end of the match, joint head coach Alan Paver had mixed emotions when he commented. “That wasn’t our finest game, as I would have liked for us to have retained the ball a bit better and been better in terms of how we played field position, plus we looked a bit sluggish in areas. Our set piece also got just a bit raggedy near the end, however in control for much of the match and acquiring 14 points from three games it is naturally pleasing, and the result does move us one step closer to where we want to be, which is to be in contention for the play-offs.”

Cornish Pirates:   15 Maliq Holden, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Shae Tucker, 11 Alex O’Meara, 10 Luke Scully, 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Jay Tyack, 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 John Stevens, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 8 Tom Duncan (captain).

Replacements (all used):   16 Tom Channon, 17 Jack Andrew, 18 Sam Rodman, 19 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 20 Matt Bolwell, 21 Rhodri Davies, 22 Will Cargill, 23 Tommy Wyatt.

Bedford Blues:   15 Rich Lane, 14 Josh Gillespie 13. Elijah Niko, 12 Reuben Bird-Tulloch, 11 Matt Worley, 10 Will Maisey, 9 James Lennon; 1 Sean McCarthy (captain), 2 James Fish, 3 Ed Prowse, 4 Lewis Bean, 5 Will Carrick Smith, 6 Ollie Newman, 7 Joe Atkinson, 8 Oli Robinson.

Replacements (all used): 16 Jacob Fields, 17 Manny Iyogun, 18 Robin Hardwick, 19 Oli Curry, 20 Tui Uru, 21 Ewan Fenley, 22 Tommy Mathews, 23 Pat Tapley.

Yellow cards: Atkinson, Tapley.

Scorers:  Cornish Pirates – tries: Walker (2), Frost, Wedlake, Caulfield; con: Scully. Bedford Blues – tries: Lane, Fields; con: Maisey.

Referee:   Nick Wood (RFU)   

‘Tribute’ Man-of-the-Match:   Shae Tucker

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Pirates back up Sarries win with victory at RAG

Richmond  7 – 27 Cornish Pirates

Following their superb victory at home to Saracens seven days earlier, the Cornish Pirates followed up with another deserved result by bagging a bonus point win in Round 2 of this season’s Greene King IPA Championship, reports Phil Westren

For their visit to the RAG (Richmond Athletic Ground), the Cornish Pirates made just a couple of changes to the previous week’s selected 23. In the absence of John Stevens, who had picked up a nose injury against ‘Sarries’, Antonio Kiri Kiri was selected in the number 7 shirt and Paddy Ryan was called up on the bench.

Defending the Richmond town end of the ground, after Cornish Pirates’ fly-half Luke Scully kicked the game off into a strong wind, it was not long before the Pirates twice went close to scoring, first through centre Shae Tucker and then wide out left through wing Robin Wedlake.

On a ground that appeared in immaculate condition, the Pirates displayed no lack of energy, although just a few early errors spoilt obvious promise.

A brief breakout by Richmond saw debutant full back Will Kaye, formerly of Loughborough Students and Leicester Tigers, offer a threat, as did wing Max Trimble, but when the Pirates worked their way back up field it was industrious flanker Josh Caulfield whose strong midfield run forced the home side to give a penalty away. Skipper Tom Duncan wasted no time in calling Scully forward to attempt a kick at goal, and into the difficult wind the first points of the afternoon were registered.

The Pirates were not having it all their own way, however following good work by hooker Dan Frost, Duncan and prop Marlen Walker, a position was created where from a scrum they were awarded a free kick close to the posts. Lock Fa’atiga Lemalu made an initial drive before alert scrum half Jean-Baptist Bruzulier then spotted a gap. Able to swiftly pierce the opening, he stretched to score an unconverted try.

Soon after the restart Richmond, who had been relegated at the end of the 2018/19 campaign but have quickly bounced back after being crowned Champions of National One last season, made their first meaningful foray into the Pirates ‘22’. Also, thus far, there had been good disruptive work at the line-out from lock Freddie Hosking.

Rain and then hail made it a little extra inclement for a spell, and there was frustration for Richmond when fly-half Tom Hodgson was luckless with a penalty attempt. Showing dominance at the breakdown the Pirates also managed to hold on to their 8-nil lead come the break.

Early in the second half saw a yellow card shown to Pirates’ hooker Dan Frost for a ‘technical’ offence and it looked like Richmond would take advantage, Unfortunately, however, a knock-on made wide out right by their skipper Cameron Mitchell saw them miss a clear scoring opportunity.

Perhaps let off the hook, the Pirates weathered the rest of the period admirably and proceeded to extend their lead. Both Duncan and wing Robin Wedlake made power plays to the line and, when the ball was moved right, it was a clever tap pass from centre Rory Parata that reached full-back Maliq Holden who scored an unconverted try in the right corner.

Duncan was having a big game for the Pirates, and from the restart his power enabled him to make further yardage. He also scored his team’s third try following good play from Kiri Kiri. Scully added the conversion.

A bonus point fourth try was now surely in sight, and it would indeed materialise, but only after Kaye scored a try for Richmond that was converted by replacement Benjamin Cook. And who was scorer of the Pirates final try? Well, replacement Matt Bolwell was the happy figure who strode to the line, with Kiri Kiri once again playing a leading role. Replacement fly-half Harry Bazalgette’s conversion sealed the fine 27-7 win to provide a pleasing result for joint Head Coach Gavin Cattle. Speaking after the match, he said:

“It was our first away game for a year, and we didn’t have it all our way.

“The wind made it difficult for both teams and Richmond can be very unpredictable, but we were very professional and found our way into the game.

“We were perhaps just a little lethargic at times but, overall, the lads stuck at it and defended pretty well, and to get the win with a bonus point is very pleasing.”

Richmond:  15 Will Kaye, 14 Jake Caddy, 13 Cameron Mitchell (captain), 12 Oliver Evans, 11 Max Trimble (23 Dan Kelly, 63), 10 Tom Hodgson (22 Benjamin Cook, 63), 9 Luc Jones (21 Toby Dabell, 66); 1 Jonny Harris (17 Ben Christie, 66), 2 Callum Torpey (16 Charlie Gibbings, 55), 3 Jimmy Litchfield (18 Kurt Schonert, 55), 4 Alex Bibic (20 Byron Hodge, 67), 5 Freddie Hosking, 6 Hamish Barton, 7 Jack Allcock, 8 Jesse Liston (19 Myles Scott, 55).

Cornish Pirates:   15 Maliq Holden, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata,

12 Shae Tucker, 11 Alex O’Meara (23, Tommy Wyatt, 55), 10 Luke Scully (22 Harry Bazalgette, 70), 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier (21 Rhodri Davies, 67); 1 Marlen Walker (17 Jack Andrew, 55), 2 Dan Frost (7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 58), 3 Jay Tyack (18 Sam Rodman, 55), 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu (19 Matt Bolwell, 50), 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri (16 Tom Channon, 50), 8 Tom Duncan (captain; 20 Paddy Ryan, 67).

Yellow Card:   2 Dan Frost (48)


Richmond – try: 15 Will Kaye (75); con: 22 Benjamin Cook (75).

Cornish Pirates – tries: 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier (20), 15 Maliq Holden (59), 8 Tom Duncan (66), 19 Matt Bolwell (78); cons: 10 Luke Scully (66), 22 Harry Bazalgette (78); pen: 10 Luke Scully (13).

Referee:   George Selwood (RFU)

Assistants:   Lionel Spooner & Michael Woods

Official 4:  Ieuan Davies

Posted in Bill's Blog

Pirates take down Sarries in Championship opener


This contest saw the Cornish Pirates welcome Saracens, for the first time since 2003, to Penzance for their opening game in this season’s belated Greene King IPA Championship, reports Phil Westren from the Mennaye Field

Pre-match Jackson Wray, the visitors’ skipper, said his side was primed and ready to resist anything about to be thrown at them as they began their intended march back to the Premiership. At the same time, he didn’t expect anyone to do them any favours, and with regard to this particular Sea Warriors versus Desert Warriors contest he was absolutely right.

The Cornish Pirates fully deserved this win against their illustrious  opponents, it a terrific performance and a reminder to the RFU and Premiership Rugby that there is indeed true worth below the perceived elite.

On a wonderfully sunny spring day, before kick-off of this first competitive game at home since last March, sincere appreciation and thanks were expressed via the tannoy system to the NHS and to Key Workers for all they have done in the past 12 months. Then, during an impeccably observed minute’s silence, everyone stood to remember so many who have sadly passed away, including especially former players and supporters.

It was inevitably frustrating for the Cornish Pirates that they were missing the services of recently named club captain Nicolas De Battista and Callum Patterson, both of whom had picked up injuries just ahead of the match. Also, after Saracens applied early pressure and opened the scoring with an unconverted try from Scotland winger Sean Maitland, for many pre-match thoughts were likely reaffirmed that the ultimate outcome of this one was simply inevitable. Nobody, however, told the Pirates of such a script.

Penalties were conceded and the Pirates were tested looking into the glare of the sun under the high ball, but following good forays by lock Fa’atiga Lemalu, prop Marlen Walker and centre Shae Tucker, pressure created led to a kick at goal penalty opportunity for Luke Scully. With a quarter of an hour on the clock the young fly-half stepped forward and duly delivered.

Play was pretty evenly contested at this stage and, as had been expected, it was certainly very physical.

Into the second quarter Pirates’ hooker Dan Frost made a strong carry before skipper Tom Duncan maintained the forward advance and crashed over the line for an unconverted try scored to the right of the Newlyn posts.

The home scrum was quite sound at this stage and the line-out functioning particularly well with Lemalu and his young second-row partner Danny Cutmore leaping high. However, after Saracens hit back with another unconverted try, this time scored by wing Alex Lewington at the clubhouse corner, it was the visitors who held a 10-8 lead at the break.

With the Cornish flag flying high at the Mennaye post St. Piran’s Day, the county’s patron saint will have admired the effort and spirit so far displayed, and with just two points separating the sides the Pirates were very much still in the match.

For the start of the second period, after ‘Sandstorm’ blasted the arrival of the home team back on the field it was not long before the Pirates nudged ahead with a try scored by flanker Josh Caulfield, with Scully adding the conversion. Sarries, though, all but immediately bounced back to regain the lead when lock Tim Swinson scored a try which was converted by Vunipola.

For the Pirates the line-out was still functioning well, whilst at scrum time all but total dominance was amazingly now displayed. Indeed, awarded a scrum penalty 34 metres out, it was the boot of Scully who on 64 minutes fired his kick high between the Penzance posts to give the home team a one-point lead.

The effort of the whole Pirates side was to be admired, and with bloodied man-of-the-match flanker John Stevens perhaps deserving special praise, even without a crowd present an atmosphere was created whereby thoughts were that the Pirates side had it in them to record an historic victory.

Both sides introduced replacements, but with members called off the Pirates bench having the most impact. Young wing Tommy Wyatt continued to uphold the Pirates effort with a fantastic kick and chase, and the result was ultimately put behind doubt when scrum-half Rhodri Davies plucked a bouncing ball to run clear and score. Scully’s conversion opened up an important eight points gap, which is how it stayed for the final score to read 25-17.

It was such a shame that Covid restrictions meant supporters were not able to watch the match live, however those viewing it about the world on computer and television screens, or listening to BBC Radio Cornwall, will have been ecstatic – and deservedly none more so that Dicky Evans from his home in Kenya. This, without doubt, was arguably the team’s greatest ever result.

At least members of the national media were present, and they were impressed. In normal times we could all have celebrated with a good old singsong post-match with Cadgwith Singers, all for the present on hold.

The game had been a super advert for Championship rugby and looking for a highlight comment none was better than ‘The Observer’ correspondent Rob Kitson’s, when he said that Saracens had Vincent Koch, a prop with a World Cup winner’s medal, but their front-row was suddenly being shoved backwards by a front row sponsored partly by a local sweet shop! Hey, well done Jay Tyack, and thanks Freddie’s Proper Sweets.

Joint head coach Alan Paver, who was man-of-the-match when Saracens last visited the ‘Mennaye’ back in 2003, was a happy man after the game, commenting:

“This game was I feel an iconic moment – special. I am so pleased for the lads because the Covid period has been tough.  We said though that we were going to bring meaning to the season, so to achieve that result today provides a special moment.

“It was such a pity we missed a full house shouting their heads off, but we know they were here in spirit and I hope they feel pride in what we managed to achieve.

“The game was very physical, with heavy duty scrums and mauls, and I really enjoyed witnessing it. Facing such quality, having got the players ready for the league and them having worked so hard, for them to dominate in areas seen was fantastic.”

To conclude, in my mind it is time the RFU and Premiership Rugby had a rethink. We all accept that finance is important to the game and at the top it is a business – however it is first and foremost sport and it is sporting values that should always be upheld. Anything less would be/is a disservice to the game of rugby football.

Cornish Pirates:   15 Maliq Holden, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Shae Tucker, 11 Alex O’Meara, 10 Luke Scully, 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Jay Tyack, 4 Fa’atiga Lemalu, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 John Stevens, 8 Tom Duncan (captain).

Replacements:   Jack Andrew, Sam Rodman, Matt Bolwell, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Rhodri Davies, Tommy Wyatt (used); Tom Channon, Harry Bazalgette (not used).

Saracens:    15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Aled Davies; 1 Richard Barrington, 2 Kapeli Pifeleti, 3 Vincent Koch, 4 Callum Hunter-Hill, 5 Tim Swinson, 6 Mike Rhodes, 7 Sean Reffell, 8 Jackson Wray (captain).

Replacements:   Sam Crean, Eroni Mawi, Alec Clarey, Joel Kpoku, Andy Christie, Tom Whiteley, Dom Morris, Rotimi Segun (all used).


Cornish Pirates – tries: Duncan, Caulfield, Davies; cons: Scully (2); pens: (2).

Saracens – tries: Maitland, Lewington, Swinson; con: Vunipola.

Referee:   Sara Cox (RFU)    

‘Tribute’ Man-of-the-Match:   John Stevens

‘Glengoyne’ Try-of-the-Match:   Tom Duncan

Posted in Bill's Blog

Dave Muirhead – RIP

Trelawny’s Army was saddened to learn of the sad passing of Dave Muirhead.

Dave was a stalwart of the Cadgwith Singers, singing with the group at our annual dinners, and at many rugby matches

A skilled boatman and fisherman, he was also a fine rugby player in his younger days playing and captaining both Falmouth and Helston rugby clubs from the back row. London Cornish and Roseland were also sides he played for. He also represented Cornwall 17 times between 1975-79, his first game for Cornwall was against Capt Crawshay’s, as indeed was his final appearance for Cornwall in 1979.

We will miss David’s camaraderie and friendship.

Trelawny’s Army wish to extend their sincerest condolences to Dave’s family and friends at this sad time.

Posted in Bill's Blog

Kyle Moyle seals move to Gloucester

Having spent a period of time on-loan to Premiership Club Gloucester, it has been announced today that Kyle has sealed a deal that sees him move permanently to the Premiership outfit from the Cornish Pirates.

Posted in Bill's Blog

CRFU put competitions return on hold

You will have seen the news that the county has moved into tier 3 with all that that entails. You may also have seen the RFU guidance to tier 3 and the implications of that.
The CRFU have taken a responsible view all through Covid and I hope you’ll agree we have not only kept clubs informed as to RFU developments but also offered assistance to any club who has either asked or needed it. For that reason we wanted to act quickly on the above.

As a constituent body we think it would be fool hardy to endorse any form of competition and to that aim have suspended the start of our clusters until end of January when we will update. I know this will be disappointing to some but please think of the big picture. The County has already had players tested positive, and I’m sure we all want to support our NHS, with cases on the increase.
To that aim the colts, U16s and the County DPP will also be suspended until 31st January when the position will be reviewed.The Govt are reassessing the situation in a fortnight and we of course will be guided by any changes.

The situation now is simple, as a CB we can not stop you playing  friendlies but we would urge you to consider the possible consequences. The RFU allow this but with strict restrictions, please see their website
2020 has been an awful year for us all, let’s hope 2021 is better for all sport and especially Cornish rugby.

Chairman CRFU


Chairman Youth & Education CRFU

Posted in Bill's Blog

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