JESS OFF THE MARK

CORNISH ALL BLACKS 12 – 16 NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS

A report in the link from the Western Morning News on last night’s pre-season friendly at Polson Bridge.

Posted in Bill's Blog


BUILD UP CONTINUES

The build up to the new National League season continued on Saturday with two of our Cornish clubs in action across the border in Devon.

National League 2 side Redruth travelled to Exeter’s Sandy Park to play the Chiefs taking up also a Development XV to face an Exeter United XV. Whilst the Development XV lost by 78 – 5, the Red’s first XV gave the Chiefs a run for their money losing to the National League 1 outfit by 38 – 19. Rob Thirlby scored three tries for the Reds with debutant fly-half Gareth Griffiths kicking a couple of conversions. An encouraging effort by Redruth and one which will please coach Nigel Hambly although he will be the first to admit that there is still much to be done before the opening game at Nuneaton on Sunday 2nd September notably the lineout. Redruth are back in action on Saturday when they entertain Clifton at the Recreation Ground 3pm.

The Cornish All Blacks were at Newton Abbot winning 34 – 25. Jon Fabian (2), Tom Rawlings, Jake Murphy, Tony Roques and Barry Chapman all scored tries for the Cornish All Blacks. A good runout before they step up a gear on Tuesday evening when they entertain Celtic League side the Newport Gwent Dragons at Polson Bridge kick-off at 7pm.

The Dragons will be based at Tremough, Penryn for their Cornish visit and will be conducting training sessions on Penryn’s Memorial Ground this Thursday with the Borough’s youngsters and first team squad. Saturday the Dragons round off their Cornish visit with a game against the Cornish Pirates at Camborne kick-off 5pm. 

Mount’s Bay were due to play neighbours St. Ives however the Hakes were unable to field a front row and the game was called off. Mount’s Bay hope to be in action during the week at Helston on Tuesday evening, before they take on Welsh Premiership side Cardiff at the Mennaye on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.

England played their second warm up match for the Rugby World Cup taking on host nation France at Twickenham. After the euphoria of the big win against Wales the previous weekend England came back to earth losing to France by 21-15, the Frenchmen scored two tries through veteran lock Fabien Pelous who was equalling Philippe Sella’s 111 cap record for France and Sale Sharks talisman forward Sebastien Chabal. The game also saw the re-introduction of fly-half Frederic Michalak after a long injury lay-off during the second half. For England Cornishmen Olly Barkley kicked four penalty goals whilst skipper Phil Vickerey came on during the final quarter. England travel to the Stade Velodrome in Marseille for a rematch this Saturday evening. Both players have made coach Brian Ashton’s final 30 for the Rugby World Cup RFU link

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PRE-SEASON RESULTS

EXETER CHIEFS 38 – 19 REDRUTH 

NEWTON ABBOT 24 – 39 CORNISH ALL BLACKS

CORNISH PIRATES 28 – 57 LEICESTER TIGERS

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PIRATES TACKLE TIGERS TOMORROW

The waiting is almost over with the first pre-season friendly being played tomorrow afternoon at the Recreation Ground when the Cornish Pirates entertain Leicester with a 4 pm kick-off.

It will be a chance to see at first hand some of Jim McKay’s new recruits for this season’s campaign. Both sides will be hampered with enforced absences with players away preparing for the Rugby World Cup which stars five weeks today.

Squads for tomorrow’s match.

Cornish Pirates: J Beardshaw, S Betty, R Bolt, P Cook, T Cowley, B Cumming, D Dawiduik, P Devlin, R Elloway, E Gesinde, S Heard, S Hobson, R McAtee, J Moore, I Motusaga, S Parsons, A Paver, D Seal, G Steenson, B Tuohy, S Whatling, J Williams, E Williamson, S Winn, A Winnan.

Leicester Tigers (from): L Abraham, R Blaze, P Burke, M Cornwell, J Crane, T Croft, M Davies, B Deacon, L Deacon, A Erinle, O Finegan, A Goode, B Herring, G Hickie, I Humphreys, B Kayser, A Moreno, F Murphy, J Murphy, B Pienaar, M Smith, O Smith, B Stankovich, T Varndell, S Vesty, M Wentzel, J White, D Young, B Youngs, T Youngs. 

The referee is Mr Tony Spreadbury so that in itself will prove to be very entertaining!

Good to see that the RFU have at last published the England Counties squad for the forthcoming FIRA-AER Tournament in SW France, confirming the participation of the Redruth club’s front row of Darren Jacques, Glenn Cooper and Peter Joyce.

There have been some minor changes to the match venues from my previous posting;

The England Counties XV itinerary is:

September 6: England v Russia in Fleurance, Gers (17.00);

September 10: England v Spain in Morlaas, Bearn (17.00);

September 13: England v France Amateurs in Saint-Paul Les Dax, Landes (18.00).

 

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WET SUMMER BLUES

The days pass by tediously as we all wait for the start of the rugby season. The pre-season friendlies are now just around the corner edging ever closer. The Tri-Nations is over with the All Blacks coming out on top in the championship decider over the Wallabies to retain the Bledisloe Cup and the Tri-Nations trophy, with less than 50 days to go before the start of Rugby World Cup 2007, New Zealand look at this stage the clear favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup we shall see if they can live up to their billing.

The cricket, golf and the Tour de France cycle race thankfully fill the gap, the latter being a long time favourite, this year’s race being no exception being one of the most open in many years. With my Breton connections I grew up learning about the exploits of the great Louison Bobet who won the the Tour in 1953, 1954 and 1955, the first rider to win it three times in a row. In the the late 1970’s and early 1980’s their were the exploits of Bernard Hinault to keep the Breton flag flying high with his wins in 1978/9, 1981/2 and 1985, he finished runner up to Laurent Fignon in 1984 and Greg Lemond in 1986. Le blaireau (badger) was a no nonsense straight talking breton who commanded the peleton with an iron grip. I saw him in action on a few occassions most notably during the Tour of 1982 on the Col du Joux Plane in the Alps and in criterium races in Brittany at Chateaulin in the Circuit de l’Aulne and at Concarneau. The Bretons adored him and flocked in their masses to see him race, a great champion.

I digress though. The Cornish All Blacks look to be asembling a mighty squad for their inaugural season in National League 1 signing up plenty of local talent with Tom Rawlings being their latest recruit. Their opening league encounter at Polson Bridge against the Cornish Pirates is sure to be a sell-out. If they manage to survive their first season at this level then that will be a fantastic achievement for the club and give them something to build on. 

The Cornish Pirates have been quietly preparing for the new season, though it is difficult to imagine how at this stage they can top last season given their ground limitations. If they can be seen to be competitive against Northampton Saints and once more against the two Devon sides Exeter Chiefs and Plymouth Albion then maybe a top three position will be within their grasp. It’s two years since the move away from the Mennaye yet the prospects of the new ground which is a clear requirement to advance further do not appear any clearer at this point.

Redruth in National League 2 have also been busy during the summer and are looking to improve on last season’s fourth place finish a push for promotion must be a clear goal this season. The club have been boosted by the news that three of their players have been selected for the England Counties squad that will be playing in a tournament in SW France this September. Darren Jacques, Glenn Cooper and Peter Joyce the club’s front row will be tackling Russia, Spain and France Amateurs. Matches at Lourdes, Fleurance and Mont-de-Marsan await evoking memories of some of the great French players of the past notably Jean Prat, Michel Crauste, Jean Gachassin and the Boniface brothers Guy and Andre, an area with a rich rugby heritage indeed.

Mount’s Bay newly promoted to the National Leagues have been building up their squad in National League 3 South. They will look to consolidate this season both on and off the field. I am sure that they are going to frighten a few well established League 3 clubs and will finish in the top half of the league. 

I was disappointed with the negative comments from the President of the Cornwall RFU, Mr D. Chatterton as reported in the local press from the CRFU’s AGM. Instead of using the occassion to take the first steps at a reconcilation between the union and clubs he chose to take a swipe at the Redruth and Cornish Pirates. It appears that nothing has been learn’t from the disastrous season the Cornwall team have had which is to say the least troubling for the few remainig loyal supporters the county team has left!!           

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PRE-SEASON FRENDLIES TO WHET THE APPETITE

Hard to believe that for some of our clubs pre-season training is almost upon them. Jim McKay welcomes his troops back next Monday along with the new recruits as the Cornish Pirates prepare for another campaign in National League 1. Naturally their Rugby World Cup players will be absent as they begin preperations for the jamboree in France in September. Stan McKeen and new signing Ed Fairhurst had a busy time with Canada during the Churchill Cup which saw a couple of games played at Exeter’s Sandy Park. Tomorrow the pair face the mighty All Blacks in Hamilton.

Laterly Heino Senekal has been in Romania with the Namibian squad competing in the IRB Nations Cup, Heino’s team lost their RWC dress rehersal encounter with Georgia 26-18 before losing to Argentina A 47-13. Their final game is tomorrow, Saturday when they take on hosts Romania.

It was good to see former Pirate Will James now of mighty Gloucester picked by Gareth Jenkins in his initial 40 man squad for Wales RWC campaign. Let’s hope Will can make the final 30.

Brian Ashton’s 47 man initial squad for RWC 2007 sees the inclusion of Cornishmen Phil Vickery and Olly Barkley also the presence of former Launceston player Dan Ward-Smith. Once again best wishes to the lads and the hope that they will all make the final 30 man squad.

The aforementioned friendlies kick-off in dramatic style on Saturday 4th August at Camborne when the Cornish Pirates entertain the reigning Guinness Premiership Champions Leicester Tigers, kick-off is 5pm.

They may well be shorn of their World Cup players even so their will be plenty of talent and skill on display as the Tigers build for their opening Premiership encounter.

Saturday 11th August sees Redruth travel to Sandy Park to tackle the Exeter Chiefs, in another interesting match.

The Cornish All Blacks are not to be outdone neither as they tackle Celtic League side Gwent Dragons on Tuesday 14th August at Polson, the Welshmen with former Pirate Joe Bearman in their squad will then travel further west to play the Cornish Pirates on Saturday 18th August again at Camborne at 5pm. Down at the Mennaye at 2-30pm on the same day Mount’s Bay will host Welsh Premiership side Cardiff. A veritable feast of rugby in W. Cornwall on that day.

Finally, the Cornish All Blacks have once again attracted former European Champions Bath to travel westwards as they play them on Friday 24th August with a 7-00pm kick-off, in what should be another feast of rugby.

So, all in all August promises to be a very exciting curtain-raiser to the rugby season down in Cornwall.

News of the England Counties tour to Russia, the Counties side won their first match in far off Siberia beating Kransnoyarsk 27-19 in front of a very respectable crowd of 10,000 in the Central Stadium.

The Counties then travelled to Moscow where on Tuesday they played the Russian club champions VVA Podmoskovie at the Monino stadium. The Counties were well beaten on this occassion by 35-15!

Saturday sees England Counties take on the Russian national side, who are themselves faced by a boycott from some of the leading clubs who are not wishing to release their players!!

Many of you will have been surprised that the second weekend in September has been left blank in the National League 2 program. Well the reason is that England Counties will be in France for a week 5th-13th September to play three matches. The “European Festival” will be played in the French rugby heartland of South West France. England Counties who I understand will be based at Anglet in the Basque country between Biarritz and Bayonne, will play against Belguim on September 6th, Spain on September 10th and finally France Amateurs on September 13th. Venues are yet to be finalised although I believe that the match against Spain will be played at Lourdes. 

 

 

Posted in Bill's Blog


THAT LETTER….

…that I wrote this week to the papers has certainly caused more than a few ripples in the normally calm waters of the CRFU. It is not easy to make someone stand in front of a mirror and to see themselves as others do. Being under the spotlight is not something that the CRFU are comfortable with,  the ball is very much in their court and we await to see if they are prepared to evolve!

It has certainly engaged a debate amongst the rugby public of Cornwall. The need for greater communication and transparency is urgently required, I very much hope that the CRFU will embrace this and move forward. Will they continue to play their old and well-drilled tight knit game or will they be emboldened to spread play for a faster more expansive style? 

To borrow a saying from this year’s Rugby World Cup hosts;

Messieurs…a vous de tirer en premier!   

Posted in Bill's Blog


SHIELD RESULT

CORNWALL 60 – 22 SURREY

Cornwall out-gun Surrey in a big win at Camborne to ensure their participation in the County Shield again next season.

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FORGET WEMBLEY….

….AND GET YOURSELVES DOWN TO CAMBORNE THIS SATURDAY TO SUPPORT THE BOYS AS CORNWALL SEEK TO STAY IN THE SHIELD NEXT SEASON.

STAND UP AND BE COUNTED AND CHEER THE TEAM HOME TO VICTORY.

UP CORNWALL, CHEER LIKE MAD FOR THE BOYS IN BLACK & GOLD. 

 

Posted in Bill's Blog


 
CORNISH FIGHTING SPIRIT EARNS AWAY DRAW

Oxfordshire 22 Cornwall 22

By NIGEL WALROND for the Western Morning News at Chinnor RFC

A SUPERB try-saving tackle by Mount’s Bay centre Pale Nonu in the dying moments of the game earned Cornwall a battling draw in their second County Shield group match at Oxfordshire.

Nonu was a late call-up into the squad, but he prevented what seemed a certain hat-trick try by Oxfordshire winger Eric Brown when he forced him into the corner flag – a tackle which unfortunately saw Brown stretchered off with an ankle injury.

However, Nonu’s magnificent last-ditch effort was befitting of a passionate and totally-committed display by the men in Black and Gold which seemed a country mile from the previous week’s dismal offering, when they were thrashed 60-14 by Somerset.

The odds appeared to be stacked even more heavily against Cornwall than at Bridgwater, with Oxfordshire boasting 14 National League players in their squad to the Duchy’s three – and they seemed set for another humiliating experience when they trailed 22-0 after only 27 minutes – but there were two major differences this time.

Oxfordshire had a fierce wind behind their backs in the first half, so Cornwall were always going to be up against it in the opening period, while secondly, 10 of those Oxfordshire players came from Chinnor, who have just been relegated from National Division Three South, where they will, ironically, be replaced by Mount’s Bay.

It was the first time Cornwall had avoided defeat in five county championship matches stretching over two seasons, but they still face a relegation decider against Surrey at Camborne on Saturday.

However, on the basis of this display, and the fact Surrey have suffered crushing defeats against Oxfordshire (43-14) and Somerset (53-14) so far, Cornwall should have a great chance of securing their Shield status.

Confident Cornwall coach Joff Rowe said: “Today is the first time in two years Cornwall haven’t lost and I take great pride in being part of that unit, but next week will be the first time that Cornwall win in two years.”

He added: “For me personally, the performance today is a huge victory in itself, but we are disappointed at the result.

“I don’t think we were much better than them, but our commitment was excellent and we showed great fight, and that is something we have instilled in the last eight to nine weeks.”

Rowe was particularly impressed with Nonu, and the back row of Ian Boase, Tom Rawlings and Louis Stevens.

“Hats off to Nonu, who came in to assist us when we were short of a player, while the back row was outstanding. The amount of work, effort and commitment they put in was a major contribution to our result.”

Roared on by another excellent turn-out from Trelawny’s Army – who got soaked as there is no cover from the elements at Chinnor – Cornwall made a good start but still conceded three tries in the opening half.

The first was perhaps a bit unfortunate, with the ball squirming out of the side of a scrum on the Oxfordshire 10-metre line and scrum-half Anthony Cope feeding Brown, who ran 50 metres to score, but the less said about the next two the better.

An overthrown line-out by hooker Darren Semmens close to his own line – a move that cost Cornwall two tries against Somerset – presented winger Brown with his second try; and then Brixham full-back Jake Lawrence’s wayward clearance kick gifted full-back Ben Hewitt a touchdown.

Reading fly-half James Cathcart kicked two conversions and a penalty, and Cornwall were staring down the barrel at 22-0 down.

Crucially, they got a try back three minutes before the break when a period of concerted pressure resulted in a 22-metre scrum, from which fly-half Lee Jarvis put Camborne winger Rob Ley over in the corner.

Three minutes into the second half, Cornwall scored again, when more time spent in Oxfordshire’s 22 created a score for Mount’s Bay winger Olly Faulkner, and when home hooker Henry Mace was sin-binned in the 47th minute, the Duchy capitalised soon after with a try by Cornish All Blacks centre Ryan Westren – his second in two games – after good work by Nonu.

Jarvis converted both, and kicked a penalty after replacement lock Harry Jackman had also been yellow-carded, and all of a sudden Cornwall were level at 22-22 with 14 minutes of normal time remaining, but then the wind dropped.

Both sides had their chances in the closing stages, with Jarvis attempting two long-range drop goals for Cornwall, but Oxfordshire came closest to scoring through Brown, until Nonu’s excellent intervention.

Oxfordshire: Tries, Brown (2), B Hewitt; cons, Cathcart (2); pen, Cathcart.

Oxfordshire: B Hewitt (Chinnor), J Carter (Chinnor), A Henley (Oxford Harlequins), J Hewitt (Chinnor), E Brown (Chinnor), J Cathcart (Reading), A Cope (Oxford Harl), R Fuller (Henley), H Mace (Clifton), J Iosefo (Chinnor), O Root (Clifton), C Burrows (Chinnor, capt), J De Bruin (Chinnor), M Young (Oxford Harl), G Hayter (Newbury).

Replacements: S Chadbone (Oxford Harl) for De Bruin 50-57 & for Iosefo 74, J Eckert (Oxford Harl) for J Hewitt 72, P Soper (Oxford Harl) for De Bruin 74, G Duder (Chinnor) for Cope 72, H Jackman (Chinnor) for Root 58, R Williams (Chinnor) for Henley 72, D Lynch-Smith (Chinnor) for Brown 79.

Cornwall: Tries, Ley, Faulkner, Westren; cons; Jarvis (2); pen, Jarvis.

Cornwall: J Lawrence (Brixham), R Ley (Camborne), R Westren (Cornish All Blacks), P Nonu (Mount’s Bay), O Faulkner (Mount’s Bay), L Jarvis (Mount’s Bay), B Wakfer (Camborne), A Flide (Mount’s Bay), D Semmens (Mount’s Bay), T Stevens (St Ives), B Hilton (Mount’s Bay, capt), J Wilce (Wadebridge), I Boase (St Ives), T Rawlings (Pertemps Bees), L Stevens (St Ives).

Replacements: S Peters (Redruth) for Lawrence 60, B Keary (Mount’s Bay) for Wakfer 75. Not used: D Clackworthy (Mount’s Bay), B Jenkin (Plymouth Albion), T Outram (Mount’s Bay), T Hurdwell (St. Ives), M Woolcock (Camborne).

Yellow cards: Oxfordshire: Mace 47, Jackman 66.

Referee: R Parker-Sedgemoor (RFU).

GROUP TABLE AS IT STANDS

Somerset    P2 W2 D0 L0 F113 A28 Pts 4

Oxfordshire P2 W1 D1 L0 F65  A36 Pts 3

Cornwall     P2 W0 D1 L1 F36  A82 Pts 1

Surrey        P2 W0 D0 L2 F28  A96 Pts 0

CORNISH REACTION By NIGEL WALROND

CORNWALL coach Joff Rowe was pleased with his players after they produced an excellent fightback from 22-0 down to draw 22-22 against Oxfordshire at Chinnor yesterday.

The point leaves Cornwall facing a County Shield relegation decider against bottom-of-the-table Surrey at Camborne on Saturday, but Rowe is looking forward to it.

‘Today is the first time in two years Cornwall haven’t lost and I take great pride in being part of that unit,’ said Rowe.

‘We could have done with the win today, which would have put us in a comfortable position, but let’s bring the Surrey game on.

‘We will take the same approach, I am sure it will be the same group of people, and we have got to show something more on our own turf.

‘We have learned from last week and this week, and next week we have got to be more the finished article in order to maintain our status in this competition.’

The Duchy produced a much improved display from their 60-14 thrashing at Somerset last weekend, and could have come away with a win against an Oxfordshire side fresh from a hefty home win over Surrey.

‘We started well in difficult conditions and against a very competent side, and our continuity and ball retention was great, but again we made mistakes and they capitalised on those and scored some good tries,’ said Rowe.

‘But I thought, when we scored the try just before half-time, we showed strength and power in our game not only to go up the middle, but to go wide.

‘Then we came out in the second half and scored, and then maintained possession, and at the very end we had opportunities to win.’

He added: ‘The players have come out today, and for me personally, the performance is a huge victory in itself, but we are disappointed at the result.

‘I don’t think we were much better than them, but our commitment was excellent and we showed great fight, and that is something we have instilled into the players in the last eight to nine weeks.’

There were plenty of fine performances all over the pitch for Cornwall, but Mount’s Bay centre Pale Nonu and the back row of Ian Boase, Tom Rawlings and Louis Stevens were particularly impressive.

Rowe said: ‘Hats off to Nonu, who came in to assist us when we were short of a player, while the back row was outstanding. The amount of work, effort and commitment they put in was a major contribution to our result today.’

Cornwall captain Ben Hilton was pleased with the result, but disappointed it was not a victory.

‘It was a better performance. It was a big step up for us, but the work is not done yet,’ he said.

Posted in Bill's Blog


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