So it looks like we will have to wait for the RFU Council to deliver the verdict early next month as to how many clubs drop from National League 1 at the end of this season as to how many (if any!) are promoted from National League 2! What a farce.

Any way back to the playing side and away from the politics.

After all the euphoria from their opening day win over Newbury, the Cornish Pirates slipped up good’n proper in the Butts Park Arena mud on Saturday in their second league match of the season losing 16-0. It’s not very often that the Pirates fail to score a point, indeed my good friend Dick Straughan pointed out in his match report for the Western Morning News today that the last time was in April 2004 and that infamous 56-0 thrashing by Plymouth Albion.

It’s hard to understand that there are already “supporters” baying for blood after this faux pas. This is not the sort of reaction the Pirates coaching staff or players want or need as they prepare to play Exeter Chiefs at Camborne on Sunday afternoon. What is need is EVERYONE’S SUPPORT for the team as they tackle one of the pre-season promotion favourites, who will be smarting themselves following their 14-13 defeat at Sandy Park to Leeds Carnegie. A win on Sunday and the sorry events of Coventry will be pardoned.

It promises to be a great weekend for rugger fans as on the Saturday the Cornish All Blacks entertain Cinderford, whilst Mount’s Bay host Redruth!

The Reds got their season off to the best possible start with a 35-28 win over Birmingham & Solihull Bees. It was a tremendous performance from the Reds with Nathan Pedley scoring four of the Reds’ five tries. Scrum-half Mark Richards scored the other Reds’ try to cap a fine performance fron the No. 9. Rob Thirlby had a superb game at full back as did James Mann at No.8, marking his return to the side after long term injury.

The Cornish All Blacks claimed all five points on their trip to Southend despite having forwards Tim Collier and Mike Myerscough yellow carded during the game. The CAB’s four tries were scored by their forwards through Sam Hocking, Myerscough and Josh Lord, Adam Staniforth kicking the other 10 points.

Mount’s Bay lost their opening National League 2 encounter up at Tynedale in appalling conditions 14-7. Flanker Steve Dyer got the Bay try which Dan Hawkes converted.

In the EDF-Energy Senior Vase 1st Round matches played at the weekend there were wins for Truro who won 26-0 up at Saltash in the all Cornish tie, Newquay Hornets trounced Bideford 48-0, whilst Hayle got a walkover against Plymstock Albion Oaks. There were defeats for both the Fal clubs, Falmouth at home to Crediton 39-0 and Penryn lost up at Tavistock by 22-15.

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Is that the fate of our three National League 2 clubs this season? Noises from certain well-connected quarters are seeming to suggest that the RFU in their bid to create a 12 club second tier will have no promotion from National League 2 this season, with four clubs comming down from National League 1! Furthermore it looks likely as if National 2 clubs will be merged with clubs from National leagues 3 North and South to create three regional league at level 3.

The outcry from clubs such as the Cornish All Blacks, Birmingham & Solihull or Cambridge, who have invested heavily during the close season in players to mount a serious assult on promotion will gather force if this ill conceived idea is pushed through.

It’s no secret that the RFU have been looking at cutting funding to clubs at level 3, putting more funds towards the 12 surviving National 1 clubs. What is disturbing is the fact that to date we have had no directive from the “powers that be” with only five days to go until the start of the new National League 2 campaign, this is laughable!

Following Redruth, I very much enjoy the level of rugby that they are now playing at, I also enjoy games against clubs from the Midlands and “Up North” who bring a greater intensity to their play, which I believe helps southern clubs in their development. I believe the Redruth players have benifited from the regular exposure to that style of play.

The whole sorry saga is very depressing and leaves a bad taste in the mouth!! RFU sort it out now!

League action got under way in National League 1 this weekend with the Cornish Pirates getting off to a fine start with a 48-5 win over the Newbury Blues on Sunday at Camborne. Whilst coach Mark Hewitt will no doubt conceed that everything was not quite perfect on the opening day he will be satisfied that his side have immediatly answered one of the biggest criticisms aimed their way last season, failing to secure the bonus point. Seven tries scored is a fine return in any match and should set them up for the tricky visit to the Butts Park Arena, Coventry on Saturday. Following an early penalty from fly-half Doug Snaft winger Marika Vakacegu scored the opening try following a fine chip ahead from skipper Addy Winnan, Snaft added the extras. A second try came on 33 mins from new No.8 Bertrand Bedes who powered over from the base of a scrum near the Blues line. Snaft kicked his second conversion for 17-0. Newbury pulled a score back when winger Humphries capitalised on a grubber kick from former Redruth fly-half Gareth Griffiths to score what was to prove his sides only points of the afternoon. Before half-time the Cornish Pirates scored a third try through flanker and former Blues player Chris Morgan, Snaft’s conversion left the home side 24-5 up at the break.

The bonus point was secured early in the second half as Welsh flyer, Rhodri McAtee rounded off a fine move. Snaft kicked his fourth conversion before departing to be replaced by Tom Luke. The Pirates made their usual raft of replacements, with Darren Dawidiuk on for Rob Elloway scoring the fifth try. Jimmy Moore on for Mark Ireland scored the sixth whilst it was the skipper who scored the final try, Winnan scoring in the final move of the game with Moore converting. A promising start.

Attention in the Duchy will turn to National 2 next Saturday, with the Pirates up at Coventry in Nat 1. Redruth entertain Birmingham & Solihull Bees, a stern test against one of the sides that came down last season and who were planning on bouncing back up. The Cornish All Blacks travel to Southend looking for an opening day win, whilst new boys Mount’s Bay make the long trip up to Tynedale to take on fellow new boys at this level.

No regional league matches, but there is the 1st round of the EDF-Energy Senior Vase with Saltash vs. Truro being the pick of the round locally.

STOP PRESS! Read Martyn Thomas’ comments in Plymouth Hearld today.

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All four of our National League clubs have now had a run out during pre-season. Last week-end Mount’s Bay defeated Welsh Premiership side Pontypridd 9-8 at the Mennaye in a fiesty encounter.

Launceston got the ball rolling this week-end as they entertained South West 1 side Exmouth at Polson. As expected the National League 2 side defeated their Devon opponents 50-5 with tries from Ben Turner, Marc Dibble (2), Mike Rawlings, Sam Hocking (2), Glenn Cooper and Ben Collings with Adam Staniforth and Jon Fabian kicking five conversions betwen them. Despite the difficult playing conditions coaches Chris Brown and Jon Hill were pleased with their charges efforts, especially their new signings who have settled in well.

Down at Camborne the Cornish Pirates took on Redruth infront of a very respectable crowd of 2,498. The Cornish Pirates scored six tries as they ran out winners by 34-8, during the first half they managed four un-converted tries scored by winger Aisea Havili, the former Worcester ace running in two scores, new No 8 Frenchman Bertrand Bedes, who looks set to be a crowd favourite at Camborne, and from Sam Betty. The Reds managed to score a penalty through fly-half Mark Scrivener. In the second half Redruth scored a fine try through skipper on the day prop Darren Jacques before the Pirates who threw on a whole raft of replacements pulled away with two more converted tries scored by winger Rhodri McAtee and flanker Chris Morgan both converted by Olly Thomas.

Interesting to note that both sides were captained by former Penryn players Addy Winnan (Cornish Pirates) and Darren Jacques (Redruth). Both sides will look to build ahead of their opening National League campaigns next week-end, the Cornish Pirates take on Italian Top 10 side Almaviva Capitolina from Rome at Camborne, kick-off 5pm, whilst Redruth travel to Bath to play Bath United at the Bath Rec following Bath’s match with Llanelli Scarlets.

Also on Saturday Falmouth entertained Cardiff RFC at the Falmouth Rec with the Welsh Premiership side running out easy winners by 80-8.

This Saturday also sees the Arthur Hunt Cup match up at Bude, when London Cornish head “home” for a pre-season friendly up on the North Coast.

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Hard to believe that August is just around the corner, and still we await some decent summer weather to cheer us all up!!!! Clubs up and down the county are preparing for the new season, in what promises to be a very exciting season for many of our Cornish clubs. Derbies are set to abound especially in National League 2, also further down the scale in the Cornwall & Devon League, which this season has no less than five Cornish clubs, great for those who enjoy local encounters, but is it good for Cornish rugby to have so many clubs further down the league structure? No doubt that this debate will run. If you haven’t already done so then check out the RFU site and complete their survey on the future of the game in England you have until the end of July to make your views known.

The ELV’s come into force on the 1st August in Europe various clubs are holding briefing sessions for their members with CRFU rep to the RFU Dave Martin taking the sessions. Redruth have theirs next Thursday.

This weekend sees the Newquay Surf 7’s with a large program of events, which got under way last evening some good rugby is ensured with hopefully some fine weather.

All four of our National League sides have been busy since the end of April recruiting, the Cornish Pirates will once again hope to have a major say in National League 1, which looks to have more than one favourite for promotion to the Premiership this season. Leeds Carnegie will have a strong challenge from the Exeter Chiefs who seem to have signed every player available for the forthcoming season their Tamar Shield squad will be worth watching in it’s-self! The Cornish Pirates have prepared quietly, from a personal viewpoint I very much look forward to seing how their new French No 8 Bertrand Bedes from Pau goes, he looks to be a powerful player who will make his mark. It’s good to see the Pirates lining up some European opposition in one of their pre-season frendlies in Italian Top 10 side Almaviva Capitolina from Rome, it should draw a good crowd to Camborne on the 23rd August. I see that former Pirate Nick Adams has left Wasps and headed to France where he will play for Top 14 side Montauban next season.

The Cornish All Blacks look to be assembling a powerful squad in their attempt to bounce back up to National League 1 next season with Tim Collier (ex Worcester Warriors) being the latest signing. It will take a very good side to stop them. Redruth will look to build on last season and once again consolidate their position, they will be disappointed at having lost the services of Gareth Griffiths for the new campaign. It will be interesting to see how well Mount’s Bay adapt to life at this level. They have lost a fair number of last season’s successful squad especially in the backs, Ricky Pellow’s departure is also a big loss on both player and coaching sides, however on the plus side Andy Birkett will bring a vast amount of experience at this level with many of their signings being proven performers at this level or higher.

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If only Cornwall could play all her matches in the grand old Duchy……… Once again Cornwall came unstuck away from home this time at the home of rugby Twickenham at the ridiculously early hour of 10 am.

Whereas Cornwall looked to be suffering from a severe form of collective jet lag or coach lag, Northumberland started with a bang, which apart from a short spell during the second half, they didn’t let up until the final whistle.

Despite the early hour there was a fantastic turn out of Cornish supporters gathered in the Lower West Stand at Twickenham led by the Falmouth Marine Band to greet the team as they ran out onto the pitch.

All too soon play was settling down towards the Cornish 22 as Northumberland looked for early points, those points came after 10 mins of pressure as Cornwall missed a tackle allowing full back Jack Smales to score in the corner, Newcastle Falcons academy player Gavin Beasley missed with the conversion, frustratingly for the Northern county he only managed two successful kicks all morning. Beasly did kick a penalty to stretch his side lead to 8-0 after 19 minutes as Cornwall continued to struggle to find any pattern to their game, loose passes, far too much ball turned over at the breakdown, basic errors did nothing to help calm the nerves of the Cornishmen. Mark Richards for one was putting in some try-saving tackles as the defences creaked under the pressure. Mark Scrivener managed to get Cornwall on the board with a penalty,it got worse on the half-hour mark as winger Lewis Vinnicombe made a hash of a clearence from near his own line, his sliced kick falling into the grateful arms of prop Jonathan Williams who fed Beasley for a simple score. Poor Lewis, it brought back memories of Barry Trevaskis’ mistake against Durham in 1989, Beasley couldn’t add the extras, whilst Scrivener pulled three points back before half-time to leave the northeners 13-6 up. Both sides stayed out on the pitch for half-time as some bright spark at Twickenham decided to regal us with Blaydon races on the tannoy!

Cornwall badly needed to get the first score in the second half, but it was more of the same as Northumberland continued to dictate, indeed they added a third try following a fine pass from Beasley found prop Rupert Harding who passed to lock Andrew Murray to score, at 18-6 the game looked beyond Cornwall. To their immense credit and sheer pride, Cornwall spent the next ten minutes having a good go at Northumberland, Richard Carroll leading the charge, with No 8 Sam Hocking not far behind. The long hard season was beginning to take it’s toll on the Cornish lads, but then there was a glimmer of hope, Jamie Semmens went to ground just meters out from the corner, luckily Paul Thirlby was on hand to dive over and score Cornwall’s try, at 18-11, Beasley’s misses at goal gave Cornwall a sniff, only for it to be snuffed out moments later as Beasley’s cross-field kick fell invitingly into the arms of winger Peter Cole who scored Northumberland’s fourth try, Beasley finally kicked a conversion and although Cornwall battled bravely to the final whistle, Northumberland were clearly several lengths ahead at the finishing post. For Cornwall it was another defeat at the home of rugby, however we did win the singing in the lineout bar post-match!


Tries- J. Smales, Beasley, Murray, Cole, Conversion – Beasley, Penalty – Beasley


Try – Thirlby, Penalties – Scrivener (2)

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Cornwall’s points Try Paul Thirlby, 2 Penalties Mark Scrivener

Report to follow

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With just over 40 hours to go to the 10 am kick-off on Sunday, all of Cornwall are on tenterhooks as they wait to hear if one of their favourite sons, Matt Jess, will be allowed by his new employers, Exeter Chiefs, to line up with his Cornish team mates on the hallowed turf of Twickenham on Sunday morning. We are told that talks are on-going between CRFU Hon.Sec Alan Mitchell and Director of Rugby at Exeter Chiefs Peter Drewett, on the one hand a passionate advocate of county rugby on the other a DoR who has a greater agenda on his mind namely promotion to the Guinness Premiership next season with the Devon side. Mr. Mitchell will need all his delicate negotiating skills to pull this particular coup off, I wish him luck.

Poor old Matt Jess has already been forced to withdraw from the England Counties squad, which flies out to North America on Monday for a three match tour.

Dave Benji Thomas, though obviously disappointed at the probable loss of Jess will not have time to dwell on it. Cornwall will not be travelling to make up the numbers, they travel to win. There is sure to be a sizeable Cornish contingent in the mighty West Stand at Twickenham come 10 am on Sunday morning and they will singing to lift the rafters off and get right behind the boys. Trelawny’s Army and the formidable Falmouth Marine Band having travelled up to London on Saturday will be leading the support for the boys and will back them from first to last whistle.

Can Cornwall do it? Of course they can, that is not to diminish the threat of a fine Northumberland side who have played some very fine rugby to reach Twickenham having won all three of their pool matches.

The excitement heightens by the minute, just like Trevethick’s steam engine, pressure will be fully stoked up by 10 am Sunday just waiting to be released. Will “Goin Up Camborne Hill” be resounding around Twickers come the final whistle? I think so.


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Please note, both coaches to Twickenham are now FULLY-BOOKED we are unable to take any further bookings for the Shield Final.

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The day after the County Shield final at Twickenham, Cornish All Black, Matt Jess will be jetting off to North America on the England Counties tour to USA and Canada. Jess is no stranger to the England Counties set-up having toured twice previously to Canada and South America.

Matt is the only Cornish player named in the touring party.

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Cornwall are back at Twickenham following a 43-0 win over Eastern Counties on Saturday at Camborne.

It was all over by half-time as the Black & Golds raced into a 36-0 lead at the break. Just like last week at Hertford Cornwall scored an early try an absolute beauty with “made in Launceston” written all over it, Scrivener, Perry, Westren to Jess to score, what a start. Scrivener’s conversion the first of six successful kicks, only one conversion missed all afternoon before the Launceston fly-half had to leave the field with a nasty eye injury. Unlike last week Cornwall went from strength to strength steadily building on their lead throughout the opening period. Ten minutes were barely up before Cornwall had a second try scored by No8 Sam Hocking as Cornwall took a heal against the head in the Counties 22, the young No8 breaking off and powering over from close range. Scrivener kept the scoreboard ticking over with a second conversion and a penalty after 21 minutes. Paul Thirlby put a stop to the Launceston points scoring by squeezing in the clubhouse corner for Cornwall’s third try following another flowing move. A few moments later Thirlby was on hand to get his second try of the game. Cornwall’s fifth try came from Mount’s Bay’s Ben Hilton. Half-time 36-0 the game was as good as over.

Cornwall completed their scoring early in the second half with a wonderful individual effort from Redruth flyer Lewis Vinnicombe who showed real pace in carving his way through the Counties defence. Cornwall brought on their bench players during the second half and the intensity dipped naturally, Eastern Counties had periods of pressure but couldn’t breech the Cornish line as the Cornish defence held firm. Matt Jess was the victim of a nasty looking tackle, which rightly saw the offending Counties player sent to the sin bin, it was an isolated moment in a game played in good spirit by both sides, in the end Counties had to acknowledge that on the day they had been well-beaten by the better side.

Having mentioned the try scorers it would be wrong not to acknowledge the superb team performance, Richard Carroll immense in the pack, Darren Jacques who in my opinion is most unlucky not to have made the England Counties tour to North America, Josh Lord, Captain Marvel, leading by example from the whistle, Jess and Vinnicombe what a pair to have on the wings, they will both be relishing the prospect of that big pitch at Twickenham and the space it will have for them to show their paces.

Cornwall are back at Twickenham where they will face Northumberland in the Shield Final, the kick-off time for this match has been confirmed by the RFU as 10am on Sunday 1st June, tickets available either from the CRFU, the RFU or ticketmaster.

See Trelawny’s Army main page for travel and accomodation details for Twickenham.

Cornwall: P. Thirlby, M. Jess, R. Westren, S. Perry, L. Vinnicombe, M. Scrivener, M. Richards; D. Jacques, J. Salter, D. Clackworthy, B. Hilton, R. Carroll, J. Lord capt, A. Nicholls, S. Hocking.

Replacements all used; R. Pellow for M. Richards, J. Semmens for S. Perry, D. Semmens for J. Salter, P. Andrew for D. Clackworthy, J. Griffiths for B. Hilton, C. Fuca for A. Nicholls, M. Churcher for M. Scrivener.

Cornwall points Tries- Jess, Hocking, Thirlby (2), Hilton, Vinnicombe, Conversions- Scrivener (5), Penalty- Scrivener.

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