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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The return of Richard Carroll, three times voted Trelawny’s Army player of the year, is the major change in the side to face Eastern Counties on Saturday at Camborne in the final match in this season’s County Shield, for the winners the prize of promotion to the County Championship (Bill Beaumont Cup) next season.

Steve Perry comes into the centre to link up with clubmate Ryan Westren, Lewis Vinnicombe comes in at the expense of Jamie Semmens who drops to the bench. In the pack apart from Carroll in for John Griffiths who reverts to the bench, Danny Clackworthy and Adam Nicholls start with Paul Andrew and Chris Fuca also starting from the bench. Bryn Jenkins makes way for Carroll’s inclusion, whilst Sam Parsons, Marek Churcher and Steve Wood are not included this time.

Cornwall: P Thirlby (Redruth); M Jess, R Westren, S Perry (all Cornish All Blacks), L Vinnicombe (Redruth); M Scrivener (Cornish All Blacks), M Richards; D Jacques (both Redruth), J Slater, D Clackworthy; B Hilton, R Carroll (all Mounts Bay), J Lord (Cornish All Blacks, capt), A Nicholls (Mounts Bay), S Hocking (Cornish All Blacks).

Replacements: J Semmens, R Pellow, D Semmens, P Andrew, J Griffiths (all Mounts Bay), C Fuca (Redruth), AN Other.

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Despite outscoring their hosts on the try front by four to three, Cornwall were beaten at Hertford on Saturday in their second County Shield match by 31-26. Meanwhile at Chinnor, Eastern Counties won their second match against Oxfordshire 18-14 and will travel to Camborne next Saturday knowing that a draw will be good enough for them to win the group, promotion and go to Twickenham!

It all started so well for Cornwall, prehaps too well as fly-half Mark Scrivener opened the scoring after 2 minutes with a try, which he converted. Hertfordshire replied with a try from scrum-half Ryan de la Harpe before Cornwall stretched their lead with winger Matt Jess scoring the first of two tries, which Scrivener was unable to convert. Cornwall then came under intense Hertfordshire pressure as their skipper and England Counties player No 8 Dave Archer scored two tries before half-time both converted by Richard Gregg for a 19-12 advantage.

Gregg kicked an early second half penalty, before Jess scored his second try with Scrivener adding the extras. Gregg kicked two further penalties as Cornwall were left to play catch up rugby. A late try by Ryan Westren converted by Paul Thirlby brought Cornwall back to within two points, a fourth Gregg penalty left Cornwall looking for a converted try to win the game and despite a long period of time added on they couldn’t score again.

So it’s all to play for at Camborne next Saturday, a Cornwall win will see them through thanks to their massive points difference from their first game, unless of course Hertfordshire also score a hatfull of points against Oxfordshire. Eastern Counties know that a draw will be good enough for them.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Matt Jess comes into the starting XV for Cornwall’s second County Shield match at Hertford tomorrow afternoon at 3pm in place of the injured Lewis Vinnicombe. Redruth ace Paul Thirlby comes in at full back with Mount’s Bay’s Jamie Semmens switching to the other wing in place of Nathan Pedley. On the bench Sam Parsons (Cornish Pirates), Danny Clackworthy (Mount’s Bay) and Steve Woods (Redruth) come into the squad in place of Ollie Faulkner, Ricky Pellow and Adam Nicholls. Josh Lord will once again captain the side.

Cornwall: P Thirlby (Redruth); J Semmens (Mounts Bay), R Westren (Cornish All Blacks), S Peters (Redruth), M Jess; M Scrivener (both Cornish All Blacks), M Richards; D Jacques (both Redruth), J Salter, P Andrew; J Griffiths, B Hilton (all Mounts Bay); J Lord (Cornish All Blacks, capt), C Fuca (Redruth), S Hocking (Cornish All Blacks)

Replacements: M Churcher (Mounts Bay), S Parsons (Cornish Pirates), J Bolt (Cornish All Blacks), D Semmens, D Clackworthy (both Mounts Bay), B Jenkins (Cornish All Blacks), S Woods (Redruth).

Hertfordshire: Kieron Davies (Ampthill); Ian Crompton (Stevenage Town), Jon Child (Welwyn), Ray Adde (Hemel Hempstead), Mark Evans (Old Albanian; Richard Gregg (Old Albanian), Ryan de la Harpe (Letchworth); Ryan Long (Tabard), Tavita Faamausili (Stevenage Town), Simon Carter (Newbury), Adam Amos (Stevenage Town), Robert Dumbleton (Harpenden), Alfie Church (Hertford), Ian Hardcastle (Westcombe Park), Dave Archer (Henley Hawks,Capt).

Replacements: Toby Prescott (Tring), Paul Welch (Hertford), Adam Gelman (Old Albanian), Matt Cross (Nuneaton), Jim Remfry (Caldy), Billy Johnson (Hertford), Gareth Davies (Tabard).

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Cornwall couldn’t have hoped for a better start in their quest to regain their place in the County Championship proper next season following an emphatic 66-8 win, scoring no less than eleven tries over Oxfordshire in their opening County Shield match at Redruth on Saturday in front of a sizeable crowd.

Played in fine weather though with a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch, which proved troublesome to the goal kickers, Cornwall stamped their authority on the game from the kick-off, as No 8 Sam Hocking made the first of his telling carries. The Cornwall pack carried far too many “big guns” for the Oxfordshire eight who had a torrid afternoon as the rampant Cornish forwards dominated.

The opening score wasn’t long in arriving, though it came from an intercept by Redruth centre Simon Peters who sprinted along the eastern Bank touchline to score near the posts after only 2 mins, Mark Scrivener added the conversion. Oxfordshire briefly rallied to cut the deficit with a penalty from fly-half James Cathcart after 5 mins. Cornwall then took hold of the game to score a further four tries during the first half, Lewis Vinnicombe showed some blistering pace in helping himself to a couple of tries, with scrum-half Mark Richards and flanker Chris Fuca scoring the others in a Redruth try scoring spree during the opening 40 minutes. Mark Scrivener adding a couple more conversions and a penalty. Oxfordshire managed to pull a try back through winger Nick Sevier to leave the half-time score 34-8 to Cornwall.

Early in the second half Vinnicombe completed his try scoring hat-trick with a touchdown in the Piggy Lane corner of the ground. Cornwall continued to dominate though several promising moves broke down. As the game moved into the final quarter Cornwall brought on their bench players who were keen to make their mark on the game. Referee Mr. Higginson had no hesitation in awarding Cornwall a penalty try following sustained pressure on the Oxfordshire line, remarkably the conversion from in-front of the posts was missed as the ball appeared to tumble over as the luckless kicker Jamie Semmens was about to make contact with the ball. It mattered not. Cornwall’s eighth try was scored by skipper Josh Lord, who led his side by example throughout, a blistering run by the back row forward saw him run in from 35 meters cutting through the visitor’s defence, like a knife through butter. Leading at this stage by 49-8, Cornwall looked to finish with style with further tries from Jamie Semmens, replacement fly-half Marek Churcher and a spectacular score from replacement loose-head prop Jason Bolt in the Piggy Lane corner, Semmens converting the final score.

Speaking after the match county coaching co-ordinator Benji Thomas was delighted with such a dream start, he paid tribute to his players, all week he had instilled in them pride in playing for Cornwall and he felt that they had shown that today. He couldn’t have asked anymore from his players, especially pleased with the interplay between forwards and backs, felt that Jason Bolt’s final try really summed up the style he was looking for.

Proud skipper Josh Lord was equally very happy after the match, he felt that the squad had gelled very well despite the minimal preparation time they have had together. Josh paid tribute to his teammates and also the crowd who got right behind the team. Looking to take the next step next Saturday at Hertford, players have got Twickenham in their sights and are determined to get there. Heartened by the great support at Redruth today and hoping that as many as possible can get to Hertford next week to cheer the boys on.


Tries- Peters, Vinnicombe (3), Richards, Fuca, Penalty, Lord, J. Semmens, Churcher, Bolt Conversions – Scrivener (3), J. Semmens. Penalty- Scrivener


Try- Sevier. Penalty – Cathcart

Cornwall: J. Semmens, N. Pedley, R. Westren, S. Peters, L. Vinnicombe (O. Faulkner 47), M. Scrivener (M. Churcher 59), M. Richards (R. Pellow 57); D. Jacques (R. Bolt 57), J. Salter (D. Semmens 68), P. Andrew, J. Griffiths (B. Jenkins 68), B. Hilton, J. Lord (Capt), C. Fuca (A. Nicholls 57), S. Hocking.

Oxfordshire: H. Jones, P. Huxford (A. Pearson 54), M. Goode (K. Sewell H/T), R. Williams, N. Sevier, J. Cathcart, A, Cope; J. Winpenny, D. Needham (J. Eckheret 57), T. Whelan (A. Cawston 57), M. Hutchings (Capt), S. Black, P. Rowe, S. Bannister, E. Rixon.

Referee: Mr. N. Higginson (Devon R.R.S.)

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The Cornwall side chosen to play Oxfordshire tomorrow at REDRUTH kick-off 3pm;

Team as per this mornings WMN;

15. Jamie Semmens (Mount’s Bay), 14. Lewis Vinnicombe (Redruth), 13. Ryan Westren (CAB’s), 12. Simon Peters (Redruth), 11. Sam Parsons (Cornish Pirates), 10. Mark Scrivener (CAB’s), 9. Mark Richards (Redruth); 1. Darren Jacques (Redruth), 2. Jamie Salter (Mount’s Bay), 3. Paul Andrew (Mount’s Bay), 4. John Griffiths (Mount’s Bay), 5. Ben Hilton (Mount’s Bay), 6. Josh Lord (CAB’s, capt), 7. Chris. Fuca (Redruth), 8. Sam Hocking (CAB’s).

Reps: Marek Churcher, Ricky Pellow, Darren Semmens, Andy Nicholls, (all Mount’s Bay, Jason Bolt, Bryn Jenkins (both CAB’s), AN Other?

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Uncanny…that’s the way it seems to me that not one of the results went Launceston’s way on Saturday. Fair enough that the CAB’s lost at Franklins Gardens against Northampton Saints 81-0, there was never any possibility that the CAB’s could pull off what Exeter Chiefs, Nottingham or the Cornish Pirates had failed to do all season and beat Northampton. The biggest surprise was Bedford’s loss at home to Pertemps Bees, I felt that Sedgley Park would probably beat Rotherham but not by the margin they did. It’s all very similar to the fate that befell Launceston a few seasons ago when they spent one season in National League 2 before being relegated back to National 3 South, on that occasion they needed one result to go their way for safety, none did and down they went.

Still their battling performances over the last few weeks have given us interest. Credit to coaches Chris Brown and Jon Hill as well as the squad of players. I have no doubt that the Cornish All Blacks will be a formidable force in National League 2 next season it promises to be a very passionate league full of local interest with Redruth and Mount’s Bay also in the mix.

The Cornish Pirates rounded off an indifferent season, just like the curate’s egg, good in parts, with a surprising 31-18 defeat at Camborne against London Welsh. Camborne was a pretty lively place to be on Saturday with it being Trevithick Day, so the Pirates set off with rush of steam, with two tries in the opening few minutes, the first from Bristol bound Vunga Lilo and the second from Jimmy Moore. To say the train left the rails would be an understatement, back came the Welsh exiles to score a couple of converted tries through Liffchack and Sampson, Jones adding the extras to lead 14-10. Ollie Thomas, who had an indifferent game, that can be the nature of the beast when you have a player blessed with pace and balance, but whose kicking can sometimes let you down, replied with a penalty. Thomas was at fault over the exiles third try scored by Etheredge. Worse was to come as Noah Cato scored a fourth try for the visitors before half-time to leave the Pirates trailing 28-13.

Following some magic from Rhodri McAtee, Iva Motusaga scored a third try for the Pirates. Jones’ penalty edged London Welsh further ahead and took the game away from the Pirates.

It’s going to be an interesting few weeks to see how the squad shapes up for next season. Two pieces of news coming out of the Pirates’ camp, the hoped for signing of Plymouth Albion’s Jannie Bornman has fallen through due to visa problems, so the former Albion player looks set to follow Tim Cowley off to France, out of contract prop Sam Heard has gone up to Guinness Premiership side London Wasps to help them out as they are short of props. We all hope it goes well for Sam and that he gets something permanent out of the experience, I am sure he will benefit enormously from working with another former Redruth player, Phil Vickery.

Redruth brought the curtain down on their season with a 39-16 win over Nuneaton on Saturday. It was party time in “Hell Fire Corner”, you can read my match report from the main site. Head Coach Nigel Hambly was philosophical after the game reflecting on the season as a whole. He felt that finishing 9th was not acceptable to a club like Redruth even allowing for the 10-point deduction they would only have finished 7th. Pre-season hopes of being involved in the promotion race went un-fulfilled. He felt that the club “could have done better”. Each season the league gets tougher and tougher and all the clubs have to up their game.

Only one Cornish side were involved in the promotion play-offs at the weekend, a big crowd of over 400 at the King George V Playing Field saw Helston fail in their quest to reach the Cornwall & Devon League next season. On the day they were well beaten by Old Public Oaks 24-0.

And so this Saturday sees the start of Cornwall’s latest County Shield campaign at Redruth against Oxfordshire kick-off 3pm. Let us all hope that especially in this year, which has seen us remember and commemorate Cornwall’s great County Championship win in 1908 against Durham, Cornwall can win again and reclaim her place in the County Championship proper next season.

I hope that “One & All” will get themselves down to Redruth on Saturday and “Cheer like mad for Cornwall” as the old programs of days gone by always urged. As ever the boys wearing the shirt on the field will give their all for Cornwall, we on the terraces and the stand MUST do the same. UP CORNWALL!

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