This coming Friday, March 28th marks the centenary of arguably the greatest Cornish sporting achievement, the winning of the County Championship in 1908 at a packed (17,000) Recreation Ground in Redruth.

It was all the more remarkable as it was the only national competition held in that era. It was the pathway to the England team so the very best players competed.

It was the first time that Cornwall had topped the competative South West group having beaten Somerset in their opening fixture 25-6, Cornwall lost to joint reigning champions Devon 17-8 before defeating Gloucestershire 34-10. As per the rules of the period teams level on points had to play-off, so Cornwall faced Devon again this time at Redruth defeating them 21-3. They then travelled to Gloucester to face the mighty Gloucestershire side winning 15-3. That win put them in the semi-final where they faced Middlesex at Redruth beating the London side 19-3.

So to the final against the other co-holders of the title Durham. Victory was hard fought but earned against the northerners by 17-3, with Redruth’s Bert Solomon scoring two tries, “Maffer” Davey, Barrie Bennetts and Nick Tregurtha also crossing the opponents try line.

The final whistle brought great excitement as the crowd acclaimed their heros.

One Hundred Years on Cornwall salutes it’s heros from that famous day in grateful remembrance;

Cornwall: E. J. Jackett (capt, Leicester), B. Bennetts (Devon Albion), B. Solomon (Redruth), F. Dean (Devon Albion), J. Jose (Devon Albion), T.G. Wedge (St. Ives), J. Davey (Redruth); J. G. Milton (Camborne School of Mines), A. J. Milton (Camborne School of Mines), F. Jackson (Leicester), R. Jackett (Falmouth), A.J. Thomas (Devon Albion), R. Davey (Redruth), T. Lawry (Redruth), N. R. Tregurtha (St. Ives).

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Redruth’s fine win on Saturday against an already relegated Halifax side puts them 17 points clear of Henley Hawks the nearest side in the relegation zone with a maximum 20 points to play for. Following the disappointment of their trip to Westcombe Park the Reds owed it to themselves and their supporters to put in a strong performance. Six tries scores in a 38-3 win sent the crowd homeward bound in a happy mood. Tries came through the Thirlby brothers Rob and Paul scoring one a-piece with No 8 Mark Bright claiming a brace, PJ Gidlow and a penalty try award. Returning fly-half Gareth Griffiths kicked four conversions to complete the scoring.

Head coach Nigel Hambly gave starts to some of his squad players, with Ben Fox and Steve Wood starting in the backrow and Simon Peters in the centre. Wood had a stand out game playing his heart out. The only cloud was the injury to lock Damien Cook who went off with a knee injury after 16 mins.

Down the road at the Mennaye, Mount’s Bay played what is likely to be their penultimate home game of the season (assuming of course that they gain automatic promotion and are not involved in the play-off), scoring ten tries in a 64 – 12 win over Luton. The tries flowed like champagne with Ben Hilton (2), Tyron Child (2), Adam Nicholls (2), Jon Marlin, Tim Mosey (2) and Andrew Cheung-Fook all scoring. Lee Jarvis kicked seven conversions. With just three games left to play Bay are now 8 points clear of Cinderford who they play at the Mennaye on April 12th.

The only other league game concerning a Cornish club was Camborne who at the third time of asking completed their fixture at St. Mary’s Old Boys. Camborne were unable to build on their success from last week going down 15-8, Rob Floyd scored the try and Josh Matavesi dropped the goal.

On Sunday at Launceston, Cornwall reclaimed the Tamar Cup in a tight match by 10-7 over old rivals Devon. Cornwall’s try was scored by Cornish All Blacks’ Sam Hocking with Camborne’s David Mankee kicking the conversion and a penalty.

According to the Australian RFU website it appears that the Wallabies match against the Barbarians due to be played at Wembley Stadium to commerate their winning the 1908 Rugby gold medal at the London Olympics of that year against Cornwall will take place on Wednesday 3rd December, with an evening kick-off. It’s going to be very difficult for a large Cornish present to be there but I hope that as many as possible can go along to the game, to remember the achievement of that Cornish side 100 years ago. It is very much a part of our local rugby folklore.

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Saturday’s fine win at Lydney by 30-6, and let’s face it any win at Regentsholme is an achievement, sees Mount’s Bay five points clear of second place Cinderford in National League 3 South with just four more matches to play Bay scored two tries in each half to secure the all-important bonus point. Lee Jarvis scored Bay’s opening try after 25 mins before hooker Jamie Semmens grabbed the second just before half-time to leave the visitors 10-6 up at the turn. After the break Tyrone Child claimed a third try following a charge down before lock Richard Carroll, on a try-scoring burst at the moment scored the fourth try 7 mins from time. Jarvis converted both second half tires as well as a couple of second half penalties.

Sunday afternoon saw the Cornish Pirates secure a six-try win over struggling Sedgley Park by 36-10 a result, which also helps the Cornish All Blacks in their desperate fight to avoid the drop after just one season in National League 1. Despite trailing to an early Park penalty the Cornish Pirates upped the pace to score their opening try after 19 mins through winger Vunga Lilo. Four minutes later it was Cornishman Adryan Winnan who raced in for the Pirates second try of the afternoon. Centre Steve Winn scored the third try for the home side after 34 mins. Fly-half Olly Thomas had difficulty his kicking in the first half but no problems in the second as he converted flanker Chris Cracknell’s try as well as the final two tries. Replacement hooker Darren Dawiduik scored a fifth try shortly after coming on for Rob Elloway. The last Pirates’ try was scored by Jimmy Moore. Park battled away to the end and were rewarded with a converted try scored by Chris Biers.

On Saturday the Cornish All Blacks played their third match in seven days when they lost 62-0 at Exeter Chiefs. Launceston did well to contain the Chiefs to just 15-0 at half-time but in the second half Exeter ran riot scoring a further seven tries.

In Tribute South West 1, relegated St. Ives gave a good account losing 29-7 at home to Old Patesians. The Hakes led at half-time 7-5 thanks to a converted try by Matt Thomas, sadly they couldn’t build on the lead during the second half.

In Tribute South West 2 West, Camborne notched up their first win of the season with a home win over visitors Barton Hill. Camborne won by 20-3, hooker Sam Bartle and a second half penalty try award made up Town’s two tries. David Mankee converted both scores adding a penalty as well. Young Josh Matavesi dropped a goal to complete the scoring.

In Tribute Western Counties West, Wadebridge Camels remain in third place despite their reversal at Minehead Barbarians 20-8. Gary Gynn scored the Camels’ try with Matt Bailey kicking a penalty.

In winning 8-7 at Hayle, Bude consolidated their mid-table position leaving their hosts in a precarious position second bottom in the league. It was a game of two halves as Bude scored all their points in the first half. Matt Trewin kicked a penalty before Ollie Denford scored Bude’s try after 20 mins. In the second half and despite tremendous pressure Hayle could only score one converted try through Adam Keverne with Ben Eddy adding the extras. Withycombe’s win over Kingsbridge 13-7 didn’t help Hayle’s cause either.
Already relegated Penryn put up a tremendous fight at home to promotion chasing Sidmouth before going down 10-6 to their visitors. Alex Suthridge kicked a penalty and dropped a goal for the Borough.

In London 3 SW, London Cornish battled out a 9-9 draw at Effingham & Leatherhead, DoR Dickon Moon has a comprehensive match report in the forums.
Outside of Mount’s Bay, Newquay Hornets look like Cornwall’s only other promotion bet this season in the leagues outside of Cornwall. Hornets who came up from Cornwall 1 last season cemented their top spot in the Cornwall & Devon league with a 21-0 home win over Wellington. Ashley Mann scored a couple of tries with Rob Johns scoring their third try as well as kicking all three conversions.

Falmouth beat Crediton 17-7 at the Recreation Ground with Darren Pellow scoring a brace of tries with Tim Gay grabbing a third, James Instance kicked a conversion.

Spoils were shared at St. Clements where Truro drew 10-10 with Okehampton. Truro scored two tries through Matt Trevail and Joe Williamson.

On Sunday after Cornwall U.20’s played their second match in this season U.20’s County Championship at North Petherton against Somerset U.20’s. Unfortunately Cornwall lost their second game in this season’s championship 20-11 a result, which ends Cornwall’s hopes for this season.

In the RBS 6 Nations tournament, Wales secured the Triple Crown with a fine 16-12 win at Croke Park over Ireland. Scotland surprised England with an easy win over the auld enemy 15-9 to reclaim the Calcutta Cup. On Sunday France playing in glimpses won against plucky Italy 25-13.

So to the final round of matches next weekend. Scotland will find it tough in Rome, though I think they can win 20-14. England will want to give their fans something to cheer about against Ireland, I think they will win 18 – 12 in a tense match. Finally I expect Wales to complete the Grand Slam against France, but I do think France will give them a fright on the way, 22 – 18!

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News that the Barbarians are looking to play Australia in match at Wembley Stadium to celebrate the Olympic ruby final of 1908 on Saturday December 6th 2008 will be welcome news to all Cornish rugby fans. Those that know their rugby history will be aware that the side the Wallabies defeated to win the goal medal were the English County champions that season, Cornwall by 32-3 at the now long gone White City Stadium in London. Let’s all hope that this match comes about.

Speaking of Cornwall a Development XV took on Redruth Development XV at the Recreation Ground on Sunday afternoon with the Reds running out winners 38-12. The Reds scored five tries through Josh Morgan, Steve Wood, Brett Rule, Ben Fox and Nick Simmons with Grant Thirlby kicking all five conversions and a penalty. For Cornwall Ollie Faulkner (Mount’s Bay) and Dan Prout (Cornish All Blacks) scored tries with David Mankee (Camborne) kicking a conversion.

It wasn’t a happy weekend for our National League clubs as all four lost. On Sunday the Cornish Pirates played Nottingham who had defeated them earlier in the season at Camborne by one point. Despite their best endeavours the Pirates were unable to get revenge as they slipped to a 24-17 defeat at Meadow Lane. Ed Fairhurst and Brian Tuohy scored the Pirates’ tries with Gareth Steenson kicking both conversions and a penalty. Talking of the Pirates mention must be made to congratulate Robin Turner on his election as club President in succession to Dicky Evans last Monday evening along with the confirmation that Mark Hewitt had been given a 2-year contract as head coach.

The Cornish All Blacks suffered a 29-17 reversal at Polson Bridge against Coventry on Saturday. The defeat was compounded with the news that they have lost their fly-half Scott Ireland for the rest of the season as he suffered a broken tibia and fibia. Trailing 19-5 at half-time the All Blacks were always up against it. The home side scored three tries all through the forwards through Josh Lord, on-loan Gavin Quinnell and Neil Clark. Jon Fabian converted the final try.

Redruth had an away trip, which they will want to forget quickly losing 40-14 at Westcombe Park in National League 2, a performance that left coach Nigel Hambly fuming, looks like it’s going to be a tough couple of weeks for the Reds on the training park before their next league game at home to Halifax. The Reds shipped six tries and only managed to score one in reply through Mark Bright. Luke Cozens kicked three penalties.

Mount’s Bay lost at home for the first time in the league this season when Ealing Trailfinders won 15-13 at the Mennaye. Lee Jarvis, who announced this week that he will be leaving the club at the end of this season to take up a post with Cardiff RFC, missed with a conversion attempt, which would have tied the scores. Richard Carroll and Ben Hilton scored the tries for Bay with Jarvis kicking a penalty. Cinderford could only draw with Dings Crusaders so Bay are still top four points clear.

St. Ives suffered another heavy defeat in South West 1 this time at Reading by 79-5, Dean Rainey scoring the Hakes only try in the second half. The end of the season can’t come quick enough for them. We all hope they can regroup next season and come back.

South West 2 West basement side Camborne got no joy on their trip to Barnstaple losing 38-0 in North Devon

The picture is a little rosier thankfully in Western Counties West, Wadebridge Camels ran in nine tries against poor old doomed Penryn running out 56-0 winners. Dan Briskham (2), Gary Gynn (2), Ben May (2), Matt Angwin, Jamie Kneale and Shaun Hawkey scored the Camels’ tries with Jake McCarroll kicking the other points. The win lifts the Camels to third just outside the promotion/play-off spot.

Bude had a feisty old affair at Bencoolen Meadow against Ivybridge winning 7-3, Paul Williams scored and converted his own try for all of Bude’s points.

Hayle lost 26-0 at Kingsbridge to remain in the bottom two.

Up in London in London 3 SW, London Cornish enjoyed a fine 35-11 win over Winchester. Once again you can read Dickon Moon’s report in the forums.

In the Cornwall & Devon League Newquay Hornets maintain their one point lead at the top over Cullompton following their 25-9 win at Crediton. Ashley Mann (2), James Ingle and Luke Bazeley scored the Hornets’ tries, Ryan Johns kicked a penalty and conversion to complete the score for the Hornets. Truro had a good win at bottom side Teignmouth by 49-3 whilst Falmouth lost on the road up at Bideford by 23-15, Justin Doney and Andy Knight got the Chiefs’ tries with James Instance kicking the points.

As it was T.A.S.C.’s presentation day on Saturday at Cornwall 1 clubs, I took in the Stithians against Perranporth league game were the homeside ran out worthy winners by 50-19, Lewis Vague (3), Andrew Creeden (2), Ben Waters, and Ben Keay scored the tries for Stithians with Martin Strick kicking six conversions and a penalty. For Perranporth Paul Martin, Ben Parker and Chas Buscombe scored tries with Addy Matthews and Johnny Smeedon kicking conversions.

Round Four of the RBS 6 Nations takes place this weekend, on Saturday in the first match at Croke Park I expect Wales to complete the Triple Crown with a 25-20 win over Ireland. Up at Murrayfield in the Calcutta Cup match I think England will prove too strong for Scotland and I take them to win 27-12. Finally on Sunday in the all Latin encounter at Stade de France, France are likely to run Italy off their feet and I think they will win 49-7. We shall no doubt see!!

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REDRUTH 25 – 14 BLAYDON (HT 8-7)

By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.

A disciplined performance as called for by head coach Nigel Hambly during the week helped Redruth win this crucial encounter with fellow strugglers Blaydon at the Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon. The Reds were unlucky not to claim the try scoring bonus point, however they will be satisfied that their opponents got nothing points wise from the match.

The major talking point in the crowd prior to kick-off was the presence of former Cornish Pirates head coach Jim McKay who will be assisting the Reds’coaching set-up until the end of the season “Jim is a great friend and I thank him for making himself available to the Reds until the end of the season” declared Hambly.

Redruth made a couple of changes from the defeat at Wharfedale skipper Craig Bonds missed the game being replaced by Paul Thirlby whilst elder brother Rob came back in pace of young Sam Parsons on the wing. The captain’s armband passing to talismatic Kiwi No8 Mark Bright.

Blaydon flew down on the morning of the match their side strengthened in recent weeks by the arrival of several players from Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.

Redruth kicked off playing up the slope, fly-half Luke Cozens spurned an early penalty chance for the home side. Blaydon looked sharp as they looked to spin the ball wide with scrum-half Hall Charlton catching the eye, in response Cozens kicking getting good field position for the Reds. The opening score came after 18 mins, Lewis Vinnicombe fielded a clearance kick sending out a long pass to Rob Thirlby who flew off at speed towards the Blaydon 22, a brilliant step brought him that extra metre to take the move deep into the 22 before feeding inside to centre Rudy Meredith who scored in the Strawberry Lane corner of the ground. Cozens was un-successful with the conversion but made amends after 25 mins with a penalty. They should have had another penalty just before that following a dangerous looking tackle by former Pirates’ second row Dave Whitehead on Meredith. Skipper Bright was leading by example getting through a tremendous amount of work around the park. Redruth began to take the upper hand but couldn’t turn their possession into points, almost on the stroke of half-time Blaydon scored a well worked try through winger Andrew Fenby in the Piggy Lane corner, which was converted by Daniel Kyle.

Blaydon put the Reds under tremendous pressure early in the second half, stout defence kept their line intact. After 47 mins Cozens increased the Reds’ lead with a second penalty. A second try for Redruth came soon after, prop Darren Jacques feed scrum-half Mark Richards, whose break took him up to the Blaydon 22, Vinnicombe, who picked up the Reds’ man-of-the-match award was on hand to finish off the move in Hell Fire corner, Cozens added the conversion.

Rob Thirlby looked to have scored a third try but lost control of the ball as he crossed the line. Further pressure did bring that third try through hooker Glenn Cooper from a forward drive following a line-out on 65 mins, Cozens conversion took the Reds to 25-7. Redruth continued to search in vain for the elusive fourth try, instead it was the visitors who had the final say when they scored a second try through centre Adam Dehaty, Kyle again adding the conversion.

After the match Hambly was full of praise for his players, “I am relieved, we had the jitters at half-time when they scored to make it 8-7, the boys really responded well during the second half with a big performance. Hopefully we can take it on to next weekend at Westcombe Park.”

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The last eight days have been anything but plain sailing up at Polson Bridge. After the euphoria surronding the loan deal that brought Shane Drahm to East Cornwall, the loss at London Welsh, the controversy all week about the switching off the CAB’s vs. Northampton Saints game to Franklins’ Gardens, the swift return of Drahm to Worcester and then finally the humiliating 71-3 defeat at Meadow Lane against Nottingham in the EDF-Energy National Trophy made it all in all a week that everyone connected with the club will want to forget.

My initial reaction to the switching of the home match against the Saints to Northampton’s home ground so that it could be played mid-week was one of dis-belief and horror, the thought of such a game being taken away from the Cornish rugby public was simply not on. The flak was certainly flying in on the message boards not only in the Duchy but also further afield!

What this sorry epiosde again highlights is the continuing lack of modern sporting facilities in Cornwall and the threat of Health & Safety regulations crashing down on you should you be un-lucky enough to fall foul. Bearing in mind that all league matches must be completed by April 26th, the Cornish All Blacks look to have taken the only real option open to them. It’s not popular and I do feel a certain amount of sympathy towards them as this will never be seen as a popular decision.

Tonight at Penzance sees the EGM, to elect a new President and also discussion about the Cornish Pirates’ future plans and the way forward. Hopefully steps can be taken tonight to move the dreams of former President Dicky Evans forward including the much need stadium in Cornwall.

The Cornish All Blacks’ defeat at Nottingham marked the end of Cornish club participation in the National Cups for this season.

Redruth did their hopes of staying in National 2 the power of good with a 25-14 win over fellow relegation candidates Blaydon on Saturday. Tries from Rudy Meredith, Lewis Vinnicombe and Glenn Cooper helped to see the Reds home. The other big news at the Recreation Ground is that former head coach at the Pirates Jim McKay will lending a hand untill the end of the season.

Mount’s Bay stay five points clear at the top of National League 3 South following their 35-18 win at London Scottish, Richard Carroll scored a couple of tries for the Bay with other touchdowns coming from Adam Nicholls and Jamie Semmens. London Cornish DOR Dickon Moon enjoyed a week off from London 3 SW rugby to file a report on the forms from the Bay match.

Cornwall & Devon league leaders Newquay Hornets played Skinners Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup semi-final 1st leg tie at the Sports Centre against Helston winning 27-0 to take an option on reaching the final.

Penryn’s Memorial Ground staged “Bottle Match” between Camborne School of Mines and the Royal School of Mines. Camborne were unable to follow up last year’s win in London their first for many years in this series losing 13-10, so the “bottle” heads back to the capital after a short sojurn in Cornwall.

Sunday saw Cornwall’s U.20 campaign kick-off at Penzance when they entertained Gloucestershire U.20’s. Pre-match their had been plenty of positive talk about Cornwall’s chances in this competition this season. Sadly it’s not going to be as the Cornish side were given a sharp lesson by their bigger more powerful opponents losing 33-8. In the other game in the group Devon beat Somerset at Cullompton 22-0.

Round 3 of the RBS 6 Nations saw England confound the pundits and critics to win at the Stade de France 24-13. Whilst their opening try had it’s fair share of good fortune, Noon’s arm clearly knocked the ball on when he tackled Heymans, before Sackey scored, it was the pack who once again laid the solid foundations of victory plus of course the value of a recognised goal kicker in Jonny Wilkinson. Wigglesworth also gave England an edge they have been lacking.

Wales continue their quest for the Grand Slam with a third win thanks to a storming second half to beat Italy 47-8. Wales will travel to Croke Park hoping to clinch the Triple Crown in Dublin on March 8th.

Ireland will not give up their hold on the Triple Crown when they play Wales following their 34-13 win over Scotland who have along with Italy lost all three of their games to date.

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A last gasp touchline conversion by Ollie Thomas saw the Cornish Pirates home in their National League 1 encounter at Goldington Road against the Bedford Blues 17-15. The Pirates had to battle hard for the points reduced at one point to thirteen men with back row players Chris Cracknell and Iva Motusaga sitting in the sin bin. To their credit they rode the storm and struck at the death to maintain their fine form. A couple of James Pritchard penalties nudged the Blues into a six-point lead before Motusaga scored the first try of the match on 38 mins. Fly-half Gareth Steenson kicked the conversion and then added a penalty just before half-time, Cracknell making his way to the bin in the company of Bedford’s hooker Karl Dickson.

Early in the second half a rush of blood saw Motusaga binned for coming in at the side once too often, Pritchard’s third penalty cutting the Pirates lead to a point 10-9. Under tremendous pressure during the final quarter the Pirates conceded a couple of penalties, which Pritchard kicked to give the Blues a 15-10 advantage. The late late show from the Pirates came well into stoppage time as the ball was worked back across the field from the initial run by Jimmy Moore, with Nathan Kemp, Rhodri McAtee and Adryan Winnan all involved, Winnan managed to off-load to centre Steve Winn the Welshman squeezing in to the right-hand corner. Thomas completed the win with his fine kick.

At Old Deer Park, the Cornish All Blacks’ fine recent run was brought to an emphatic halt 38-0 by a London Welsh side that had benefited from coaching this week from the former National Team coach Gareth Jenkins. The Cornish All Blacks’ switch their attention once again this Saturday when they play Nottingham in the last eight of the EDF-Energy National Trophy in an evening kick-off.

Coach Nigel Hambly was far from pleased with his side’s 17-10 defeat at Wharfedale in National League 2 a result, which once again pulls the Reds back into the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table. Winger Simon Horsfall scored an un-converted try after only 5 mins for the home side. Andy Baggett added a couple of penalties either side of half-time to extend the home side’s advantage before the Reds struck back with a penalty from Luke Cozens before winger Lewis Vinnicombe, making a welcome return following injury, followed up a kick through by centre PJ Gidlow to score in the corner, Cozen’s conversion brought the Reds back to within a point on the scoreboard. Two further penalties from Baggett sealed the win for Wharfedale with the last penalty award also seeing Reds scrum-half Mark Richards getting a red card. The Reds will have to focus immediately on Saturday’s up coming fixture against an in-form Blaydon side who beat second place Stourbridge.

Mount’s Bay successfully overcame their potentially difficult trip to Canterbury with a 16-15 win to remain top of National League 3 South. The game went to un-contested scrums during the final 20 minutes as the home side lost their complete front row to injuries during the game something the Bay coaching staff were not too happy about. Jon Marlin scored the Bay’s opening try before Canterbury hit back with a penalty and an un-converted try to lead 8-5. Bay hit back before half-time when Tyron Child scored their second try to turn around 10-8 up. Tim Mosey then kicked a couple of penalties to increase the visitor’s lead. Canterbury scored a second try through former Albion player Pat Sykes with De Kock’s conversion bringing his side to within appoint of Bay.

In South West 1, St. Ives managed to raise a side to play Redingensians but it was a familiar story as the Hakes slipped to a 40-5 loss at home to confirm their relegation to South West 2 West next season.

In South West 2 West, Camborne are not quite mathematically relegated but they are certain to play in Western Counties West next season. Camborne’s latest reversal came at Clevedon 38-5 with hooker Nathan Curnow getting Town’s only try.

Wadebridge Camels remain third in Western Counties West, but are now six points behind second place Sidmouth following their 13-13 draw at Tiverton. Hayle are second from bottom following their loss to leaders Paignton 29-12 at the Memorial Park. Trailing 21-0 during the first quarter the Lions fought back to 21-12 at half-time Adam Keverne scoring the first try converted by Paul Lello and James Jago grabbing the second. With five games to play Hayle will be targeting their home games against Withycombe also on 12 points and Penryn to get them out of jail. Bude lost 33-3 at Kingsbridge to remain fifth. Devonport Services eased their relegation fears with a 20-18 win at doomed Penryn.

In London 3 SW, London Cornish despite a brave first half performance holding leaders Cobham 3-3 on their own patch slipped to a second half defeat 29-3. (Dickon Moon’s report in the forums.)
In Cornwall & Devon League, Newquay Hornets remain top following their Cornish derby win over Falmouth at the Sports Centre 17-7. Truro defeated Wellington 13-5 at St. Clements to remain in fourth place.

This coming Sunday sees Cornwall U.20’s begin their County Championship campaign with a home fixture at the Mennaye Field, Penzance against Gloucestershire with a 2-30 kick-off.

The RBS 6 Nations is back on our screens this weekend as England are at the Stade de France on Saturday evening it’s appropriate to cast a quick glance at rugby in Brittany. On Sunday Vannes playing in only their second season in Fédérale 1 qualified for the first time for the second phase of Jean Prat championship following a 24-7 win over Poitiers to clinch the final qualifying spot (4th) in their pool. Two tries from full-back Julien Cazenave, a former teammate of Pirates’ full back Adryan Winnan whilst at Tarbes, helped the Breton side on their way. Vannes are now pitted against three sides from the deep south Lavaur, Lannemezan and Périgueux in a further pool to determine who progresses to the knock out stages.

So to next weekend’s matches, Wales v Italy, the Welsh are on a roll and I expect them to comfortably beat the Italians in Cardiff by 20 points 35 – 15.

Ireland v Scotland, the Irish showed glimpses of what they are capable of at St. Denis during the second half of their match against France, I think Ireland will beat Scotland by a score 21 – 14.

France v England an 8pm kick-off will not suit England, much depends on the selection of the England team. France will be looking for revenge for their defeat in the semi-final of the rugby world cup and I expect them to beat the English by a ten- point margin 25-15 with Vincent Clerc once again getting in on the scoring. It should be a cracker.

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Difficult to know whether the groans from the BBC studio in Rome on Sunday were to do with another dismal England second half performance or the text messages that John Inverdale received informing him of his beloved Esher’s demise at Camborne at the hands of the Cornish Pirates by 70 – 10! No doubt that the fare served up at Camborne was much more to our taste as the Cornish Pirates at last gave the performance that we have sensed was within them as they put to the sword a side in emphatic manner. Tim Cowley opened the try count after only four minutes and the scores came thick and fast as winger Rhodri McAtee, full back Adryan Winnan and centre Paul Devlin grabbed a brace each. Further scores came from flanker Chris Cracknell, replacement winger Brian Tuohy and a penalty try awarded by referee Mr. Rose who had a busy weekend as he ran the line at Newport on Friday night during the Wales v Scotland U.20 match. Gareth Steenson kicked eight conversions, with his replacement Olly Thomas kicking the other two. All Esher had to show for their efforts were a couple of tries from centre Dougie Flockhart.

Up at Polson the Cornish All Blacks did their chances of staying in National League 1 next season a power of good with a 24-15 win over fellow strugglers Pertemps Bees. Winger Matt Jess took his try haul in the league to an impressive eleven with a brace whilst fly-half Scott Ireland scored the All Blacks other try. Full-back John Fabian converted all three scores as well as kicking a penalty. For the Bees they scored three un-converted tries through Marika Vecacegu, Dave Knight and Reece Spee.

Redruth continue to put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone in National 2 with a 22 – 10 win over northerners Waterloo. You can read my match report on the main part of the site.

Mount’s Bay continue on their march to the National 3 South title with an impressive 57-5 win over Clifton at the Mennaye scoring nine tries with another hat-trick of tries for Bay winger Jamie Semmens, full-back Tim Mosey weighed in with a brace with the other scores going to centre Jon Marlin, No8 Adam Nicholls, winger Olly Faulkner, and fly-half Lee Jarvis, Jarvis landed six conversions. Ed Smith scored a consolation score for the visitors just before half-time.

In South West 1, St. Ives nightmare season continued, as they were unable to raise a side to travel to Bracknell, thus forfeiting the points.

Camborne lost at home to Newton Abbot 36-14 in South West 2 West and are resigned to returning to Western Counties West next season. Flanker Martin Goldsworthy scored Town’s try finishing off a fine break by full-back Joe Parma with scrum-half Dave Mankee kicking three penalties.

In Western Counties West, performance of the week must be Penryn’s first win of the season with a narrow 13-12 win at Ivybridge, Andy Feviour and Kevin Kitto scored tries for the Borough with Alex Stuthridge kicking a penalty. No doubt the win will be a great boost for Penryn but it’s come too late to avoid the drop at the end of the season.

Wadebridge Camels produced another fine performance at home beating Withycombe 59-0 scoring nine tries centre Dan Briskham scored twice with other try scorers being winger Andy Cameron, flanker Sam Stone, lock Rob Hawkey, full-back Jake McCarroll, hooker Matt Ballard, prop Richard Treleaven and winger Alisdair Maclennan, McCarroll kicked the other points. Camels are up to third but are five points off the play-off spot.

Hayle are down in the drop zone just above Penryn following their 52-3 defeat at Sidmouth.

Bude drew 8-8 at home with Minehead Barbarians Luke Dunkin scored their try with Matt Trewin kicking a penalty.

In London 3 SW, London Cornish defeated London Irish Amateurs 53-10 scoring nine tries. Read DOR Dickon Moon’s match report in the forums.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Newquay Hornets remain top following their 27-12 win at Bideford. The Hornets scored four tries through Lee Woodhatch, former St. Ives player James Earp, Ross Robbins and Ryan Johns who also kicked the other points for his side.

Truro remain in 5th following their 29-5 win at Crediton, winger Matt Trevail scored three tries, with prop Chris Gilbert and replacement hooker Adrian Geech also touching down Ross Martin kicked a couple of conversions.

Falmouth’s defeat at the Recreation Ground to Tavistock 22-13 looks like condemning them to another season in this league next term. Recent signing Aki Bundi scored their try with James Instance adding the conversion and a couple of penalties.

The second weekend of the Royal Bank of Scotland 6 Nations saw both Wales and France secure two wins out of two and an unconvincing England secure a narrow win in Rome. Wales defeated Scotland 30-15 to secure the second leg of a possible Triple Crown. France again showed their good and bad side in defeating plucky Ireland 26-21 with the irrepressible Toulouse winger Vincent Clerc scoring a hat-trick of tries. England hung on in Rome to win 23-19 having led 20-6 at half-time. Jonny Wilkinson was involved in both England tries and kicked his 1,000 point in his 13 point haul. One other international result of note was Antim Cup match in Tbilisi where Georgia beat Romania 22-7 to take a firm hold at the top of the European Nations Cup Group A.

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The Cornish All Blacks secured their quarter-final berth with a ten try romp over National League side Blackheath winning 61-15. The Monday draw at Twickenham has given them a tough assignment as they must travel to inform Nottingham on the 23rd of February.

Three players scored a brace of tries, Ryan Westren, Matt Jess and Sam Alford with Marc Dibble, Wayne Sprangle, Tom Rawlings and Josh Lord also getting on the scoreboard. Jon Fabian kicked four conversions and a penalty.

If the Cornish All Blacks can take this current form into their next league matches then they will be in with a chance of staving off relegation.

The only other “National” cup match was in the Junior Vase where Cornwall’s last represenatives in the competition St. Austell went out at Chiswick by 40-7.

There were a few catch up league matches with the most notable being in Western Counties West with Wadebridge Camels taking on Sidmouth, the Camels maintained their current un-beaten home league record with a last gasp try by Tom O’Donnell to earn a 13-13 draw. Alisdair MacLennan scored the other points for the Camels with a try and a penalty.

Penryn were once more well-beaten this by Tiverton at the Memorial Ground 37-8.

Hayle had a survival battle with fellow strugglers Devonport Services, which ended in a draw 15-15. Richard Spear and James Jago scored tries for the Lions with Adam Keverne kicking a penalty and conversion.

In the Cornwall & Devon league, Falmouth had a fine win over Wessex 40-0, with winger Darren Pellow scoring a hat-trick of tries.

So much for my attempts to predict the 6 Nations result from last weekend. Wales laid to rest their 20 year wait for a win at Twickenham with remarkable comeback to win 26-19 over a lackluster England during the second half. Trailing 19-6 with a little more than a quarter of the game remaining, the Twickenham crowd were silenced by stirring Welsh recovery aided by a complete English capitulation! The selection for Sunday’s match in Rome will be very interesting from an English point of view.

Ireland only just did enough at Croke Park to beat a spirited though limited Italian side 16-11.

And so to the game on Sunday were France showed glimpses of promise with a deserved win over a disappointing Scotland 27-6. The new caps played very well and I for one was impressed with the Montpellier fly-half Francois Trinh-Duc showing a willingness to run with the ball that has been sadly lacking from recent French sides.

So on to this weekend’s predictions;

Wales vs. Scotland, Wales to carry on in front of their home crowd, though I expect Scotland to play much better, Wales to win 24-14

France vs. Ireland, I expect France to motor at the Stade de France 32 – 10.

Italy vs. England, if England play like they did in the second half against Wales then they will lose to Italy, that thought alone should spur them on to a narrow win 17-12 to England.

Posted in Bill's Blog


The Cornish All Blacks dug deep to send old boy Graham Dawe and his Plymouth Albion side packing the short trip across the Tamar back to Devon. A 17-16 win and a welcome four points in Launceston’s battle to stay up in National League 1. The home side took an early lead as No 8 Tinus du Plessis scored off a lineout powering his way into the corner. Full-back Jon Fabian kicked a touchline conversion for a 7-0 lead. Albion re-grouped kicking two first half penalties by Ross Laidlaw to leave the home side 7-6 up at the break.

Laidlaw added a third penalty soon after half-time before Albion’s winger Emyr Lewis scored a fine try, which Laidlaw converted for a 16-7 lead. Laidlaw missed another penalty attempt, which was to prove crucial in the final analysis. The All Blacks brought on some fresh legs as they chased the game. Following a surge up the middle Ryan Westren was able to finish off the move for the All Blacks’ second try. At 16-12 the home side scented a win, into injury time and with Albion defending desperately, hooker Neil Clarke finally crashed over to score Launceston’s third try and a 17-16 lead, which they held on to until the final whistle to scenes of wild celebration at Polson.

Further to the east the second cross-border clash in National League 1 took place at Exeter’s impressive Sandy Park stadium, as the Cornish Pirates looked to put recent events off field behind them with a good performance at second place Exeter.

They got off to the best possible start with a Gareth Steenson penalty after only three minutes followed up by a try from Tongan Vunga Lilo who capitalised on an Exeter error. Exeter soon hit back with an opening try scored by lock Chris Bentley to trail 5-8. More joy for Pirates’ faithful was to follow as Steenson intercepted a pass to romp home and convert for a 15-5 lead. Tony Yapp kicked a couple of penalties for the Chiefs before half-time to leave his braves licking their wounds at 15-11 down.

The Chiefs stormed out of the blocks after the resumption scoring two converted tries in quick succession, first it was winger Josh Drauniniu, who made up for his earlier error in gifting Lilo’s try, picking off a pass from Tim Cowley to roar in at the posts. Barely sixty seconds later and Yapp was converting the Chiefs third try as Richard Baxter, playing his 250th league match for the Chiefs rounded off a fine passage of play from former Pirate, Junior Fatialofa. Yapp then claimed the Chiefs fourth try. Which he again converted to put his side in a comfortable 32-15 lead. Some turnaround in the space of fifteen minutes.

Throwing caution to the wind the Pirates set about trying to salvage something from the game, Steenson scored his second try of the game adding the conversion to cut the deficit to just ten points. Unfortunately some slack defence allowed the Chiefs in for a fifth try scored by flanker Tom Johnson, Yapp once again adding the extras. The scoring was completed when Rhodri McAtee scored the Pirates fourth try, converted by Ollie Tomas for a bonus point.

The Sandy Park crowd certainly had their money’s worth with one of the most cracking local derbies in a long while.

Redruth did themselves a power of good in their battle to avoid relegation from National League 2 with an 18-10 win at Blackheath, a result, which lifts them further away from the drop zone. Cheered on by a coach load of supporters who had driven up on the morning of the match, Redruth scored two tries through prop Darren Jacques and hooker Glen Cooper, Luke Cozens kicking a conversion and a couple of penalties. Club replied with a couple of tries through skipper Tom Basson and England Counties flanker Dave Allen. Sweet revenge following Blackheath’s win at Redruth earlier in the season.

Mount’s Bay made it a good day for Cornish clubs in the capital with a 27-17 win at Rosslyn Park to maintain their lead in National League 3 South. Winger Jamie Semmens led the try scoring with a hat-trick of touchdowns whilst Jon Marlin scored the other Bay try, Lee Jarvis kicked two conversions and a penalty. For Rosslyn Park lock Graham Corin, no doubt to great personal delight, scored Park’s first try with full back John Swords scoring the second, fly-half Richard Mahoney converted both scores and also kicked a penalty.

In Southwest One, it was another difficult afternoon for St. Ives as they lost at home to Cleve 61-3. Matt Thomas kicking a penalty for the Hakes.

In Southwest 2 west, a similar picture again for poor old Camborne as they lost at high-flyers Taunton 53-5, Cameron Bone scoring the only try for Town.

The picture is a little rosier in Western Counties West, Wadebridge Camels lie fourth following their 18-12 win at Hayle. Andy Cameron scored a couple of tries for the Camels as they went 10-0 up. McCarroll kicked a penalty to extend the Camels lead before the Lions hit back with a try from James Jago to leave the Camels 13-5 up at half-time. Dan Lumb scored the third Camels try in the second half, before Jago scored his second, which Trathan converted. Hayle pressed but couldn’t score again. A result which now leaves last season’ s promotion play-off side Hayle in the bottom three.

Bude put up a good fight at table toppers Paignton before losing 25-10, Rob Uglow and Matt Williams scored tries for Bude.

Any prospect of Minehead being daunted at playing on the large pitch at Penryn were well and truly laid to rest as they inflicted another defeat on the Borough winning 14-9 at the Memorial Ground. Alex Sutheridge kicked three penalties for Penryn.

Two late tries proved to be the undoing of London Cornish as they lost in London 3 SW to Guernsey on the island, Dickon Moon has sobered up enough to give us his considered report on the weekends events in the Channel Islands.

Newquay Hornets won the tussle between the top two in the Cornwall & Devon league winning 24-22 at Tavistock. James Ingles scored two tries for the Hornets with their other points coming from the boot of Ryan Johns, although Cullompton are menacing now in second place a point behind but with a game in hand.

There has been this week a lot of discussion about the coverage of rugby on BBC Radio Cornwall on a Saturday afternoon. It does seem that there are times when you want to screech at the radio as they cut away just as a match is getting exciting this certainly happened on Saturday during the Exeter Chiefs v Cornish Pirates game. There are also far too many occasions when wrong scores or incorrect information is given out.
What a pity that there is now little or no mention of any rugby outside the National Leagues, this was not the case until quite recently. Let us all hope that matters improve and quick, we after all fund the service through our licence fee.

Next Saturday sees the start of the RBS 6 Nations, I shall be at Murrayfield on Sunday to see Scotland take on France, my predictions for the first round of matches.

Ireland v Italy at Croke Park, a home win Ireland to win by a couple of scores.

England v Wales at Twickenham, despite Welsh hopes for a first win at HQ in 20 years I think England will prevail in a close match.

Scotland v France at Murrayfield, some interesting selections in the French 22, are we about to witness a renaissance of French flair? Something tells me Scotland may well nick this one in a tight encounter.

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