A tremendous start to 2008 with all four Cornish National League clubs earning wins. Pride of place must go to Launceston, the Cornish All Blacks ended 2007 bottom of National League 1 with the spectre of a swift return to National League 2 looming ever larger. The win against Rotherham will be a massive tonic for the men in black. Despite falling behind to a try by Titans skipper Neil Cochrane converted by Jamie Lennard, the All Blacks mounted a majestic fight-back in the Polson mud, centre Peter Fisher scored the first try before half-time to leave the home side trailing 5-7 at the break.

In the second half Launceston maintained the onslaught, riding their luck at times, but then they are due their own fair share of it, before replacement lock Dave Simms charged down an attempted Titan’s clearance then winning the race to the touchdown to secure the all-important second try for a 10-7 win, which lifts the Cornish side from the foot of the table. Launceston are in National Trophy action next week at League 2 side Nuneaton, whilst taking nothing for granted a good win there will set them up nicely for their trip to Moseley and then the home game against an off colour Plymouth Albion.

The Cornish Pirates’ win at Sharmans crossroads on Saturday 27-23 condemned the Midlanders to the foot of the table. Coach Jim McKay made a few changes from the previous week’s side, though in the end the Pirates were made to work very hard for their win, which once more saw the try-scoring bonus point go a-begging. Olly Thomas who again started at fly-half in preference to Gareth Steenson opened the scoring with a penalty. The lead was soon increased as Canadian scrum-half Ed Fairhurst seized the opportunity to score the visitors’ first try, Thomas slotting the conversion for a 10-0 lead. Paul Knight then kicked a couple of penalties as the home pack built up some momentum. It remained 10-6 to half-time.

With the weather closing in the Pirates nicked the opening score of the second half as winger Rhodri McAtee scored in the corner following some fine play, Thomas’ conversion stretched the Pirates’ lead to 17-6. An early Bees penalty saw the deficit cut by three. Unfortunately the Pirates then had prop Peter Cook yellow-carded, the Bees took full advantage scoring two converted tries through flanker Andy Daish and lock Mark Gabey to take a 23-17 lead, shades of Coventry the previous week. The Bees then had a player lock Alex Davidson sin-binned, the Pirates soon capitalised. Steenson now on for Thomas, exploited an opening to romp over under the posts, converting his own score the Pirates led by a point. Knight missed a penalty attempt for the Bees whereas Steenson as cool as cucumber slotted a penalty for a four point lead 27-23. The Pirates defence held firm during the closing stages to secure the win.

In National League 2, Redruth were in a charitable mood as they gifted their opponents three tries during the opening quarter of an hour to find themselves trailing 17-3, all the Reds had to show was a Gareth Griffiths penalty! In a game, which they desperately needed to win it was the worst possible start for the home side. Redruth started the fight back when Southend were reduced to fourteen men with a try scored by centre Rudolf Meredith, Griffiths kicking the extras. The fly-half chipped away at the visitor’s lead with a second penalty. Another Southend player was required to spend ten minutes on the sideline, as the Reds began to slip into top gear with the irrepressible Mark Bright powering through the opposition to score Redruth’s second try of the afternoon, Griffith’s conversion saw the Reds take the lead 20-17, they never looked back from then on.

Paul Thirlby scored the Reds’ third try soon after half-time, the bonus point try was scored by centre PJ Gidlow with that man Bright once again at the heart of the action. Griffiths kicked a third penalty and the conversion to a penalty try award as the Reds finally put the seal on the performance required on the day. A win, which lifts the Reds on points difference out of the bottom three.

Mount’s Bay kept the momentum going at the top of National League 3 South with a fine win at Havant 24-0. The Cornishmen were disappointed at not grabbing the try-scoring bonus point, as did their closest rival Cinderford whom they now lead by just three points. Lock Richard Carroll scored the opening Bay try, which Lee Jarvis converted before adding a penalty for a 10-0 lead. Bay grabbed a second try just before the break thanks to hooker Jamie Semmens again Jarvis added the extras for a 17-0 lead.

Jarvis made way for Marek Churcher during the second period. Havant frustrated Bay during the second period, eventually the home side had a player in the bin and the Bay were then able to exploit their advantage scoring a third try through winger Tyron Child, full-back Tim Mosey kicked the conversion, however Bay had to settle for just the four points.

In Southwest 1, St. Ives entertained Oxford Harlequins but there was no New Year celebration as the Hakes slipped to yet another defeat 20-8, Matt Thomas kicked a penalty and player-coach John Navin scored a try.

In Southwest 2 west, Camborne slipped to a 21-12 defeat at Brixham, the Cherry & Whites despite trailing to an early Fisherman’s penalty, scored a try through lock Ryan Smith. Camborne scored a second forward’s try through flanker Sam Bartle converted by Dave Mankee for a 12-3 half-time lead. That was as good as it got for Town as the heavy Brixham forwards ground out the win during the second half in the mud.

In Western Counties West, Hayle gave an heroic display in denying Ivybridge with an 8-7 win at the Memorial Park, lock Will Penny scored the Lions try after 15 mins, Ivybridge hit back to score a converted try before half-time. Ben Eddy’s penalty proved to be the only score of the second period giving the Lions a precious win.

Leaders Paignton proved too strong for challengers Wadebridge Camels winning 31-7 at Queens Park, Sam Stone scored the Camels try with Sean Hawkey kicking the conversion.

Bude let slip the advantage at Sidmouth after leading 10-3 at half-time thanks to tries from Mark Dennis and Paul Williams to lose 12-10.

Penryn’s game at Tiverton was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

In the Cornwall & Devon league, Newquay Hornets remain in top spot following a 28-8 win over Wessex . Hornets’ scrum-half Ryan Johns kicked a penalty and then converted his own score for a 10-0 lead. Johns kicked a second penalty before half-time for a 13-5 advantage. No 8 Lee Woodhatch scored a second try for the Hornets, which Johns converted for 20-8, before the irrepressible Johns scored a second try. Fly-half Simon Horton added a drop goal to complete the Hornets haul.

A depleted Truro lost at home to Tavistock 26-10, Joe Williamson scored the City side’s try with Scott Martin adding the conversion and a penalty.

Falmouth didn’t get any joy from their trip to Cullompton losing 26-5, skipper Tim Gay scoring the Chief’s only try.

Up in London 3 SW, London Cornish got 2008 off to a fine start with a 23-14 win at Andover (Dickon Moon’s fine report can be found in the TASC forums).

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The Cornish Pirates brought the curtain down on their playing record for 2007 with hard fought win over Coventry just as they had started the year. Whereas in January they squeezed home by a point 16-15, this time they scored five tries in a 36-21 success. It was by no means any easy win, the Pirates were made to work very hard by the visitors, who led 21-19 as the game approached the final quarter.

Coventry built up an early 8-0 lead thanks to a Ben Russell penalty followed by a try from lock Ian Nimmo. The Pirates responded with an opening try from centre Paul Devlin (the first of three for the afternoon) converted by Olly Thomas who started the game at fly-half. Brian Tuhoy then grabbed a second try in the corner for a 12-8 lead. Russell then kicked a second penalty to reduce the deficit. The Pirates stretched their lead once again when Devlin scored his second try which Thomas converted. Russell kicked a third penalty for the visitors to leave them trailing 19-14 at the turn. Coventry carried on where they left off after the break scoring a second try through fly-half Myles Dorrian with Russell kicking the conversion for 21-19 lead which they held on to until 69 mins. Gareth Steenson on for James Moore kicked a penalty for a one point lead, Devlin then completed his try scoring hat-trick to secure the vital bonus point, the fifth try came right at the end scored by Rhodri McAtee on for Tuhoy, Steenson adding the extras to both scores. Some fine performances in the Pirates pack with both locks Heino Senekal and Scott Hobson showing well.

No doubt the watching contingent from Mount’s Bay had much food for thought as they prepare to meet Coventry in the National Trophy encounter at the Mennaye.

Lady luck still shows no sign of favouring the Cornish All Blacks as they were cruelly beaten at Sedgley Park by 6-3. A low scoring match played in difficult conditions saw both sides turn around at 0-0. Jon Fabian kicked Launceston’s penalty goal during the second half.

In the only other game played in the duchy, Wadebridge Camels defeated St. Ives in the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup 50-13 scoring eight tries against their higher league opponents.

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For the first time in many a long year Falmouth got the better of their near neighbours Penryn in the annual Boxing Day encounter played this year on Penryn’s Memorial Ground. It was 10-5 to the Black & White’s, with the visitors holding out the home side in the closing stages to earn that long awaited win.

Camborne defeated Redruth by 7-6 at the Camborne Recreation Ground, in front of a crowd approaching four figures, although the Reds fielded a Development XV. Andrew Smith scored Town’s try, which was converted by young Josh Matavesi. Grant Thirlby kicked a couple of penalties for the Reds.

At St. Ives, the Hakes defeated Hayle 52-0.

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The Saturday prior to Christmas saw just our four National League clubs in action with only Mount’s Bay getting a win thus consolidating their top spot in National League 3 South.

It was vital for the Bay to post a win following their slip up the previous Saturday at Cinderford, this they did, though not without a fright from opponents Bridgewater & Albion winning 34-17. Bay scored a couple of early un-converted tries through Tom Outram and Lee Jarvis, before scoring a third just before the break by Jon Marlin to leave the home side 15-3 up at the break.

Bay lost flanker Steve Dyer to the sin-bin having previously seen full back Tim Mosey sit out a ten minute spell during the first-half. Albion prompltly scored a couple of converted tries to snatch a 17-15 lead after 64 mins. Bay stormed back lead by an inspired Richard Carroll who scored Bay’s fourth try and had a big hand in Bay’s sixth try scored by Chris Morris, sandwiched in between was a try for replacement lock Adam Nicholls, Jarvis kicked a couple of conversions to complete the scoring.

The Cornish Pirates gave Northampton Saints a good run for their money at Franklin’s Gardens in front of 12,868 crowd before losing 26-10 in National League 1. Winger Vunga Lilo intercept try converted by Gareth Steenson gave the Pirates a 7-3 lead after 18 mins, that was a good as it got for the Pirates as they fell foul of replacement referee Greg Garner on numerous occassions thereafter! Trailing 16-7 at half-time an early Steenson penalty proved to be their only points of the second half as the Saints confirmed the win scoring a conveted third try to deny the Pirates anything from the match.

Up at Polson the Cornish All Blacks slow start saw them lose yet another home match trailing 27-3 at half-time with just a Jon Fabian penalty to show for their efforts, Matt Jess’ try in the second half was mearly a consolation for the All Blacks as they remain rooted to the foot of the table.

Not a good day for Redruth in National League 2 as they hoped to get out of the bottom three, instead they were well-beaten at Stourbridge 34-0 with a number of players picking up injuries! At least the Reds have a week’s rest to prepare for the visit of Southend on January 5th in what will be a vital game for their survival prospects in League 2.

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The news that has broken in Cornwall during the last 24 hours that the Cornish Pirates and Truro City FC are willing to join forces to build a stadium so that both clubs can persue their aims is to be both applauded and welcomed.

I very much hope that the members of Penzance & Newlyn RFC will give this proposal their backing to empower their President Dicky Evans to progress matters when the club membership meets on Tuesday 14th January in the St. Johns Hall in Penzance.

Exciting times indeed.

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Traditional Boxing Day fixtures to be played on Wednesday 26th December, it is advisable to check with the home club for kick-off times;

Bude vs. President’s XV
Camborne vs. Redruth (2-30pm)
Helston vs. President’s XV
Newquay Hornets vs. Chairman’s XV (KO 11am)
Penryn vs. Falmouth (2-30pm)
Perranporth vs. Chairman’s XV
St. Ives vs. Hayle (2-30pm)
Veor vs. Illogan Park

It leaves me to wish “One & All” Nadelek Lowen ha Bledhen Noweth Da, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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It may have been Super Sunday up country for soccer, but in the Duchy we had our own version with the oval ball at Camborne. What a festive cracker we all enjoyed, you can read my match report on the main site, suffice to say that thanks to their 43 – 12 win the Cornish Pirates have moved up to third place in the table, whilst the All Blacks remain at the foot of the table with a big mountain to climb during the second half of the season if they hope to play National League 1 rugby next season. With it being the season of goodwill, I wish both clubs the very best in their respective quests in the New Year.

On Saturday Redruth entertained Henley Hawks in a match, which before the season commenced looked likely to b a top of the table encounter as opposed to a relegation dog-fight. It was the Reds who grabbed all five league points with an impressive score-line 44 – 3. A more detailed report on the match is available on the main TASC website. A win next Saturday at Stourbridge and Redruth could well climb out of the bottom three by Christmas, which would be great Christmas to coach Nigel Hambly from his players.

It was first versus second in National League 3 South on Saturday as hitherto un-beaten Mount’s Bay travelled up to Cinderford. A win for Bay would have given them a commanding lead at the top of the table going into the New Year, however their fine run was brought to an end as impressive Cinderford won 17 – 0 at Docking Road. Boasting several players with Premiership experience such as Matt Cornwell and Andy Deacon along with Tristan Roberts who has been capped by England Counties, they set about their task to down the league leaders. An early drop goal by Roberts set the scene as Jarvis missed with a penalty attempt for the visitors. The loss of Richard Carroll to the sin-bin didn’t help Bay’s cause as during his absence Cinderford increased their lead with a converted try scored by Dan Trigg, Roberts adding the extras.

Cinderford increased their lead with a second converted try in the second half scored by scrum-half Will Merivale. Bay were back down to fourteen men as John Griffiths was obliged to sit out for 10 mins for pulling a man down in the line out. Bay were unable to rescue the game a result which still leaves them top but only with a three point advantage over their victors.

In the regional leagues it was the final round of matches before the Christmas/New Year break. In Southwest 1, St. Ives had an important game at fellow strugglers Bournemouth, despite taking an early lead thanks to try from hooker Ben Taylor converted by Matt Thomas the Hakes were pegged back before half-time. The home side then took the lead with a couple of tries, before St. Ives rallied with a second try scored and converted by Josh Stevens to trail by only three points, Bournemouth then scored a fourth try in injury time to seal the win and leave the Hakes firmly rooted at the foot of the table five points away from safety.

Not much better in Southwest 2 west as Camborne suffered another defeat this time at home to Weston Hornets 27 – 10, town’s tries were scored by Andrew Smith and Cameron Bone. The result leaves Camborne firmly at the foot of the table seven points adrift of safety.

In Western Counties West, Bude took advantage of Wadebridge Camels re-arranged EDF-Energy Senior Vase tie to leap-frog their North Cornwall rivals in the table with 17 – 10 win over visitors Tiverton. Leading 5 – 0 at the break thanks to a try from Julian Morris, the home side went on to build a 17 – 0 lead during the second half thanks to further tries from replacement Ian Wickett and Dave Uglow with Olly Denford adding a conversion. Tiverton mounted a come back of sorts scoring a converted try and a penalty, however Bude held out for the win.

Still no joy for Penryn as they lost their basement tussle with Withycombe 7 – 3 at the Memorial Ground, Taron Peacock kicked the only points for the Borough. Penryn are now six points adrift of their conquerors and look set to return to the Cornwall & Devon League next season.

Hayle lost up in Somerset to Minehead Barbarians by 28 – 5.

In London 3 SW, London Cornish enjoyed a fine win over Old Wimbeldonians 62 – 5 to help them digest last week’s Senior Vase defeat. Once again Dickon Moon has written a fine report on the game which can be read in the forums of the TASC site.

In the Cornwall & Devon League it’s suddenly become very tight at the top as for the second week running the top two Newquay Hornets and Truro were beaten. Hornets remain top by a point despite losing 27 – 7 at fast improving Cullompton. Hooker Luke Bazeley scored the Hornets try which was converted by replacement Ryan Johns.

Truro slip from second to fifth following their 26 – 18 loss in North Devon at Bideford.

Falmouth are up to third having beaten Honiton 28 – 10 at the Rec. What price Falmouth being in a higher league than the Borough next season?

In the postponed Senior Vase tie from last week, Wadebridge Camels booked a trip to Frome in the next round with a 24 – 13 win at Ivybridge. No such joy for Stithians in the Junior Vase as they crashed out 50 – 6 at Bristol Saracens.

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Very little league rugby this weekend as it was National Cups day from level 3 down.

In National League 1, Launceston’s big day hosting Northampton Saints was called off following the torrential Saturday morning rain, which left a small section of the Polson pitch waterlogged.

The Cornish Pirates secured an important win at Old Deer Park by 20 – 17, thanks to a long-range Gareth Steenson penalty which proved to be the only score of the second half. The Pirates got off to a storming start leading 17-3 by the end of the first quarter, two players returning from injury centre Steve Winn and full-back Adryan Winnan scored the Pirates tries, both converted by Steenson who also kicked a first half penalty. Sam Ulph kicked a penalty for the Welsh exiles, before the Pirates conceded two tries within three minutes from London Welsh skipper Richard Martin-Redman, Ulph converting both to tie the scores at half-time.

In the only other league encounter involving a Cornish club, St. Ives made the trip up to Oxfordshire to play Chinnor in Southwest 1 and lost 77-0.

Result of the day has to be Mount’s Bay’s narrow win at Southend in the National Trophy 13-12. A giant-killing act indeed as the ever-improving Bay claimed the scalp of a National League 2 club. The result could easily have gone the other way as Bay were rescued by an up-right which deflected a last-gasp drop goal attempt from South end’s Ben McKeith. Jarvis kicked an early penalty before Southend took the lead with a try from winger Tyson Lewis. Bay fell further behind on 27 mins conceding a second try this time scored by full-back Simon Hoult who also added the conversion. Jon Marlin scored a try for Bay before half-time which Jarvis converted to leave them trailing by just two points. Jarvis’ 60 min penalty success then clinched the tie.

Redruth stormed into the fourth round with a comprehensive win over an under-strengthed Stourbridge side 64-7 scoring ten tries in the process (See my match report on the main site).

The fourth round draw concerning Cornish sides is detailed below with three of the four ties scheduled to be played in the Duchy on the weekend of 12/13 January.

In the Senior Vase 4th round, Wadebridge Camels tie at Ivybridge was another game to fall foul of the weather with Ivybridge’s Cross-in-Hand pitch being deemed unplayable. The tie should take place this coming Saturday.

The only other Cornish interest in this competition ended on Saturday as London Cornish lost to Hammersmith & Fulham 20-19 (Dickon Moon has a complete match report on the forums).

The Junior Vase 5th round ties, Stithians tie at Bristol Saracens was postponed. St. Austell defeated Liskeard & Looe in the only all-Cornish tie of the round 14-8, whilst Saltash lost at Southmead 25-8.

In the three Skinners Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup 1st Round ties that were played on Saturday;

Newquay Hornets 45 – 0 Camborne School of Mines
Bodmin 7 – 31 Helston
Redruth Albany 28 – 20 Roseland

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The 4th Round draw for the eDF-Energy National Trophy made at lunchtime today;

Saturday 12th January



Sunday 13th January



What a cracking draw for Cornish clubs with three out of the four ties to be held in the Duchy.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Another difficult Saturday afternoon for the Cornish All Blacks as they visited Goldington Road to take on the Bedford Blues in National League 1. The Cornish side certainly gave it a good lash, leading 16-14 at the break thanks to a try from flanker Wayne Sprangle converted by full-back Jon Fabian, who also kicked three penalties. That was as good as it was to get. The Cornish All Blacks were hit by a four try burst during the third quarter by their hosts who eventually ran out comfortable winners by 43 – 16.

In National League 2, Redruth made the difficult trip to league leaders Manchester losing by eight points 22 – 14. Reds’ coach Nigel Hambly felt his side had made too many errors facilitating the Cheshire side’s task. Redruth scored tries through prop Darren Jacques and No 8 Mark Bright with fly-half Gareth Griffiths bagging both conversions. Wharfedale, who were only five points ahead of the Reds before match, had a fine win at Blaydon pushing the Northumberland club down to one place above the Reds but the deficit has grown now to seven points. Stourbridge visit the Rec on Saturday in the EDF-Energy Trophy.

Top met bottom at the Mennaye as leaders Mount’s Bay met North Walsham in National League 3 South. The Vikings, who flew down from Norwich on the morning of the match, have for many seasons been one of the pacesetters in this league, sadly for them though not at the moment. Skipper Nick Burnett scored the Bay’s opening try from a catch-and-drive after only 9 mins. Richard Carroll scored a second try for the Bay from a similar move on 24 mins, before half-time Bay were awarded a penalty try which Lee Jarvis converted along with Carroll’s earlier score for a 19-0 advantage. Bay got the all-important fourth try after 55 mins following a fine run from winger Chris Morris, for the third time Jarvis adding the extras. North Walsham had the final say with a converted try near the end. On the back of this 26-7 success Bay turn their attention to the EDF-Energy National Trophy next Saturday with a testing tie at National League 2 side Southend.

St. Ives had no match in the league this weekend as they were in Dubai competing in the International Overseas Trophy reaching the Quarter-Finals before losing to Dinamo 31 – 0.

In Southwest 2 West, Camborne made the long journey to St. Mary’s OB’s only to find the match postponed.

In Western Counties West, Hayle defeated Tiverton 8-3, thanks to a try from Adam Keverne.
Wadebridge Camels once again racked up the points this time by 52-5 over visitors Devonport Services. Three players scored twice, Alisdair MacLennan, Jamie Kneale and Dan Briskham with Gary Gynn and Sam Stone grabbing the other tries. Kneale kicked six conversions for a 22 point haul.

Bude beat Withycombe 7-5 thanks to Ollie Denford converting Dave Risdon’s try.
Still no joy for luckless Penryn at the bottom of the league as they lost 38-0 at Kingsbridge.

Up in London, London Cornish’s recent winning streak was brought to an abrupt halt by highflying Purley John Fisher in London 3 SW, 29 – 12 (See Dickon’s match report on the TASC forums). On a brighter note London Cornish 4ths, the Dukes, had a fine win at London French, 65-10 and were then entertained to a four-course meal with wine by their Gallic hosts!!!! There is a match report on this cornu-franco encounter of the London Cornish thread in the forums.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, there were defeats for the top two sides Newquay Hornets and Truro. The Hornets lost by the narrowest of margins 13-12 at Okehampton. Rob McIntyre and Steve Potter scored tries for the Hornets with Ryan Johns kicking a conversion.

Truro suffered a heavy defeat up at Cullompton 34-5. Falmouth had a good win at Teignmouth by 15-0 scoring three tries through Justin Doney, Tim Hill and Tom Sommers.

To round off this week a glance across the Channel so see how rugby in Brittany is faring this season. Brittany’s topside Vannes are handily placed in their group chasing an end-of-season play-off place in Fédérale 1. On Sunday they won 18 – 6 at Poitiers as they reach the half-way stage of the opening pool stage.

Many will remember Cornwall’s trip to Quimper last season, well I am pleased to report that Quimper are thus far having a good season in Fédérale 3 lying second in their pool. Sunday saw them take on local rivals from up the road Plouzané (Brest) with Quimper winning a hard fought and at times feisty affair 27-6 scoring five tries in difficult conditions.

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