By NIGEL WALROND, for the Western Morning News at Bath Road, Bridgewater

IF Cornwall fans thought it was bad enough getting relegated from the top flight of county rugby last season, then matters got a whole lot worse on Saturday.

Joff Rowe and his team were hoping to win promotion from the County Shield at the first attempt and restore the Duchy to where their supporters believe they rightfully belong.

Instead, all Trelawny’s Army got for their journey to Bridgwater was humiliation as Cornwall crashed to possibly their biggest ever defeat.

On the basis of this performance, the Duchy seem more likely to suffer the ignominy of another relegation, than claim the promotion Somerset seem a good bet to land.

Many Cornwall supporters were very unhappy with what they saw at Bath Road, but while the margin of victory was unexpected, defeat was perhaps not, when you look at the two sides that took to the field.

Somerset were able to call on nine National League players, and had a further three on the bench, while Cornwall had only four in their whole squad of 22.

There were only three players from the county’s top three clubs – Cornish All Blacks (two players), Redruth (one) and Pirates (nil) – for whatever reason, and while Saturday was bitterly disappointing, one has to feel for Rowe, who can only work with what is available to him.

No matter how much the fans would love to bring back the good old days of Cornish county rugby, that seems a very long way off unless there is a dramatic change in the relationship between the clubs and the county.

After going through a pretty traumatic afternoon, Rowe said: “We weren’t good enough. They outgunned us in open play, in rucks and mauls and, in terms of physicality, we weren’t up to their level.

“I take full responsibility. Somerset were sharper, they were quicker in the back three, and they looked hungry. We have got no-one else to blame apart from ourselves.

“We need to have a bit of a wake-up call, but we will stick together and come back next week.”

He added: “I would love to be able to look at other opportunities within the county to see if I can bolster the side, but I don’t think that is an option for me.

“What Cornwall, the senior management and everyone else needs to realise is that Cornish rugby is great at the top, but it isn’t so great at the next level, and we are competing at the top when we are playing in the Shield.”

Despite Cornwall’s obvious shortcomings, Somerset were excellent after they survived an initial 10-minute onslaught from the visitors, which crucially failed to produce any points.

After that, the hosts took control, with their back row of former Pirates loan signing Chris Morgan, Weston’s Mike Denbee and Newbury’s Matt Styles outstanding, as was Clifton full-back Rob Voil, and it was pretty much one-way traffic.

Morgan scored the first try from a catch-and-drive penalty move, and three more followed before the interval.

Two stemmed from line-out throws by Cornwall hooker Darren Semmens deep inside Somerset territory that cleared his own jumpers, leading to moves which were both finished off by Voil, while another came from Duchy centre Ryan Westren’s under-hit chip over the defence falling gleefully into the hands of winger James Wheeler, who raced 50 metres to score.

Impressive fly-half Sam Osbourne, who finished with a 20-point haul, converted three to add to his early penalty, but Cornwall got their first points on the board in first-half injury time when a great surge to the line by scrum-half Brett Wakfer created the space for Westren to cross beside the posts and Jarvis – who had earlier missed two penalties – converted for a 29-7 interval deficit.

Any hopes of a Cornish comeback were killed off four minutes into the second half when Styles crossed for Somerset, with Osbourne converting, but Cornwall did keep the hosts out for the next 15 minutes, and even managed a try of their own when Rob Ley sent Jarvis in under the posts, with the conversion making it 36-14.

However, the less said about the final quarter, from a Cornwall point of view, the better, as tired legs and some lame tackling saw Somerset run in three tries in nine minutes through centre James Waterman and winger Paul Sprague (2), with Osbourne converting all of them and adding a penalty.

Next up for Cornwall? A trip to Chinnor on Saturday to face Oxfordshire, who walloped Surrey 43-14 in their opening game.
Scorers: Tries: Morgan, Voil (2), Wheeler, Styles, Waterman, Sprague (2); Cons: Osbourne (7); Pens: Osbourne (2).
Scorers: Tries: Westren, Jarvis; Cons: Jarvis 2.
Somerset: R Voil (Clifton), P Sprague (Weston-s-M), J Waterman (Minehead Babas), D Litt (Hornets), J Wheeler (Walcot), S Osbourne (Hornets), M Ranson (Bridgwater & A), A Raines (Clifton), G Cooper (Newbury), C Meddick (Dings), D Hodge (Bridgwater & A), O Hodge (Exeter), C Morgan (Newbury), M Denbee (Weston-s-M), M Styles (Newbury, capt).
Replacements: S Brown (Redruth) for Ranson 69 mins, C Derrick (Cinderford) for Raines 29, G Sparks (Weston-s-M) for Styles 64; S Pape (Cornish All Blacks) for D Hodge 62, A Russell (Weston-s-M) for O Hodge 62, J Saunders (Walcot) for Litt ht, J Gatford (Taunton) for Cooper 72.

Scorers: Tries: Morgan, Voil (2), Wheeler, Styles, Waterman, Sprague (2); Cons: Osbourne (7); Pens: Osbourne (2).

Cornwall: I Morgan (Penryn), R Ley (Camborne), M Sweeney, R Westren (both Cornish All Blacks), O Faulkner, L Jarvis (both Mount’s Bay), B Wakfer (Camborne), T Stevens (St Ives), D Semmens, D Clackworthy (both Mount’s Bay), A Harris (Newbury), B Hilton (Mount’s Bay, capt), L Stevens, I Boase (both St Ives), T Outram (Mount’s Bay).
Replacements: A Flide (Mount’s Bay) for Clackworthy 56, T Hurdwell (St Ives) for Semmens 64, J Wilce (Wadebridge) for Harris 62, G Corin (St Ives) for Hilton 64, M Woolcock (Camborne) for Outram 72, B Keary (Mount’s Bay) for Wakfer 62, S Peters (Redruth) for Faulkner 56.

Scorers: Tries: Westren, Jarvis; Cons: Jarvis 2.

Referee: Nigel Higginson (RFU).

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Saturday sees the start of this season’s County Championship and County Shield competitions, last Saturday the County Plate (the third tier got underway). For the first time in many a long season Cornwall will not be competing in the main tournament now named after the former England captain Bill Beaumont, a Lancastrian.

It has been said that this is the first time that Cornwall have not played at the highest level of the County Championship, this is not true. When the competition was re-vamped in 1982/83, Cornwall were placed in League 2 along with Devon, although they were both in different groups. It was only the two groups in League 1 which actually contested the title. Cornwall found themselves in a tough group with Northumberland, Durham and Kent. Northumberland were defeated at Redruth 13-6, but the long trip to Durham was to no avail as Cornwall lost 28-15 at West Hatlepool, a win against Kent at Camborne 16-3 saw Cornwall finish second in their group condemned to play the winners of the other League 2 group away, Devon at Torquay, Cornwall lost that match 18-3, to stay in League 2, it was the same the following season when they again were runners-up in their group only to lose another play-off this time at Nottingham to Notts Lincs and Derbys 18-13. The following season worse was to follow having lost their opening two matches to Cumbria 17-4 and then Durham at Camborne 16-3, Cornwall managed to win their third game at Redruth against Cheshire 9-6. Cornwall now faced a play-off to avoid the drop into League 3 again against Devon again the venue was Torquay and once again Cornwall lost this time 7-3. Cornwall’s blushes were saved as the RFU decided to re-vamp the Championship once again with the Cornwall rejoining old foes Devon Gloucestershire and Somerset in SW Division 1. It was the start of a golden era  for Cornwall.

Enough of yesteryear, what of today, the task is simple promotion back to the main competition is what Cornwall want and that starts this Saturday at Bridgewater against old rivals Somerset. It is strange that the two counties have not met in the Championship since 1995 when Somerset won 42-22, let’s all hope that this time around the score is in Cornwall’s favour. Cornwall have to travel again next Saturday to play Oxfordshire at Chinnor RFC, before playing Surrey at Camborne.

The best of luck to the boys, Kernow bys Vyken.

Cornwall side to play Somerset

1.Tony Stevens (St. Ives), 2. Darren Semmens (Mounts Bay), 3. Danny Clackworthy (Mounts Bay), 4. Adam Harris (Newbury), 5. Ben Hilton (Captain, Mounts Bay), 6. Louis Stevens (St. Ives), 7. Ian Boase (St. Ives), 8. Tom Outram (Mounts Bay), 9. Brett Wakfer (Camborne), 10. Lee Jarvis (Mounts Bay), 11. Olly Faulkner (Mounts Bay), 12. Ryan Westren (Cornish All Blacks), 13. Marc Sweeney (Cornish All Blacks), 14. Rob Lea (Camborne), 15. Ian Morgan (Penryn)

16. Simon Peters (Redruth), 17. Blaine Kearey (Mounts Bay), 18. Adam Flide (Mounts Bay), 19. Julian Wilce (Wadebridge Camels), 20. Graham Corin (St. Ives), 21. Tom Hurdwell (St. Ives).


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It was the final round of matches in National Leagues 1 & 2 involving our Cornish clubs. Up in Coventry the Cornish Pirates put in a fine performance to defeat their hosts 32-20 at Butts Park Arena. Pirates’ tries came through Iva Motusaga, Rhodri McAtee, Sam Parsons, Henry Barratt and a Penalty Try, with Alberto Di Bernardo kicking a couple of conversions and a penalty in his final apperance in a Pirate shirt. Although the Pirates ended up on 101 points the same as Exeter Chiefs it’s the Devonians who finish in fourth place with the Cornish side fifth and Plymouth Albion 6th on 97 points.

After the final round of matches in the Guinness Premiership it’s now confirmed that former European Champions and this season’s Heineken Cup semi-finalist’s Northampton Saints will be relegated to National League 1 for next season.

The Cornish All Blacks travelled to Dry Leas no doubt still suffering a hangover form their celebrations last weekend and lost by 31-7. A game with nothing riding on it except pride saw the Hawks seal a third place finish running in five tries. The Cornish All Black’s try was scored by Josh Lord with Mark Scrivener adding the conversion. It’s going to be a busy summer on the banks of the Tamar in preperation for next season’s debut in National League 1.

Redruth rounded off their fine season with a splendid 32-28 win at home over Stourbridge to finish in 4th place in National League 2, their highest ever finish in the league structure. Paul Thirlby, Tim McBride, Rob Thirlby and Nathan Pascoe all scored tries for the Reds with Mike Hook kicking 12 points to add to his Record Points scored in the league this season for Redruth.

In the two promotion play-offs involving Cornish clubs there was disappointment. Hayle playing at home to Barton Hill Old Boys from Bristol for a place in South West 2 West next season lost 27-11. Dave Seager scored a late try for the Lions with Ben Eddy kicking a couple of penalties.

Liskeard & Looe travelled to Bideford losing a close game 23-18 in their play-off for a spot in the Cornwall & Devon League next season. Lewis Elliott and Craig Oxenham scored tries for the East Cornwall Lions whilst Marcus Hill kicked two penalties and a conversion.


Posted in Bill's Blog


In preperation for their forthcoming County Shield campaign the CRFU took a squad of players to Brittany for a squad session and to play a friendly against a RC Quimperois XV, at Quimper’s Coat Ligavan ground.

It was good to see the team make the trip to Brittany, an idea mooted a few season’s ago and no doubt re-enforced by the trip made last season by the Bolingy Barbarians who played a veterans match in Quimper. Rugby in Brittany is on the march and improving as each season goes by with RC Vannes being the highest placed Breton club within the FFR’s league structure playing this season in Federale 1, level 3 in France, and looking likely to hold on to this level as I write this article.

The game played on the Saturday was not the most important sporting event in Quimper that day as the Tour du Finistere cycle race also took place on the same day, so Cornwall had to play second fiddle.

It took Cornwall a good 40 minutes to gell as a team by which time they trailled 5-0 to an early try by winger Franck Kersall following a fine break from inside centre  Anthony Niclas. It could have been worse as Quimper knocked the ball forward with the line begging. Cornwall also had to adapt to the local variations to the rules played at that level in France especially in the scrummaging where you are only allowed to push for 1.5 meters and not at all once the ball has been won, also tap tackling is not allowed.

During the second half coach Joff Rowe made a few changes as Cornwall began to take a hold up-front and their superior fitness began to tell. Hooker Darren Semmens was able to drive over twice to score fine tries for Cornwall with veteran fly-half Ian Morgan kicking a conversion and two penalties to give Cornwall an 18-5 win.

It would be very good to see relations between Cornwall and Quimper continue on the rugby front, it is to be hoped that Quimper will be in a position to make a trip to Cornwall for a return fixture at some stage. The standard that Quimper play at is probably around SW1/SW2 West level, so a good level of rugby locally.

Cornwall: J. Parma (Camborne), O. Faulkner (Mount’s Bay), R. Ley (Camborne), G Thirlby (St Ives), N Corin (St Ives), I. Morgan (Penryn), B. Keary (Mount’s Bay); T Stevens (St Ives), D Semmens, D. Clackworthy (both Mount’s Bay), B. Jenkin (Plymouth Alb), B. Hilton (Mount’s Bay, capt), L Stevens (St Ives), I. Boase (St.Ives), T. Outram (Mount’s Bay).
Replacements (all used): T. Hurdwell (St Ives/Launceston), J. Wilce (Wadebridge Camels), S, Turnbull (St Ives), K. Martin (St Ives), J. Lawrence (Brixham), B.Collings (Launceston), G Corin (St Ives), M. Woolcock (Camborne).

RC Quimperois XV that played Cornwall.   Note Plouzané is a Fédérale 3 club, same level as Quimper, from the Brest area.

1: LABY Cédric (Plouzané)
2: GOALEN Jérémy (Quimper)
3: VIEGAS Henrique (Quimper)
4: ANDRE Jean-Marie (Quimper)
5: LE LAY Tanguy (Quimper)
6: ANDRIEUX Anthony (Plouzané)
7:TROALEN Bertrand (Quimper)
8: ANDRO Gurwan (Quimper)
9: YVINOU Thomas (Quimper)
10: DONNART Erwan (Quimper)
11:KERSALL Franck (Quimper)
12: NICLAS Anthony (Quimper)
13: HERBERT Jérémy (Quimper)
14: QUEFFELEC Fabien (Quimper)
15: TALLEC Morgan (Quimper)
16: PUECH Vincent (Quimper)
17:BOTHEREL Eric (Plouzané)
18:DILASSER (Plouzané)
19: PELTIER Julien (Quimper)
20: GARZUEL Yann (Quimper)
21:GUIVARCH François (Quimper)
22:ANDRIEUX Jérome (Plouzané) 

Referee Kevin Bastard, only 18 years of age and one of the best young referees in France.           


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The Cornish Pirates played their final home game of the season at Camborne’s Recreation Ground on Sunday against the Pertemps Bees and thrilled the Cornish crowd with nine tries and a festival of running rugby in a 55-14 win.

Following their open-top bus ride through the streets of Penzance on Saturday showing off their EDF-Energy National Trophy to the massed crowds that lined Market Jew street the boys were in determined mood to bring the curtain down on their first season at Camborne in style, it also being the occasion for many to say farewell and au-revoir to the players that will be moving on during the close-season.

The game was full of flowing and running rugby with the Cornish Pirates tries scored by James Moore (3), Adryan Winnan (2), Duncan Bell, Joe Beardshaw with referee Nick Williams awarding the Cornish Pirates two penalty tries also getting in on the act.

After the final whistle the party got underway with Graham Hart playing “This one’s for the boys” on the pitch and then the end of season presentations which saw the “President’s Cup” going to Vili Ma’asi. Vili will be greatly missed as he departs to the Premiership next season along with Alberto Di Bernardo at Leeds Tykes. Vili as the current holder of the Bill Osborne Shield has given great pleasure whether wearing Pirates colours or the Black and Gold of Cornwall. We wish him well.


Posted in Bill's Blog


More good news for Cornish rugby as the Cornish All Blacks thanks to a 38-6 win over Cambridge coupled by Henley Hawks defeat at National League 2 champions Esher claimed the runners-up spot in National League 2 ensuring National League 1 rugby at Polson Bridge next season. Many Congratulations to coaches Chris Brown, Jon Hill and the squad on tremendous achievement.

Redruth maintained their fine form with a 39-20 win at Halifax in National League 2 consolidating their fine fourth place, they could even finish as high as third if they win their final game of the season and Henley Hawks slip up at home to the Cornish All Blacks.

Champions Mount’s Bay completed their league program in South West 1 losing to Cleve 39-12, however many of the Mount’s Bay squad were with the Cornwall team for their match in Quimper, Brittany against a Selection du Finistere which was played this afternoon. The score of this match ended 18-5 to Cornwall with we believe Darren Semmens scoring Cornwall’s two tries during the second half with Ian Morgan kicking the other points. Kersall scored an early try for the Bretons.



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Cattle on top of the world after rousing fightback

By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News at Twickenham 


CORNISH Pirates skipper Gavin Cattle admitted lifting the EDF Energy National Trophy crown yesterday was the “best experience of his life”.The Welshman helped play an integral part in guiding the Cornish club to a 19-16 victory over Westcountry rivals Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.

 “It’s still sinking in at the moment,” said Cattle at the final whistle. “We left it a bit late, but we showed a lot of character. It was like a furnace out there, but all the boys stepped up to the plate, especially second half, played for the full 80 and in the end we managed to turn it round.”

Having seen their league ambitions fade in the past month following defeats at London Welsh, Bedford Blues and Plymouth Albion, Cattle admitted the Pirates were determine to ensure their season did not peter into insignificance.

“We are bitterly disappointed our league campaign fell apart like it did,” added Cattle. “After the recent results, our focus was to win the Trophy and win at Twickenham, so at least we achieved something, because we do deserve it.”

A spirited second half showing from the Pirates saw them turn around a 16-6 deficit to lift the crown. Cattle explained the turnaround: “I suppose it was our spirit and character which came through in the end. It was like we realised that was our one opportunity, our one chance.

“It could have gone either way, I am not going to deny that, Exeter play a pretty tight game, but luckily enough they did tire towards the end and the gaps started appearing. As for the first half we let them run too much, but in the second we got to our game plan and thank god we came up trumps.”   Urged on by thousands who had made their journey up from the Duchy, Cattle admitted the support from the stands also helped play its part in their success story.

“The support was unbelievable,” he added. “Even from waking up this morning and leaving the hotel, you feel like a pop star. The fans have been awesome all year. We get four or five thousand for home games and they are always loud, but today was a different league, it’s definitely my best life experience.”



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It seems to be the saying at the moment, but “What a weekend for Cornish Rugby”. The afterglow of the twin success’ of both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay at Twickenham on Sunday will burn for many days yet. Further good news on Sunday was the result of Redruth Colts winning their National Colts Cup semi-final 11-6 against the holders Bishop’s Stortford 11 – 6. Many Congratulations to the Redruth youngsters and coach Simon Blake in getting to the Final on May Bank Holiday Monday May 7th at Northampton’s

Franklin’s Gardens Ground against Bedford Colts with a 3pm kick-off.

The promotion race in National League 2 looks set to go down to the wire as both the Cornish All Blacks and Henley Hawks picked up four points on Saturday to leave the Cornish side with a one point advantage over the Hawks. The Cornish All Blacks travelled to the Rectory Field, Blackheath and won 20-6. The Cornish All Blacks’ tries were scored by centre Marc Sweeney and full-back Andy Birkett with fly-half Sam Young adding both conversions and a couple of penalties. Frankie Neale kicking a couple of penalties for Blackheath. Next up for the Cornish All Blacks is this Saturday’s final home game of the season against Cambridge who defeated champions Esher at the weekend, Henley travel to Esher, it’s all to play for!
Only one game in South West 1 this weekend, St. Ives travelled to Basingstoke to play their final league match and lost 44-9. The Hakes one time play-off hopefuls in this league have finished in 7th place.

Mount’s Bay were due to play at Cleve, due to their Cup Final appearance this game will now be played next Saturday.
In South West 2 West, Camborne defeated Spartans 59-3 in a game in which the referee blew up early, as the visitors had no front row cover. The Cherry & Whites scored nine tries through winger Cameron Bone (2), full-back Adam Copeland (2), skipper Dave Roberts (2), hooker Andrew Smith, flanker Kevin Penrose and centre Paul Gadsdon, Dave Mankee kicked seven conversions, Spartans only score came from a penalty kicked by Rory Teague. Camborne finished in 5th place in South West 2 West. 
Penryn wrapped up their dreadful season with another loss at home to Cheltenham North by 36-12. Charlie Ross and Chris Mann scored the Borough’s two tries with Ian Morgan kicking a penalty. Penryn finished 11th
and are relegated back to Western Counties West next season.
In Western Counties West, Truro lost 28-0 to champions Barnstaple who completed a perfect record played 22 won 22. Truro finished bottom of the pile and will look to re-group in the Cornwall & Devon league next season.
Bude lost their final match 19-12 at home to Sidmouth, Paul Williams scored and converted his own try whilst Rob Uglow scored the other Bude try. Bude finished in 8th place.
Hayle, with their minds already on their play-off date travelled to Ivybridge and lost by 16-10, James Jago scored the Lions’ try, which was converted by Ben Eddy who also kicked a penalty.
In the Cornwall & Devon league, Wadebridge Camels beat Wessex 54-0 but Paignton’s big win at Perranporth assured the Devon side of the league title. Camels will look forward to Western Counties West rugby next season. Perranporth will be heading back to Cornwall 1 as will St. Austell despite their final day win over Honiton 27-25. Falmouth suffered a home defeat at the hands of Tavistock by 20-17 to finish up 7th in the league.

London Cornish rounded off their league season with a good win over Sandown & Shanklin from the Isle of Wight by 40-17, they also acheiving promotion to London 3 SW next season. 

Congratulations to Newquay Hornets who won promotion from Cornwall 1 to the Cornwall and Devon league next season. Liskeard & Looe will face a tricky play-off against Bideford in North Devon for the remaining place. Relegated from Cornwall 1 are Camborne School of Mines and Illogan Park.
In Cornwall 2, Roseland are the champions with St. Just also being promoted.
Finally good luck and bon voyage to the Cornwall squad as they travel to Brittany this weekend to play a Sélection du Finistère in Quimper on Saturday.

Posted in Bill's Blog


In a gripping encounter, the Cornish Pirates came from behind to beat the Exeter Chiefs 19-16 to lift the EDF-Energy National Trophy at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon. Vili Ma’asi scored the Pirates try with Alberto Di Bernardo’s trusty boot claiming the other points. Many Congratulations to the Cornish Pirates, Kernow bys Vyken.

Later in the day Mount’s Bay defeated Midlands 1 side Dunstablians 46 – 36 to win the EDF-Energy Intermediate Cup to complete a great double of league and cup. Four tries for Mika Mua as the Bay ran in seven tries, other tries from Shane Laloata, Ricky Pellow and Pale Nonu. Congratulations to the Bay.

A unique Cornish double at the home of English rugby, not to be forgotten in a hurry. They couldn’t bid us nay!

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All the best lads

Less than forty eight hours to kick-off for the Cornish Pirates and the Mount’s Bay teams. I wish them “All the best” in hoping they can do a unique double for Cornwall on Sunday. Those of us that sadly can’t make the trip will be listening eagerly to the match commentary on BBC Radio Cornwall, willing both sides on to victory.

“Give’em hell fire boys”.

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