DISCIPLINED REDS SECURE VITAL WIN

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.”

Posted in Bill's Blog


CONTROVERSY AT LAUNCESTON

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.

Posted in Bill's Blog


WINN & THOMAS SECURE POINTS FOR PIRATES

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.

Posted in Bill's Blog


PIRATES SINK ESHER WITH TEN TRY SALVO

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.

Posted in Bill's Blog


CAB’S BOOK QUARTER-FINAL SPOT

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


MAGNIFICENT ALL BLACKS SEND ALBION PACKING

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.

Posted in Bill's Blog


Amicable parting of the ways as Jim McKay steps down from role

The announcement on Wednesday evening from the Cornish Pirates regarding the departure of head coach Jim McKay ended the days of speculation concerning his future at the club, much of it hyped up by certain sectors of the media. Coming just over a week since Dicky Evans announced that he was stepping down from his role with the Pirates, the good ship Pirate has been forced to weather a couple of force 10 storms. Despite all this, optimism remains high that the club will be all the stronger at the end of this upheaval. I for one very much agree with this sentiment.

McKay will of course be remembered for taking the Cornish Pirates to Twickenham last April and that remarkable win over Exeter Chiefs in the final of the EDF-Energy National Trophy. He has of course achieved much more than that, in the three and half years at the club he has built the Cornish Pirates into a formidable force in National League 1. He now feels that he has taken the side as far as he possibly can and feels that the time is now right to move on to fresh challenges. I wish Jim well for the future and thank him for all that he has done during his time at the Pirates

Posted in Bill's Blog


CAB’s and St. Austell fly the flag for Cornwall

At the second time of asking the Nuneaton – Cornish All Blacks National Trophy tie took place at Nun’s Liberty Way ground. There was to be no upset as the National League 1 outfit comfortably disposed of their lower league opposition 41-14 to book a place in the fifth round on February 2nd and a home tie against Blackheath.

Starring role must go to tight head prop Wayne Reed as the England Counties front row man helped himself to three tries in the game. Marc Dibble and Matt Jess notched the other Launceston tries with Scott Ireland and Jon Fabian kicking the other points.

The result will give the Cornish All Blacks a fillip before Saturday’s important home National League 1 encounter with Plymouth Albion.

After the traumatic upheaval during the week the Cornish Pirates looked to get back to matters on the field, however the non-appearance of coach Jim McKay at the game on Sunday sent the rumour mill once more into overdrive.

Before the kick-off the crowd rose to show their appreciation for outgoing president Dicky Evans with fulsome applause many wearing black and gold ribbons as a sign of support for his vision.

Both sides exchange penalties early on, before the home side finally made the break though mid way through the first half as Gareth Steenson made the break before feeding centre Paul Devlin who scored the opening try. Steenson’s conversion and penalty before half-time gave the Pirates a 13-3 lead at the pause.

Disappointingly the Cornish Pirates failed to build on their advantage immediately after the break, the game became bogged down with Newbury reducing the deficit with Chris Ashwin kicking his second penalty. In the final ten minutes the Pirates were able to capitalise on Newbury having two players in the bin to score two further tries through flanker Sam Betty and winger James Moore for a final score of 28-6, another potential bonus point went begging, which has certainly become a cause for concern this season.

Redruth maintained their climb up the league table with a fine win against Cambridge in National League 2 by 25-8, my match report can be viewed on the front page of the TASC site.

Mount’s Bay kept up the pace at the top of National League 3 South with a good win at home against tough opponents Dings Crusaders 26-5. Bay scored three tries during the opening half thanks to scores from Tyron Child, Tom Edyvean and Jamie Semmens with Lee Jarvis converting all three for a 21-0 lead at the turn. The second half was more turgid affair, eventually Bay prevailed in getting the bonus point with a length of the field move rounded off by flanker Steve Dyer. Dings did manage a consolation try through winger Ed Haupt.

Not much joy for St. Ives in South west 1 as they once again lost heavily on their travels this time at Maidenhead by 72-0.

Camborne faired little better in South west 2 west losing once again at home this time to Yatton 15-8. Trailing 15-0 at half-time Camborne could only pull back eight points thanks to Dave Mankee penalty and a Tom Hinds try. It looks increasingly like Western Counties West for the Town next season.

Bude entertained Penryn in the latest Cornish derby in Western Counties West with the North Cornwall side winning comfortably 39-16. Bude ran in six tries through Rob Uglow, Andy Yates, Dave Uglow, Matt Trewin, Paul Williams and Steve Yates, Williams kicking the other points. Penryn replied with a try from Andrew Seviour with Alex Sutheridge kicking the Borough’s other points. Sadly, once again, Penryn’s fate is almost certainly sealed for another drop.

In the only other game in WCW, involving a Cornish side, Wadebridge Camels defeated Kingsbridge 43-0 at the Molesworth Field, scoring seven tries without reply, full-back Dan Briskham helped himself to a brace, whilst other scores went to Garry Gynn, Shaun Hawkey, Matt Angwin, Alisdair Maclennan and Sam Stone. Jake McCarroll kicked three conversions with replacement Leigh Charles adding a fourth.

In the Cornwall & Devon League; leaders Newquay Hornets were held at the Sports Centre by Truro, 5-5, Rob McIntyre gave the Hornets the lead only for Truro to level the game five minutes from the end with a try from Lister Metcalfe. Hornets are now joined at the top by Tavistock 21 points with Cullompton a further point behind but crucially with a game in hand! Falmouth’s game against Wessex was called off.

Up in London in London 3 SW, London Cornish defeated Old Reigatians 18-15, to move up to 5th place in the league, their highest ever standing in the leagues. Dickon Moon’s usual excellent report on the match can be found in the forums, despite having to move their home match to the LSE sports grounds.

Interesting to note last week that former county coach Dave “Benjie” Thomas has been handed the task of appointing coaches and sounding out players for this season’s County Shield competition, Richard Lamb (St. Austell) and Ian Morgan (CAB’s Academy) have agreed to coach the Development XV and also the Tamar Cup side, which will play Devon at Launceston on Sunday March 16th, with a 3pm kick-off.

Good to see young Scott Hobson from the Cornish Pirates gain selection for the England U.20’s for this seasons 6 Nations tournament, also the IRB World Junior Championships in Wales in June.

Events last week prevented mention of St. Austell’s fine achievement of reaching the 7th Round of the Junior Vase following a 13-10 win over Plymouth Barbarians. Their reward an away tie on Saturday 2nd February up in London at Chiswick who play in Herts/Middx league 1.

Posted in Bill's Blog


CORNISH RUGBY IS ALL THE POORER

The breaking news this afternoon that Dicky Evans has stepped down as president of Penzance & Newlyn RFC will come as a shock and disbelief to all those who shared in his vision for rugby in Cornwall in the professional era.

For some the break from the Mennaye and the re-branding to the Cornish Pirates was a pill too bitter to swallow, despite the overwelming support for change this small minority refused to back the venture!

It is very sad to think, that it is certain elements from the rugby family who have driven the knife so deep as to finally drive Dicky away. These people should be throughly ashamed of themselves as they have done, Dicky, supporters and Cornish rugby in general, a great dis-service. It is often said that the Cornish can be their own worse enemies, well maybe today is an example of this depressing fact.

It is to be hoped that the vision Dicky had for the Cornish Pirates can be carried on, that those who remain can pick up the torch and hold it brightly,high and proud, those of us who have shared in the adventure and have brought in to the vision hope that a new way forward can be found.

Thank you for all that you have done Dicky it is now up to Cornwall to re-pay your faith by finishing the job you started.

Posted in Bill's Blog


CORNISH ALL BLACKS EARN VITAL WIN

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).

Posted in Bill's Blog


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