Uncanny…that’s the way it seems to me that not one of the results went Launceston’s way on Saturday. Fair enough that the CAB’s lost at Franklins Gardens against Northampton Saints 81-0, there was never any possibility that the CAB’s could pull off what Exeter Chiefs, Nottingham or the Cornish Pirates had failed to do all season and beat Northampton. The biggest surprise was Bedford’s loss at home to Pertemps Bees, I felt that Sedgley Park would probably beat Rotherham but not by the margin they did. It’s all very similar to the fate that befell Launceston a few seasons ago when they spent one season in National League 2 before being relegated back to National 3 South, on that occasion they needed one result to go their way for safety, none did and down they went.
Still their battling performances over the last few weeks have given us interest. Credit to coaches Chris Brown and Jon Hill as well as the squad of players. I have no doubt that the Cornish All Blacks will be a formidable force in National League 2 next season it promises to be a very passionate league full of local interest with Redruth and Mount’s Bay also in the mix.
The Cornish Pirates rounded off an indifferent season, just like the curate’s egg, good in parts, with a surprising 31-18 defeat at Camborne against London Welsh. Camborne was a pretty lively place to be on Saturday with it being Trevithick Day, so the Pirates set off with rush of steam, with two tries in the opening few minutes, the first from Bristol bound Vunga Lilo and the second from Jimmy Moore. To say the train left the rails would be an understatement, back came the Welsh exiles to score a couple of converted tries through Liffchack and Sampson, Jones adding the extras to lead 14-10. Ollie Thomas, who had an indifferent game, that can be the nature of the beast when you have a player blessed with pace and balance, but whose kicking can sometimes let you down, replied with a penalty. Thomas was at fault over the exiles third try scored by Etheredge. Worse was to come as Noah Cato scored a fourth try for the visitors before half-time to leave the Pirates trailing 28-13.
Following some magic from Rhodri McAtee, Iva Motusaga scored a third try for the Pirates. Jones’ penalty edged London Welsh further ahead and took the game away from the Pirates.
It’s going to be an interesting few weeks to see how the squad shapes up for next season. Two pieces of news coming out of the Pirates’ camp, the hoped for signing of Plymouth Albion’s Jannie Bornman has fallen through due to visa problems, so the former Albion player looks set to follow Tim Cowley off to France, out of contract prop Sam Heard has gone up to Guinness Premiership side London Wasps to help them out as they are short of props. We all hope it goes well for Sam and that he gets something permanent out of the experience, I am sure he will benefit enormously from working with another former Redruth player, Phil Vickery.
Redruth brought the curtain down on their season with a 39-16 win over Nuneaton on Saturday. It was party time in “Hell Fire Corner”, you can read my match report from the main site. Head Coach Nigel Hambly was philosophical after the game reflecting on the season as a whole. He felt that finishing 9th was not acceptable to a club like Redruth even allowing for the 10-point deduction they would only have finished 7th. Pre-season hopes of being involved in the promotion race went un-fulfilled. He felt that the club “could have done better”. Each season the league gets tougher and tougher and all the clubs have to up their game.
Only one Cornish side were involved in the promotion play-offs at the weekend, a big crowd of over 400 at the King George V Playing Field saw Helston fail in their quest to reach the Cornwall & Devon League next season. On the day they were well beaten by Old Public Oaks 24-0.
And so this Saturday sees the start of Cornwall’s latest County Shield campaign at Redruth against Oxfordshire kick-off 3pm. Let us all hope that especially in this year, which has seen us remember and commemorate Cornwall’s great County Championship win in 1908 against Durham, Cornwall can win again and reclaim her place in the County Championship proper next season.
I hope that “One & All” will get themselves down to Redruth on Saturday and “Cheer like mad for Cornwall” as the old programs of days gone by always urged. As ever the boys wearing the shirt on the field will give their all for Cornwall, we on the terraces and the stand MUST do the same. UP CORNWALL!