The dreadful conditions down at the Mennaye yesterday did not stop the players from both sides putting on a great performance in the mud.
The Cornish Pirates getting a first Championship win in 2014 against Jersey, 19-15, in front of RFU Chairman former England captain Bill Beaumont down in Penzance for the weekend.
Lots of local interest in the Jersey line up now coached by Harvey Biljon and with former Pirates’ players Grant Pointer, Drew Locke, Nicky Griffiths, Joe Buckle and Aaron Penberthy all in their match day twenty-two.
It was a first game back for former Redruth favourite Penberthy who played just past the forty minute mark and kicked a monster penalty from the half-way line to give the islanders an early lead. Biljon was happy with his fly-half comeback after a ten week layoff due to a broken leg. “I thought he did really well, this is a difficult place to come and get anything so to come away with a losing bonus point is well deserved by our boys for their performance today.”
It stayed 3-0 to Jersey for most of the first half until the Pirates bagged two quick tries just before the break, the first from centre Junior Fatialofa got in amongst the muddy forwards to power over the Jersey line in the Newlyn Gate Corner and then winger Kyle Moyle finishing off a break from scrum-half Tom Kessell in the Old Western National Corner, Hallett added the extras to the first try to leave the Pirates 12-3 up at half-time.
With the second half barely four minutes old a beautiful arcing run from full-back Max Bodilly saw him cap a fine Championship debut with a third Pirate’s try which again added the extras to.
It seemed the home side would kick on and seal the try-scoring bonus point, but to Jersey’s credit they dug in and got themselves back in the game with a try from skipper Alex Rae and then with the Pirates playing the final minutes with fourteen men following prop Shane Cahill’s yellow card, referee Greg Macdonald saw fit to award the visitors a penalty-try, which replacement fly-half Niall O’Connor converted with the final kick of the game.
Pirates head coach Ian Davies was pleased with the win. “I thought the boys played really well at one stage I was a little bit worried that I might have to do a Jurgen Klinsmann dive through the water if they scored four tries.
“I think we should have got the extra point and I was disappointed that Jersey picked up a losing bonus point as I felt we were the only side trying to play rugby out there today.
“Max Bodilly on his debut an absolute superstar, scored one great try could of had another one, fielded the ball really well we knew they would target him, a star in the making.”
Two interested spectators at the game were former prop Paul Andrew down from Worcester to see his brother Jack in action and England International winger Jack Nowell.
Photo – RFU
Jack had a busy afternoon dealing with the media whilst watching the game with his family. He kindly spoke to me after the game.
“I really enjoyed watching the game today, good to see my mate Kyle Moyle getting his chance today and scoring a good try in the corner.
“Good to see Max Bodilly having a good game today he’s another who is coming through the system at Exeter Chiefs and been given good game time down here at the Pirates much as did, he is a top quality player with a bright future ahead of him.
Turning to thoughts of England Jack is looking forward to hopefully being selected for the Triple Crown decider against Wales next Sunday. “I’ve set goals for myself all the way through, playing for Exeter, the LV Cup, the Premiership and in Europe and now to play for England it’s happened quicker than I envisaged, but at Chiefs they have prepared me for the goals that I set myself.
“I still think back to my season at Redruth which gave me my first experience of senior rugby, playing at the Reds really prepared for joining Exeter after I finished at College.
“The feedback I’ve got from the coaching staff with England has been really positive, after the start against France , but they are happy that it hasn’t affected my performance, I have gone out there and done the job I’ve been asked to do, making the tackles making the yards, getting into contact and looking for the ball off my wing. They have given me that extra confidence to take into the next game hopefully with Wales next week, but I’ve got to show that in training this week and hopefully get that 14 shirt again.”
Saturday I took in the Tribute South West 1 West derby between Camborne and St. Austell at the Recreation Ground.
It ended honours even at 13 all. A result which probably suited both sides promotion/play-off rivals the most.
Camborne got off to a cracking start with two un-converted tries scored by full back Joe Parma and hooker Sam Bartle.
St. Austell reduced the arrears immediately after Town’s second try with a penalty from Matt Shepherd before Dave Mankee restored a ten point lead for the Cherry and Whites with a penalty on half-time.
In the second half playing down the slope, St. Austell made a perfect start with an early try scored by full back Dan Pearce.
There was a little bit of controversy when Camborne centre Richie Kevern was felled by a high tackle, which referee Ryan Cook missed.
With time fast running out St. Austell got good field position in the Camborne 22 with lock Adam Pearce winning the lineout to set up a forward drive which saw flanker Paul Winterbottom crash over, Shepherd had a conversion attempt from the 22 to win the game but his attempt went wide to leave it at 13-13.
Camborne are now awaiting the result of their appeal against the potential deduction of five league points over their abandoned game at Clevedon when a set of goal posts fell down and they declined to continue the game on the second team pitch when trailing 6-0.
Good to see Sam Matavesi at Camborne on Saturday along with his brother Josh there to not only cheer on younger brother Joel in the Camborne side as Sam presented the shirt he won with Fiji last summer against Canada to the club.
Also in the South West 1 West, Wadebridge Camels defeat Sidmouth 45-5. Camels welcomed back Cornwall U.20 lock Harry Baker who has resigned for the club following a spell at Redruth and scored Camels’ first try before hooker Matt Ballard helped himself to four scores! Mark Kempthorne and Julian Wilce also grabbed tries for the Camels and James Grubb landed five conversions. The result helps Camels in their battle to avoid the drop.
In National League 2 on Saturday both the Cornish All Blacks and Redruth lost.
The All Blacks lost at Polson Bridge for the second game running going down to mid-table Southend 32-17, it should have been a game that they would have expected to win!
Sisa Naqasima scored a couple of tries with Jamie Salter, playing in the back row, scoring a third try for the All Blacks. The result slips Launceston or than ever into the relegation mix.
It’s not much better for Redruth who lost 26-20 at London Irish Wild Geese, but at least salvaged a losing bonus point thanks to Murray Westren’s conversion of Greg Goodfellow’s try. Luke Jones bagged the other Redruth try with Westren kicking the rest of the points.
Having indicated that he wishes to relinquish the role of head coach at Redruth, Ashley Morcom hopes to continue in a coaching role at the Reds and does not envisage being anywhere else next season.
Redruth will hope to get a win next Saturday when they entertain second place Canterbury, whist Launceston travel to fellow strugglers Chinnor.
In Tribute Western Counties West, Ivybridge look more than ever certain to take the league title following a 67-15 win over Penryn at Cross-in-Hand. Brough scored three un-converted tries through Rob Trevaskis, Ross Hancock and Kirky Oldfield.
Truro made up some ground with a 22-15 win over Torquay Athletic at St. Clements. Full-back Tom Hatfield scored three tries for Truro with fly-half Jake Champion kicking the other points.
Bude’s situation near the foot of the table wasn’t improved with a 39-22 loss at home to Tavistock. Tries from Ben Hancock, Adam Black, Joe Wilson and James Comber gave them a try-scoring bonus point but little else.
St. Ives will feel unlucky having lost at Devonport Services by a single point 17-16.
Neil Corin and Josh Semmens scored tries for the Hakes with “Eggy” Williams kicking a couple of penalties.
In London 2 SW, London Cornish played their “home” game at the oppositions but it didn’t matter as they still ran out winners 36-19 against Effingham & Leatherhead with fly-half Luke Spells scoring 21 points. Harry Somers, Phil Dale and Matthew Hakes scoring the other exiles’ tries.
The Tribute Cornwall & Devon League saw a feisty local derby between Hayle and Pirates Amateurs with 2 red cards and 7 yellows!!
Hayle emerged winners 32-17.
Falmouth were defeated by Exeter University at the Rec 32-3, Saltash lost at Crediton 27-26, Withycombe defeated Newquay Hornets 72-0 and Veor lost at Wheal Gerry 52-24. It’s not been a great season for Cornish clubs at this level and Newquay Hornets look set to join Veor back in Cornwall 1 next season, whilst Pirates Amateurs are not safe yet either!
Tribute Cornwall League 1 was completed when Stithians defeated Roseland 33-5.
After the euphoria of Cornwall U.20’s win last week a two bits of unfortunate news this week. First last season’s skipper Neil Broadbank who was coming back from injury has torn his Achilles and is out for the rest of the season, whist scrum-half Sam Fox suffered partial torn knee ligaments playing in Cornwall U.17’s win over Somerset at Wadebridge yesterday.
I am sure everyone will join me in wishing the boys a speedy recovery.
News on the quarter-final which will be played on Sunday 30th March most likely at Camborne RFC but that still has to be confirmed. With the opponents likely to be one from Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire or Berkshire.