So it looks like the format of the RFU Championship is set to change next season following agreement of the clubs.
The play-off’s for relegation are set to be scrapped with the bottom club at the end of the regular season set for the drop to National League 1.
Only the top four sides will contest the promotion play-offs, which will be in the format of semi-finals and final. Whether these will be on a home and away basis i.e over two legs remains to be seen.
The B&I Cup will also be modified, games will be played the same weekends as the Heineken Cup and along a similar format; i.e. six pools of four with the winners and two best runners-up making it to the quarter-finals. Hopefully a sponsor can be found as there is also going to be a cash incentive involved.
The only downside for clubs who don’t make the play-offs or the final stages of the cup is an early end to their season, mid April.
Well the Championship play-offs in their current guise began this weekend and I think it’s fair to say that the Cornish Pirates began their campaign in disappointing fashion managing just a 14-14 draw at home to Leeds Carnegie. Bedford Blues won 32-19 at Rotherham to top the pool B ahead of the Pirates.
In Pool A Bristol made a good start with a 65-3 win at Doncaster Knights! Statement of intent or what!! London Welsh defeated Nottingham 32-21 in the other game.
You can read the Pirates’ match report by Bill Sobey from the Western Morning News match report in the link
In National League 2 South defeats on the road for both our clubs. Redruth lost at Taunton 35-34, an exact reversal of the score-line at the Rec earlier in the season.
Again the match report from the Western Morning News is in the link
The Cornish All Blacks came close to winning at Hartpury College before finally losing 27-25. Read about the action in the WMN report in the link
Elsewhere, well Cornish promotion hopes have dimmed somewhat over the past couple of weekends in both Tribute South West 1 West and Western Counties West. Camborne followed up their great win at Oldfield OB’s the previous week with a 30-23 win over Cleve, thanks to 20 points from the boot of Dave Mankee. Joe Parma and Rob Floyd geting the tries for the Cherry & Whites. A result that leaves “Town” in fourth place seven points adrift of the play-off spot cureently held by Clevedon with just four rounds remaining.
Clevedon beat Wadebridge Camels 26-11, whilst Penryn are looking likely for a swift return to Western Counties West next season after losing at home to Thornbury 35-21. Borough are sitting in the final relegation spot but are nine points away from safety.
In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Austell beat Bude 42-22 to keep flickering hopes alive of a play-off spot, but they need a few favours. Truro lost at Tiverton 13-7. St. Ives lost in the final moments at home to Bideford 17-15, the Hakes will hope to re-build next season in Tribute Cornwall & Devon League.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League Tavistock and Honiton look set to occupy the two promotion spots. Cornish interest is at the other end as Veor battle to avoid the drop, with Torrington and Totnes already doomed.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, Saltash are confirmed as league winners and bounce back to the Cornwall & Devon league after just one season away. It’s not quite settled as to who will be runner-up, either Helston or St. Just. Camborne School of Mines are relegated to Tribute Cornwall 2 next season.
In Tribute Cornwall 2, it looks like the title will go to St. Agnes, they should confirm it next Saturday at bottom side Camelford.
A great game of rugby at Hayle last Sunday as the Cornwall U.20’s rounded off their County Championship campaign with a 24-23 win over Devon. match report pictures and reaction in the match report in the link to the TASC site
Whilst all eyes were on Paris at the weekend, I had an eye on events in Brittany were England U.20’s with Luke Cowan-Dickie took on the French in Vannes. The French won 12-8, but the real winners were the Breton region with 9,000 spectators for the game. Vannes will be used for the 2013 U.20 World Cup to be held in Western France.
The less said about France’s performance against England in Paris yesterday the better!! However well played England (gritted teeth) and if Stuart Lancaster doesn’t get the job then it’s true what many believe to be the case already, the loonies are in charge at HQ!!!