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.