Another cracking weekend for Cornish rugby as the league season enters the home straight.
In National League 1 the Cornish Pirates played the first of their three consecutive away league games in the space of the next week at Old Deer Park against London Welsh losing by 16-10. Flanker Chris Cracknell scored the Pirates try with James Moore kicking the conversion and a penalty goal.
A tough week ahead for the Pirates with a trip to Bedford on Wednesday evening to play the Blues 7-30pm kick-off and then the eagerly awaited return league encounter with Plymouth Albion next Saturday at the Brickfields. Albion’s French flyer Nicolas Sestaret enjoyed a storming game for Albion at the weekend against Moseley scoring five of his side’s six tries!
In National League 2, the Cornish All Blacks took on Harrogate at Polson and completed the double over the already relegated Yorkshiremen. In past seasons Harrogate have found Polson a happy hunting ground not so this time. The CAB’s recorded a 56-0 win over the visitors scoring nine tries in total. Leading the way was England Counties player Marc Sweeney who scored three tries. Other tries came through flanker Nick Burnett, No 8 Stuart Williams, winger Andy Matchett, flanker Wayne Sprangle, full-back Andy Birkett and replacement fly-half Mark Scrivener. Fly-half Sam Young kicked three conversions and a penalty with Scrivener kicking a further conversion when he came on. With three games left for the Cornish All Blacks the excitement and anticipation is growing at Polson of a possible promotion to National league 1 next season. It looks increasingly likely that it will all boil down to the final game of the season when the CAB’s have to visit Henley Hawks who are currently third one point behind the Cornishmen.
Redruth maintained their fine form with a hard fought win at Grove Park against Manchester by 23-18 to maintain their impressive fourth place in National League 2. The Reds were never led in this gripping battle taking the lead on two minutes with a penalty from fly-half Mike Hook. Hook then kicked a second penalty ten minutes later to increase the Reds advantage. Redruth lost their lock Luke Collins to the sin-bin during which time Manchester scored an unconverted try. Redruth scored a cracking try soon after with scrum-half Mark Richards and No 8 Mark Bright making space to release centre Simon Peters who fed winger Tim McBride who finished the move off in style. Redruth scored a second try before half-time with Hook spotting a gap and darting through to score. Manchester pulled back three points before the break to leave it at 16-8 to the Reds.
Manchester reduced the deficit with a drop goal soon after the resumption of play. Redruth scored a third try following a powerful forward surge towards the home line and with the referee playing an advantage skipper Craig Bonds took a long pass from Hook at pace to score out in the corner, Hook’s conversion took Redruth to 23-11. A Redruth error gifted Manchester seven points leaving the Reds five points to the good with time running out. A storming run by Manchester almost saw them score a try only to be denied by a double tackle by Jamie Caruana and PJ Gidlow.
Redruth can now turn their attention to Saturday’s Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup Final against Mount’s Bay at Camborne 5-30pm kick-off.
In South West 1, not a good day for either of our Cornish clubs, Mount’s Bay lost at home to Maidenhead by 19-18, thus ending Bay’s four year un-beaten record in the leagues as well as Maidenhead being able to claim a league double for this season over the South West 1 champions, although Bay did beat them in the Intermediate Cup a week later! Bay had a few regulars out for this match, Everard Reid and Ben Hilton scored the Bay’s tries with Jamie Semmens kicking both conversions and a penalty goal. Bay will now look forward to their Camborne date with Redruth on Easter Saturday in the Cornwall Cup Final the second leg of a possible treble for this season.
Having seen their chances of a play-off place slip away St. Ives’ form has taken an alarming dip in recent weeks and it was the same on Saturday. The Hakes entertained Bracknell and were thumped 40-18 with former England player Chris Sheasby scoring a couple of tries for the visitors. A win that keeps Bracknell out of the relegation zone for the moment. No 8 Ashley Lawton scored a first half try for St. Ives converted by Karl Martin who also kicked a penalty. In the second half prop Hugh Noot scored a try with Martin adding a second penalty.
In South West 2 West, Camborne travelled to Taunton and lost by 32-10. The Cherry & Whites scored a couple of tries through David Mankee and Rob Ley.
Penryn no doubt wish that the season was already over following their 100-0 defeat at Exmouth. It looks already as though life next season in Western Counties West will be no easier for the Borough!
In Western Counties West only one game was played involving Cornish clubs with Truro hosting Bude in a Cornish derby. Already relegated Truro had the satisfaction of turning over their North Cornwall opponents on their own patch with a 20-12 win. Paul Andrew, Chris Long and Jovin Harper scored Truro’s tries with Ross Martin kicking the other points. Chris Kingsford and Steve Yates scored the tries for Bude with Andy Yates converting his brother’s try.
Although not playing this weekend it looks like Hayle’s play-off opponents will be Barton Hill from Western Counties North.
In the Cornwall & Devon League after all the excitement last week of Julian Wilce’s apparent non try scoring feats for the Camels I omitted to congratulate them on securing promotion to Western Counties West next season. Well done to the Camels especially to former County prop John May and his coaching team up there.
Camels enjoyed another fine win on Saturday winning 29-17 at Honiton. Try scorers for Wadebridge were Matt Ballard (2), Sean Hawkey, Brian Finnemore and Tom O’Donnell. Ian Boyling kicking a couple conversions.
St. Austell were well beaten at leaders Paignton 55-6, finishing the game with only 13 men following a couple of red cards. Ben Newman kicked two penalties for the visitors.
Perranporth lost to bottom side South Molton 12-6 Justin Irons kicking the Brewers points.
Falmouth lost at Wellington by 15-13. Richard Handley scored Falmouth’s try with Jack Brown converting and adding a couple of drop goals.
Up in London, London Cornish defeated Old Amplefordians 24-10 in their London 4 SW match (See Dickon Moon’s match report in the forums).
Finally well done once more to Cornish All Black’s tight head Wayne Reed who has been again selected for the Barbarians to play the Army on Wednesday evening at the Twickenham Stoop.