Bill Hooper reports from the training session at Camborne last night (Wednesday 18 May) with photos from Simon Bryant Iktisphoto.
Cornwall go into Saturday’s game against Surrey knowing that they are just eighty minutes from a fourth successive visit to England rugby’s illustrious HQ!
Between them and that achievement is a Surrey side who will be battling to avoid a swift return to Division 2 of the Bill Beaumont Cup following two defeats against Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire.
Cornwall make just minor positional changes to the starting XV, whilst the bench will be finalised later in the week.
For Surrey former Redruth player Ed Carne, who plied his trade in France notably at Nevers and more recently with Rouen (with coach former England scrum-half Richard Hill) features on the wing for the visitors.
Photo: Graham Dawe gets his point across
Head coach Graham Dawe is taking nothing for granted and expects Surrey to pose a tough hurdle for his side to overcome in their quest for more Twickenham glory.
“We have had two very hard-fought wins against good sides who have tested us,” remarked Dawe.
“We aren’t getting ahead of ourselves, so any talk about congratulations about the job thus far are premature; two wins from a pool of four leads us to a mini cup final this Saturday.”
Dawe acknowledged that his side had been pushed all the way in their previous two games: “They have been close games and fine margins usually determine games. We’ve been on the right side so far in both games but we felt the pressure right up to the final whistle. Those games have seen the side forge an identity. You’ve seen players fighting for the shirt, laying their bodies on the line for the county, players such as Sam Matavesi who have been going right to the end getting off the floor to put in yet another tackle and that’s what really counts.
Photo: Skipper Kyle Marriott leads the way
Skipper Kyle Marriott also knows that his side has won no prizes yet; good work accomplished but the main push towards the summit begins on Saturday: “Good work from the boys so far but we have a huge game to win this Saturday. We aren’t getting ahead of ourselves. One poor game and it could easily slip out of our hands. Surrey will be no pushovers and we expect a titanic battle with them.”
Marriott feels that the side are coming together game by game: “I am pleased with the progress so far. I think we are growing as a squad game by game, but we all feel that there is still more to come from this squad and that’s exciting.
“The games have been close but I think reflects on the sides this season. They have all upped their game. This is not an easy tournament at the end of a long hard league campaign. Winning is key and if we can keep winning then we will be successful. We are fortunate to have many of the players who were involved last year, whilst the new players coming in have bought into what we are trying to do.”
Photo: Sam Matavesi training on his ‘home’ turf
One for the new players in the county squad this season is Bude’s Duncan Tout: “It’s a big step up for me but it’s a great experience to be involved with the County this season. I have found myself improving as a player, benefiting greatly from the training sessions run by the coaches. For me, it’s big commitment travelling down from Bude but one that’s really worthwhile.
Photo: Coach Ian Morgan surveys the Rec.
“The training is intense with everyone pushing really hard so I have got to step up which is tough but enjoyable. The club are pleased to see a north Cornwall boy involved with the County.”
Cornwall (Plymouth Albion unless stated): M Shepherd, L Vinnicombe (Redruth), J Murphy, N Webber (Redruth), R Wedlake, B Searle, G Goodfellow (Chinnor); T Cowan-Dickie, R Brown, C Williams (all Redruth), B Hilton (Cornish All Blacks), T Whittle (Camborne), K Marriott (Redruth, capt), S Matavesi, H Stupple.
Replacements: R Freestone, P Joyce (Redruth), BJ Chapman (Taunton), C Fuca (Redruth), L Webb (Taunton), S Parsons (Redruth), J Dawe.
Surrey (Dorking unless stated): O Turner (London Irish WG), E Carne, R Jeffery, S Cunningham (London Irish WG), K Irving, M Noble, W Crow (Rosslyn Park); C Connor (London Irish WG), J Catton, C Zeiss (Esher), I Kench (Esher, capt), D Flashman (Wimbeldon), D Livett (London Irish WG), H Elbrow, H Rowland (Rosslyn Park).
Replacements: M Bunn (London Irish WG), S Obano, T Lee, J Hunt (Wimbeldon), M McDonald (London Scottish), B Marfo, J Gott (London Irish WG).