Cornwall’s head coach Graham Dawe has a buzz of anticipation on the eve of another County Championship campaign, reports Bill Hooper from Redruth’s Recreation Ground.
Photo Simon Bryant Iktisphoto; Graham Dawe directs training
“We’ve been together since February training at Perranporth, we’ve identified some good youngsters who are coming in this season and I shall look forward to seeing how they cope in the pressurized atmosphere of playing for Cornwall.
Dawe and his coaching side have had to look at replacing quality players from last season’s squad such as skipper Kyle Marriott and scrum-half Greg Goodfellow, sadly Ben Hilton has not recovered in time from a neck injury suffered playing for Barnstaple.
“The side has got players who have played for Cornwall before, George Jones, BJ Chapman, Dave Mankee and Tommy Phillips were part of the squad in 2015 so know the drill others such as Jack Oulton, Joe Elderkin, Grant Randlesome, Jack Simmons, Andrius Zacharovas and Brad Howe are involved in their first senior championship game so it will be interesting to see how the step up, I love to see young players push themselves and see how far they can go, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Joe Elderkin and look forward to seeing him play.
Photo Simon Bryant Iktisphoto: Cornish forwards go through the drill
Dawe feels certain that Jake Murphy will do a fine job captaining Cornwall this season. “Jake has got a lot of qualities as a leader which I feel he can transmit to players around him on the field, he’s captained Plymouth Albion and been in the Cornwall squad for a few seasons now and knows what we are about.
Looking ahead to the Surrey game Dawe knows his side will be in for a hard game. “They came down to Camborne last season and gave us a hard game, they will have some very useful backs with a good running and off-load game. We will have to be at our best to match them. We will have to restrict their chances and play a smart game. We shall look to dominate up front in the set-piece, look after the ball and attack when the opportunity comes.
Dawe feels that having Marek Churcher and Rhodri McAtee involved this season is important. “Both are involved with Redruth and Camborne so know the bulk of the squad well and the players will respond to them. I’ve known Marek for many years from his time at Albion he is a challenging coach for his players.
Jake Murphy is delighted with his appointment as skipper for this season and looks forward to leading his side out at Richmond. “I am very excited to be appointed skipper this season, I guess I am now regarded as a senior member of the squad, so yes it does bring added pressure, these young players are hungry for your shirt but I am looking forward to it.
Photo Simon Bryant Iktisphoto: Cornwall captain Jake Murphy
“I’ve captained Albion in the past but first and foremost I must make sure that I am on top of my game and show that I should be wearing that shirt, as far as I am concerned we start with a blank sheet the two wins in the final are in the past.
Jake is looking to Trelawny’s Army to get behind the boys especially in the two away games. “Their support will be vital to us running out up country to see so many black and gold shirts in the crowd and Cornish flags fluttering is a huge lift to the boys. I know that the support will be there on Saturday and we will play our hearts out for them.
Cornwall have made three changes to the side published earlier this week. Surrey side from their website, mostly from London Irish Wild Geese.
Cornwall (Redruth unless stated): J Elderkin, L Vinnicombe, J Murphy (Barnstaple) (capt), J Simmons (Camborne), R Wedlake (Plymouth Albion), D Mankee (Camborne), J Oulton; T Phillips, R Brown, C Williams, B Jenkins (Barnstple), T Whittle (Camborne), C Fuca, G Jones (Penryn), BJ Chapman.
Replacements: A Zacharovas (Camborne), M Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), R Dugard (Barnstaple), B Howe, G Randlesome (Penryn), T Notman, M Bowden.
Travelling Reserves: D Matthews, S Buzza, R Friend (Okehampton)
Surrey (London Irish WG unless stated) E Carne (Dorking), T Richards, B Kitching, B Meeson, K Irving (Worthing), M Noble (Dorking), T Trotter (Cambridge); K Furey, N Sweeney, C Zeiss (capt) (all Esher), J Touma, D Flashman (Wimbeldon), T Bush, H Elbrow (Dorking), H Rowland.
Replacements: C Connor, K O’Sullivan, C Burman (Esher), F Osborne (Dorking), E Milne (Rosslyn Park), J Reville (Wimbeldon), M McDonald (Amersham & Chiltern)
Referee: Neil Chivers (RFU)