There really couldn’t be a bigger game to start the National League campaign than the National League 1 derby between the Cornish All Blacks and the Cornish Pirates, or for the purists Launceston v Penzance & Newlyn. East versus West with all roads leading to Polson on Saturday, quite what the exodus of holiday makers heading back to England will make of the mass hords of the Pirates’ Press Gang heading up the A.30 is anyone’s guess. I hope that the expedition to the “borders” is plain sailing as far as the traffic goes.
The Cornish All Blacks deserve tremendous credit in getting to National League 1, Saturday will be their first major test not only on the pitch but off it as well as the demands in this league are far higher than anything they will have experienced before. I am sure that the pressure has already been felt with the pre-match ticket sales for this match and the rush to install the tiered terracing opposite the clubhouse and grandstand side of the pitch.
So what of the game, well I am sure that we are going to witness a tremendous tussle between the two sides and I am sure that former Pirates’ players such as Matt Jess and Owen Hambly will be keen to impress against their former club. I would expect the game to be close for 60 minutes before the Cornish Pirates’ pull away during the final quarter to seal all five league points on offer.
There have been some silly remarks this week about the lack of locals in the Cornish Pirates’ side. I have no truck with these ridiclous comments, the Pirates are a professional outfit who are duty bound to find the best players they can on their budget from wherever. They can come from Timbuktu for all I care as long as they do the buisness for the club! That is the reality of professional rugby and aiming for the Guiness Premiership.
In National League 2, Redruth kick-off their season at Nuneaton on Sunday afternoon. The Reds will be looking to get their league season off to a flying start. There is a great deal of optimisim in the Reds’ camp this season having gone close to promotion last time around. With the likes of Rob Thirlby and Lewis Vinnicombe out wide Redruth have a potent attacking option. A minor set back for the Reds this week is the absence of their new Samoan No 8 Faleoni Seve for the trip to Nuneaton. I’ll tip the Reds for a winning start to the new campaign.
Mount’s Bay begin life in National 3 South welcoming Barking to the Mennaye Field on Saturday. It really is a big day for the Bay and a feather in the cap for all concerned with the club to be playing National League rugby in such a short space of time since the formation of the club. Bay have former Barking skipper Jon Marlin playing in the centre one of several new recruits for the new campaign. A win for the Bay but they may not nick the bonus point on offer!
There are a couple of EDF-Energy Senior Vase 1st Round ties featuring Cornish clubs on Saturday, Falmouth entertain Bideford whilst Newquay Hornets travel to Okehampton.