THE NEWS LAST WEEK  from Cornwall Council that time scale for the delivery of the Stadium for Cornwall had been extended came as very unwelcome news for many sport’s fans in Duchy.

The delay now means that the Cornish Pirates should they win the Championship play-off final will not now be in a position to claim it’s place in the Aviva Premiership for season 2012/13.

The earliest will be for season 2013/14 so long as there are no other frustrating delays. Pirate’s owner Dicky Evans spoke for many when he declared.  ” I am dismayed that factors outside our control mean that the agreed Business Plan cannot now be achieved , compounded by the news that the stadium will not be delivered for next season. Personally I am distraught and I feel extremely sad that so many good people who have put in so much effort have to handle this news.

Without doubt this will greatly affect our plans and I will now take stock over the next week with the key Club management staff and the playing force to review options for the future of the Cornish Pirates.”

Well just a couple of day’s later Evans came back fighting with a new plan for the Pirates for this season. He said. ” We are , however, fully satisfied that subject to the INOX housing application being approved early next year that work on a stadium will start in 2012 at a time that will ensure delivery ready for use in the 2013-14 season.

“In summary, the Pirates will definitely be playing at the Mennaye next season and almost certainly moving to Truro for the following season whichever league is involved, including the Championship.

“The squad and coaches have been fully briefed and although very disappointed at the turn of events they are fully committed to continue in their quest to win both competitions, the Championship and the Cup this season.

“Nothing has changed in our ambitions to be the best on and off the field despite the one year delay in delivery of a stadium facility.

So much now depends on the Council’s decision on January 12th when the INOX housing development comes up. If that’s passsed then hopefully work on the stadium will get under way as long as there are no further delays due to opposition. Fingers crossed!

The other news concerned Cornish Pirates High Performance Manager Chris Stirling will be taking a year’s sabbatical back in his native New Zealand. All being well Chris will return after 12 months in the meantime from the beginning of next season coaches Iain Davies and Harvey Biljoen will assume responsibilites for the day-to-day running of the Pirates.

Can’t help feeling that Chris will be in a great position to recruit a few “All Blacks” to the Pirate’s cause should they get to the Aviva Premiership!

On the playing front the Cornish Pirates booked their home quarter-final berth with a 30-3 over Welsh Premiership side Cross Keys at the Mennaye on Sunday in the British & Irish Cup. You can read Dick Straughan’s match report for the Western Morning News in the link here.

In National League 2 South a crowd of over 1,000, including a couple of Launceston’s finest former players, Roger Spurrell and Jimmy Tucker, as well as the promising Chiefs player who was with the Reds last season Jack Nowell, saw the Cornish All Blacks overcome their Cornish rivals Redruth 20-10 at a freezing Polson Bridge on Saturday afternoon. Bill Sobey’s match report for the Western Morning News can be found in the link here.

In Tribute South West 1 West, Camborne defeated Paignton 34-6 at the Rec scoring five tries with a brace from Richie Kevern. Wadebridge Camels won at Sidmouth 22-21 thanks to tries from Matt Ballard (2) and Will Pengelly, whilst Penryn lost up at Cleve 19-15 despite tries from Ethan Pattisson and George Jones.

There was a very encouraging turnout of players yesterday at Launceston for the Cornwall U.20 trials. I spoke to coach Tom Rawlings on Saturday and he has been greatly encouraged by the response of the players for this season’s championship, which sees Cornwall playing two of their three pool matches at home.

Don’t forget rugby over Christmas in Cornwall. Apart form the Cornish Pirates’ tasty looking Championship encounter with Plymouth Albion at the Mennaye on Christmas Eve, there are the traditional Boxing Day derbies to look forward to with Camborne hosting Redruth for the Rodda’s Milk Cup, Hayle playing St. Ives and Penryn versus Falmouth. All three matches kick-off at 2-30. There are various club games against President’s or Chairman’s XV notably at Newquay Hornets and Bude.

All that it remains for me to do is to wish “One & All” a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Posted in Bill's Blog

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