THE BIG TALKING POINT on Saturday was the breaking news that Director of rugby at Launceston RFC Jon Hill had decided to step down. Having given guarded responses to reporters following the Cornish All Blacks’ final league game at home to Cinderford the previous weekend rumour had been rife as to Hill’s plans for next season. The unwelcome news for many Lanson fans comes on top of the cutbacks of up to 40% the club will have to make (as many other clubs will to) for next season. Keith Brooking has also left the club and has take a player-coach role at Cullompton. Speculation continues over the future of many of the current squad with top points scorer Tony Yapp and Jason Luff tipped to move to Taunton who have just been promoted to National League 2 South.
Launceston are hoping to announce a successor to Hill in the next week, though Hill has already confirmed that Malcolm Roberts is set to take a player-coach role at the club along with Tony Roques.
On the pitch the Cornish Pirates completed their Play-Off matches in Pool A of the RFU Championship with a 60-15 defeat at Camborne to Bristol. If ever there was a case of two sides taking the field with totally different priorities then this was it. Bristol knowing 5 points would guarantee them a home semi-final against the runners-up from Pool B set about their task and soon had points on the board as former Bath centre Alex Crockett crossed. It was the start of a try-feast as Bristol ran in ten tries against a Pirates’ side made up with many of the players who have been released by the club and were given the chance of a final hurrah in front of the home fans. Sad to see great servants to the club such as Matt Evans and Steve Winn departing and I am sure everyone wishes the players well in their future careers/clubs. The club are now looking to run on a smaller squad for next season around the 30 player mark with possibly a few extra players coming over once the New Zealand season is over, confirmed after the match Chris Stirling.
You can read Bill Sobey’s match report from the Western Morning News in the link.
The main focus for the Pirates is the British & Irish Cup Final against Munster on Sunday 16th May at 6pm. Speculation now on who may turn out for the Irish province following their exit from this season’s Heineken Cup at the hands of Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque in San Sebastian in yesterday’s semi-final, although the Irish province are still involved with the Magners’ League play-offs. Ticket sales have been brisk this week and you are invited to apply to the Cornish Pirates ticket office details on the Pirates’ website.
Also check the Pirates website for details of the end of season award winners, the President’s Cup went to all-action back row forward Sam Betty, well deserved.
Redruth ended their league campaign with defeat at Champions Esher where the home side won by 29-5. Reds’ skipper Darren Jacques got the visitor’s only try. Read Ed Bawden’s match report from the Western Morning News in the link
The only other league match was in the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League where Saltash lost at Champions Wellington 105-0. Wellington won all 26 matches this season so congratulations to them.
Bank Holiday Monday sees the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup Finals with Roseland taking on Helston in the Clubs Cup and then St. Ives (holders) against Wadebridge Camels (winners in 2008) in the Cup Final at 5pm.
Going back to the Pirates game on Saturday it was good to hear from Dicky Evans on the progress with Cornwall Council with regards to the Stadium for Cornwall, if you haven’t signed the petition yet click on the link on my blog roll, it looks likely that at long last we have a Council
with vision and drive to get this project off the ground. Let’s hope it’s not too long before we see the bulldozers on site and the stands being built!