It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the fans of the Cornish Pirates, defeat in the semi-final of the British & Irish Cup up in the Welsh Valleys in Cross Keys. Then the news that High Performance Manager Chris Stirling had decided to take up a position with the New Zealand RFU as thier High Performance Talent Indentification Manager, so in future years we will see All Blacks that Chris has identified and brought on to wear the famous silver fern.
Listening to Chris’ reasons for taking up the new role, you couldn’t help but feel that the prolonged, protracted negotiations over delivering the Stadium for Cornwall had played a major part in his decision to call it quits and head back home.
If any good can come from his departure then maybe the Councillors at County Hall will sit up and take heed of what has happened….and get on with it pronto!
So yesterday’s vital match against the Bedford Blues (Pirates bete-noir this season) was the popular Kiwi’s final match in charge before flying back to New Zealand to take up the new role.
Pirates’ win by 21-20 was enough to secure qualification for the semis before the final round of play-off matches at Leeds next weekend.
It was disappointing to read some inaccurate reporting in the Rugby Paper on Sunday. Their piece about Pirates’ Dave Ward signing for Harlequins stated that plans for the Stadium for Cornwall had collapsed. This, as all involved with Cornish rugby matters will know, is simply not the case. It was disappointing to see this mis-information at a time when plans are clearly on-going as we push for a quick and satisfactory conclusion to this vital project for the benefit of Cornwall!
In National League 2 South, the Cornish All Blacks, despite having skipper Tom Rawlings and lock Ben Hilton absent as they were on duty at Josh Lord’s wedding (Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Lord), comfortably defeated visitors Hertford 33-11 with tries from Jake Murphy, Lewis Paterson and a brace from Kyle Moyle, to grab all five league points.
Redruth, on the other hand, had their away day face on, losing up at Southend 47-14. No.8 Tom Duncan got a couple of tries with Craig “Eggy” Williams kicking the conversions. No doubt the Reds will want to put on a show for the home fans in their final home game of the season on Saturday at home to Westcombe Park, in what will be Director of Rugby Dave Penberthy’s final game at the Rec before stepping down at the end of the season. It promises to be an afternoon of high emotion.
In Tribute South West 1 West Brixham received the shield for winning the league when the defeated relegated Penryn 60-12. Skipper Sam Harrison and Sean Johnson scored tries for the Borough as the Fishermen celebrated in style.
Wadebridge Camels maitained ther fine form with a 57-0 win over relegated Chosen Hill Former Pupils. Dominic Hawkey grabbing three of the Camels’ eight tries.
Camborne rounded off their home program with a fine 50-23 win over Sidmouth also scoring eight tries shared between forwards and backs.
In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Austell won well at Exeter Saracens 36-14 to record the only Cornish win of the day in this league. Truro lost at Bideford 37-15, whilst Bude lost at Bencoolen 20-10 to Torquay Athletic. Troubled St. Ives had to forfiet the match and points to Champions Wellington.
London Cornish finished their league campaign with a disappointing defeat at home to Camberley 20-15. Cornish still finished fourth in London 2 SW and will no doubt look to improve next season.
In Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Hayle having lost at Torrington to already relegated Torrington the week before got their revenge with a comfortable 40-7 win.
Falmouth Eagles ran riot at the Rec defeating Totnes 81-3 with Gareth Lever getting a hat-tick of tries and three other players a brace each!
Liskeard/Looe pushed runners-up Tavistock all the way at Lux Park before losing 15-11, whilst Pirates Amateurs lost at Withycombe 29-13. Veor lost at Crediton 24-22, they need a win in their final game at home to final and hope that Pirates Amateurs can do them a favour at Plymouth Barbarians. The Plymouth side lost at Newquay Hornets 33-6.
Hats off this week to Exeter Chiefs who with their fine win at Worcester Warriors 31-26 have secured a spot in next season’s Heineken Cup!
Now about that Stadium for Cornwall…………………….!