The Senior Leagues 2003-2004

A summary of the 2003-2004 league season

This page summarizes all the league games involving Cornish clubs in National League 1, National League 3 (South), and SW1 that took place in the 2003-2004 season.

Saturday/Sunday 6th/7th September

In Penzance/Newlyn's much-anticipated first game in National League 1, Bristol proved too strong for the Pirates. The former Premiership side eventually ran out winners by 34 -7. It could be a challenging season for the Cornish club!

In South West 1, Truro got off to the worst possible start, losing at home to Cheltenham 25 – 9. All Truro had to show were three penalty goals from Patterson.

In South West 2 (West), Penryn beat Thornbury 20 – 11 at the Memorial Ground, with a couple of tries from No 8 Ben Short.

In Western Counties (West), Camborne scored a fine win at home to Devonport Services 26 – 13 with a couple of tries from new signing Tongan Movete Oto Ota, and one from lock Martin Woolcock. Former pirate Seb Berti kicked a conversion and three penalty goals.

Hayle, following their Powergen Cup exit last weekend, bounced back in the best possible way with a fine win at last season’s runners-up in this league Withycombe by 26 – 0!

St Ives also got off to a winning start, beating Newton Abbot at Alexander Road 24 – 10.

St Just found it hard going at the Tics, going down 32 – 8 to Torquay Athletic.

Saturday 13th September


Rob Thirlby proved to be the Pirates saviour, scoring the winning try under the posts deep into injury time at the Mennaye Field, in this first-ever league fixture at this level played in Cornwall.

Once again the Pirates were made to work hard and shown, if further proof was needed, that all fixtures in this league are going to be extremely hard and that to succeed you have to be at the top of your game for 80 minutes.

Penzance & Newlyn will take comfort from the fact that they scored three tries and conceded none. The half-time score was 5-3 to the Pirates, with stand off James Shanahan crossing for the Pirates and his opposite number Barry Reeves replying with a penalty for the Hawks.

Play flowed from end to end as both sides played open attacking rugby. Rob Thirlby, entrusted with kicking duties, slotted a penalty after the break to increase the Pirates slender advantage, which was increased by Matt Jess’s fine try in the Newlyn gate corner. Henley did not give up and gradually penned back the deficit via Reeves' boot with three penalties and a drop goal to snatch the advantage.

Rob Thirlby’s magic try and conversion ensured the right result for the large Pirates following.

Pirates: 3 tries: Shanahan, Jess, R. Thirlby, 1 con , 1pen R. Thirlby
Hawks: 4 pens, 1 drop goal, Reeves.


Report by Bill Hooper

Redruth got their league seasons off to a winning start with a hard-fought win over new boys from SW 1, Dings Crusaders.

The Reds kicked off playing down the slope in their smart, new, predominantly red shirts, which will please the purist fans. Play was scrappy as both sides tried to get the upper hand. Redruth began using the high ball, but to little effect against a big side like Dings. Indeed, it was Dings who looked the more dangerous side. The Reds' scrum was being disrupted. Scrum half Mark Richards found his opposite number Waylon Gasson all over him at the heel.

Reds' wing Lewis Vinnecombe had to look lively dealing with an early Dings attack. Shortly afterwards, Dings had the first points on the board after 9 minutes when scrum half Gasson kicked a penalty in front of the Reds' posts. (Redruth will be unhappy at the number of penalties they conceded throughout this match.) However, Redruth were soon level from the restart when Dings came around too quickly at a scrum. Fly half Scott Martin kicked a fine penalty to tie the scores. Dings continued to have the upper hand. They earned another kickable penalty in front of the posts on 16 mins, which Gasson converted to regain the lead. Again from the kick off the Reds earned a penalty; a nice little number between the Kiwis Bede Brown and James Lancaster gave Scott Martin his second pot at goal, which he accepted.

As the first quarter came to an end there was a heated exchange between the teams, which saw Adam Flide for Redruth and Waylon Gasson for Dings sent to the bin. Redruth felt aggrieved, as did the vocal support! Redruth then fell behind as Dings grabbed a try on 26 mins through flanker Simon Knight, which centre Chris Poole converted in Gasson’s absence. Once again the lead did not last long, in fact 1 minute, in this ding dong of a match, as Redruth struck back from the restart. A kick into Dings' 22 in Hell Fire corner saw fast-arriving Lewis Vinnecombe gather the ball and cross the line. Martin’s conversion tied the scores once more. Immediately the Reds were on the charge again as Bede Brown kicked the ball up field and gave chase. He caught the full back, who failed to release the ball, giving Martin another chance in front of the posts: 16 – 13 to the Reds the half time score.

Dings again dominated the early phases of the second half. However, it was the Reds who scored first, when Lewis Vinnecombe got his second of the game in the scoreboard corner. Martin missed the conversion. Dings almost came back immediately in this see-saw of a game, but scrum half Gasson put a foot in touch while jinking his way to the line. Sylvan Edwards, on for Dings No 10 Nick Seward, hacked over the Reds' line but the ball went dead in the chase.

Dings finally got their second try through full back Mark Lucas, who broke the line near the posts. Gasson’s conversion brought the visitors back to within a point: 21 – 20. As the game moved into its final quarter Redruth struck a telling blow when, following a catch-and-drive in Dings 22, hooker Glenn Cooper was driven over.

Dings appeared to tire in the forwards, so much so that the Reds eight enjoyed a couple of powerful scrums where they pushed the visitors off their own ball. Nathan Pedley had one of his powerful runs at the opposition, Scott Martin kicked up field, and once again Dings did not release in front of their posts. Martin kicked the penalty to put the Reds two scores ahead. With referee David May playing a fair amount of time added on, Scott Martin kicked another penalty to complete the scoring. In the end a win for the Reds, but it had been a tough match that could at one point have gone either way.

Redruth: 15) Bonds, 14) Vinnecombe, 13 Curnow, 12) Brown (capt), 11) Pedley, 10) Martin, 9) Richards, 8) Pascoe, 7) Lancaster, 6) Navin, 5) Instance, 4) O’Sullivan, 3) Heard, 2) Cooper, 1) Flide.
Replacements: 16) Pengilly, 17) Hawken, 18) Croker, 19) Wright


The Cornish All Blacks got their league season off to the best possible start with this important away win at Westcombe Park, where it is never easy to win.

Launceston's defence held firm during a scrappy first period, which saw them trailing 6-5 at the break. Hooker Dave Risdon was driven over from a 25 yard out maul to claim the Launceston score. Marshall kicked a couple of penalties for the Kent club.

In the second half Launceston were again made to defend early on. Rhys Gosling and Marshall swapped penalties. As the game moved into its final quarter, Launceston’s superior fitness began to tell. The visitors claimed three more tries from Eddie Nancekivell, Julian Wilce, and skipper Nick Burnett.


In South West 1, Truro’s poor start to the season continued when they lost for the second week running at Oxford Harlequins 34 –16. Truro were in the game at half-time, trailing only 19 – 16, having scored two tries from wing James Coombes and fly half Jamie Caruana. Mike Patterson also kicked a couple of penalties. But Oxford pulled away in the second half to end up comfortable winners.

In South West 2 West, Penryn lost! The Borough went down to the Fishermen 32 – 20 in Brixham. Penryn did score 3 tries via centre Nick Brown, wing Chris Mann, and flanker James Mann. Martin Strick added a conversion and a penalty for the visitors.

In Western Counties West, Camborne and Hayle remain unbeaten. Camborne won at home for the second week running, scoring 5 tries against Ivybridge. With the scores tied at the break, Camborne scored 24 points without reply in the second half. Les Smitherham and Tongan Mo Ota Oto both grabbed a brace, with fullback Aisea Fisilau scoring the other. Chilean Seb Berti notched four conversions and a penalty goal, with Ota Oto also dropping a goal.

Hayle followed up their fine win at Withycombe with another away win at the Rectory against Devonport Services. Lions full back Kevin Mankee was the hero for his side with a match winning try in the dying minutes of the game. Dave Seager scored the two other tries for Hayle, and Mankee added a couple of conversions and a penalty goal.

St. Ives also made it two wins out of two with a fine 16 – 10 win away at Wessex. St. Just, on the other hand, slumped to a second defeat, losing at home to Paignton 26 – 22.

Saturday 20th September


In National League 1, the Pirates found it hard going at Sharmans Cross. The Bees stung their opponents with four first half tries which helped them to a 25-0 lead at the break.

The Pirates mounted a better performance in the second half and scored three tries from prop Ashley Morcombe, Rob Thirlby, and Peter Bush. Mark Scrivener, who came on after half time, kicked a conversion. The Bees still managed to double their half time score and run out comfortable winners.

The Pirates will hope to bounce back next Saturday when they take on Coventry at the Mennaye Field. Coventry won their first league match on Saturday, defeating Bristol Shoguns at Coundon Road by 40-21.

Saturday 27th September


By Bill Hooper at the Mennaye Field

Pressure had been on the Pirates all week to get a result in this National League 1 match. That they did so says much about the spirit of this team, and to crown it their first bonus point, achieved by scoring four first half tries.

This was a cracking performance from the Pirates. However, there were two worrying statistics: they had only one successful kick at goal and the penalty count against them was far too high.

Coventry came to the far South West fresh from their league victory against Bristol Shoguns at Coundon Road. Before the game, it was interesting to see the former Cornwall and Penryn hooker Roger Harris in the grandstand. Who can ever forget that memorable National Cup match Penryn played against Coventry in 1972 in the mud at the Memorial Ground? David Duckham called the crowd the most partisan he had ever played against!

The Pirates were eager to get on with the game, perhaps a shade too eager as a fumble from the Coventry kick off put the home side under pressure. There was more misfortune when the Pirates were penalised for throwing a punch. There was unfortunately a fair bit of niggle throughout this match, which did erupt from time to time!

Mark Meenan, who was deputising at fly half for this match, kicked the opening points for a short-lived Coventry lead. Rob Thirlby was looking lively in mid field, always keen to counter. James Shanahan, relieved of kicking duties, created a lovely break and ran clear of the cover. Lakalaka Waquinevere was on hand to accept the scoring pass. Ricky Pellow, who had kicking duties today, missed the conversion. Coventry pressed for position. However, the Pirates looked to counter and were very dangerous every time they broke out of defence.

Coventry regained the lead after the Pirates infringed at a scrum. Meenan from the half way line kicked the goal. The Pirates pack was going well. Lee Soper looked to have turned an ankle but kept going until half time despite the agony he must have been in. The Pirates regained the lead after 17 minutes following another lightning break out led by Mark Fatialofa. Thirlby and Shanahan were again involved before Steve Evans went over in the scoreboard corner. Again, the conversion went awry. Skipper Joe Bearman carved an opening in midfield as the Pirates looked to cut loose again.

Shanahan’s positional kicking was effective in pinning back Coventry. On 25 minutes, Ricky Pellow kicked a penalty goal to extend the Pirates' advantage. Matt Jess had a fine run from a break out following a sliced Coventry drop attempt at goal. Then came the try of the match, made and scored by Mark Fatialofa from 60 meters. The crowd were on their feet! Coventry were reeling and they had more to ponder as two minutes later Waqanivere scored his second of the match, following great play from Thirlby and Bearman amongst others. The bonus point was in the bag. Coventry had some pressure in the Pirates 22 just before half time but resolute defence kept the line intact. 23 – 6 at the break.

With Lee Soper having gone off before half time, Richard Carroll moved up to partner David Whitehead in the second row. Josh Lord did come on but was replaced at half time as Waqanivere moved into the back row, allowing Martin Worthington to come on. From the restart the Pirates contrived to score their fifth try by Rob Thirlby, which Thirlby was unable to convert from the touch line to stretch their lead to 28 - 6.

It could be argued that from that point the game degenerated, fights broke out, and the referee had problems getting his authority on the game. Fatialofa departed to be replaced by Mark Scrivener but not before doing one of his juggling tricks in front of the grandstand to bemuse the Coventry defence, much to the roar of the crowd. Yet another flare up amongst the players saw Richard Carroll for the Pirates and Coventry’s Mc Murray sin-binned. Coventry appeared to cope the better and Cornishman Richard Siveter went over in the clubhouse corner for a try for the visitors. Shanahan enjoyed another good break but was isolated. Coventry enjoyed the final word when Kurt Johnson, who had looked lively, grabbed their second try in the dying minutes of the match.

A reassuring win for the Pirates. However, the goal kicking must remain a prime concern, especially in this league where chances for points must be taken.

Scores: Pirates 5 tries, Waqanivere (2), Fatialofa, Evans, Thirlby. 1 pen Pellow. Coventy 2 tries, Siveter, Johnson. Pens Meenan (2).


In National League 2 (South), the Cornish All Blacks recorded their second league win of the season. However, coach Barry Trevaskis was far from pleased with his side’s performance. Sloppy defending saw Launceston fall behind to an early converted try from visiting fly half Ian Calder. Rhys Gosling cut the visitor’s lead with a penalty. However, it took the home side until the 26th minute to gain the lead after hooker Dave Risdon was driven over by his pack, Gosling adding the extras. Another catch and drive from a penalty saw skipper Nick Burnett driven over, with Gosling adding the conversion to put Launceston 17-7 to the good at half time.

The Launceston pack continued to give the visiting eight a torrid time. After two failures to secure a score after driving Basingstoke over their own line, it proved third time lucky with Paul Edwards securing the touch down. Gosling added the extra points.

Launceston then cut loose, with Gosling breaking out in midfield. After feeding Risdon, he was on hand to take a scoring pass from his hooker. Basingstoke managed to secure a second try from limited possession, putting Carl Saunders in at the corner. Calder again converted via the post.

Launceston enjoyed the last word, scoring a fifth try from scrum half Jon Hill, allowing Gosling his fourth conversion of the match.


Redruth scored seven tries in this memorable away win. The Reds started with a bang, scoring two converted tries in the first two minutes of the match. Lewis Vinnecombe claimed the opener and from the restart Nathan Pedley was impeded illegally from a Bede Brown kick, with a score begging. Referee Mark Vernon ran under the posts to signal a penalty try.

Southend countered well from this double setback, scoring a try on 4 minutes through centre Nathan Strange. Redruth kept up the pressure and Nathan Pedley claimed the Reds' third try, which Brown converted, on 12 minutes.

Southend countered well before the break with Strange grabbing a second try and co-centre Stuart Singleton his side's third. Ali Chambers added a conversion and a penalty just before half time to bring the home side to within a point.

Redruth got the crucial opening score of the second half through hooker Glen Cooper. Brown’s conversion put the Reds 8 points up. Redruth’s fitness began to tell as Southend were forced into conceding penalties, Brown kicking the points. Ian Hambly was the next on the score sheet, running in from the half way line. Yet another conversion from Brown put the Reds 38-20 up. A second Brown penalty goal took the Reds over the forty point mark, though the Reds now lost full back Hambly with a leg injury. Lee Cooper grabbed a brace of tries before the end, with Scott Martin kicking a conversion.

The Reds will be in good heart for their testing Cup match next Saturday at Plymouth Albion!

Elsewhere, in South West 1, Truro recorded their first league win of the season defeating Keynsham 14-6 at St. Clements. Steve Larkins kicked three penalty goals and converted Ed Lawrence’s try.

In South West 2, Penryn scored seven tries in their rout of Berry Hill. Centre Mike Slater claimed a hat trick, with skipper Ben Short, Sheldon Waetford, James Greville-Smith, and Chris Mann the others.

Western Counties West sees three Cornish clubs occupying the top three positions. Top of the pile are Camborne, following a tremendous 43-12 win at Torquay. The Cherry and Whites scored seven tries on the English Riveria, with a brace for Aisia Fislau and Seb Berti. Rocky Newton, Dave Kennedy, and Moveta Ota Oto scored the others. Seb Berti kicked four conversions.

St Ives are second after defeating St. Just in the Penwith derby at Alexander Road. Ian Veal (2), Jason Perkin, Jake Care, and Lewis Stevens scored the Blues tries. Julian Bick got the consolation for St. Just, who are propping up the table.

Hayle are third. In their first league game at home they beat Newton Abbot 32 –18. Five tries for the Lions, a brace each for Kevin Jenkin and Simon Pollard, with skipper Luke Ellis grabbing the other.

All in all a pretty good day for Cornish rugby!

Saturday 4th October


By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

Spotlight on Western Counties West this week. Camborne continued their winning ways with this comprehensive victory over Paignton, scoring nine tries to one. Camborne gave a tremendous display of running rugby.

Before the kick off there was a minute silence in memory of former Camborne scrum half Trevor Harris.

Camborne started with a stiff breeze behind them, playing towards the town. Before long Camborne were on the scoreboard through their skipper and full back Ian Morgan, who came into the line after the ball was spun out wide by the former Chilean fly half Seb Berti. Morgan added the conversion; he was to miss only one all afternoon.

Paignton were very much in the match at this stage. Their prop, Dan Swar, was in the thick of the action, carrying the ball and posing a threat whenever he managed to keep his boots on. He lost a boot on no fewer than three occasions during the match! Swar was involved in the play which brought about Paignton’s try on 14 mins, scored by centre S. Nelson-Smith. Sandercock’s conversion tied the scores.

Camborne were soon back in the lead. Wing Aisea Fisilau fielded a high ball and fed Berti, who released centre Rocky Newton, who galloped in around the posts. Morgan was spot on with the extras.

Camborne began to dominate. With the match into its second quarter, flanker David Roberts broke the line from a Berti pass to power his way to the posts. Camborne were soon back in the visitors' 22 and from a line out second row Lee Pengilly broke around the front to cross in the corner. Morgan converted from the touchline. Before half time the game was as good as won with Aisea Fisilau scoring the Cherry and Whites' fifth try of the afternoon. Morgan’s conversion brought the score to 35 – 7 at half time.

The Camborne back line with Newton and Gadsdon in midfield looked set to add to the score on resumption of play. Newton’s second try was not long in arriving when he ghosted through the Paignton defence to score a fine try. Morgan kept up the conversions and Camborne were out of sight at 42-7 after 41 minutes. Paignton set up some good phases of play and threatened the home side on occasions. However, such was the confidence of Camborne that they were prepared to run everything. Berti chipped the ball out of his own 22, gathered, and fed centre Gadsdon, who ran in from 60 meters to score. Morgan converted.

By now Paignton’s fitness was exposed and Camborne scored a push over try from a lineout near the visitors' line, flanker Dan Kennedy coming up with the ball. Morgan missed the conversion. Fittingly, Camborne went past the sixty-point mark with Fisilau coming off his wing to score under the posts. Man of the match Morgan completed the scoring.

After the game, one Camborne stalwart was heard to say he had his Christmas decorations up already, as he could not wait for Boxing Day! It promises to be a cracker this season!

Scores for Camborne: 9 tries; Morgan, Newton (2), Roberts, Fisilau (2), Pengilly, Kennedy, Gadsdon. Conversions Morgan (8).

Elsewhere, in Western Counties West St. Ives drew 21 – 21 at Tiverton. St. Ives scored two tries through skipper Ian Veale and No 8 Scott Perkins. Mark Rowe added a conversion and three penalties.

St. Just got their first win of the season, winning 22 – 19 at Tregeasal Park. The Tigers scored three tries through Simon Stone, Anthony Stevenson, and a penalty try. Ashley Westron converted two, also a penalty goal.

Hayle went down to their first league defeat this season, beaten at Wessex 13-10. Pollard got the Lions' try which Mankee converted as well as a penalty kick.

In South West 1, Truro suffered another big defeat, this time at the hands of league pace setters Reading 53 – 5. Centre Mark Lea got the consolation try for Truro. Truro are propping up the table and will want to make amends at home to St. Mary’s Old Boys in their next match.

Penryn recorded a fine win in South West 2 West against Crediton 38 – 17. It was very much a family affair, with the Mann brothers scoring all five of the Borough’s tries. Wing Chris bagged three and flanker James the other two. Scrum half Martin Strick converted the lot and a penalty.

Saturday 11th October


By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

Redruth made it three league wins out of three in National League 3 (South). However, they were made to work hard by the Old Colfeians, who were in with a shout of taking the spoils deep into injury time until Reds' hooker Glen Cooper grabbed his second try of the match to confirm the Reds' slender win.

It was not to be a day for goal kickers. Indeed, the Reds missed all their shots at the uprights and Colfeians kicked just one. Colfeians were the first to settle and used the maul to good effect. The visitors spurned a couple of early penalty chances, the second cannoning off a post. The Reds were under pressure and from the 22 drop out the ball was countered and Colfeians earned a scrum under the posts. Redruth had to dig deep, and for the moment their defence was sound. Colfeians finally opened the scoring on 18 minutes when their industrious back row player Pete Burton went over. It was no more than they deserved on the balance of play to that point.

Redruth came more into the match during the second quarter. Lewis Vinnecombe, always looking dangerous out wide, had a good run into Hell Fire corner. From the resulting penalty, Mark Richards kicked for the corner, but from the lineout and maul the Reds managed to turn the ball over to the opposition! Shortly after, Bede Brown carved a lovely break in mid-field and looked to feed wing Mark Creedon, but his pass sailed over the winger’s head with the line beckoning! It was looking like it might be one of those days when nothing wanted to go right for the Reds! Half time saw Old Colfeians leading with their solitary score 0-5.

Redruth needed a quick score after half time. Within nine minutes they had two, both tries. First Ian Hambly finished off a quick penalty; as the ball was flung out wide the full back was on hand to score in the corner. The second followed a catch and drive in the visitors' 22, from a penalty after Lewis Vinnecombe had made another storming run into the 22, only for the Colfeians to infringe. Glen Cooper emerged at the bottom of the maul to claim the try, 10 – 5 to the Reds.

The Reds seemed to have the upper hand but were unable to build on their lead. Scott Martin, who had come on for Lee Curnow, didn’t have any better luck than Bede Brown in the goal kicking stakes. Richards had a lovely break, which brought about a penalty in the visitors 22, but once again, it came to nothing. Craig Bonds was having an industrious afternoon in the midfield.

It was to be Old Colfeians who managed to score next with the one successful kick of the afternoon with a penalty by replacement Dave Elwell on 76 minutes to set up a nail-biting finale. Richards saved the day for the Reds as the Colfeians pressed. As the game drifted into time added on, Martin missed with another penalty. However, Redruth kept Colfeians pinned down in their 22. There was a flare up amongst the forwards which saw a penalty awarded to the Reds. From the resulting catch-and-drive Cooper claimed his second try of the game to seal the Redruth win.

A win for the Reds but they will want to put in a better performance away to Tabard next Saturday.

Redruth: 3 tries Hambly, Cooper (2)
Old Colfeians: try Burton, penalty Elwell


The Cornish All Blacks went down to their first defeat of the season at Goresbrook, unable to defend a half time lead of 15-6. Launceston’s first try was from No 8 Mike Heynes, which fly-half Rhys Gosling converted. Barking hit back with an opening penalty from fly-half Casey Mee, who went on to bag 23 points in the match. On 30 minutes Launceston scored their second try. Following a line out from a penalty, Julian Wilce secured the ball to feed scrum half James Knight who squeezed in at the corner. Mee and Gosling swapped penalties to end the first half scoring.

Barking upped the tempo in the second half. Following an Andy Birkett clearance to the home 22, from the lineout Barking speedster wing Lloyd Williams took play up field before feeding his centre, who gave the scoring pass to Mee. Mee’s conversion and subsequent penalty gave the home side the lead. Once again, Mee was on hand to score Barking’s second try. Launceston tried to get back but were unable to score. Barking sealed their win with a third try in time added on through scrum half Eaton, with Mee converting again.

Launceston will want to bounce back next Saturday in the Powergen Cup when they take on Waterloo Drummers, who incidentally beat Macclesfield 68 – 13 in League 3 North.


National League 1

As if injuries weren’t bad enough, the flu bug also took its toll on the Pirates' players this week, with both Richard Carroll and Kevin Penrose laid low. Former Red Neil Corin was given his first start in the back row.

Otley scored four tries and thus secured a bonus point. Following a couple of early penalties by Simon Binns, Otley scored their first try through full back Ian Shuttleworth following a fine break from prop forward Justin Wring. Lock Jason Oakes powered over for their second try which Binns converted to add to an earlier penalty. For the Pirates, Rob Thirlby kicked a couple of penalties but that was all they were to get all afternoon.

Early in the second half Otley scored their third try from a catch and drive through flanker Nathan Bland. Soon after they had the bonus point when No 8 Scott Connor peeled around the front of a lineout to crash over in the corner.

Pirates will need to regroup for next Sunday’s cup match against Plymouth Albion, which kicks off at 2.30pm.


By Martin Harne at the Recreation Ground

In Western Counties (West), Camborne continued their winning ways with a hard-earned victory in this tough, abrasive clash at Alexandra Road.

Although St Ives dominated for long periods, Camborne did not concede a try, something which pleased the Camborne Coaching team.

Camborne kicked off playing into a slight breeze and were soon pressing the home side's line. Fisilau went close following good work from Newton and Gadsdon. From the resulting scrum, the Camborne forwards shunted St Ives back at a rate of knots, resulting in a penalty. Camborne Skipper Ian Morgan coolly converted from close range for an early 3 point lead.

This only stung St Ives into action, and it was they who dominated much of the rest of the first half. However, resolute and committed in defence, with Gadsdon, Berti, and Woolcock to the fore, the Camborne backs and forwards combined to restrict the home side to just a penalty and a well-struck 40 metre drop goal, kicked by No. 10 Steve Trethowan. In an isolated Camborne attack from deep in their own half, Gadsdon broke from his own 22, following a pass from Woolcock, to send Fisilau scorching away to score at the posts. Morgan converted to give Camborne a 10 - 6 lead. Right on the stroke of half-time, Trethowan had a simple shot at goal to close the gap to a point, but struck the upright and the chance was lost.

The second half started in a similar vein, St Ives throwing everything they had at Camborne with Atkinson, Saunders, and scrum half Stevens all going close, but the away side's defence remained impenetrable.

Mid way through the second half, Thatcher broke down the stand side of the ground and made 40m before being tackled. From the ruck Morgan spun the ball wide to Richards, who created a try for Les Smitham. Morgan converted from under the posts to give Camborne a 17 - 6 lead and relative safety.

During the next 15 minutes the referee brandished three yellow cards as the tension mounted and tempers flared. In the dying minutes of the second half, Camborne showed their class, when Roberts, Gadsdon, and Newton combined to send No.8 Woolcock in for the final try. Morgan converted majestically from the touchline.

Although not pretty, this passionate local derby provided Camborne with their sternest test yet.

Scorers: Tries; Fisilau, Smitham, Woolcock. Cons; Morgan 3 Pen;

Team: Morgan, Rocky Newton, Aisea Fisilau, Paul Gadsdon, James Richards, Les Smitham, Ian Morgan (capt), Seb Berti, Ryan Worden, Andrew Smith, Scott Macdonald, Tom Thatcher, Lee Pengilly, David Roberts, Wayne Bennetts, Martin Woolcock. Reps: Nigel Endean, Chris Hewitt, Sean Oates.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro enjoyed their best win of the season with a 30 – 13 win over St. Mary’s Old Boys at St. Clements. Ed Lawrence, Wim Baars, and Marco Danielli scored tries for the city side. Steve Larkins kicked the points, three conversions and three penalties.

In South West 2 (West), Penryn travelled to Weston super Mare to take on the Hornets and came away with a fine win 27 – 25. Winger Chris Mann bagged a hat trick of tries and fellow wing James Greville-Smith the other. Scrum half Martin Strick kicked the other points.

In Western Counties (West), Hayle got back to winning ways, defeating St. Just at Marsh Lane 30 – 12. The Lions scored four tries through Luke Ellis, Steve Pollard, Ollie Lambert, and Paul Lello. Lello converted three tries and two penalties. For St. Just Ashley Weston kicked four penalty goals.

Saturday 18th October


Redruth’s long unbeaten league run, stretching back to January, ended at the ground where they were last defeated. Tabard ran out very worthy winners, scoring six tries in the process.

Ian Hambley scored the Reds' first try early in the match which levelled the scores. However, that was as close as the Reds would get as Tabard pulled away to lead 22-5 at half time.

Flankers James Lancaster and John Navin scored tries for the Reds in the final quarter, one of which Bede Brown converted to make the scoreboard respectable. Redruth will look to bounce back next Saturday at home to Weston super Mare.

Saturday 25th October

REDRUTH 17 WESTON-super-MARE 21 (HT 12-18)

National League 3 (South). Report by Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

Redruth were unable to repeat their Powergen Cup win at the Recreation Ground against a lively and spirited Weston side who fully deserved their win on the day.

Redruth took an early lead with a Scott Martin penalty. However, even from the early exchanges Weston were playing "in-your-face" rugby and the Reds were given no time to settle. Matters were made worse when flanker James Lancaster collected a yellow card for a bit of retaliation. There was a fair amount of niggle throughout the match, not helped by the stop/start nature of the game, which saw the referee and his linesmen consulting regularly.

Weston grabbed the lead when second row Andy Glen went over. Redruth soon regained the lead with Scott Martin’s second successful penalty kick of the afternoon. Martin Lambourne, the Weston full back, and Martin then swapped penalties before Lambourne gave his side an advantage with his second success at goal.

Disaster struck the Reds when an attack in the Weston 22 broke down. Weston ran the ball back at pace, evading some weak Redruth tackling, Winger John Edwards fed the full back Lambourne with the scoring pass. The full back’s conversion took Weston to a 18-9 lead. Scott Martin reduced the deficit before half time with his fourth penalty success.

Weston camped in the Redruth 22 from the restart and were unlucky not to add a third try, being prevented only by great defence from the Reds. Lambourne was wide with a couple of penalty chances as the scoreboard remained unchanged as the game moved into its final 10 minutes. Lee Curnow managed to grab a try for Redruth to give them hope.

In the 10 minutes of time added on Martin saw a penalty attempt go wide, but Weston had a stranglehold on the match and the Reds couldn’t work field position again. Lambourne wrapped up the points with a penalty kick in front of the posts with the last kick of the match.

Redruth now have a difficult looking away match at Blackheath next Saturday.

Redruth Scores: try Curnow; penalties Martin (4)


Launceston bounced back from their Powergen Cup defeat at the hands of Waterloo last Saturday in this nine try rout of Southend.

Skipper Nick Burnett led the way with a hat trick of tries, with the other scores coming from John Griffiths, Rys Gosling, Mike Heyns, Andy Birkett, Jake White, and debutant 19-year-old winger Ashley Roscorla.


Report by Mike Harne

Camborne, although not quite firing on all cylinders, recorded their sixth straight Western Counties victory in an open, error-strewn game against much-improved Withycombe.

The Cherry & Whites got off to a good start, racing to a 14-0 lead inside the first quarter. First, hooker Chris Hewitt was driven over the line following a lineout close in, before Tongan centre Mo Oto Ota rounded off a length of the field handling move. Skipper Ian Morgan converted both of the tries.

With No 8 Martin Woolcock in the sin bin, the visitors capitalised by crossing for two tries in quick succession to level matters. Centre Steve Connor made the most of a half chance to touchdown for fly half Dan Chalmers to add the extras, before a splendid individual try by scrum half Nick Glynn, again converted by Chalmers.

As the interval neared, the home side regained the advantage when impressive centre Paul Gadsdon split the Withycombe defence to send left wing Rocky Newton over for a try converted by full back Morgan.

Early in the 2nd half, Morgan put over a monster 50 metre penalty goal to make the score 24-14 but the visitors responded with spirit and reduced the arrears to only 5 points when livewire Glynn scrambled over for a try after another home mistake.

With the visitors playing to a spoiling game plan, Morgan punished their misdemeanours with two straightforward penalties midway through the half to give his team an 11 point cushion. Soon after, Camborne put the result beyond doubt when Chilean international fly half Seb Berti scored their 4th try following a sparkling 40 metre weaving run to the line. Morgan's angled conversion made it 37-19.

Again the resilient visitors hit back with Connor going over late on for his 2nd touchdown to complete the scoring.

Camborne: I Morgan, A Fisilau, P Gadsdon, M Oto Ota, R Newton, S Berti, B Wakfer, R Worden (C Bray), C Hewitt, S Macdonald (A Coombes), L Pengilly, T Thatcher, S Oates, W Bennetts (D Roberts), M Woolcock

Saturday 1st November


Blackheath went to the top of the table on points difference following this win over the depleted Reds. For Redruth this was their third successive league defeat and they will need to bounce back next Saturday against Haywards Heath, who recorded their first win in the league by beating Old Patesians 43 – 16.

The Reds were boosted this week with the loan signing of former player Paul Thirlby from the Pirates. However, young Thirlby picked up a red card in this match, which will not help the Reds' cause. Redruth scored three tries -- a penalty try, and scores from Bede Brown and Glenn Cooper. Scott Martin added a couple of conversions.

Good spirit from the Reds but they must halt this slide next Saturday.


The Cornish All Blacks recorded another impressive win at the Old Boys, scoring five tries. Coach Barry Trevaskis handed a debut to new signing Simon Porter at fly half. Porter is fresh from the New Zealand NPC, having played for Division 2 Counties. He marked his debut with a try, a couple of conversions, and a penalty.

The Cornish All Blacks other tries came from No 8 Mike Heyns, hooker Dave Risdon, centre Eddie Nancekivell, and winger Jake White.

Launceston are fourth, two points behind the leading trio, with a game in hand and a healthy points difference.

In South West 1, Truro moved off the foot of the table by beating Chinnor 26-19 at St. Clements Hill. Three tries for Truro came from Ed Lawrence, James Curgenven, and Gay. Dunkin added the conversions and a penalty kick.

In South West 2, Penryn survived the nightmare of the M5 after the half term break, to secure a point at fourth-placed Stroud in a 31–31 draw. Penryn now lie 3rd in the table, one point behind the leaders and with the best points difference.

In Western Counties West, match of the day was at Hayle where Camborne were the visitors. The 10–10 draw leaves Camborne top with Hayle second. One player scored all the points for Camborne -- Seb Berti with a try, a conversion, and a penalty kick. For Hayle, Danny Clackworthy scored their try, Paul Lello adding the conversion and a penalty goal.

St. Ives enjoyed a good win over Torquay at Alexander Road, winning 26-12 with tries from Joe Parma and Mark Stevens. Mark Rowe’s boot added the rest of the scores.

St. Just had no luck away at Wessex, going down 35-6 to remain bottom.

In the Cornwall & Devon league, Mounts Bay made it 7 wins by defeating Wadebridge Camels 22–0 at Camborne. (They could not use the Mennaye because of the Pirates' home cup game.) Bude also made it 7 wins by defeating Falmouth at the Recreation Ground 37–12. Mounts Bay and Bude are 1st and 2nd respectively.

Saturday 8th November


By Special Reporter Cyrus Moghtadaii

This was a match that the Pirates never looked like winning, although they played with fire and energy throughout. Villiami Ma'asi, returned from World Cup duty with Tonga, came into the back row, with Richard Carroll moving to lock and Lee Soper dropping to the bench. Powerful centre Mark Fatialofa was still out injured, replaced by Mark Worthington, who has a good game and looked one of the few Pirates' players likely to breach a sound Bedford defence.

More worrying for the Pirates was the fact that skipper Joe Bearman was stretchered off with an ankle injury midway through the second half.

Both sides started brightly. First blood seemed to have gone to Penzance/Newlyn when they rounded the Bedford cover and grounded the ball in the corner, but the ball was judged to have gone forward. Instead, Bedford struck first when centre Ed Barnes hit a penalty on 10 minutes, the first of three he was to strike in the first half alone. Indeed, one of the differences between the sides was the Pirates' relatively poor kicking, both at goal and out-of-hand. Too many relieving kicks failed to find touch or went out on the full. The other problem for the Pirates was that they seldom managed to release their talented wingers, Thirlby and Olonga.

On twenty-five minutes Barnes kicked a second penalty for the Blues, and six minutes later hooker Ronaki went over for a converted try, to make the score 13-0 to Bedford. Penzance/Newlyn's first -- difficult -- penalty attempt came on thirty-five minutes but fullback Scrivenor could not make it count. Three minutes later came another converted try for Bedford. This seemed to galvanize the Pirates, who put wave after wave of pressure on the Blues' line and seemed certain to score. Bedford could only keep the Pirates out by infringing, and a Blues' player was sent to the sin-bin.

In the fifth minute of injury time Scrivenor missed another penalty, to leave the score 20-0 to the home side at half-time.

The Pirates started the second half strongly and were rewarded with a try when centre Steve Evans jinked over after seven minutes. The conversion made the score 20-7, and at this stage it looked as though the visitors might stage a comeback. Alas! it was not to be. Despite some good periods of possession, during which they recycled the ball continuously, the Pirates could never quite break the resolute Bedford defence. On one of the few occasions that he received the ball in space, winger Victor Olonga made a typical jinking run but was hauled down before he could reach the line. Meanwhile, the speedy Bedford backs ran in three more tries!


Report by Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

Redruth got back to winning ways in this exciting league encounter. Redruth were obliged to play in changed colours of green and white on a bitterly cold and windy, though sunny, afternoon at the Recreation Ground. The wind would make kicking and throwing-in a bit of a lottery for both sides.

Redruth, playing up the slope in the first half, welcomed back into their pack Neil Corin, released from his contract with the Pirates; also Mark Harper on loan again from the Albion.

Scott Martin opened the Reds' account with a well-judged penalty. Martin missed with a second attempt at the posts a few minutes later, as did the visitors from in front of the posts from 25 meters! Martin kicked a second penalty for the Reds. However, Haywards Heath possessed some dangerous runners, and their forwards were keen to rampage whenever the chance arose.

Martin misjudged the wind, that saw his kick from his own 22m go dead in goal and scrum back! Haywards Heath grabbed the lead when their scrum half and skipper Alex Meredith scored near the posts for winger Hugh Griffin to convert.

Redruth lost their heads a bit when Simon O’Sullivan got a yellow card. Redruth then had a penalty in their favour reversed due to some foul play! Scrum half Mark Richards used his kicking game to good effect for the Reds, setting up field position. From a lineout in the Haywards Heath 22, Reds top try scorer, hooker Glen Cooper, added to his tally. Martin was successful with the conversion. One of the visiting forwards incurred the wrath of the grandstand with an early nomination for an outstanding “Oscar.”

The second half scoring began with a classic three-quarter line move from the Reds that saw full back Ian Hambly home. Paul Thirlby bagged the Reds' third try in Hell Fire Corner to stretch the home side’s advantage to 23-7. Soon the crowd were on their feet again as Craig Bonds sped in for the Reds' fourth try, which Martin converted.

Redruth lost another player to a yellow card, this time prop Sam Heard. Shortly after, Haywards Heath were also down to 14 men with replacement Adam Phillips going to the bin.

The visitors were rewarded with a couple of tries as the game entered its final 10 minutes. Glen Rankin and Damien Lyall crossing for the visitors. Mark Harper completed the Reds scoring, going over for their fifth try.

Redruth scores: tries: Cooper, Hambly, Bonds, Thirlby & Harper; pens: Martin 2; cons: Martin 2.


The Cornish All Blacks kept in touch with the top two sides, Barking and North Walsham. Launceston skipper Nick Burnett led the way with a couple of tries. Jake White and Steve Dyer grabbed the other Launceston tries. Kiwi Simon Porter weighed in with 3 conversions and a couple of penalties on a difficult afternoon for goal kickers. Tabard grabbed a consolation try near the end.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro suffered another heavy away defeat, going down 58-17 at Clevedon.

In South West 2 West, Penryn enjoyed an exciting win over Exmouth by 35-27, scoring five tries to four. Chris Mann scored a couple for the Borough. Dave Pascoe, Justin Doney and Allan Richards grabbed the others. Penryn had to play with 14 men after Richard Hambly was shown the red card.

In Western Counties West, Camborne retain top spot after a close encounter at home to Newton Abbot 32-26. A converted try by flanker Dan Kennedy saved the day for the Cherry & Whites deep into injury time.

Hayle enjoyed another fine away win at Ivybridge 27-24. Kevin Mankee scored both the Lion’s tries as well as drop goal. Paul Lello added four penalty goals.

St. Ives also enjoyed a win on their travels, coming away from Paignton with 24-15 win. Paul Scorer and Rob Hardwick scored the St. Ives' tries.

St. Just are still propping up the table following their 42-25 reversal at Devonport Services. Former Cornwall star Adrian Bick scored three tries for the Penwith side but to no avail.

Saturday 22nd November


By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

Redruth made heavy weather of beating bottom-of-the-league Old Patesians from Cheltenham. The Reds will be unhappy at the high penalty count awarded against them by referee Mr O’Hara, as well as the two yellow cards received by lock Nathan Pryor and replacement lock Nathan Pascoe. Skipper Bede Brown, coach James Lancaster, as well as the large Recreation Ground crowd seemed bemused by some of the decisions!

Redruth got the opening try in the 5th minute, following a lineout resulting from a penalty award deep in the visitors' 22. From the catch-and-drive, on-loan hooker Mark Harper claimed the try. Scott Martin, playing on the wing today, kicked the extras. Redruth doubled their lead on 12 minutes when full back Ian Hambly’s pace took him clear of the Old Pats' defence to score under the posts. Martin kicked the conversion.

Old Patesians came back into the match with their big forwards' driving play. No8 James Pettigrew was an ever-present danger. The visiting halfbacks, Bruce Fenley and Jon Stenbeck, were also a handful. Redruth were doing well at the lineout, where Neil Corin secured plenty of ball. Indeed, Corin was hauled down just short of the line. Redruth had to put in plenty of tackles to keep their line intact. James Lancaster was as ever industrious in this area. Half-time 14-0 to the Reds.

Prop Sam Heard came on at the start of the second half in place of Nick Croker. Redruth struck early in the half when winger Lewis Vinnecombe used his strength to score in the scoreboard corner. Martin was unable to convert this time. However, that was as good as it got for the Reds as Old Pats took the game to them. Paul Thirlby came off to be replaced by Jason Pengilly. The visitors were awarded a penalty try after a period of pressure near to the Reds line, which Russell Nunn converted. Despite exerting much pressure, the visitors were unable to add to the score.

Redruth scores: Tries: Harper, Hambly, Vinnecombe; cons: Martin (2).
Old Pats scores: Try: Penalty; con: Nunn.


After the euphoria of running Premiership side Saracens close last Sunday in the Powergen Cup, the Pirates came down with a bang as bottom club Manchester registered their first league win of the season at Grove Park. Coupled with Coventry’s win over Bedford, the Pirates have now slipped into the drop zone. Manchester led 21-0 at half time through tries from lock Nick Rouse and back row Liam Worsley, one of which was converted, as well as three penalties by Simon Vervills.

Manchester went on to score a third try in the second half through flanker Nick Flynn. Vervills added the conversion as well as another two penalty kicks. Pirates did come back at one point: wing Matt Jess scored a fine try, as did replacement Peter Bush, both of which Rob Thirlby converted. At least Manchester did not get a bonus point.


This result dealt the Cornish All Blacks' hopes of automatic promotion a blow, as table-topping Blackheath took the spoils at Polson. Launceston will kick themselves that they let an 18-12 lead slip with 10 minutes remaining.

Launceston missed their skipper Nick Burnett. Launceston were penalised by the referee and will not be happy as Blackheath’s Dell Coates kicked six penalties.

Launceston scored tries through hooker Dave Risdon and No 8 Mike Heyns. Simon Porter kicked a conversion and two penalty goals. Neal Taylor scored Blackheath’s only try -- a gift of an interception. Coates' boot did the rest.

Elsewhere, in South West 1, Truro recorded a welcome win against Cinderford at St. Clements by 32-8. Truro scored four tries through Bruce Robertson, Steve Larkins, Mark Lea, and Daniel Dunkin.

In South West 2, Penryn suffered a rare defeat, going down to Cleve by 38-8! Penryn’s sole try was scored by replacement Steve Trevelier, with Martin Strick kicking a penalty goal.

Only one Cornish club was involved in Western League West action. Table-topping Camborne extended their lead with a fine away win against Wessex at Weston. Three tries for the Cherry and Whites came from Mankee, Fisilau, and Thatcher. Ian Morgan’s boot added the other scores.

Saturday 29th November


By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

Redruth, playing in a changed strip of Green and White, gave in the end one of their best performances of the season in defeating league leaders Barking at the Recreation Ground.

Barking kicked off, playing towards Hell Fire Corner. Barking enjoyed territorial advantage during the opening minutes. However, Reds' scrum half Mark Richards was soon probing down the blind side. One such thrust brought about the Reds' opening score when the visitors were penalised for going off side on 6 minutes. Scott Martin, playing on the wing today, kicked a very good penalty from 35 meters.

Redruth had a fine chance to go further ahead when the ball was spun out wide. Hambly looked set for a score in the corner before being hauled down just short of the try line.

Then Barking came back into the game. Scrum half Casey Mee spurned a kickable penalty in the Reds' 22. Barking maintained the pressure and soon had another penalty in the Piggy Lane corner. From the catch-and-drive, lock Macer Twydell claimed a fine try on 13 minutes for the visitors. Mee failed with the difficult conversion. Barking played a kicking game trying to pin the Reds back in their 22.

Redruth were winning a lot of line out ball thanks to Neil Corin, especially on the opposition throw. However, they did waste much of this ball. Despite missing one penalty attempt Martin was successful with two more before half time, the first facilitated by Barking being marched back another 10meters by referee Mr Harland. Before the break, both Reds' props Sam Heard and Neil Douch had storming runs.

The second half began with scrappy play from both sides. There was a long stoppage due to a neck injury to Reds' hooker Mark Harper, from which happily he recovered.

Barking pressed on at the resumption of play. After Richards had dealt with a dangerous attack from Barking, the visitors tore back to create a fine try for their fullback Justin Azzopardi, who scored in the scoreboard corner on 55 mins. Mee kicked the touchline conversion to put his side 12-9 up.

Redruth put in a storming performance in the last quarter to turn the result around. Martin again kicked a fine penalty from distance to tie the scores. Redruth then pressured Barking into mistakes in their own 22. From a pick and drive from a scrum, Wright and Corin were held before Richards burrowed over for a Reds' try on 68 minutes. Martin kicked a good conversion to put the Reds 7 points up. Martin again kicked another penalty to seal the result.

A much better performance from Redruth than last week's, much more disciplined. Apart from man of the match Neil Corin, James Lancaster, Andy Hawken, Bede Brown, and Marek Churcher all put in good performances.

Redruth: 15 Ian Hambly, 14 Lewis Vinnecombe, 13 Craig Bonds, 12 Bede Brown (Capt), 11 Scott Martin, 10 Marek Churcher (16 Lee Curnow 80mins), 9 Mark Richards; 1 Neil Douch (19 Jon Wright 58mins) 2 Mark Harper, 3 Sam Heard, 4 Nathan Pryor (17 Steve Instance 70mins) 5 Andy Hawken, 6 Neil Corin 7 James Lancaster, 8 Nathan Pascoe.
Replacement not used 19 John Court.
Scorers for Redruth:Try: Richards; 5 pens, 1 con Martin .
Barking: 15 Justin Azzopardi, 14 Stuart Green, 13 Glenn Stannard, 12 Peter Mahoney, 11 Lloyd Williams, 10 Jacques Steyn, 9 Casey Mee; 1 Paul Ansell, 2 Justin Murphy (18 Steve Boyer 80 mins), 3 Nigel Blenkinsop (17 Eddie Ambrose 68 mins), 4 Macer Twydell, 5 Bradley Stone, 6 Rob Batho 7 Dean Cadby, 8 Lloyd Matchett (19 James Bailey 70 mins).
Scorers for Barking: Tries: Twydell, Azzopardi; Con Mee.


Penzance & Newlyn recorded a welcome league win over a useful Wakefield side at the Mennaye. The Pirates fielded new signing Steve Thomas, signed from Gloucester last weekend, in the centre, pairing up with Steve Evans.

The Pirates went ahead after 5 minutes when Viliami Ma’asi charged over after a lineout. Rob Thirlby, who will miss the next two Pirate matches due to his England 7’s commitments, kicked a fine conversion. Thirlby and Wakefield’s Warren Spragg both missed penalty chances. The Pirates back line were asking questions of the Wakefield defence. Eventually the Pirates increased their lead when lock Lee Soper scored a crucial second try at the posts, which Thirlby again converted to give the Pirates a 14-0 halftime lead.

After the break, Thirlby kicked a penalty goal to stretch the home sides' advantage. Wakefield scored a fine try following a break by scrum half Andy Brown, who fed the supporting winger Jon Feeley, who sped to the line. Full back Spragg kicked the conversion to give Wakefield some hope.

Wakefield found themselves reduced to fourteen when hooker John Lawn was sent to the bin by referee Mr Small. During this period the Pirates added a third try through No 8 Josh Lord. Try as they did, the Pirates will be disappointed not to have collected a bonus point by scoring a fourth try. Rob Thirlby also saw Mr Small’s yellow card before the end.

Next weekend sees the Pirates travel to Sixways to take on Worcester.

Pirates: Tries: Ma’asi, Soper, Lord; Pen, Cons (2) Thirlby
Wakefield: Try Feeley; con Spragg


Launceston carved out a precious away win in appalling weather conditions to keep in touch with the division leaders. After a shaky start, Launceston went ahead with a penalty kick from Simon Porter. As the first quarter drew to a close, Cornish All Blacks skipper Nick Burnett scored a try from a catch-and-drive in the corner. Porter was unable to convert.

Haywards Heath, playing with the strong wind at their backs, capitalised on Launceston infringements and full back Hugh Griffin kicked three penalties to give the home side a slender one point lead at halftime.

Launceston, with the elements in their favour, attempted to pin the home side in their half. Porter restored the visitors' lead with a penalty kick from in front of the posts. Heath mounted a fine back move, which lead to a scrum on half way from which centre James Mackie scored a fine try. Griffin missed the conversion.

At last Launceston’s forwards secured the vital win with big No 8 Mike Heyns going over from another catch-and-drive. Porter’s conversion sealed the win.

Haywards Heath: Try Mackie; Pens Griffin (3)
Launceston: Tries Burnett, Heyns; Con Porter; Pens Porter (2)

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro lost away at Clifton 20-10. Not an easy week for the City club as Chris Perkins has stepped down from coaching due to the travelling from Bude. Nick Yelland had a great game for Truro . Truro scored two tries through winger Mark Lea and full back James Curgenven.

In South West 2 West, Penryn recorded a fine win against Gloucester Old Boys, the leaders of the league, by 35-17. Borough now lie second just one point off the top spot. Penryn scored five tries through Dave Pascoe, Chris and James Mann, Alan Richards, and Ashley Lawton.

In Western Counties West, leaders Camborne scored seven tries against a plucky St. Just side. Flanker Dan Kennedy helped himself to four tries. Tongan Mo Ota Oto, Aisea Fisilau, and Ali Durrant touched down the other three. Skipper Morgan popped over six conversions. St. Just scored three tries themselves, a brace for No8 Anthony Stevenson and one by lock Paul Ringwood. Simon Barnes kicked two conversions.

Hayle are third following a 17-7 away win at Paignton. Ben Wedlock grabbed the Lions try. Fly half Paul Lello kicked three penalties and a drop goal.

St. Ives lie fourth following a fine 38-10 win over Withycombe at Alexandra Road. Tries for St. Ives came from Paul Scorer, Brett Rouncefield, Ian Veal, Louis Stevens, Ian Sanders, and debutant Aussie Rob Grimond. Mark Rowe kicked four conversions.

Saturday 6th December


By Bill Hooper at Polson Bridge

For the second weekend running, the leaders of Division 3 South bit the dust in the Duchy. Last week Barking went down at Redruth; this week North Walsham, with only one previous loss in the league this season, found the Cornish All Blacks too hot to handle on their own patch. After this win Launceston lie fourth, level on points with 3rd-placed Barking and two points behind their visitors today and table-topping Blackheath. However, Launceston do have a game in hand over their rivals as the promotion race sets to hot up after Christmas.

Star performer for Launceston was their Kiwi fly half Simon Porter, who scored twenty of his sides points, including a hat trick of tries. Skipper Nick Burnett scored the other Launceston try, celebrating in fine style his award as Division 3 South player for November. Playing with a strong wind at their backs, Launceston soon had points on the board with an opening Porter penalty. North Walsham soon gave notice as to why they were league leaders when they scored a fine try with hooker Gideon Rossouw being driven over from a lineout near the line.

Launceston gradually came back into it with forwards Steve Dyer and Mike Heyns putting in a lot of work. Porter scored the first of his tries following a lineout. He received the ball and chipped over the advancing cover, re-gathered, and sped to the line. His conversion of his own try ended the first half scoring.

Launceston would no doubt have wished for a greater margin facing the wind in the second half. Undeterred, they took the game to North Walsham, hitting them with a couple of tries. First Porter was on hand to finish off a fine move from the pack, then came skipper Nick Burnett’s fine try following a drive from a lineout. The Vikings did grab a second try when flanker Marc Thomas capitalised on a charged-down kick. Fittingly Porter had the final say, grabbing his third try following a break from Andy Birkett.

Launceston scores: tries: Porter (3), Burnett; 1 con, 1 pen Porter
North Walsham scores: tries: Roussow, Thomas


Redruth suffered a disappointing result in Kent, going down to Westcombe Park, a match that they would have targeted as a win. It also in reality signals the end to any hopes of a play-off place to National League 2 for this season.

Despite the unavailability of some players, Redruth, having battled against the elements in the first half, trailed only 11-3 at the break. Park scored their opening try in injury time through Tim Cornell.

A concerted effort at the beginning of the second half failed to secure a Redruth score. Instead, Westcombe increased their advantage with a breakaway try in the 51st minute through winger Miles Littlechild. Seven minutes later they sealed the result with a third try from Nathan Simpson. Jon “Oggie” Wright scored a fine try for the Reds near the end but it was too little to late for the Reds.

Westcombe Park scores: tries: Cornell, Littlechild M, Simpson; pens: Garfoot (2)
Redruth scores: try Wright; con Brown; pen Martin


Injury-stricken Pirates went down to a heavy defeat at high-flying Worcester at Sixways, conceding 11 tries. Despite taking an early lead through a Mark Scrivener penalty, the Pirates were soon on the receiving end. Tommy Hayes ran in a couple of tries and kicked eight conversions. Prop Tony Windo, the England Counties skipper, also grabbed a brace.

Young Matt Jess continues his impressive form, scoring the Pirates' consolation try, which Scrivener converted.

With Coventry drawing at Manchester, Pirates are still second from bottom, level on 13 points with Henley Hawks. A big game next Sunday when the Pirates take on Plymouth Albion at the Mennaye.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro went down at home to fellow strugglers Barnstaple by 41-22. Truro scored tries through Bruce Robertson, Mark Lea, and Wim Baars.

In South West 2, a depleted Penryn side suffered a heavy defeat in Gloucestershire at Coney Hill, 49 – 15. Ben Short scored both the Borough’s tries, with Dave Pascoe adding a conversion and a penalty.

In Western Counties West, an excellent local derby between Hayle and St.Ives saw a win for the Lions, who climb back to second spot in the league. Paul Lello, Richard Trathen, and Kevin Jenkin scored Hayle’s tries, two of which Lello converted. Mark Rowe kicked a couple of early penalties for St. Ives. Final score: Hayle 19 – 6 St. Ives.

With Torquay Athletic slipping up at Wessex, Camborne stretched their lead at the top of the division with a win at lowly Tiverton. It was a hard-fought win with Tiverton giving Camborne much to contemplate. Les Smitherham, Sean Oates, and David Kennedy scored the Cherry & Whites' tries. Skipper Ian Morgan landed the three conversions, plus a couple of penalties.

St. Just went down at home 27 – 0 to Ivybridge and are looking set for a return to the Cornwall & Devon league!

Saturday 13th December


The Cornish All Blacks maintained their promotion challenge with this fine away win in Cheltenham. At halftime, the match was finely poised with a 7 all score line. However, in the second half the Launceston pack got on top and carved out this important success.

Old Pats were the first to score after 5 mins when good work from the forwards set up wing Russell Nunn. Launceston had to wait a while before drawing level. Their equalising score came from a breakaway try from full back Andy Birkett, who ran in from 60 meters. Simon Porter’s conversion levelled matters.

After the break Launceston’s pack put on the pressure, and Old Pats lost prop forward Pete Mitchell to the sin bin for pulling down. All Blacks' No 8 Mike Heyns broke from a scrum on the home side's 22 to feed fly half Porter, who in turn found his centre Daniel Morris who ran in for a try. Porter kicked the conversion, and soon after a penalty to stretch Launceston’s lead to 17-7.

Mike Heyns grabbed the third Launceston try, breaking off from a scrum 15 meters out and powering over; once again Porter converted. Launceston too lost a player to a yellow card when hooker Dave Risdon was sent to the bin. Launceston’s defence held firm. However, Old Pats did grab a second try towards the end through Herdman.


By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

The score line suggests an easy win for the Reds. However, it was only in the final quarter that the Reds' superior fitness told and they were able to stretch away on the scoreboard.

Lewis Vinnecombe scored a hat trick of tries, with Craig Bonds and Nathan Thomas scoring the others. Scott Martin kicked three conversions and four penalty goals to complete the Reds' score. All eyes are now on next Saturday’s eagerly-awaited league encounter at Polson between the two Cornish sides.

Elsewhere it was Cup action. Camborne continued their fine run in the Powergen Intermediate Cup, beating SW1 league side Clifton at the Recreation Ground 23-14. Rocky Newton, with a brace, and Paul Gadsdon scored the Cherry and Whites' tries, with skipper Ian Morgan converting all three and a penalty goal.

In the Powergen Junior Vase, there were wins for Bude, who beat Bradford-upon-Avon 32-18 and London Cornish, who defeated Surrey 1 outfit Old Reigatian 16-15, with the last kick of the match! Newquay Hornets bowed out of the competition, beaten at home by Tavistock 32-3. The tie between Mounts Bay and Bodmin was postponed to be played next Saturday.

It was also the 1st Round of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup. Performance of the day must be Wadebridge Camels' win in extra time at the expense of former winners St. Ives 10-8, with Camels hooker Matthew Ballard scoring the winning try in the last move of the match! In the other two ties played there were predictable wins for Penryn at St. Austell 55-7, and Truro at St. Just 32-0

Saturday 20th December


National League 3 (South). By Bill Hooper at Polson Bridge

Christmas came early for the Cornish All Blacks. Not just the league win over Duchy rivals Redruth in this pulsating league encounter, but also news that the sides above Launceston had all lost, gave coach Barry Trevaskis much to be pleased about.

As the score line suggests, it was a tight match played in difficult conditions, with a strong wind blowing down the pitch making kicking a lottery at times. Redruth kicked off, playing towards the Bridge with the elements in their favour. Launceston enjoyed plenty of possession but found the Reds defence in a mean mood and at times a little too exuberant for their own good. Referee Mr Phillips was forced to speak to Reds' skipper Bede Brown on more than one occasion. Launceston, who wanted to play a catch-and-drive game from the lineout were thwarted all afternoon by a magnificent lineout performance from Reds' Neil Corin, who not only won his own ball but also severely disrupted the Launceston throw, undoing all their ground work.

Simon Porter missed with an early penalty chance for Launceston. The opening score came just before the half-hour mark when Launceston were penalised in their own 22. Bede Brown took a quick tap and spread the ball wide to full back Ian Hambly, who went in at the corner. Scott Martin failed with the conversion from wide out and a penalty from inside his own half a few moments later. It was third time lucky, as they say, as Martin kicked a penalty to stretch the Reds' lead to 8-0. Just before half time, the referee’s patience wore out with the Reds and flanker John Navin was sent to the bin for pulling down.  

Launceston, with the elements in their favour, must have fancied their chances of pulling back an eight-point deficit early on. They made very heavy weather of it, especially as the Reds were down to fourteen men. Jamie Knight came on at scrum half in place of Jon Hill. On 50 minutes Porter kicked a penalty goal to put the home side on the scoreboard, after an offence which saw Reds' centre Paul Thirlby sin-binned. Porter kicked a second penalty on 60 minutes to cut the deficit to two points.

Redruth came back and after some fine forward work, Scott Martin kicked another penalty to stretch their lead once more. Porter, using the wind, put up a high kick which Marek Churcher (on for Ian Hambly) fumbled. From the scrum, Eddie Nanckivell sliced through the Reds' defence before releasing co-centre Daniel Morris, who scored the try. Porter’s conversion nudged the home side into the lead. Launceston went for the jugular with Mike Heyns and Ashley Rescorla going close. Scott Martin had a couple of penalty chances towards the end, but the wind seemed to pick up once again to thwart him.  

A cracking game to end the year’s league program.  

Launceston scorers: Try: Morris; pens: Porter, 2; con: Porter
Redruth scorers: Try: Hambly; pens: Martin, 2.     


Western Counties (West). By Mike Harne at the Recreation Ground

Camborne completed a comprehensive double over Exeter based Wessex after running up a 37 point lead inside the hour.

Playing at centre, Ian Morgan gave the Cherry & Whites a 7th minute lead with a long-range penalty. Midway through the first half, wing Les Smitham was on the end of a threequarter move to squeeze over in the corner for the first of a hat trick of tries.

On the half hour No 8 Ali Durant combined well with scrum half Brett Wakfer to send Smitham scampering over for his second try. The lead was up to 18 points by the interval when blindside David Roberts barged over from Wakfer's pass from a quickly taken free kick close in.

Early in the second half Camborne put the result beyond doubt with Smitham' s third try, a superb effort as he outpaced the cover on the right flank and cut inside past several defenders to score under the posts. Skipper Morgan knocked over the simple conversion to make the score 25-0.

Almost immediately Roberts bagged his own second try after forwards and backs had combined in some delightful interpassing through several phases of play.

Outstanding Tongan centre Mo Oto Ota then burst clear for the sixth home try which Morgan converted for an emphatic 37-0 score line.

In the closing stages the visitors twice broke out from deep in their own territory to score consolation tries through full back Matt Hopper (converted by fly half Jerry Heath) and, on the whistle, by wing Steve Boatfield.

Camborne: A Fisilau, R Newton,  M Oto Ota, I Morgan, L Smitham, S Berti, B Wakfer, R Worden, A Smith, A Bartle, L Pengilly, S Oates, D Roberts,  D Kennedy, A Durant

Camborne scorers: Tries: Smitham 3, Roberts 2, Oto Ota; cons: Morgan 2; pen: Morgan
Wessex scorers: Tries: Hopper, Boatfield; con: Heath

In South West 2 (West), Penryn enjoyed a fine win over Cleve by 38 – 3. Penryn, who were celebrating the opening of their re-furbished stand by club legend Roger Hosen, ran in six tries. Allen Jordan, James Greville-Smith, Chris Mann, Sheldon Waetford, Mike Slater, and Nick Brown all crossed for the Borough, Brown adding four conversions.  

In Western Counties West, St. Just slumped to a heavy 50-3 defeat at basement club Tiverton, who moved above the West Penwith club. Hayle’s match at Torquay was postponed. St. Ives were unable to raise a front row and were forced to concede the points to Devonport Services.

Saturday 3rd January


National League 3 (South). By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

Redruth got off to 2004 in the best possible way with this fine workman-like win over Westcombe Park, on a typically murky miserable January afternoon. The Reds stormed on to the offensive, playing down the slope in the first half. Ian Hambly was bundled into touch just short of the line in the Piggy Lane corner as the Reds probed the “combe” defence for a breakthrough. The Reds pack were looking lively, playing a mauling game in the wet conditions to set up the backs. Despite the amount of possession they enjoyed, the Reds were unable to score thanks to the mean visiting defence. Scott Martin missed with an early chance at the posts for the Reds, while fly half Gert De Kock fired a drop goal attempt wide for the visitors.

The Reds finally opened the scoring on 21 minutes as full back Ian Hambly took a scoring pass from his centre Craig Bonds to dart in to score. Martin was unable to add the conversion. Almost from the restart, Westcombe reduced the arrears as referee David May penalised the Reds for offside. Simon Jervis kicked the goal.

The Reds line out was working well, with hooker James Geraty, who came in as a late replacement for Glen Cooper, finding Neil Corin, who once again produced a storming performance in the Red shirt. Hambly was on hand again to score his and the Reds' second try of the match in Hell Fire corner. This time the ball was passed out with speed to create the space for the full back. Martin missed with the conversion. As half time approached, Corin drove into the visitors' 22 to set up another Reds' attack, which brought about a penalty chance for Martin. This time he accepted the opportunity to pass the 100 point mark for the season.  

Early in the second half Jervis and Martin exchanged penalty kicks. The Reds lost the services of winger Lewis Vinnecombe, who sustained a heavy knock and was replaced by Marek Churcher. Soon after the Reds made their usual change in the forwards with Jon “Oggie” Wright replacing the industrious Sam Heard and Nathan Pascoe replacing Nathan Pryor. Wright was soon in the thick of the action, going off on one of his trademark storming runs, which eventually took the pack over the line, but they were held up. Sadly, Wright was himself injured and had to give way to Nick Croker.

Mark Garfoot kicked another penalty for the visitors to set up a tense final 10 minutes. The game was made safe when, following a drop attempt by skipper Bede Brown, Scott Martin was put clear to score a fine try which he converted from the touchline. Craig Bonds' try deep into injury time was the icing on the cake.  

Redruth Scorers: Tries: Hambly (2), Martin, Bonds; pens Martin (2); Con: Martin.  
Westcombe Park Scorers: Pens: Jervis (2), Garfoot.


National League 3 (South)

Big win. Launceston are now level with leaders Blackheath, whom they visit in two weeks time. That match that will go a long way in deciding the winners of this league and hence the automatic promotion spot.

Simon Porter kicked three penalty goals and winger Jon Hill scored the all-important try. The Cornish All Blacks pack was magnificent. Coach Barry Trevaskis will be quietly pleased with the job done thus far.


National League 1

The Pirates were rocked by the power of the Chiefs' pack as the home side built up a 26-7 half time lead, scoring four tries and securing the bonus point.

The Pirates were missing Rob Thirlby, who had not recovered from a back injury. Coach Kevin Mosley handed debuts to his two recent Samoan signings, centre Alaifatu Fatialofa, brother of Mark, and No 8 Ferani. Trailing 19-0 before the half hour mark, the Pirates hit back with a well-worked try from hooker James Owen, which James Shanahan converted.

The Pirates will have the meagre consolation of scoring the only points of the second half as Fatialofa scored on his debut.

The next two weekends will go a long way in mapping out the final destiny of the Pirates this season -- Bristol at home and Henley away. Henley beat Bristol 18-13 in the only other game played today. Pirates are now 4 points adrift of Henley. How their bonus points (5) have made a difference! 

Newton Abbot  3  Camborne 16

Western Counties West. Report by Mike Harne

Camborne confidently overcame this tricky away obstacle thanks to a fine team performance, demonstrating their resolve and strength in depth of the squad.

Coming into the threequarters, David Roberts and James Richards paired in the centre, plus right wing Kelvin Smitham. All performed superbly, whilst Dave Macdonald coped admirably at scrum half after 3 months out injured.

The Cherry & Whites stunned Newton Abbot from the kick off, running back the kick from deep in their half to score a spectacular try. Flanker Martin Woolcock made the initial burst before handing on to Roberts, who made good ground then released left wing Les Smitham to run the ball the final 20 metres and dive in at the corner.

The home side responded with a spell of pressure and full back Ian Morgan was forced to make a last-ditch tackle. Soon after, Richards made a telling stop before former Cornwall full back Danny Sloman put 3 points on the board for the home side with a straightforward penalty.

Midway through the half another great run out of defence by Les Smitham brought Camborne a 35 metre penalty, goaled by skipper Morgan for a 3-8 scoreline.

Playing at No 8, Ali Durant had a magnificent game in a visiting pack that more than matched the home side’s forwards.

Two minutes into the 2nd half, Camborne took a stranglehold of the match with another sparkling try from a counter attack for a 10 point advantage. Fly half Seb Berti made a half break from his own 10 metre line, timing a pass perfectly for the rampant Roberts to run onto. Approaching the last line of defence, he astutely turned the ball inside to all-action openside Dan Kennedy, who outflanked the home cover on a diagonal run in to the corner.

Now in total control, Berti stroked over an angled 50th minute penalty to go 13 points up at 3-16.

Berti, Roberts, and lock Sean Oates all made big tackles in defence before prop Scott MacDonald came on for a 15 minute cameo on his return from injury and certainly made his presence felt.

The frustrated home side lost their tight head prop for a petulant stamp on Scott Macdonald as Camborne controlled the closing exchanges.

Camborne: I Morgan, K Smitham, J Richards, D Roberts, L Smitham, S Berti, D Macdonald, R Worden, A Smith, A Bartle (S Macdonald), L Pengilly, S Oates, M Woolcock, D Kennedy, A Durant.
Newton Abbot: pen Sloman
Camborne: tries: Roberts, Kennedy; pens: Morgan, Berti

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro were unable to down high-flying Clevedon at St. Clements, going down 18-13. Recent signing from Redruth Nick Edyvean scored Truro’s try, with Steve Larkins adding the conversion and two penalties.

In South West 2, Penryn saw a 17 – 7 lead early in the second half crumble into a 33-17 defeat at Exmouth. Exmouth scoring three tries in the final ten minutes to sink the Borough. Penryn scored tries through wingers James Greville-Smith and Chris Mann. Scrum half Martin Strick converted both scores and kicked a penalty goal.

In Western Counties West, it was business as usual for the leaders Camborne as they stretched their lead at the top of the division with a 16 – 3 win at Newton Abbot. Les Smitham and Dan Kennedy scored the Cherry and Whites' tries, with skipper Ian Morgan and scrum half Seb Berti each kicking a penalty goal. 

Hayle remain in second despite being held to a 16-16 draw by visitors Ivybridge. Forward Danny Clackworthy scored the Lions' try, which Paul Lello converted as well as kicking three penalty goals.

St. Ives snatched a narrow win 9-7 at home in the fog. Mark Rowe, who had earlier kicked two penalties, kicked the winning drop goal in the final minute.

St. Just remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table, beaten at home by Devonport Services 16-5. Simon Stone grabbed the sole St. Just try.  

Saturday 10th January


National League 1

Pirates' coach Kevin Mosley billed this match as the Pirates World Cup Final. After this last gasp defeat, the match next Saturday at Dry Leas against Henley Hawks will be of monumental importance to both clubs in their fight to avoid the drop back to National League 2 at the season’s end.

The Pirates played their hearts out and will feel disappointed, after leading their opponents by 15 – 3 in the second half, at not killing off the game. Instead, they allowed the Shoguns to storm back in the final quarter and pip them at the post. Skipper Joe Bearman led by example, with Lee Soper, Josh Lord, and James Owen putting in big games. Outside, Steve Evans had his usual bossy game at 10, combining well with Ricky Pellow. There was just the one score in the first half, when winger Matt Jess shot over for the opening try in the scoreboard corner on 30 minutes.

Early in the second half the Pirates increased their lead when Josh Lord went over. This time Rob Thirlby converted to put the Pirates into a healthy 12 point lead. The Shoguns hit back with Danny Gray kicking their first points via a penalty. Play went from end to end before Thirlby kicked another penalty to restore a 12 point lead on 50 minutes.

At this point, Bristol began to raise their game. Gray kicked a second penalty for Bristol. Former Pirate and Bath player Martin Haag came on for the visitors to bolster their pack. The Shoguns claimed their first try with replacement Sam Cox scoring, and Gray converting. The Pirates remained two points to the good at this stage, which Thirlby increased to five with his second penalty success. A grandstand finish was on the cards and so it was to prove, as Shogun's full back Brett Davey stole in at the corner to tie the scores. Gray’s touchline conversion nicked the win.

Despite losing the Pirates did pick up one bonus point. However, this was negated by Henley also picking up a loser's bonus point at London Welsh, so the Pirates remain four points adrift of Henley. The Pirates key matches will be their match next week at Henley, plus their visits to Coventry and Wakefield and the home match against Manchester, as it seems the two relegation places will be between these five clubs.  

Pirates: Tries: Jess, Lord; 1 con 2 pens Thirlby
Shoguns: Tries: Cox, Davey; 2 cons, 2 pens Gray


National League 3 (South)

The Cornish All Blacks, playing in yellow shirts, eventually saw off a spirited challenge from the Sussex side to maintain their recent run of form and set up next Saturday’s enticing top-of-the-table clash at Blackheath, a match which will go a long way in deciding the champions of this league and the automatic promotion spot.

Coach Barry Trevaskis decided to rest skipper Nick Burnett, but it was not until Burnett came on in the second half that Launceston ignited and blew away the challenge of Heath.

Launceston opened the scoring on 5 mins after a towering kick from fly half Simon Porter was mis-fielded by Heath full back Owen Ashton. Launceston’s Daniel Morris was on hand to snap up the spill and pass out to winger Jake White, who raced in. Ashton made some amends for the visitors by kicking a penalty to reduce the deficit. Launceston then reverted to type and scored a well-worked try from a catch-and-drive from lock Brian Sibthorpe, which Porter converted.

Ashton slotted a second penalty for Heath before the break to give his side some hope for the second half. 

With the appearance of Burnett, coming on for No 8 Mike Heyns, the Cornish All Blacks upped the pace. Following a lineout near the visitors' line, fly half Porter was driven over by the pack to score Launceston’s third try, which Porter converted himself. Ashton kicked a third penalty for the visitors.

Launceston then turned on the style, scoring three more tries before the end. Sibthorpe got his second from a tap-and-drive near the line. Jake White also claimed his second after collecting a kick from Porter to the wing and crossing. Finally, lock Julian Wilce was driven over from another catch-and-drive. Rhys Gosling converted. Goodburn scored a consolation try for Heath.  

Burnett, who was recovering from an injury, took another knock on the same injury and must now be doubtful for the Blackheath game.  

Launceston: Tries: White (2), Sibthorpe (2), Porter, Wilce; Cons: Porter (3), Gosling
Haywards Heath: Try: Goodburn. Pens: Ashton (3)


National League 3 (South)

Barking secured revenge for their defeat at the Recreation Ground with this win at their Goresbrook ground. It was a game that Redruth could have won. They trailed at half time by only five points, following a try from prop forward Sam Heard and a Scott Martin penalty.

Despite being reduced to 14 men at the beginning of the second half, when hooker James Geraty was yellow carded on 43 mins, the Reds dominated play for long periods. But they missed a couple of try-scoring opportunities, which could have turned the match. Penalty kick opportunities were also spurned.

Barking increased their lead on 67mins with Steyn kicking another penalty goal. Barking scored a second try near the end to seal the win.


Western Counties West. Martin Symons at the Recreation Ground

Although not in top gear Camborne maintained their promotion push by comfortably defeating their near neighbours in this top of the table clash.

In heavy conditions the visitors began well with Damien Cook winning good lineout ball.  Fly half Paul Lello fired an early penalty wide before giving his team the lead with a straightforward penalty in the 10th minute.

Minutes later the Cherry & Whites levelled with an angled 25 metre penalty from the boot  of skipper Ian Morgan after a high tackle on fly half Seb Berti. Much of the remainder of the half was tense and error strewn before Camborne broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. Chilean international Berti took a quick tap penalty deep in the Lions half and fed centre David Roberts who sent co centre James Richards in for the 1st try of the game with a well timed pass.

Leading 8-3 the home side put Hayle under pressure as half time neared but the diminutive Berti fired wide with a close range drop goal attempt.

With the wind at their backs in the 2nd period Camborne never relaxed their grip as they  dominated territorially from the whistle. Full back Morgan gave his side an 11-3 lead in the 56th minute with a superb long range   penalty from an acute angle.

After several periods of sustained pressure, repelled by resolute Hayle defensive tackling, the Cherry & Whites worked an opening for the decisive score in the 67th minute.  Replacement prop Scott MacDonald made a trademark charge for the line and from the ensuing  ruck No 8 Ali Durant followed up to dive over for a try that went unconverted.

The visitors then lost their hardworking scrum half Blaine Kearey injured as Camborne sent  on 2 more forward replacements before deep in injury time a 3rd home try made the scoreline more convincing. The influential Berti was again the provider this time giving a deft flick pass to openside flanker Dan Kennedy who crossed under the posts for Morgan to convert and finish matters.

Camborne: I Morgan, K Smitham, J Richards, D Roberts, L Smitham, S Berti, D Macdonald, R Worden (S Macdonald), A Smith (C Hewitt), A Bartle, L Pengilly (T Thatcher), S Oates, M Woolcock,  D Kennedy, A Durant.
Hayle: O Lambert, B Wedlock, K Mankee, S Pollard, B Wedlock, P Lello, B Kearey (A Hosking),  A Rapson, N Turner, D Clackworthy, M Nicholas, T Cook, D Cook, W Jenkin, L Ellis.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro suffered a heavy defeat in Oxfordshire, crashing 45-0 at Chinnor to leave them propping up the table.  

Penryn got back to winning ways in South West 2 West, defeating Stroud at the Memorial Ground 25-14. The Borough scored three tries from Darren Pellow, Justin Doney, and Chris Mann. Dave Pascoe kicked the rest of the points. Penryn lie third in the table.

In Western Counties West, St. Ives went down 23-3 at Torquay, John Parma kicking their solitary score.

St. Just enjoyed a welcome win, beating Exeter-based Wessex 26-13 at Tregeseal Valley. St. Just scored three tries two from Martin Murrish and one from Chris Fanilli. Barnes kicked the rest of the points for the Tigers.

Saturday 17th January


National League 1. Report by John Prowse

Cheered on by a large contingent of travelling supporters, Penzance/Newlyn recorded their first away win in National League 1, and their first win of any kind since November 29th.

This was a game that both bottom-of-the-table sides were desperate to win. Following their last-gasp defeat by Bristol last week, another loss would have left the Pirates firmly anchored in the second relegation spot, 8 points adrift of Henley, one place above them.

It was a strange game, with both sides enjoying periods of dominance. Crucially for the Pirates, this week their goal-kicker, Rob Thirlby, was on target.

Henley started strongly and soon had their first points on the board. After only 2 minutes Penzance/Newlyn were awarded a penalty, which the referee promptly reversed, apparently due to a comment by a Pirates' player. Henley fly-half Barry Reeves calmly stroked the ball through the posts.

For the first 10 minutes it was all Henley. Their forwards looked bigger than the visitors' pack, and their backs moved the ball at speed. On 8 minutes, Reeves missed a kickable penalty. The Pirates couldn't get hold of the ball.

It was not until the 12th minute that Pirates had their first attack, and they made it count. Henley were penalised for holding on in their own 22, and Thirlby's kick made it 3 - 3.

Pirates now enjoyed their best period of the match. The rest of the first half was spent almost exclusively in the Henley half of the field. Unaccountably, and much to the dismay of the Henley supporters, the Pirates' pack started to push their bigger opponents off the ball, and won two scrums against the head in the Henley 22. Steve Evans at fly-half was dynamic and urgent.

On 27 minutes, Pirates crossed the Henley line but couldn't ground the ball. At the five yard scrum, Pirates infringed and Henley were able to clear their lines.

The play was now all in the Henley half. On 34 minutes Thirlby kicked his second penalty, from in front of the posts, to make it 3 - 6. The Pirates backs moved the ball at speed from one side of the pitch to the other, but the Henley defence was solid. Thirlby, playing at full-back today, made two electric runs from midfield into the Henley 22, but left the support behind him and couldn't offload the ball. Then, on 41 munutes, the pressure finally told and Evans was in at the corner for a well-earned try. Thirlby failed to land the touchline conversion, to leave the score 3 - 11 at half-time.

Henley started the second half strongly, as they had the first, and within a minute a break by their number 8, Hayman, led to their running in a try under the posts. Reeves duly converted, to make it 10 - 11.

On 46 minutes, Pirates were awarded a penalty on half-way, straight in front of the posts. Instead of kicking for the corner, Thirlby opted to go for the posts. Luckily, today he was on top form, and the kick sailed between the uprights. Shortly afterwards, the Pirates' prop, Nick Adams, was sin-binned, and Henley missed with a penalty of their own.

Then came two crucial scores for the Pirates. First, Thirlby kicked another penalty; then, following a good Pirates' break, he ran in under the posts. The easy conversion made the score 24 - 10 to the visitors. These two score were, if anything, against the run of play, for Henley had the lion's share of possession throughout the second half.

Now it was the Pirates' turn to soak up the pressure. For long periods they found it difficult to get hold of the ball, as Henley attacked with more and more desperation as time began to run out.

Midway through the second half, Ma'asi and Waqanivere came on for the Pirates, both returning after injury.

It was now all Henley. First they landed a penalty. Then, on 82 minutes, winger Obi was in at the corner to make it 18 - 24. Cornish hearts beat faster at the memory of last week's last-minute defeat. Henley were only 6 points adrift. Could it happen again? Six minutes of injury time ticked by and still Henley attacked. A final brek-out by the Pirates ended with Evans being held up over the line. And then it was all over -- the large band of Pirates' supporters saluted the 24 - 18 victory.

Man-of-the-match? Thirlby, but it was a good performance by the whole team.

Pirates scorers: Tries: Evans, Thirlby; pens: Thirlby (4); cons: Thirlby
Pirates: Paver, Owen, Adams, Morgan, Soper, Bearman, Lord, Farini, Pellow, Evans, Jess, A. Fatialofa, Thomas, Newton, Thirlby.
Replacements: Morcom, Ma'asi, Seal, Waqanivere, Turnbull, Scrivenor, Penrose


National League 3 (South)

Blackheath completed a league double over Launceston with a last-gasp win at the Rectory Field in a pulsating league encounter.  

Launceston coach Barry Trevaskis will not be a happy man after seeing his side squander a 19 point lead, a position from which they should have gone on to secure a vital win in their promotion bid. The Cornish All Blacks conceded an unacceptable number of penalties, which ultimately proved to be their undoing. His post match conversation with referee Mr Garner must have been interesting!

The match started brightly enough for the visitors. They scored an opening try on 2 minutes when Porter, Nanckivell, and Heyns combined to release Daniel Morris for the try, which Simon Porter converted. On 8 minutes, Launceston doubled their lead. From a scrum in Blackheath’s 22, no 8 Mike Heyns picked up and linked up with Andy Birkett and skipper Eddie Nanckivell to send in Morris for his second try out wide. Porter kicked the difficult conversion.

Launceston then kicked a penalty deep into Blackheath’s 22. From the lineout scrum half Jamie Knight chipped ahead for Porter to gather and score the Cornish All Blacks' third try. Leading 19-0, Launceston had built a commanding position in the first quarter.

Suddenly Launceston began to incur the wrath of referee Garner, as he penalised them. Derek Coates kicked three penalties for “club”, as the home side upped the pace. Lock forward Christian Long crossed for a try, which Coates converted, and the gap was suddenly only 3 points. However, just before half time Launceston scored a fourth try when Mike Heyns powered over, Porter again added the conversion. 

The second half began with Launceston conceding yet more penalties, Coates kicking two to bring the home side to within 4 points. Launceston suffered another injury blow when scrum half Jamie Knight was stretchered off. Birkett switched to scrum half and Rhys Gosling came on at full back. Launceston had three catch-and-drives near the Blackheath line but where kept out. Blackheath continued to be awarded a string of penalties. From a kick to the corner, deep in injury time, scrum half Nick Maurer crossed for the winning try, which Coates converted to leave Launceston bitterly disappointed.  

Blackheath: Tries Long, Maurer, Cons Coates (2), Pens Coates (5)
Launceston: Tries, Morris (2) Porter, Heyns, Cons Porter (3)


National League 3 (South)

Redruth once again let slip an away game that they will feel they should have won. Redruth took the lead with prop Neil Douch powering over for a fine try, which Scott Martin converted. Old Pats hit back with a try from their prop James King, which Russell Nunn converted. Nunn kicked a penalty to give Old Pats the lead before Martin replied for the Reds to tie the scores once more. Nunn slotted a late second half penalty to win the game. Redruth looked to have scored a second try through winger Lewis Vinnecombe but referee Mr Hall did not allow it.


Powergen Intermediate Cup. By Martin Symons at the Recreation Ground

Camborne's long unbeaten run ended as South West Two Cleve ran out winners to progress to the last 8 of the Powergen Intermediate Cup.

In front of a good sized crowd, the visitors exerted the early pressure and went ahead when a speculative loose pass was scooped up by full back Liam Davies to burst through the home cover for a try that he also converted.

The Cherry & Whites came into the game with a chargedown and follow up by livewire openside Dan Kennedy taking play to the Cleve line. Davies was deservedly sent to the sin bin for cynically killing the ball and skipper Ian Morgan put over the simple penalty.

Although Camborne had the wind at their backs they were unable to spend any sustained periods in the visitors' half. Full back Morgan, however, reduced the arrears with a well-struck 15th minute penalty from fully 40 metres, and 6 minutes later put his team in front with a monster penalty from near the half way line.

This lead was short lived as the home backs were caught offside and Davies slotted the penalty for a 9-10 scoreline.

Camborne's forwards, prompted by their excellent scrum half Brett Wakfer, then put Cleve under pressure in front of the grandstand. From a lineout on the Cleve 22 metre line flanker Martin Woolcock took a clean catch and the home 8 drove their heavier opponents to the try line. Joining the maul, it was diminutive fly half Seb Berti who emerged from the pile-up to claim a try giving Camborne a 4 point lead.

On the half hour the visitors scored a well-worked 2nd try through left wing Tom O'Leary rounding the home cover to touch down under the posts. Davies' conversion made the score 14-17 before Morgan was just wide with another long range effort.

With all to play for Cleve started the 2nd half strongly and went further ahead in the 50th minute. Berti's attempted chip out of defence was charged down by hooker Matt Parfit who fed lock Steve Hunt to romp over for a try well converted by Davies to open up a 10 point lead.

Urged on and prompted by Berti, Camborne took play to the visitors half for a spell. Cruelly a 65th minute attack broke down with an interception by replacement scrum half Ian Price who raced fully 70 metres unopposed for the decisive try again converted by the accurate Davies.

Down but not out the home side hit back from deep in their own half with a 50 metre burst by the promising Victor Oniyide-Frampton before feeding  on to No 8 Ali Durant and linking up again to give a scoring pass to right wing Kelvin Smitham for a try in the scoreboard corner.

Trailing 19-31 Camborne received a hammer blow with 5 minutes remaining when Davies coolly sent over a penalty to put Cleve out of sight with his 19th point of the match.

There was still time for injury time consolation for Camborne when Berti made a delightful individual break through the Cleve defence before chipping ahead and winning the scramble for the ball to touchdown his 2nd try.

Camborne: I Morgan, K Smitham, V Oniyide-Frampton, D Roberts, L Smitham (A Fisilau), S Berti, B Wakfer, N Endean, A Smith, A Bartle (S Macdonald) L Pengilly (T Thatcher), S Oates, M Woolcock, D Kennedy, A Durant.
Camborne scorers: tries; S Berti 2, K Smitham pens; I Morgan 3 Cleve: tries; Davies, O'Leary, Hunt, Price cons; Davies 4 pens; Davies 2
Referee Mr D Sinclair (Dorset & Wilts RS)

TRING 30 LONDON CORNISH 12 AET (score after normal time 12-12)

POWERGEN VASE 5th ROUND. Report by Dickon Moon

London Cornish took unbeaten Tring all the way in this titanic encounter at Cow Lane, and were ultimately undone by a combination of giving away 7 points in the first minute of the match and by their inability to secure lineout ball as the home side utterly dominated this one aspect of play. Playing in front of their vocal travelling support, Cornish handed the initiative to Tring from the off when they knocked on the kick-off and missed tackles in the first attack, allowing the excellent right wing to scoot over in the clubhouse corner. The conversion was made and the home support was in good voice as they anticipated more of the same and an uncomfortable afternoon for their lower league visitors. How wrong they were!

Steadily, Cornish began to run the ball at their opponents and gain a foothold in the match. With skipper Tom Thirlwall and youngster John Hollick to the fore, repeated attacks lead to a penalty on 18 minutes from the trusty boot of Darren Jordan and a Tom Fegen drop-goal brought the visitors to within 1 point on 25 minutes. The home side continued to dominate the line-out and, using their powerful pack, used the pick and drive to good effect. The Cornish side is nothing if not resilient, however, and frequently scrambled the ball to safety until, on the stroke of half-time, another foray upfield resulted in a penalty, which Jordan slotted to give his side a half-time lead.

Fegen withdrew at half-time with a hamstring strain, resulting in a reshuffle in the Cornish midfield. Tring began to string together repeated phases of play in the second period and were repeatedly repelled close to the Cornish line. Where possible, the home side tried to release their elusive full-back and pacy right wing but the visitors' tackling stood firm, including one superb cover tackle by full-back Julian Paull stopping his man inches from the line. Tring brought on more heavy artillery and this brought its reward on the hour mark when they fashioned an overlap out wide and the wing stretched to plant the ball over the line and give his side their first points since the start of the match, though the conversion fell short on this occasion.

The Cornish pack were straining every sinew in their efforts to keep out the well organised and powerful home 8 but were lifted by the superb travelling support who frequently out shouted the home side's. With 6 minutes remaining, Cornish back-row Neil O'Connor intercepted a chip and dashed half the length of the pitch to be brought down in the shadow of the posts; Cornish desperately tried to release quick ball but the ball was killed by the home side resulting in a sin-bin for the offender and a penalty by Jordan to level the scores. Time ran out with the home side back in the ascendancy, though once again the Cornish tackling stood firm.

The battering was taking its toll on the visiting pack and, despite making changes to bring on fresh legs, the inability to secure any lineout ball was to cost the side dear. Tring upped their game one last time in extra-time and, to their credit (and let it be said, they are a fine side) stuck to their game-plan. They carved out 2 further tries, one converted, and kicked 2 penalties in the extra period, which was also notable for an extremely short appearance by a home sub who was sin-binned within seconds of appearing, and for some massive hits made by centre Jamie Banwell on his opposite number!

That London Cornish came so close to another giant-killing against an unbeaten and talented team is a reflection of how well they played and they did so despite only winning a handful of lineouts all day. They will also rue those costly first few seconds. They can look back with pride at their efforts in this competition and will hope to take lessons from their run into their League season, which continues next week with a top of the table home clash v Old Walcountians.

Elsewhere, there was one game involving a Cornish club in Western Counties West, when Hayle travelled to Torquay for a re-arranged fixture. The Tics consolidated their second place behind Camborne with an exciting 48 – 24 win over Hayle, out scoring the Cornishmen on the try count 7-4! For Hayle, the Cook family grabbed three, two for Damien and one for “Pops” Tony. Skipper Luke Ellis claimed the fourth. Paul Lello kicked a couple of conversions. The result leaves Hayle in third spot, four points adrift of Torquay.

In the Powergen Junior Vase, Mounts Bay are left flying the Cornish flag after their win away at Midsomer Norton by 17-7. Trezise kicked four penalties and Snell claimed the all-important try. Bude lost at Nailsea & Blackwell 15 – 12. Fry and Lewry scored tries for the North Cornwall side, and Tressider kicked a conversion.

Saturday 24th January


National League 3 (South). By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Gound

Redruth did county neighbours Launceston a big favour with this win over the promotion-chasing Vikings from Norfolk.

The Reds almost threw this hard-earned win away; when leading comfortably on the scoreboard by 28-8 with less than ten minutes to go they contrived to concede 19 points, including three tries, presenting Matt Holmes with a conversion to steal the win for the visitors. Fortunately, for the Reds and their supporters, the attempt failed.

Redruth started brightly playing up the slope, with an opening try on 4 minutes. Following a maul, the ball was spun out wide to Lewis Vinnecombe, whose well-timed dummy split the defence, his surge taking him clear of the defence to score a fine try. Scott Martin’s conversion failed; it was not to be one of Martin’s better days with the boot.

North Walsham’s powerful pack looked to set up mauls, which tested the Reds' defence. Play was scrappy, with both sides making unforced errors. With Redruth under the cosh, centre Craig Bonds led a breakout from his own 22 but his pass could not find a man in a Red shirt. Redruth earned a penalty in front of the North Walsham posts. This time Martin kicked the goal to increase the Reds lead to 8-0 on 24 minutes.

James Lancaster, back in the starting line up, was playing his usual dynamic game, which led to his “Man of the Match” award. Fellow Kiwi, skipper Bede Brown, clipped the post with a drop goal attempt on the half hour. Redruth soon increased their lead when Craig Bonds, with another lovely dummy, split the defence to release his co-centre Paul Thirlby, who ran in from 30 meters. Martin’s conversion attempt was again unsuccessful. As the half came to a close, North Walsham had some good pressure down in Hell Fire corner, which resulted in wing Andy Thorpe claiming a scrappy try. Matt Holmes was unable to convert.  

Redruth re-started playing down the slope. Martin again missed with an early penalty attempt, before skipper Bede Brown rounded off a fine move in the Piggy Lane Corner to increase the Reds lead. Martin was once again unsuccessful. However, he did redeem himself with a penalty kick shortly after, stretching the Reds' lead to 21-5.

North Walsham scrum half Matt Holmes reduced the arrears with a penalty kick as the normal second half substitutions took place. Paul Thirlby found himself in the middle of a tremendous Reds maul that took him over the line to claim the Reds' fourth try of the match. This time Martin converted and, with less than ten minutes remaining, the Reds looked out of sight at 28-8.  North Walsham had other ideas: in a pulsating and nail-biting finale, they almost took the points. Redruth were reduced to 14 men after prop Jon Wright was sent to the bin by referee David May. Then two tries from back row Liam Harrison and an intercept try from wing Simon Sinclair stunned the Recreation Ground crowd. Matt Holmes, who was successful with his first two conversions, had a kick to win the match.  

Redruth: Tries: Vinnecombe, Thirlby (2), Brown; Pens: Martin (2); Con: Martin
North Walsham: Tries: Thorpe, Harrison (2), Sinclair; Pen: Holmes; Cons: (2) Holmes   


National League 1

It was a try feast at the Mennaye as the Bees deservedly secured a fine victory, winning the try count 9-5! Despite this loss, the Pirates did have the satisfaction of securing a bonus point, by scoring four tries or more. The Pirates' tries were scored by Rocky Newton, Matt Jess, Rob Thirlby, Alaifatu Fatialofa, and Martin Morgan. Thirlby kicked a couple of conversions and a penalty to complete the Pirates haul.

With Henley winning 28-23 at Manchester, the Pirates are still in the drop zone on 19 points, two points behind Coventry, who play at Bristol today (Sunday). Next Saturday the Pirates visit Coventry! Wakefield are on 22 points and Henley on 23 points.

LAUNCESTON 30 WESTON super MARE 15 (HT 25-12)

National League 3 (South)

The Cornish All Blacks moved into second place following this important win over the Somerset side and North Walsham’s slip-up further down the A30 at Redruth.   

Victory, however, came at a price, with Launceston suffering another long-term injury to a key player; flanker Brian Sibthorpe was stretched off with a broken leg!  

Launceston, with a stiff breeze at their backs, started with a flourish. Porter kicked an early penalty before Sibthorpe was driven over by the pack following a line out well taken by Julian Wilce. Weston soon hit back, showing the form that has lifted them up the table this season. Flanker Johnny Gordon broke from a scrum near the Launceston line to score a fine try, which full back James Reid converted.

The home side stepped up a gear. Porter kicked a second penalty goal, then, following a drive from the forwards, skipper Eddie Nancekivell cut inside towards the posts. The resulting ruck on the line saw full back Andy Birkett claim the try, which Porter converted. Weston once again stormed back and scored a second try through full back Reid, with good support play from prop Dave Swann. Launceston managed another score before the break, following a fine kick to the corner by Porter. A ruck formed from the ensuing lineout and flanker Steve Dyer powered over near the posts for Porter to add the extras.

Weston reduced the home side’s lead early in the second half, as Reid kicked an early penalty. Launceston kept driving the visitors back, playing some exciting rugby. Sibthorpe spent 10 minutes in the bin. Even so, Launceston scored another try with Daniel Morris finishing off a storming run. That proved to be the end of the scoring. As the gathering gloom descended on the ground poor old Sibthorpe suffered his injury. The referee, with the agreement of both skippers, blew up six minutes early.  

Launceston: Tries: Sibthorpe, Birkett, Dyer, Morris; cons: Porter (2); pens: Porter (2)
WSM: Tries: Gordon, Reid; con: Reid; pen: Reid


Western Counties West. Report by Martin Symons at Raleigh Park, Exmouth

Camborne maintained their 5 point advantage at the top of Western Counties with a workmanlike away win following an impressive opening 25minutes that saw them open up a 19-0 lead.

Outstanding in the Cherry & White jersey on the day were scrum half Brett Wakfer and young Tongan wing Aisea Fisilau on his return from injury.

As early as the 6th minute a Fisilau run down the left flank brought a good field position. The ball was moved swiftly to the right where No 8 Ali Durant popped up wide out to outstrip the defence and run round for a try under the posts. Centre Ian Morgan converted for a 7-0 scoreline.

Inside the first quarter the visitors went further in front with a cracking debut try by full back Sam Winter. Fisilau, fielding a wayward Withycombe kick on his own 22 metre line, made inroads with a powerful burst before releasing the supporting Winter. The former Bath Academy youngster cut a delightful angle on a 55 metre run into the corner to touchdown an unconverted try.

Flanker David Roberts limped off in the 20th minute to be replaced by Martin Woolcock but this did not disrupt Camborne as they quickly constructed a 3rd try-scoring move. Fly half Seb Berti spotted a gap in the home cover on halfway, darting through to breach the cover, before a well-timed pass put skipper Morgan in the clear to cruise over near the posts and then knock over the simple conversion.

Withycombe opened their account on the half hour with a corner try from their dangerous Australian full back Nick Glynn and just before the break reduced the arrears further when centre Tony Willis went over for fly half Jerome Murray to convert.

With the lead down to 7 points Camborne needed a score early in the 2nd half to reassert their authority. Four minutes in another great Fisilau run took his team deep into home territory. From a 5 metre scrum the impressive Durant showed his strength to barge over for the prolific Morgan to convert to make the score 12-26.

The home side would not lie down, hitting back almost immediately when flanker Nick Southern took a quick free kick and ran through some weak tackling to score, with Murray’s conversion again reducing the gap to 7 points.

With all to play for Morgan coolly put his team further ahead with a 25 metre penalty mid way through the half. Although Withycombe showed their spirit in dominating much of the play that followed, resolute Camborne tackling ensured their unbeaten league record remained intact.

Camborne: S Winter, A Fisilau, V Oniyide-Frampton, I Morgan, L Smitham, S Berti, B Wakfer, N Endean (S Sara), A Smith, A Bartle (J Mitchell), L Pengilly, T Thatcher, D Roberts (M Woolcock), D Kennedy, A Durant.
Camborne scores: tries: A Durant 2, S Winter, I Morgan; cons: I Morgan 3; pen: I Morgan
Withycombe scores: tries; N Glynn, T Willis, N Southern cons; J Murray 2


Surrey Division 2. Report by Dickon Moon

This resounding win over fellow promotion contenders Old Walcountians lifted Cornish into second position in the league and, with results elsewhere going for them, now means the club have their destiny back in their own hands. Fielding a side showing a couple of changes from that beaten in extra-time in last week's Powergen Vase 5th Round tie, Cornish gave a debut to ex-Redruth back Dave Furze who played at centre.

The home side were in the lead inside the first 5 minutes when a deft chip by full-back Julian Paull was gathered by wing Andy Williams, who scored out wide. Despite looking short of top form, Cornish doubled their score on 20 minutes when flanker John Hollick gained reward for a string of excellent recent performances to score close in, Darren Jordan adding the extras. Walcountians pressed for the first time in the game on the half-hour but were held at bay by resolute home tackling, a feature of their season to date. Man of the Match Damian Stirrett quickly forged a promising understanding with Furze, who was an increasing presence in the game and it was he who made the break to feed Williams out wide, who completed a slick backs' move to take his team to a 17-0 half-time lead.

Cornish began the second period slowly and were guilty of a number of handling errors and of giving away a series of unnecessary penalties. Skipper Tom Thirlwall galvanised his troops and with locks Rob Webster and Tom Moon winning the lineout battle and the visitors now being driven off their own ball, his side reasserted their authority. On the hour mark Furze gained due reward for his efforts, breaking through on the slice and scoring near the posts. Jordan added the conversion and it was not long before flanker Neil O'Connor broke off the back of a ruck and gleefully dived over the line for another 7 pointer. With the game safe, the home side were able to make a number of changes and it was one of the replacements, club stalwart Gregg Quixley, who scored the last of the 6 tries when he burst off a maul and crashed over for Jordan to complete the comprehensive victory with the conversion.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro suffered what may well prove to be a fatal loss at home to Bridgewater & Albion by 38-9. Steve Larkins kicked three penalties for Truro.  

In South West 2 West, Penryn moved up to second in the table with a 41-13 win at Taunton. Despite trailing 10 – 0 at the break, the Borough put in a storming second half performance. Tries from Chris Mann with two, Kevin Hughes, Darren Pellow, and a penalty try, all converted by Dave Pascoe, plus a couple of penalties blew away the home side.  

In Western Counties West, St. Ives won an entertaining game at Alexander Road against Ivybridge 28-24. Lock Louis Stevens, prop Brett Rouncefield, hooker Jason Perkin and skipper Ian Veal scored tries for St. Ives. Mark Rowe kicked a couple of penalties and a conversion.

There was no joy for West Penwith as St. Just lost away at Newton Abbot 28-7. Old warhorse Adrian Bick scored the Tigers' try, which Simon Barnes converted.

Hayle enjoyed a fine win at home to Tiverton 5-0.

Saturday 31st January


National League 1

Coach Kevin Mosley could afford a smile after his side’s deserved win at fellow strugglers Coventry at Coundon Road, securing a vital bonus point in the bargain by scoring four tries.

Urged on by the travelling band of Pirate supporters, who have lit up the National 1 grounds around the country this season with their fervent support and good humour, the Pirates gave a superb all-round display. The Pirates opened the scoring after nine minutes with Rocky Newton scoring the first Pirate try, from a pass that the home crowd believed to be forward. Soon after the Pirates were reduced to fourteen men as centre Steve Thomas was sent to the bin. As you would expect from a match vital to both sides, no quarter was asked or given.

Coventry hit back with a try from wing Mark Mennan, converted by fly half Jared Barker. The Pirates hit back with their pack playing some fine rugby. Martin Morgan, their recent signing from Gwent Dragons, scored the second Pirates' try as half time approached. Rob Thirlby converted to give the Pirates the advantage at the break. Unfortunately, Thirlby picked up a dead leg and was unable to continue. We shall not see him for a while as he is away with the England 7’s side in Los Angeles and Wellington for the next rounds of the IRB 7’s tour. Mark Scrivener took his place.

Coventry reduced their arrears with a penalty kicked by full back Gareth Cull. Scrivener replied in kind, before the Pirates' centre Steve Thomas made up for his ten-minute absence during the first half to score his side's third try of the afternoon. Scrivener was unable to convert.

Both sides introduced fresh players as Coventry attempted to get back in contention. Flanker Mike Buckingham scored a second try for Coventry, which Cull converted to cut the Pirates' lead to three points. With five minutes of normal time remaining Pirates' No8 Daniel Farini scored the all-important fourth try, which Scrivener converted to secure all five points.

The Pirates leap frog Coventry in the table and lead them by 2 points. They are on 24 points level with Henley and 2 points behind Wakefield, with an all-important game in hand over their rivals. Next, up Otley at the Mennaye next Saturday.  

Pirates: Tries (4) Newton, Morgan, Thomas, Farini; pen Scrivener; cons (2) Thirlby, Scrivener  
Coventry: Tries (2) Meenan, Buckingham; pen Cull; cons (2), Barker, Cull


National League 3 (South)

With Launceston’s match at Tabard having been called off on Friday, the Reds were left to uphold Cornish pride. They took full advantage by obtaining only their second league win on the road this season to sustain their fifth place in the league.

Played in atrocious conditions following snow and then driving rain, the match was declared playable only an hour before kick off. Redruth kicked off with the gale-force wind at their backs. Lewis Vinnecombe again had an early try disallowed by the touch judge as Redruth dominated the opening period. After an initial failure with a penalty hitting the crossbar, Scott Martin kicked a couple of penalties in the opening quarter to put the Reds 6-0 up. The Reds pack worked hard, with James Lancaster leading by example. Behind the pack, skipper Bede Brown was marshalling the conditions and keeping the Reds on the front foot. Martin increased the Reds' lead with a third penalty just before halftime.

Facing the elements and with only a 9 point cushion, it looked like the Reds were in for a torrid second half. It was a day to keep the ball with the forwards and play keep ball. These tactics frustrated Heath as they were unable to use the wind to set up attacking platforms. Instead it was Redruth who went further ahead as centre Paul Thirlby was driven over by the pack to score the visitors' first try of the game on 50 minutes. Heath had a try-scoring opportunity a few minutes later, but their left wing Henry Goodburn lost the ball in the act of scoring!

Redruth rang the usual changes up front, with Glen Cooper and Adam Flide coming on for Sam Harrison and Sam Heard. Following another powerful move by the pack, it was to be Cooper who scored the Reds' second try to open up a 19 point lead with 20 minutes to go. Redruth managed to control the rest of the game, allowing Heath a consolation try near the end scored by Mark Pymm.  

Redruth: Tries (2) Thirlby, Cooper; pens (3) Martin
Haywards Heath: Try Pymm


Western Counties (West). By Martin Symonds at the Recreation Gound

Camborne breathed a collective sigh of relief as skipper Ian Morgan slotted a drop goal in the 4th minute of injury time to preserve the League leaders' unbeaten record.

At a windswept Recreation Ground the visitors were desperately unlucky to lose a game that their well-drilled pack dominated for long periods.

With the pitch in good condition despite the earlier heavy rain the Cherry & Whites lost the toss and had first use of the gale blowing towards the Town end. From the kick off forwards and backs combined in several phases of play deep in the St Ives' half  but Camborne failed to put points on the board.  

Sixteen minutes into the game centre Morgan gave his side the lead with a well-judged penalty from 35metres.

Only 3 minutes later the home side went further in front with a first try in a Camborne jersey for young wing Victor Oniyide-Frampton. A strong run down the left by wing Aisea Fisilau took play to the visitors' 22 before the ball was recycled and moved swiftly to the right flank. Fly half Seb Berti split the defence before off loading to Oniyide-Frampton to cut inside the full back and power over under the posts. Morgan knocked over the simple conversion for a 10-0 advantage.

On the half hour St Ives opened their account with a simple penalty from fly half Mark Rowe. Morgan was off target with a penalty attempt and half time arrived with his team leading 10-3.

With the Perkin brothers often to the fore the Fishermen camped in the Camborne half for the opening 10 minutes of the second period but a combination of resolute defence and a failure to secure ball from line outs close in thwarted them.

Finally a try came in the 58th minute through the opportunism of flanker Nigel Laity. Breaking away from a scrum on half way, Laity chipped ahead and, when the defence failed to clear, was on hand to follow up and score. Rowe's angled conversion came back off a post, leaving the scoreline 10-8.

With all to play for St Ives laid siege to the try line in the turnstile corner for a long spell but Camborne held firm thanks to a series of big tackles from flanker Sean Oates, centre Paul Gadsdon, and Berti, plus the organisation of their forwards.

Rowe then seemed to have given his side victory in the 77th minute with a coolly taken 25 metre drop goal.

In a dramatic finale Berti broke down the right flank from deep in his own half, travelling fully 30 metres before kicking ahead and being impeded. Awarded the resulting penalty in the scoreboard corner, the Cherry & Whites had a charge at the line through No 8 Ali Durant.  Possession was retained and one ruck later under the St Ives crossbar the ball was moved back to Morgan 15 metres out to drop the vital goal with the last kick off the game.

Camborne: S Winter, V Oniyide-Frampton, I Morgan, P Gadsdon, A Fisilau, S Berti, D Macdonald, N Endean, A Smith, A Bartle, L Pengilly, T Thatcher, S Oates, D Kennedy, A Durant.
St Ives: J Parma, I Veal, P Sanders, M May, P Scorer, M Rowe, M Smith, B Rouncefield, J Perkin, T Stevens, J Atkinson, L Stevens, J Paul, N Laity, S Perkin.
Camborne scores: try; V Oniyide-Frampton con; I Morgan pen; I Morgan drop; I Morgan St Ives: try; N Laity pen; M Rowe drop; M Rowe

Elsewhere, the weather had the better of many games scheduled to be played. In South West 1, Truro’s match at St. Mary’s Old Boys was a victim of the weather.

In South West 2 West, Penryn took advantage to go top by beating the Hornets 28-10 at the Memorial Ground. Chris Mann with two and Nick Brown scored the Borough’s tries, with Dave Pascoe converting two and kicking three penalties to complete the scoring. With Gloucester Old Boys unable to play, Penryn have a one-point advantage at the top.  

In Western Counties West, Hayle won at St. Just by 13-3. Simon Pollard scored the Lions' try, with Paul Lello converting and adding a couple of penalties. For the home side Ashley Weston dropped a goal.

Saturday 7th February

PENZANCE & NEWLYN 30 OTLEY 21 (HT 24 – 14)

National League 1

This was a tremendous win for the Pirates against an Otley side currently lying fifth in the table, and ample revenge for the defeat at Cross Green by 33-6 in October.

Mark Scrivener came in for Rob Thirlby, who is away on England Sevens duty, and produced one of his best performances for the Pirates. He scored fifteen points with the boot, kicking three conversions and three penalty goals.

Scrivener boosted the Pirates' confidence with an early penalty success. However, it was Otley who scored the first try, with old warhorse scrum half Dave Scully crossing following a fine run from winger Will Darby. Top points scorer in the league, fly half Simon Binns, converted. Otley went close again with Rocky Newton saving the day for the Pirates. Binns created Otley’s second try when centre Matt Oliver exploited the fly half’s chip to gather and score. Binns again converted.

Trailing 14-3, the Pirates needed to hit back immediately, which they did with centre Steve Thomas rounding off some good work from the pack to score a fine first Pirate try, which Scrivener converted. Steve Evans scored a second try for the Pirates at the posts. Again Scrivener added the extras and the Pirates had their noses in front.

Otley looked to run the ball, only to find the home defence in a mean mood. Deep into added on time at the end of the first half, Alaifatu Fatilofa scored the Pirates' third try following a strong run, with Scrivener’s third conversion the Pirates had a useful ten point advantage at the break. 

No doubt the Pirates would have hoped to build on this during the second half and score a fourth try, which would have given them a much-needed bonus point. However, the Pirates found themselves reduced to fourteen men following Alan Paver’s dismissal for punching. Josh Lord, who had come on for Lakalaka Waqanivere, was sacrificed for Ashley Morcom to complete the front row, which also saw Dan Seal come on for the hard-working Nick Adams. Scrivener did stretch the lead with a second penalty, before Dave Scully scored his second try of the match, which Binns converted to cut the Pirates' lead to just six points.

Otley sensed a win but it was to be the Pirates who broke up field a win a penalty shot, which Scrivener kicked successfully to seal an important win. Next up for the Pirates is a trip to Orrell, who play at Bristol this afternoon. No doubt Kevin Mosley will be in the crowd!  

Pirates: tries: Thomas, Evans, A. Fatialofa; pens: Scrivener (3); cons: Scrivener (3)
Otley: tries: Scully (2), Oliver; cons: Binns (3)


National League 3 (South). By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

It was a tremendous second half performance from the Reds, during which they scored 25 points, including four tries, to topple the league leaders Blackheath and gain revenge for their league defeat at The Rectory Field in November.

Blackheath started the brighter, playing down the slope with the aid of the breeze during the first half. They scored all their points before Redruth opened their account. Prolific points grabber Derrick Coates kicked a penalty on nine mins, before converting a try by scrum half Nick Maurer on 26 mins. On 35 mins, he kicked a second penalty goal to give “Club” a 13 point lead. It has to be said that Blackheath were well worth their lead as half time approached: their pack had given the Reds' forwards a tough time together with some fine positional kicking to pin the home side back. Just before half time Redruth were awarded a penalty about 20 meters out which Scott Martin converted, to leave the Reds trailing by 10 points at the break 3-13.   

James Lancaster’s half time team talk seemed to have the desired effect, as Redruth scored two unconverted tries within six minutes to draw level. Craig Bonds scored the first in the Piggy Lane corner, following some tremendous work from Lancaster and skipper Bede Brown. Three minutes later and it was Ian Hambly coming up with the ball having been driven over from a powerful surge from the forwards. Scott Martin had a chance to put the Reds in front with a long range penalty, which drifted to the right. Brown fired a drop goal attempt wide as Redruth looked to snatch the lead.

Redruth brought on fresh legs, with Sam Harrison on for Glen Cooper and Simon Griffiths for Nathan Pryor. The pack were putting in a tremendous amount of work. Sam Heard, on his 21st birthday, was having a stormer, as was fellow prop Neil Douch, who was given a rousing ovation when he left the field to be replaced by Adam Filde. Neil Corin got through a tremendous amount of work as did Man of the Match John Navin. Martin eventually managed to put the Reds in front with a second successful penalty.

Lewis Vinnecombe, who had a fine game, took a knock giving way to Marek Churcher. Blackheath were pressing for a score. A chip into the Reds' in goal up in the scoreboard corner saw Coates go close. Blackheath had been forced into a change, with the influential scrum half Nick Maurer forced to leave the field with concussion, to be replaced by Mark Percival. With normal time almost up it was Marek Churcher who scored the Reds' third try, before Bede Brown scored at the death by the posts to make the game safe, Martin converting.  

Redruth:Tries Hambly, Bonds, Churcher, Brown; pens: Martin (2); con: Martin  
Blackheath: Try Maurer; pens: Coates (2); con: Coates


National League 3 (South)

Launceston included on-loan signing Richard Carroll from the Pirates in their side for this important clash. With leaders Blackheath slipping up at Redruth, Launceston are now two points behind Blackheath with two matches in hand.

Despite the emphatic score line, at one point early in the second half the Cornish All Blacks only led by a point 26-25. In his post-match analysis, coach Barry Trevaskis preferred to concentrate on the periods of play where his players' concentration lapsed, allowing the Kent side to get so close. Launceston obviously kicked themselves up the backside to go on and score fifty-four unanswered points. Ashley Rescorla led the scoring stats with four tries.

Launceston will hope to repeat this performance next weekend at Southend.  

Launceston: tries: Rescorla (4), Dyer(2), Webb(2), Carroll, Birkett, Gosling, penalty-try; cons: Porter (10)  
Old Colfeians: tries: Lewis, Evans, Smith, Jarrett; con: Lewis; pen: Lewis


Skinner’s Brewery Cornwall Knockout Cup. Report by Martin Symons

Camborne avoided a potential banana skin by going up a gear in the last 20 minutes of this Skinners' Brewery Cornwall Cup game to set up a quarter final clash at Penryn on the 6th of March.

In treacherous underfoot conditions, the visitors began strongly with the strong cross wind swirling in their favour. Inside the first five minutes over elaboration deep in the Bude half proved costly, before Camborne skipper Ian Morgan gave his side a 6th minute lead with a well-judged penalty from 25 metres.

The home side then enjoyed a good spell of pressure thanks to the hard work of their forwards, but a 15th minute tackle by Camborne's Tongan wing Aisea Fisilau in the left hand corner prevented a try.

Exchanges were even for the remainder of the 1st period before the home side deservedly put points on the board with an unconverted try when lock Paul Cholwill claimed a touchdown after a series of scrums and mauls near the Cherry & Whites' line.

Camborne hit back almost immediately with full back Morgan punishing the home side with a superb long range penalty from halfway for a 5-6 interval scoreline.

In a tense 2nd half the visiting forwards gradually came into the game with flanker Kevin Penrose back on loan from the Pirates and No 8 Ali Durant prominent. Prompted by the astute kicking of scrum half Brett Wakfer, Camborne kept the valiant Bude side at bay.

Fisilau, in his last game before returning home, made several storming runs from deep to relieve the pressure and, after the pack began to make inroads through the middle, the decisive score came with 11 minutes remaining.

Prop Scott Sara marked his first starting appearance by burrowing over under the Bude posts for Morgan to convert easily for a vital 8 point lead.

The home side commendably then threw everything at Camborne in the last 10 minutes but the defence held firm to avert any Cup upset, inflicting Bude's first home defeat of the season in the process.

Camborne: I Morgan, A Fisilau, S Winter, P Gadsdon, L Smitham, S Berti, B Wakfer, S Sara (N Endean), A Smith (C Hewitt), A Bartle, S Oates, T Thatcher (L Pengilly), K Penrose, D Kennedy, A Durant.
Bude: try: P Cholwill
Camborne: try: S Sara; con: I Morgan; pen: I Morgan (2)

Elsewhere it was very much a catch up Saturday in the leagues, with some Cornwall Cup matches also being played.

In South West 1, Truro made the trip to St. Mary’s Old Boys  for the second weekend running. This time the game was played; sadly Truro got no joy, going down emphatically by 62-5! Robins got the Truro consolation try.

A mention for Wadebridge Camels who enjoyed a fine 61-0 win over Wellington in a re-arranged Cornwall & Devon league match.

In the Powergen Junior Vase, Cornwall’s last remaining representatives in the National Cups, Mounts Bay, pulled off a resounding win in Kent, defeating Folkestone 26-0. Tries came from Adam Redgrave and former county star, hooker Brian Andrew. James Trezise kicked eleven points.

In the Skinner’s Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup (formerly the Junior Cup) it was semi-final first leg day. Liskeard & Looe look set for the final following their 20-0 win away at Saltash. In the other tie, Bodmin will take a slender two-point advantage to Redruth Albany following their 18-16 win.

Saturday 14th February


National League 1

The Lancashire side completed a predictable league double over the Pirates, with this comprehensive win at Edgehall Road consolidating their second place behind runaway leaders Worcester. The Pirates would have been hoping to catch the Black & Ambers on another off day, as their form of late had not been top notch. Instead, they were on the receiving end of a Lancashire backlash.

The Pirates scored their only points during the first half with a try through centre Alaifatu Fatialofa, which Mark Scrivener converted. Unfortunately, the Pirates lost centre Steve Thomas, red carded by referee Mr Wigglesworth.  

Following this weekend's results the Pirates are still on 28 points, level with Wakefield and Henley, and two points ahead of Coventry. The Pirates will look to regroup this week for the important league match on Saturday at the Mennaye against London Welsh.

WESTON super MARE 15 REDRUTH 18 (HT 10-8)

National League 3 (South). By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

The Reds secured revenge for their only home league defeat (at the hands of the Somerset side in October by 21-17) to consolidate their fifth place in the league.  

Weston got off to a fine start and were leading 10-0 at one point. Following a fine break by their flyer Torak Madamombe, his forwards took the ball on for scrum half Matthew Britton to score the try. Weston full back James Reid kicked the conversion and shortly after a penalty goal. Scott Martin pulled back three points with a penalty, before coach James Lancaster went over for a try following a catch and drive near the home side’s line.  

After half time, it was Weston who went further ahead with a try from replacement prop Andrew Steele. Neil Corin was having his usual dominant game in the lineout. Weston’s cause was not best served by having to play for 20 minutes with only fourteen men, following a yellow card to Madamombe for a high tackle on Lewis Vinnecombe, and soon after his return a red card to prop Merv Down for foul play. Scott Martin kicked the subsequent penalty.

Paul Thirlby went close to scoring as Redruth looked to use the man advantage. Craig Bonds broke through and fed Martin, who galloped over, converting his own try and giving the Reds a three-point advantage. Redruth then endured a spirited Weston onslaught, capped by a final penalty attempt which sailed wide, to earn a third away win in the league this season.


National League 3 (South)

The Cornish All Blacks maintained their promotion push with this fine eight-try win in Essex. Launceston had the game and the league points wrapped up by half time as they went on to totally dominate their opponents. Ashley Rescorla and Andy Birkett, with a brace of tries each, led the rout. Other tries came from Daniel Morris, Simon Porter, Mike Heyns, and Jon Hill. Porter kicked five conversions and a penalty goal. This win leaves Launceston two points behind leaders Blackheath with two games in hand.


Western Counties West. Report by Mike Harne

Camborne are now only one win away from promotion following an assured 2nd half display that clinched a nail-biting victory at Paignton.

After the Cherry & Whites had begun brightly, it was the home side that went ahead in the 8th minute with a penalty from fly half Andy Sandercock. Soon after Paignton increased the lead when burly prop Dan Swar's midfield burst led to a try wide out by full back Stuart Kingsley, well converted by Sandercock.

Midway through the half Camborne opened their account with a penalty in front of the posts from fly half Seb Berti, after a defender had cynically killed the ball to halt a promising attack.

The home side then stunned Camborne with a 2nd try from a lineout catch-and-drive credited to No 8 Jon Gardner, immaculately converted by Sandercock who then went on to land a simple 31st minute penalty for a 20-3 lead.

Needing a score before the break, the visitors launched a wave of attacks and after several phases, good work by Berti, flanker Dan Kennedy, and right wing Kelvin Smitham brought an opening for centre Dave Roberts to go thundering over near the posts. Berti, deputising for the injured Ian Morgan, put over the straightforward conversion, reducing the arrears to 20-10 at half time.

Two minutes into the 2nd half Sandercock stroked over another difficult penalty to make the deficit 13 points and the home supporters sensed an upset might be on the cards.

Almost immediately the league leaders demonstrated their resolve by taking play deep into the home half. From a 5-metre scrum skipper for the day No 8 Ali Durant had a charge for the line before the ball was moved right for the diminutive Berti to squeeze through a gap for a try in the corner.

As the home forwards began to run out of steam in the face of the Cherry &  Whites' up-tempo game plan, Berti punished their indiscretions, slotting penalties in the 54th and 56th minutes to pull his side back to 23-21.

The inspirational Paul Gadsdon then prevented a further home score, turning defence into attack as he burst clear from under his own crossbar. With Durant and experienced flanker Kevin Penrose never far from the action, the visitors threatened with Kennedy going over for a try from a Roberts charge down that was disallowed for a disputed knock on.

With 3 minutes remaining Gadsdon was somehow held up near the Paignton line before Berti was given the chance to win the game with an angled penalty on the right.  Keeping his cool under pressure, the Chilean sent the ball between the posts to complete an 18 point personal points tally and his team went on to comfortably run the clock down to complete a narrow victory.

Camborne: S Winter, K Smitham, D Roberts, P Gadsdon, L Smitham, S Berti, D Macdonald (M Fidock), S Sara, A Smith, A Bartle, S Oates, T Thatcher, K Penrose, D Kennedy, A Durant.
Paignton scores: tries: S Kingsley, J Gardner; cons: A Sandercock 2; pens: A Sandercock 3
Camborne scores: tries: D Roberts, S Berti; con: S Berti; pens: S Berti 4

Elsewhere, in South West 1 the relegation trap door opened a little wider for Truro as they were crushed by table-topping Reading at St. Clements by 78 – 3! Steve Larkins kicked a penalty goal for Truro early on. 

In South West 2 West, Penryn earned another fine away win at Crediton by 26-12. Dave Pascoe scored a couple of tries, further tries coming from Sheldon Waetford and Kevin Hughes. Pascoe also kicked three conversions. Penryn remain top with 25 points.

In Western Counties West, Hayle moved level on points with Torquay Athletic in second place following their win against Wessex by 23-20, and Torquay’s defeat at home to Ivybridge. James Davies, Paul Lello, and Kevin Mankee scored tries for the Lions. Lello kicked a couple of penalties and a conversion in a tight match.

St. Ives recorded a win against Tiverton at Alexander Road by 29-13, scoring five tries from Joe Parma, Paul Hodges, Matt May, Ian Veal, and Brett Rouncefield. Mark Rowe kicked a couple of conversions. St. Ives are fifth in the table.

St. Just, bottom of the table, were forced to concede their match at Withycombe.

Saturday 21st February


National League 1

A match which saw the lead change on nine occasions, finally went the way of the Pirates when England Counties' lock Lee Soper scored the winning try deep in time added on. The Pirates, by scoring five tries, also secured a valuable bonus point in their battle to remain in this league. The win puts them on 33 points, and sets them up for an intriguing battle next Saturday against the Bedford Blues, who will be looking to avenge their Powergen Cup defeat at the Mennaye in October.

The Pirates will be disturbed at the high penalty count against them. They were especially penalised at the breakdown! Six points down early on, following a couple of successful penalty kicks by visiting scrum half Dylan Pugh, the Pirates hit back with an opening try by Daniel Farini which Mark Scrivener converted. Pugh and Scrivener then swapped penalties, before the impressive Matt Jess grabbed his first try of the afternoon, which Scrivener converted. As halftime approached the exiles scored twice to regain the lead, firstly with a third penalty from Pugh, secondly from a try by wing John Swords, Pugh adding the extras.

Soon after the resumption of play, Scrivener kicked the Pirates back into the lead with a penalty. Again, this advantage was short-lived, as London Welsh scored a second try through the industrious Pugh, which he was unable to convert. Scrivener was again on target with a penalty, pulling back three points.

No 8 Matt Fitzgerald scored a third try for the visitors, which Pugh converted to give the Welsh an eight point lead. The see-saw nature of the match continued with Matt Jess (a contender surely for revelation of the season in this league) scoring his second try of the game, which Scrivener again converted. 30-31 to the Welsh, it appeared they had the game sewn up when John Swords scored his second try of the match, which Pugh converted to put the visitors two scores ahead. However, it was the Pirates throwing everything bar the kitchen sink into a final effort that brought tries for Mark Fatialofa and then Lee Soper’s dramatic finale to send the Mennaye faithful reaching for their blood pressure tablets!


National League 3 (South)

Launceston are sitting proudly on top of the table following this win against Dings at Landseer Avenue.They will look forward to completing a league double over the Crusaders at Polson on Saturday.

Launceston turned on the power in the first half to take the match by the scruff of the neck. An early Mike Heyns try, converted by the reliable Porter, put the Cornish All Blacks on the right track. Waylon Gasson kicked the first of two penalties for the home side, but Launceston were not to be denied as further tries came from Andy Birkett, with a brace, and Jake White before halftime.  No8 Mike Heyns got his second try of the match to wrap up the game. Simon Porter kicked a penalty goal and three further conversions to complete the Cornish All Blacks' scoring.


Western Counties West

Camborne clinched the Western Counties' title with a hard-earned victory against 2nd placed Torquay.

Recording their 17th League win, the Cherry & Whites can now look forward to life in South West 2 next season.

On a bitterly cold afternoon the visitors began brightly and went ahead with a 6th minute try wide on the right by prop Russ Owen.

Play between the two teams remained even throughout a mediocre first half as the Tics used the slope to their advantage. Fly half Michael Blank put over a simple penalty in the 29th minute, when the Camborne backs were judged offside, to make the lead 8 points.

The home side then came into the game and, following a big tackle by lock Sean Oates, took play deep into the Torquay half. When the desperate defenders killed the ball centre Ian Morgan opened his team's account with a 20 metre penalty.

Minutes later, Morgan reduced the deficit to 2 points with a well struck angled penalty that took the skipper past 200 points for the season. With the interval score 6-8 and all to play for Camborne went up a gear pinning the visitors deep in their own territory. Eight minutes into the half fittingly it was the long serving Oates that crashed over near the posts to put Camborne in front. The try came from a period of incessant pressure ending with flanker David Roberts slipping the scoring pass to the former skipper. Morgan knocked over the conversion to make the score 13-8. It was now all Camborne and the decisive score followed in the 56th minute. Left wing Les Smitham ran back a wayward clearance before full back Sam Winter did well to set up an attack on the right flank. Receiving a pass from the ensuing ruck fly half Seb Berti sliced through the visiting cover on a mazy 30 metre run before moving the ball out to the supporting Roberts who touched down in the scoreboard corner.

With the champagne on ice Blank booted a 73rd minute penalty to reduce the arrears to 18-11 but the Cherry & Whites were not to be denied  and defended resolutely in the closing stages before the final whistle sparked the promotion celebrations.

Camborne: S Winter, K Smitham, I Morgan (capt), P Gadsdon, L Smitham, S Berti, B Wakfer, R Worden (S Sara), A Smith (C Hewitt), A Bartle, S Oates, T Thatcher (L Pengilly), D Roberts, D Kennedy, A Durant.
Camborne scorers: tries; S Oates, D Roberts, con; I Morgan pens; I Morgan 2 Torquay: try; R Owen pens; M Blank 2

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro’s dismal run continues after their loss at Keynsham 51-24. One bright note was a fine second half fight back by the city side. Truro scored four tries through Daniel Dunkin, Mark Lea, Steve Nicholls, and Graham Lutey, two of which Dunkin converted.

In South West 2 West, Penryn’s promotion hopes were dealt a blow when they went down in Gloucestershire to Berry Hill 27-21. The Borough scored three tries from on loan Pirate James Hawken, Darren Pellow, and Sheldon Waetford, David Pascoe converting all three.

In Western Counties West, Hayle slipped up at Newton Abbot, the home side winning 24-17. Paul Lello, Kevin Mankee, and Matt Nicholls scored the Lions' tries, with Lello adding a conversion.  

In the battle of the saints, St. Ives won at St. Just 25-3. Justin Paul, Jason Atkinson, and Jason Perkin scored the Fishermen’s tries, with Mark Rowe kicking the other points. Simon Barnes kicked the Tigers' solitary points in the first half.             

Saturday 28th February


National League 1

The Pirates will feel that they let two points go begging following this draw against the Blues at the Mennaye.

Rob Thirlby had a chance to win the match with the final kick but the attempt was at the edge of his range; and Mark Scrivener, who has kicked well in recent games, had earlier made way earlier for Mark Fatialofa. Coach Kevin Moseley was also unhappy about the holding of  Ricky Pellow’s shirt at a scrum, which led to a Bedford try!

Mark Scrivener got the scoreboard ticking over with a fifth minute penalty. Five minutes later, he doubled the Pirates' lead with a second successful kick.

The Blues were, as expected, proving to be dangerous opponents as they looked to get on to the scoreboard. Hooker Paul Saffy scored for the Blues; Hepher was unable to convert.

The Pirates stormed on to the offensive once more. A storming run from prop Alan Paver almost brought a score for Thirlby. The Pirates did get their try when Alaitfatu Fatialofa scored a fine try, which was converted by Scrivener. No 8 Daniel Farini enjoyed another great game.

The Pirates added to their haul after the break, when centre Steve Thomas finished off a break by Lakalaka Waqanivere. Scrivener again converted to make the score 20-5 to the Pirates. If only the game had ended there!

Matt Jess went close for the Pirates, before the Blues staged their remarkable come back. As the sides made their usual second half changes of personnel, the Blues reduced the Pirates lead with a try from Dominic Malone, converted by Hepher. Centre Tom Kirk was next on the scoreboard as he shot over for a try. Hepher missed the conversion. With time running out, the Pirates score was equalled when Hepher kicked a penalty.

Next Saturday the Pirates host Worcester Warriors!  

REDRUTH 26 TABARD 15 (HT 18-3)

National League 3 (South). By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground

That this game was played at all must go down to the ground staff and volunteers, who turned out early on Saturday morning to clear the Recreation Ground of snow to make the game possible.

Redruth repaid their faithful servants with a fifth successive league win to consolidate their fifth place in the league. The Reds kicked off playing towards Hell Fire Corner with what wind there was at their backs. Redruth kept the visitors pinned down in their 22, working the top touchline. Hooker Sam Harrison soon claimed the Reds' first try when driven over by the forwards from a powerful maul. Scott Martin kicked a difficult conversion to put the Reds 7-0 up after 4 mins. A few minutes later Redruth increased their lead following some fine running from Lewis Vinnecombe and a surge by prop Sam Heard, which led to Tabard infringing, Martin slotted the penalty from 28 meters in front of the posts. It was all Redruth at this stage, with man of the match James Lancaster as ever in the thick of the action. Another catch and drive almost brought a second try. John Navin had a charge into the Tabard 22, but each time Redruth gave away silly penalties at the breakdown. With the first quarter closing, Martin kicked a second penalty to put the Reds 13-0 up.

Tabard finally got into the Reds' 22. Mark Richards had to be lively to deal with Tabard’s fly half who almost found an opening. Tabard enjoyed a few minutes pressure only to be denied by the mean Reds' defence. Instead, it was to be the Reds who scored again. Skipper Bede Brown hoofed the ball down field into Hell Fire corner, the scrambled clearance found touch around the 22 mark. Redruth won the line out and drove to the line, Sam Heard ripping the ball clear for Neil Corin to score on 33 minutes. Martin was unable to convert on this occasion. The Reds allowed Tabard to snatch a penalty before half time when silly backchat to referee Mr Woodmason saw the Reds marched back another ten meters. Rob Colbourne kicked the penalty to make the half time score 18-3.

Redruth scored first in the second half as Martin kicked a third penalty goal. The pitch was by now beginning to cut up, not surprising really. It was to be Tabard who signalled a revival. Rob Colbourne went over to score a try which he was unable to convert. Then flanker Jag Johal scored a second try, which this time Colbourne converted to cut the Reds' lead to 6 points.

But Redruth were not to be denied and, when Mark Richards lofted a high ball to the edge of Tabard’s 22, the resulting fumble from the visitors allowed Paul Thirlby to hack on for Craig Bonds to claim the try and seal the win.  

Redruth: Tries: Harrison, Corin, Bonds; 3pens, con: Martin
Tabard:Tries: Colbourne, Johal; pen, con: Colbourne


National League 3 (South)

With Blackheath’s match at North Walsham a victim of the weather, Launceston were able to pull two points clear at the top with this second win in a week over Dings.

The Crusaders gave a defiant performance but in the end the class of the Cornish All Blacks proved decisive. Dings kicked early points through Waylon Gasson, before Simon Porter squared the scores with a penalty. It took until the second quarter for Launceston to establish a lead. Following a kick to the corner, Launceston secured the lineout which saw No 8 Mike Heyns drive for the line to score. Porter kicked the conversion. Four minutes later Mike Heyns popped up on the wing to finish off another move following a break form skipper Eddie Nancekivell. Dings pushed hard for a score before half-time but the Cornish side’s defence was in a mean mood. 

Launceston went further ahead on 53mins when scrum-half Jon Hill took a quick tap penalty in front of the posts to set up Eddie Nancekivell for a score. Once again Porter kicked the conversion. The Cornish All Blacks' win was sealed with a pack try, with Dave Risdon being mauled over the line. Porter again converted to complete this routine victory.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro’s miserable run of results continued with another defeat at St. Clements to Oxford Harlequins 7-36. Moyle scored the Truro try which was converted by Cowl.  

In South West 2 West, Penryn’s home match against Brixham was called off due to the weather.

In Western Counties West, two matches featuring Cornish clubs survived the weather. Camborne, having secured the league title last week, promptly lost their first league match of the season, by 23-22 at Ivybridge. Ian Morgan, Ali Durrant, and Dan Kennedy scored tries for the Cherry & Whites, and Morgan kicked a couple of conversions and a penalty.

St. Ives enjoyed a good win at home against Exeter side Wessex 27-5. There were four tries for the Blues, from centre Paul Sanders, Jason Atkinson, and the Perkin brothers Jason and Scott. Mark Rowe kicked the other points.

The Skinners Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup Final will be between Liskeard & Looe and Redruth Albany following Saturday’s semi-final second leg matches. Liskeard & Looe beat Saltash 39-5 in their second leg, while Redruth Albany defeated Bodmin 28-15.          


National League 1. Report by John Prowse at Old Deer Park.

This was a disappointing game for the travelling band of Pirates' supporters. After the game, coach Kevin Moseley said that this was the worst Pirates' performance ever!

The Pirates were without Thirlby, Farini, Waqanivere, and Soper, but there the excuses run out.

Territorially, honours were about even. Playing with the strong wind and the slope in the first half, the Welsh had most of the possession and became encamped in the Pirates' half. In the second half the situation was reversed, but by then the game was, to all intents and purposes, over, with the Welsh 30-0 up at half time.

The difference between the sides was that the Welsh' strategy and execution were effective and the Pirates' weren't. Playing with the wind in the first half, the Welsh kicked for the corners and bulldozed over from the resulting lines out. And the Pirates contributed largely to their own defeat by conceding far too many penalties.

In the second half, the Pirates had much more possession but were reluctant to follow the Welsh example of kicking for the corners, even from the string of penalties they were awarded. They perhaps had too little faith in their line out, and indeed this was an area in which the Welsh had the edge. Instead, from penalties Pirates opted for scrum after scrum, perhaps hoping to wear the Welsh down. They didn't succeed.

And when they spun the ball wide the Welsh defence was firm. Poor Victor Olonga on the wing hardly got a sniff of the ball. On the one occasion he was free in space the final pass never arrived. Rocky Newton, replacing Olonga, got a consolation try, but by then it was too little too late.


National League 3 (South)

This made it six wins on the trot for the Reds. Both sides scored four tries. However, Scott Martin converted the lot for the Reds and in the end that was the difference between the two sides on the scoreboard. With Barking losing at Launceston, the Reds are now up to 4th place in the table, level on points with third-placed North Walsham.

Paul Thirlby was driven over by the Reds' pack to score their opening try, which levelled the scores. Lewis Vinnecombe scored the second Reds' try on 44 minutes, to be followed by a try from coach James Lancaster.

Leading 21-7 the Reds were well in command. However, they let the Old Boys back into the game with some slack play. Glen Cooper grabbed the Reds' fourth try to help reinstate a fourteen-point cushion. Two further tries for the Old Boys brought them back to within touching distance. Despite six minutes of time added on the Reds held out for the win.


National League 3 (South)

The Cornish All Blacks maintained their command of this division with a good win over fourth-placed Barking, one of only two teams to have defeated them this season in the league. A storming opening quarter saw Launceston 17-0 up after 25 minutes. Andy Birkett and Steve Dyer scored tries, both converted by Simon Porter, who also slotted a penalty goal. Barking showed their fighting spirit by scoring a fine try through Lloyd Williams, which Jason Azzopardi converted. Launceston hit back before the break when No 8 Mike Heyns was on hand to finish off a blindside move.

Launceston tried to take on the Barking pack during the second half. In the end the tactic didn’t really work as the game developed into a stalemate. The only score was a second Simon Porter penalty.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Truro’s plight at the foot of the table deepened with another heavy away defeat, 61-0, at Cheltenham.

In South West 2 West, Penryn recorded a resounding win at Thornbury by 55-0. The Borough scored eight tries with James Mann (2), James Greville-Smith, Nick Brown, Darren Jacques, Sheldon Waetford, Kevin Hughes, and Darren Pellow all scoring. Dave Pascoe converted six and a penalty goal.  

In Western Counties West, champions Camborne got back to winning ways after last weekend’s hiccup, winning 24-10 at the Rectory Devonport. Ali Durrant (2), Ryan Worden, and Tom Hinds scored the Cherry and Whites' tries. Morgan converted two.

Hayle kept up the pressure for a play off place, beating Withycombe 10-8. Skipper Luke Ellis scored the Lions try with Paul Lello the conversion and a penalty goal.

St. Just were unable to do Hayle any favours going down at home to Torquay 22-10. Ashley Weston got the tiger’s try.

St. Ives had no joy on their trip to Newton Abbot, losing 24-14. Jason Atkinson got a couple of tries for the blues.  

In the Powergen Vase Quarter-Final played yesterday at the Mennaye, Mounts Bay booked a semi-final encounter at North Ribblesdale in Yorkshire with a 35-17 win over Tavistock. There were five tries for the Bay through Spear, Redgrave(2), and Bodard (2). Trezise kicked two penalties and a conversion.

On Sunday there was no joy for the Cornwall U.20’s as they lost their second SW group match to Gloucestershire by 28-16.

Saturday 20th March


National League 1. Report by Dick Straughan at the Mennaye Field .

The Pirates returned to a windswept Mennaye Field on Saturday determined to secure maximum points against bottom of the table Manchester. After the dismal defeat in London a week before Kevin Moseley's men knew that there could be no more slip ups in the quest to preserve their league status.

Manchester, whose only league victory in what has been a hugely disappointing campaign for them came back in November against their hosts, played their part in an entertaining match with a gritty performance the likes of which should stand them in good stead next season.

Despite conceding an early try to the Pirates when Joe Bearman's excellent support play rounded off a smart break by Pellow and Thirlby, followed soon after by a score for Matt Jess, the boot of Stuart Brown and the Pirates' inability to keep the ball in contact kept Manchester in the contest until first half injury time. Finally Bearman ploughed over for his second try of the afternoon and the Pirates took a 17-9 lead and some breathing space in at the break.

The Pirates started the second half with the strong wind at their backs and another sizeable Mennaye crowd in expectant mood. The team did not disappoint. Despite losing Lakalaka Waqanivere at the interval the Pirates quickly hit top gear, making the game safe and securing the coveted bonus point with another Matt Jess try within two minutes.

With Pellow now marshalling the Pirates forwards to much greater effect and the back line rampant with Steve Thomas a constant danger, Manchester had no answer to the Pirates' barrage of rapid attack play. Indeed, Thomas scored a fifth try before Matt Jess sealed his hat-trick and Pellow added another in quick fire succession with a sniping Matt Dawson-style break from the base of the scrum.

With the game safe and a Powergen Shield semi-final with Bristol the next concern Kevin Moseley rang the changes, using his full complement of replacements in the final quarter. Manchester dug in and fought bravely to the end but there was still time for Martin Morgan to barge over from close range for the Pirates' eighth try of the game.

The Pirates are still not mathematically safe from relegation but all eyes now turn to the Shield, Bristol at home, and the dream of a Twickenham final. It might not turn out to have been such a bad season after all!

Saturday 3rd April


National League 1. Report by Dick Straughan at College Grove.

The Pirates travelled to Yorkshire knowing that a win would extinguish any last lingering fears of relegation. Wakefield, ten points adrift of their visitors prior to kick-off, were desperate to end a dismal run of six straight defeats. Victory was there for the taking, but not for the first time this season the Pirates failed to kill off their opponents and suffered another unnecessary loss.

It had all begun brightly enough, despite the early departure of Dave Whitehead through injury, when the Pirates seized the early initiative and, playing down the slope, galloped into a 17-6 lead after just twenty minutes. A try from Joe Bearman, taking a lineout knockdown and storming through the middle of the defence, was quickly followed by another from Mark Fatialofa, who rounded several weak tackles before touching down. With Mark Scrivener kicking assuredly, the Pirates were coasting before indiscipline once again cost them dearly.

Wakefield had offered few offensive options until prop Nick Adams was sin-binned at the say-so of the touch judge for an alleged punch. The home side capitalised immediately as their pack drove over the Pirates' line from the resulting penalty. Five minutes later the move was repeated, yielding another easy try and, with Pete Murphy slotting the conversions, Wakefield had edged 20-17 ahead as the interval approached. The Pirates immediately rallied and drove down the slope as forwards and backs combined to leave the home defence once again in tatters. In desperation Wakefield killed the ball three times in quick succession inches from their own line. A stronger referee may have punished them more effectively than by awarding a penalty which the Pirates contrived to waste.

Roared on by a sizeable and vocal travelling support, the Pirates began the second half positively and quickly regained the lead as Alaifatu Fatialofa collected the ball on halfway and danced around a succession of tacklers before touching down under the posts. Scrivener added the extras but the slender lead was quickly erased once again as Wakefield fought back. Driven on by the impressive tighthead prop Martin O`Keefe, Wakefield`s pack kept the ball tight, made few errors and smashed a succession of gaping holes in the Pirates' defence. Two more tries quickly followed before another yellow card, this time for a ludicrous infringement by Josh Lord in front of his own posts, saw the Pirates trailing 38-24 with just ten minutes remaining.

Inspired by the strong running of Steve Thomas, the Pirates finally re-established a foothold and asked more questions of their opponents. Playing at pace and stretching the play saw the threat of the formidable Wakefield pack diminish as they were forced to retreat. This culminated in the try of the match as Thomas launched an attack from in front of his own posts, which in true Barbarians' style saw the ball passed through a succession of hands as the Pirates broke down the left flank. Matt Jess took the scoring pass with the crowd on their feet and, with Scrivener converting, suddenly the game was on again. With a kinder bounce Steve Thomas might have snatched a draw at the death as he chipped the Wakefield full-back and sprinted clear, only to see the ball run into touch.

The Pirates returned home virtually safe with two bonus points and the worst disciplinary record in the league. If they learn anything for next season it will be to win games like this and to keep their players on the pitch.


National League 3 (South). Report by Bill Hooper.

This important win kept the Cornish All Blacks in the hunt, with Blackheath, for top spot in the league. They trail the Kent club only on points difference following Club's 29-7 win at Weston super Mare.

It was an even-fought first half with Combe showing much better form than when the two sides met earlier in the season. Rhys Gosling was a late change to the Launceston starting line up, as scrum half Jon Hill suffered a hamstring injury prior to the start. Mark Garfoot and Simon Porter traded early penalties before Launceston’s full back Andy Birkett joined a blind side move in the visitors' 22 to scorch in for the opening try. Garfoot missed with a penalty attempt before the visitors, with full back Gert DeKock having just being denied by Nancekivell, tied the scores with a well-worked try from second row Nathan Archibald in the corner. Launceston did score a second try before the break when flanker Wayne Sprangle drove over from close quarters, Porter adding the conversion.

Launceston needed to up a gear in the second half to pull away from their visitors. The renowned Launceston line out began to function far better. Porter and Garfoot again swapped penalties, before Mike Heyns weighed in with a couple of tries to give the scoreboard a satisfactory look and keep the pressure on Blackheath.

Easter Saturday sees Launceston travel to the Recreation Ground to tackle Redruth in a game that the Cornish All Blacks must win to keep their hopes of automatic promotion alive. On Easter Monday Redruth travel to Launceston for a Skinners' Brewery Cornwall Cup Semi-Final. It promises to be a cracking Easter.  

Launceston Scorers: Tries: Birkett, Sprangle, Heyns (2); 2 pens, 2 cons Porter.


National League 3 (South)

Redruth’s fine winning run came to an abrupt halt at Landseer Avenue as Dings scraped a vital win in their relegation battle. Redruth welcomed back Nathan Pedley and Andy Hymans after lengthy injuries.

Dings took the lead on 10 minutes when Waylon Gasson nipped in after successive drives from the Dings' pack near the Reds' line. Gasson converted his own try. Five minutes later, the Reds were on the scoreboard with a penalty from Scott Martin. Martin was on the scoreboard again when he scored the Reds' opening try following a lineout near the Dings' line. Gasson and Martin then contrived to miss penalty chances.

In the second half Dings had the elements in their favour. However, it took them 20 minutes to reclaim the lead thanks to a Gasson penalty. They struck again soon after when wing Silvan Edwards crossed in the corner to put them 15-8 up. Dings then lost their No 8 to a sin binning, and Redruth sensed an opportunity. Paul Thirlby crossed for the Reds to leave them two points adrift. Martin was unable to convert and despite pressing the Reds were unable to score again.

PENRYN 29 CONEY HILL 20 (HT 5 – 20)

South West 2 (West)

Penryn, playing their final league match of the season, secured a play-off spot -- probably against Swanage & Wareham in Dorset -- with this terrific comeback against Coney Hill. Facing the elements in the first half, the Borough were 20 points down after only eleven minutes! This was compounded by flanker James Mann being sin-binned after only 6 minutes.

Penryn got their act together and scored a crucial try just before half-time through prop forward Darren Jacques.

A half-time talk from coach Terry Pryor gave the home side the motivation to go on to secure the play-off spot. Two tries from young wing Darren Pellow, one of which Dave Pascoe converted, cut the visitors' lead to 3 points.

It was in the final ten minutes of the game that Penryn finally took the lead. James Mann made up for his yellow card with a try, to be followed by his skipper Ben Short’s effort, which Pascoe converted to book a play-off spot.

Elsewhere, in South West 1 Barnstaple defeated Truro 33 – 12 in the battle between the already-relegated sides. Truro, who are already preparing for life in South West 2 next season, scored a couple of tries through winger Mark Lea, one of which Mark Patterson converted.

In Western Counties West, Camborne rounded off their home program in the league with a fine win over Tiverton by 32-17. Tries for the Cherry and Whites were scored by skipper Ian Morgan, Ali Durrant, David Roberts, and Sam Winter. Morgan kicked the rest of the points.

Hayle kept up their hopes of a play-off place by winning the local derby at Alexander Road 30-3. The Lions scored four tries through Danny Clackworthy, Paul Lello, Ollie Lambert, and James Davies. Lello added the other points from the boot.

Already relegated St. Just put up a good fight before going down at Ivybridge 27-10.                

Saturday 10th April


National Division One. By Dick Straughan at the Mennaye Field.

Having successfully preserved their Division One status, Penzance/Newlyn took the field in front of an expectant crowd of around 3,000 for this Easter Saturday fixture. With a number of playing contracts up for grabs and a tough local derby in prospect there was still plenty of edge to this end-of-season fixture. Injuries again disrupted Kevin Moseley`s preparations for this game but, not for the first time this season, the Pirates were well beaten by uninspiring opposition.

Exeter's record in this league is one that the Pirates can only look up to at present, for they are a functional and disciplined team. The Chiefs defend solidly and have a well-drilled pack whose driving mauls caused the Pirates alarm all afternoon, but they lack flair and there is little true excitement about their game as a whole. The Pirates have all the weaponry they need to beat such opposition bar one crucial factor and once again that lack of a proven goal kicker cost them dearly. For as Exeter formed their defence, time after time there was nobody in the Pirates' ranks to turn them around and disrupt them with grubber kicks for the backs to chase or huge touchfinders to turn defence into attack. The Pirates were predictable and one-dimensional and once the Exeter forwards had been allowed to settle they dictated the pace. Though equal at the set piece, the Pirates' makeshift pack struggled to match the aggression of their opponents in the loose.

In contrast, Exeter's fly-half Tony Yapp ran the show and opened the scoring with a try after 15 minutes. With the Pirates gradually being starved of territory and possession, Exeter doubled their lead shortly afterwards when a close range catch-and-drive led to an inevitable score, this time for Number 8 Richard Baxter. Minutes later the Pirates turned over possession deep in Exeter territory and scrum-half Haydn Thomas sprinted upfield before feeding Piran Trethewy for a simple score under the posts. The Pirates quickly responded with a try for Joe Bearman after good build-up work from Whitehead and Ma'asi but, with Mark Scrivener having been curiously replaced by James Hawken, there was nobody willing to take the conversion. Scrum-half Ricky Pellow eventually volunteered and as expected missed. With the Pirates trailing 5-21 at the break the holiday crowd had become very quiet.

There was to be no great escape for the Pirates after the interval, despite a full twenty minutes of constant pressure and a try in the clubhouse corner for Rob Thirlby on his return to Pirates' colours. Possession was frequently squandered by impatience and poor decision making in the home backs and when Exeter finally countered they scored effortlessly, with a try for Rasmussen effectively ending the contest. As the Pirates tried to force the pace at the end Exeter scored two more tries though Miller and Murdoch, all converted by Yapp.

With tempers fraying and over-fussy officials ignoring a succession of punches thrown by players from both sides Exeter lost two players to the blood-bin and one to a yellow card. It made no difference to the final result in what was a disappointing performance by the Pirates. As the jazz band struck up at the final whistle several members of Kevin Moseley's team may have bade farewell to their hopes of playing at the Mennaye next season.


National League 3 (South). By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground.

Redruth’s Recreation Ground, the subject of the Grounds for debate series in this week’s Rugby Times, has witnessed many fine matches over the years. This latest epic encounter between Redruth and Launceston, in which the stakes for the visitors wese so high, lived up to its pre-match billing in excitement, tension, and skill. It might have proved to be an even better spectacle, but for the “fussy” referring of Mr Dix, some of whose decisions baffled players, coaches, and supporters on both sides!

The conditions were near perfect for a game of running rugby, the Redruth playing surface looking in fine condition for this time of the season. Redruth kicked off playing up the slope. The early exchanges were bone crunching as the sides faced up to each other; no quarter would be asked or given in a game in the true tradition of a Cornish derby. Launceston struck first when Kiwi fly half Simon Porter kicked an early penalty goal. This should have helped settle the Cornish All Blacks but they suffered a critical blow when their influential No8 Mike Heyns, after one of his trademark charges, injured a shoulder and had to leave the field to be replaced by Neil Keane. Launceston were using the slope and kicking for the corners to pin Redruth back in their 22. It was resolute Redruth defending that kept the black tide at bay as they probed for a try.

Launceston had done their homework from their previous meeting in December and competed fiercely on the Redruth throw-in at the lineout.  There was little respite for the Reds. Skipper James Lancaster tackled his heart out, as did Andy Hymans when the ball went wide. Tempers frayed at times amongst the forwards. Another sustained period of Launceston pressure finally told on 27 minutes when, following a trade mark catch-and-drive in Hell Fire corner, Julian Wilce was driven over to stretch the Cornish All Blacks' lead to 8-0. Porter was unable to land the conversion.

Redruth replied soon after with an opening try. Craig Bonds cut a good line inside to set up a ruck at which Launceston infringed. Bede Brown kicked for the Stawberry Lane corner. Neil Corin secured the line out for Lancaster to feed Glen Cooper to cross in the corner on 37 minutes.

Redruth had Launceston on the back foot as half time approached. The feeling was that 8-5 would not be enough for the visitors, playing up the slope in the second half . Sensing the urgency, Launceston took a quick penalty near half way and the impressive Wayne Sprangle made a good run deep into Redruth territory. Porter took the move on as Redruth infringed at the breakdown. Porter kicked to the corner to set up another catch-and-drive. John Griffiths secured the catch and Steve Dyer the try, and Porter’s touchline conversion put a different complexion on the half-time score of 15-5.  

Launceston then added to their total from the restart as Redruth were penalised for obstruction, Porter’s kick making the score 18-5. The partisan home crowd let Mr Dix know what they thought of his decision! The volume was to increase as the half wore on and the decisions became even more debatable. Scott Martin kicked a penalty goal to reduce the arrears but was well short with a monster effort from within his own half minutes later. However, it was Launceston who scored a third try, again from a catch-and-drive in the scoreboard corner, Griffiths claiming the score and Porter the extras.

Launceston, mindful of the points difference between themselves and Blackheath, went in search of further scores. They were to be hindered in their quest as John Griffiths received a yellow card. Instead, Redruth capitalised on their player advantage to score a second try in Hellfire corner through centre Andy Hymans. Paul Thirlby missed the wide conversion attempt. Redruth sensed further scores. There was some tremendous work from forwards such as Andy Hawken, playing his final match at the Recreation Ground before retirement, and supporters' Player of the Year Sam Heard, but they were unable to breach the Cornish All Blacks' defence again. As full time approached, Simon Porter kicked a third penalty goal and, despite having a second player, Neil Keane, yellow-carded near the end, Launceston had carved out a deserved victory on the day.

When the dust had settled and news had come through of Blackheath’s 38-0 win over Tabard, Launceston now know that it seems likely they will have to settle for a play-off spot away to Halifax in May, unless there is one final twist to this enthralling promotion chase.          

Redruth: Tries Cooper, Hymans; pen Martin.
Launceston: Tries Wilce, Dyer, Griffiths; 2 Cons, 3 Pens Porter.

Saturday 17th April


National Division 3 (South).

Launceston won the game but the Blackheath result finally put paid to any lingering hopes of automatic promotion. Once again, the Cornish All Blacks will have to prevail in a play off to re-join National League 2. A long trip to Halifax beckons on the 15th May, unless Waterloo Drummers slip up in one of their three remaining league matches for a re-match of their Powergen Cup meeting earlier in the season.

Injuries have come back to haunt the Cornish All Blacks once more, with No8 Mike Heyns having broken a shoulder and full-back Andy Birkett a thumb in their hard-fought win at Redruth last Saturday.  

Launceston got into gear with fly half Simon Porter kicking a first minute penalty goal, to be followed by three first half tries, two for Daniel Morris and one from skipper Eddie Nancekivell, Porter adding all three conversions. Jon Steckbeck kicked a first half penalty for the visitors before scoring their first try at the beginning of the second half, which he also converted. Launceston hit back with a vengance, with wing Ashley Rescorla claiming a second-half hat trick of tries, and Porter and Wayne Sprangle (playing at No 8 today) also crossing the try line. Porter kicked three more conversions.

Prop Ollie Smith grabbed a consolation try for Old Pats, which Steckbeck again converted.  

So, a four-week wait for the play-off. Coach Barry Trevaskis will need to keep his charges focused on the challenge ahead, and hope for some players to return from the injury list.     


National Division 3 (South).

The Reds rounded off a fine season, securing a fourth place finish in the league and now look forward to defending their Skinners' Brewery Cornwall Cup against Truro at Camborne on Tuesday night.

The Reds struck first with Neil Corin scoring the opening try on eight minutes, Scott Martin adding the conversion. Five minutes later Basingstoke, who will be playing in London 1 next season, squared the scores after capitalising on a Redruth mistake in the visitors 22. Dixon scored the try with Calder converting. Basingstoke then went on to score two further tries in the first half through Dixon, again, and from Young, Calder converting one score. Just before half time Redruth hit back with an unconverted try from winger Lewis Vinnecombe.  

Redruth, with the advantage of the wind, took the game to the home side at the beginning of the second half. Craig Bonds went close to a third Reds' try. That try was not long in coming, set up with a blind side break from scrum-half Mark Richards, with prop Sam Heard being on hand to take the scoring pass. Martin added the extras.

With the scores tied, play flowed from end to end. Redruth’s defence kept the home side at bay. It was Neil Corin who made the break through on 70 minutes, latching on to a loose tap from a line out, he ran 40 meters to score in the corner. Craig Bonds then put the result beyond doubt, crossing under the posts for Martin to convert.  

A fine finish to the season with an excellent league position achieved. The question now is will/can the Reds now make a push next season for National League 2?    

Elsewhere, all outstanding issues were settled on the final day of the league season. Truro bade farewell to South West 1, losing 68-17 at home to Clifton. Truro fielded a largely experimental team, resting several first team members and having Jamie Caruana away on international duty with Malta. Truro scored two tries through Dearing and Voisey, both converted by Curgenven, who also kicked a penalty.  

In South West 2 Penryn, having already completed their league season, were without a game, as they prepare to travel to Swanage & Wareham next Saturday for the SW2 play-off to SW1.  

In Western Counties West, champions Camborne completed the league double over relegated St. Just 32-10. Tries for Camborne came from Dave Roberts, Paul Gadsdon, Les Smitham and Dan Kennedy. Skipper Ian Morgan kicking a couple of conversions and two penalty goals. For the Tigers Adrian Bick scored a try, converted by Barnes, who also kicked a penalty goal.  

Despite a fine win over Paignton by 38-3, Hayle missed out on a play-off spot as Torquay won 27-13 at Newton Abbott. Wayne Jenkin with two, skipper Luke Ellis, Blaine Kearey, and Damien Cook scored tries for the Lions. Paul Lello added four conversions.

St. Ives lost heavily 49-3 at Withycombe and finish sixth in the league.  

In the Skinners' Brewery Cornwall Clubs Cup final played at Truro yesterday evening, Cornwall 1 Champions Liskeard & Looe beat Bodmin by 29-8 to lift the trophy. Liskeard & Looe scored tries through Paddy Mutton (2), Adam Driver, David Hannah, and Seb Hocking. Hocking kicked a couple of penalty goals as well. For Bodmin, a try from Scott Helgerson and a penalty goal gave them some consolation. 

Saturday 24th April


National Division 1. By Dick Straughan at Brickfields.

The sun certainly shone on Albion for their final home game of the season as they entertained a weary Penzance/Newlyn team making their first ever visit to the impressive Devonport ground. With both teams secure in third and tenth places respectively, this fixture may have seemed to some little more than an end of season exhibition match. If that was the case then nobody told Plymouth.

In front of a crowd of 4300 Albion began with an intensity and all-round desire that the Pirates rarely threatened to equal. The late withdrawals of Dan Farini and Junior Fatialofa robbed the team of much of its physical presence behind the scrum, and Albion's fifteen-man style of total rugby punched gaping holes in the Pirates' defence with alarming regularity. Their now customary indiscipline cost the Pirates the first three points of the afternoon with a simple penalty for Carrington, before the pace and power of Saumi, Schusterman, and Ward-Smith set the try machine running. Albion's superb right wing Lee Robinson scored the first as he crossed for his 25th try of the season and soon added his 26th after a touch down for Schusterman. With thirty minutes gone the Pirates trailed by 30-0 and the game was over. Brimming with confidence, Albion swarmed all over their beleagured visitors, cutting their defence to ribbons. If this had been a boxing bout the referee would have stopped the contest, such was the one-sidedness of the fight. Half-time brought a welcome respite but not before Albion scored again, making it 37-0 at the interval.

The Pirates rallied after the break and, with the hard-working Thomas seeking to create space for Thirlby and Jess, they began to offer some hope of troubling the scoreboard operator. For the first time they gained some meaningful possession but once again careless errors and indiscipline -- though Thomas was unlucky to be yellow-carded -- resulted in turnover ball which Albion ruthlessly punished. A penalty try followed by further scores for Barlow and Ward-Smith rubbed salt into the already gaping wounds as Brickfields began to party.

A large contingent of Pirates' supporters returned across the Tamar disappointed after witnessing another heavy reverse on the road. Next season's squad may well show some significant changes but sceptics will do well to remember that Albion finished in 9th place last season. The target this year was Division One survival and the Pirates got there with games to spare.