The Senior Leagues 2006-2007

A summary of the 2006-2007 league season

This page summarizes all the league games involving Cornish clubs in National League 1, National League 2, SW1, and SW2 (W) that took place in season 2006-2007.

Saturday/Sunday 2nd/3rd September


National League 1. By Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News at the Camborne Recreation Ground.

A serious injury to Dan Seal overshadowed what proved to be a rousing start to the new National One season for the Cornish Pirates at their new Camborne home.

The 26-year-old tighthead prop was stretchered off after just 30 minutes of yesterday's league encounter with Otley, the early diagnosis indicating damage to his knee.

Seal's injury took the shine off what was a pretty polished display from Jim McKay's Pirates, whose 39-0 success over the visiting Yorkshiremen ensured them of top spot in the standings.

Former Harlequins centre Henry Barratt crowned his league debut in Pirates' colours by claiming two of the home side's five tries, Vili Ma'asi, Rhodri McAtee and a penalty try ensuring it was a five-point maximum for the Cornish club. Fellow newcomer Alberto Di Bernardo was equally impressive at fly-half, firing over two penalties and four conversions on his way to scooping the Worthington man-of-the-match award.

It was certainly the kind of seasonal start McKay would have wished for, but the experienced Australian knows all too well there will be much tougher challenges to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Despite adding a number of new faces to their squad over the summer, Otley looked a pale shadow of former National One campaigns. In every department the Pirates held the edge, their full-time status coming to the fore from almost the very first blast of referee Nick Williams whistle.

Whereas last season the visitors drew with Bedford on the opening day, then threatened to sting eventual champions Harlequins a week later, this season they were dispatched with a workmanlike efficiency by McKay's men.

Two early penalties from Di Bernardo gave the home side a 6-0 lead inside as many minutes, but moments later the Pirates were reduced to 14 men when flanker Sam Betty was yellow carded for a professional foul.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Pirates continued to rule the roost and they gained their first try of the season on 15 minutes when Tongan hooker Ma'asi was aided over the line by his fellow forwards.

Although Di Bernardo failed with the tough touchline conversion, he atoned on 24 minutes when he added the extras to McAtee's try. The Welshman applying the finish to a sublime move from the home side, which saw the forwards and backs link in unison with a string of passes.

Down 18-0, things did not get any better for Otley, who themselves were briefly reduced to 14 men following Ben Steele's yellow card for a late hit on Di Bernardo. And with half-time fast approaching, a scrum just yards from the Otley line was worked left along the home backline to Barratt, who barged his way past two defenders to score by the posts, Di Bernardo again obliging with the extras for a 25-0 lead.

More of the same was envisaged after the break, but it took until the 64th minute for the home side to finally make the breakthrough. Having blown several decent scoring opportunities, it took an indiscretion from Otley's Ian Shuttleworth to reward the Pirates with their all-important fourth try.

The visiting skipper's blatant knockdown of Duncan Roke's intended pass to Jon Hylton not only brought about a penalty try, but also earnt the full-back a ten-minute spell on the sidelines.

As before, Di Bernardo slotted the conversion, before following suit five minutes from time when he plundered over the additional two points to Barratt's second of the afternoon.

Afterwards, McKay remarked: "I'm pretty happy with that as you're never quite sure what's going to happen in the first game. We've had nine weeks of pre-season and worked hard on a few areas. Otley are a pretty dogged and tough side, who've had to travel a long way. Overall, though, we're very happy with the result, but performance-wise there are still things to build on."

The Aussie added: "I'm very happy with the debutants, especially Scott Hobson and Owen Hambly; they are only 18 years old, as is Sam Betty, and they are all Cornish, which is good. Sam Heard coming on and making his debut was also good, but there are lots of new guys out there and it will take a while to build this team up.

"I was pleased with our defence today and also the occasion. It was our first game at Camborne and it was important for us to do well. I thought we showed glimpses of what we are capable of, but we are still a little way off things."

Cornish Pirates: 39pts Tries - Ma'asi, Barratt 2, McAtee, Penalty Try; Conversions - Di Bernardo 4; Penalties - Di Bernardo 2.

Otley: 0pts

Cornish Pirates: D Roke; R McAtee (J Moore 72), H Barratt, D Bell , J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver (G Anderson 63), V Ma'asi (O Hambly 72), D Seal (S Heard 30); H Senekal, J Beardshaw (S Hobson 72); S McKeen , S Betty (I Motusaga 63), M Evans.

Replacement (not used): L Vinnicombe.

Yellow Cards: Betty, Evans.

Otley: I Shuttleworth (capt); S Parsons, R Whatmuff (P Mooney 63), K Dench, D Smith (X Andre 63); S Binns , A Brown; A Livesey, B Steele (D Sayers 55), B Fear (A Walker 70); D Whitehead (B Back 49), P Williams; P Stockdale (J Tiffany 55), N Bland (D Sayers 32-42, L O'Neill 79), M Maifea.

Yellow Cards: Steele, Shuttleworth.

Referee: N. Williams (RFU)


National League 2. Polson Bridge.

The Cornish All Blacks got their National League 2 campaign off to the best possible start by claiming all five points on offer with a comprehensive win over the Henley Hawks at the Polson Ground on Saturday.

Despite going behind to an early penalty from Hawks' full-back Adam Slade, the Cornish All Blacks took hold of the game when recent signing Sam Youngs took a fine pass from fellow half-back Richard John to score an opening try on 16 minutes. Both sides were reduced to fourteen men shortly after as Cornish All Blacks' No. 8 Nick Burnett and Hawks' flanker Stean Williams were shown the yellow card after a dust up between the forwards.

The Cornish All Blacks carried on their impressive pre-season form with some fine rugby in the backs carrying a big threat to the Hawks, who defended well. Just before the break the Cornish All Blacks scored a second try through hooker Dave Risdon, which Youngs converted. However, another major altercation between the players saw a second Cornish All Blacks' player sent to the bin, this time flanker Josh Lord.

Slade kicked two more penalties either side of half time to level the scores. With a full complement of players and some fresh legs the Cornish All Blacks reverted to type, using their forward power to drive Henley back. One such drive saw the Hawks' flanker Jon Tenconi yellow carded for pulling down. From the resulting penalty to touch, Burnett powered over to claim a third try for the home side, Youngs obliging once more with the extras. The fourth try was claimed via referee Mr O'Hara's award of a penalty try after the Hawks deliberately collapsed a scrum near their own line. A fourth penalty from Slade completed the scoring. However, the home crowd went home happy with a fine start to the League campaign.

Cornish All Blacks: S. Perry, N. Simpson, M.Sweeney, R. Westren (K. Francis 59), A. Matchett, S. Young, R. John; J. Bolt, D. Risdon capt, S. Roberts 80), W. Reed, S. Pape (T. Parker 53), B. Luxton, J. Lord (D. Kimberley 65), W. Sprangle, N. Burnett. Y/C Burnett & Lord


National League 2. At Stourton Park.

Redruth made a disappointing start to their league campaign at Stourton Park on Saturday with this defeat. They will look to bounce back on Saturday in front of their own fans when they entertain Esher. Unusually all the scoring took place during the first half. Stourbridge had first use of the elements. Redruth, having weathered the early storm, were caught by a counter from the home side's winger Ally Bressington chasing up his kick ahead to score out wide. He then converted his own score.

New signing for the Reds fly half Mike Hook kicked a very fine penalty on 17 minutes from 35 meters to cut the deficit. However, the Reds will be disappointed in the manner they conceded a second try: a quick tap by Nick Baxter in front of the Reds' posts saw the Reds totally unorganised and Baxter slipped in. Bressington added the conversion.

The Reds' forwards played their hearts out to try and get their side back into the game. Jacques, Harrison, Williams, Carroll and Mann all had a big influence on the game. Hook and Bressington swapped penalties before half time.

The weather deteriorated noticeably after the break, making handling a lottery for both sides and Redruth were unable to score again despite some close calls.

Redruth: J. Caruana, T. McBride, C. Bonds (capt), P. Gidlow, N. Pedley, M. Hook, M. Richards (M. Churcher 70); D. Jacques, S. Harrison (J. Tann 80), C. Williams (P. Joyce 66), D. Cook, R. Carroll, N. Pascoe, C. Fuca, J. Mann (A. Lawton 64)

Saturday 9th September


Saturday 9th September. National League 1. By Ron Robey at Blundellsands for the Western Morning News.

The Cornish Pirates were left licking their wounds and somewhat frustrated after seeing underdogs Waterloo snatch a dramatic win at Blundellsands six minutes from time with a Steve Nutt penalty. Australian coach Jim McKay - like his team - was left somewhat shell-shocked and disappointed, but prepared to admit that it had not been his side's day.

"Waterloo deserved the win." he remarked afterwards. "We didn't play to our potential, but the credit for that was to the home side because they destroyed our possession and slowed the ball down.

"They made the important tackles and kicked the goals when the opportunities came. Waterloo simply wanted to win the game more than we did, although we expected to win.

"We came up here on Thursday and prepared well enough, but the initiative was taken away from us by the opposition." No one did better than Waterloo's South African-born scrum-half Chad Erskine, who was making his debut before jetting off to face Uruguay next week in a Rugby World Cup qualifying game.

Erskine injected new life into the home side and on this showing it comes as no surprise that, having qualified residentially, he could well feature in the USA 's bid to reach the finals next autumn in France .

However, having opened up their National One season with a convincing 39-0 success over Otley last Sunday, the Pirates were expected to dominate much of the set-pieces and possession.

Conditions were nigh-on perfect except for a a slight wind that the Cornish visitors had the benefit of in the first period, which was evenly contested with both packs endeavouring to get the upper hand.

Waterloo fly-half Steve Nutt hit the woodwork early on, but just on the half-hour mark the Pirates edged ahead when scrum-half Gavin Cattle touched down, Di Bernardo adding the extras.

Minutes later the Italian A international increased the Pirates lead with a penalty, before Nutt cancelled it out with one himself. Then a second Nutt penalty just before the break reduced the margin further.

After 49 minutes Nutt was again in action with his boot punishing the visitors for another indiscretion. However, the significant move came after 51 minutes when South African winger Jan DeVenter pulled off a devastating tackle before appearing on his opposite wing to force his way over the line to snatch the lead for the first time. Nutt added the conversion superbly.

The Pirates certainly did not lie down and a couple of penalties from Di Bernardo soon brought the scores level. The final seven minutes were pulsating as the visitors launched a series of attacks. Indeed, they looked as if they were going to break the deadlock with a three-man overlap. But a timely interception foiled their plot and a further indiscretion enabled Nutt to put over the vital kick.

Waterloo 19pts: Try - Van DeVenter; Conversion - Nutt; Penalties - Nutt 4

Cornish Pirates 16pts: Try - Cattle; Conversion - Di Bernardo; Penalties - Di Bernardo 3

Waterloo: P Murchie; N Kerfoot, F Payne (capt), S Brady, J Van DeVenter; S Nutt, C Erskine; M O'Keefe (S Taylor 49-62), P Ince (J Ormesher 58-66), S Rowers; R McKay, J Nugent; J Brandling-Harris, D Palmer (D Moon 67), D Smith (N Tchakoute 61).
Replacements (not used): A Roberts, T Handley, J Bronson. Yellow Card: Nugent

Cornish Pirates: D Roke (A Winnan 70); L Vinnicombe (J Hylton 57), H Barratt, S Winn (D Bell 49), J Moore; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); G Anderson (A Paver 47), V Ma'asi, S Heard; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga (S Betty 65), M Evans.
Replacements (not used): S Hobson , O Hambly. Referee: A Small (RFU) Attendance: 425.


National League 2.

The Cornish All Blacks re-affirmed their aspirations with another bonus point win, this time up in the Yorkshire Dales. The Launceston pack laid the foundations for this fine win by getting the upper hand on their Yorkshire opponents.

Steve Perry got the scoreboard ticking over with an opening try after just 2 minutes. Sam Young then added a couple of penalties to stretch the Cornishmen's lead. Wharfedale were even more up against it when they lost second row David Lister to the sin bin. From the kick to the corner the Cornish All Blacks won the line out and released winger Andy Matchett, who squeezed in at the corner for their second try.

Young kicked a third penalty early in the second half to establish a 19-0 lead. Wharfedale tried to get back in the game and scored a fine try through winger's Simon Horsfall strong run. Andy Baggett converted this score and kicked a penalty soon after.

Old warhorse David Kimberly came on for Burnett and scored the third try for Launceston, with Young adding the extras. Despite Baggett kicking a third penalty the Cornish All Blacks wrapped up the bonus point when Nigel Simpson scored the fourth try following some fine team play from Richard John and Ryan Westren. Young once more kicked the conversion.

Wharfedale's never-say-die attitude was rewarded when James Doherty scored a second try for the home side, which Baggett converted to complete the scoring.

This weekend saw the first round of matches in many of the regional leagues. In South West 1, Mount's Bay, for many promotion favourites once again, received a sharp wake up call when they were held at the Mennaye by Oxford Harlequins 34-34. Yet Bay were in a commanding position when leading 19-0 early on. Try scorers for the Bay were Ben Hilton, Lee Jarvis, Thom Berry, Jamie Semmens and Danny Clackworthy. Jarvis only kicked two conversions from six.

St. Ives marked their return to South West 1 with a fine win over Cleve by 18 - 5 at Alexandra Road. Andy Skinner and Adam Hart scored the Hakes' tries with Grant Thirlby adding two penalties and a conversion.

In South West 2 West Penryn, having slipped down from the higher division last season, earned a 29-all draw at Newton Abbot, with recent signing Ed Lawrence grabbing two of the tries.

Camborne went close up at Brixham, only losing 17-13. Joe Parma scored the Cherry and Whites' try with Mike Provis kicking the conversion and two penalties.

In Western Counties West, Hayle got off to a good start with 23-3 win over Tiverton. Bude were well beaten by North Devon neighbours Barnstaple 25-0, whilst many observers fears about Truro were realised as they suffered an opening day defeat at St. Clements to promoted Devonport Services by 40-3.

It was not a good day for the Cornish sides in the Cornwall & Devon league as all four lost. Falmouth lost at Cullompton 12-5, promoted Perranporth found Tavistock too hot to handle losing 48-14, Wadebridge Camels got no joy at Paignton going down 35-10 and finally St. Austell lost at South Molton 18-7.

The Tamar League is now up and running and this week saw the opening matches in this new competition with the Westcountry Warriors defeating a Launceston Development XV 24 - 0 at Polson and the Exeter Chiefs Reserves beating Redruth Development XV 36 - 13 at the Recreation Ground.


REDRUTH 15 - 30 ESHER (HT 12 - 20)

National League 2. By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.

Redruth went down to a second league defeat in this season's campaign against a strong Esher side that are likely to be in the shout for promotion at the end of the season. Esher rolled into Redruth with three England Counties Internationals amongst their ranks, namely captain Duncan Cormack at prop, full back Neil Hallett and replacement hooker Simon Elkinson. If this was not enough, their back row boasted Ladislav Vondrasek the captain of the Czech Republic, who next weekend will be leading his country in a Rugby World Cup qualification match against Spain in Prague. Some big guns and a fine pedigree to grace the Recreation Ground this early in the season.

Esher kicked off playing up the slope. With a fresh wind blowing from behind, Esher looked to use the elements to pin the Reds back in their 22 to set up a platform. On a rare foray up field Reds' winger Tim McBride made a fine break into the Esher 22 and with quick ball No 8 James Mann, who had a fine game and who fully justified his Reds' Man of the Match award, was on hand to score the Reds' opening try after 9 minutes. Mike Hook kicked the conversion for a 7- 0 lead. This score took Esher back somewhat and they redoubled their efforts, using the wind to good effect to pin the Reds down in the Strawberry Lane corner. Using their big forwards they looked to drive the Reds back. Redruth tenaciously defended well and disrupted the Esher pack on numerous occasions. However, Redruth eventually infringed, allowing Neil Hallett to cut the deficit with a well-struck penalty after 16 minutes.

The strong wind was making life difficult for both sides, causing numerous mistakes in handling. More pressure from Esher down in the Strawberry Lane corner led to their opening try, scored by the impressive Vondrasek in the corner on 28 minutes, Hallett's worthy conversion attempt striking the upright.

To their credit Redruth replied in the best possible way when winger Nathan Pedley made a beautiful run along the Eastern Bank with a trademark sidestep to score in the Piggy Lane corner from the restart. Hook couldn't add the extras. Reds joy was not to endure as 4 minutes later Esher reclaimed the lead with a second try, again following a catch-and-drive down in the Strawberry Lane corner with skipper Duncan Cormack claiming the score. A third try was scored just before half-time when No 8 Lee Stirling cut a great line through the Reds' defence to score in the same corner. Hallett's conversion gave the visitors an eight point lead, which they held until the break as Redruth missed a fine chance down near Hell Fire corner right at the end of the half.

Redruth set out to control the game down in the Strawberry Lane corner during the second half, much as Esher had done during the first period, but they were unable to control the game as the Esher forwards had done in the first period despite long periods of possession. An early penalty (49 minutes) from Hook brought the Reds back to 15-20.

Any chances of a Redruth revival were dashed when a loose kick out of defence was run back by Hallett to the Redruth 22. At the ensuing ruck Redruth infringed and from the catch-and-drive prop Jeff Smith was driven over in Hell Fire corner. Hallett kicked the conversion to put Esher in a commanding 27-15 lead after 52 minutes. With the bonus point secured Esher continued to control the game and any ball that Redruth had was extremely slow in coming, nullifying any advantage Redruth might have had in attack. Deep into injury time Hallett kicked a second penalty to wrap up Esher's second win of the campaign and leave the Reds still looking for their first points of this season.

Next stop Polson Bridge for the first leg of the Cornish derby!

Redruth 15 pts: Tries Mann, Pedley; Con, Pen Hook

Esher 30 pts: Tries Vondrasek, Cormack, Starling, Smith; Con (2), Pens (2) Hallett

Redruth: M. Churcher, T. McBride (S. Peters 49), C. Bonds (capt), PJ Gidlow, N. Pedley, M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques (P. Joyce 58), S. Harrison (D. Dawiduik 58), C. Williams (D. Jacques 64), D. Cook, R. Carroll (C. Fuca 80), N. Pascoe, C. Fuca (A. Lawton 75), J. Mann.

Esher: N. Hallett, K. Dixon, R. Briggs, A. Taylor (M. Marsh 77), B. Armitage, M. Leek, G. Barr; D. Cormack (capt), T. Doran (S. Elkinson 70), J. Smith (M. Anderson 56), M. Butterworth, P. Barker, M. Blakeburn (E. Amapakabo 70), L. Vondrasek, L. Starling.

Referee Mr. N. Higginson (RFU)

16/17th September 2006



Sunday 17th September. National League 1. Report by Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News.

Cornish Pirates' coach Jim McKay praised his side's character after they returned to winning ways with a stylish display over visiting Moseley at Camborne.

Having surprisingly come unstuck in battle at Waterloo the week previous, McKay was seeking an immediate response from his troops. They didn't disappoint.

Fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo led the way with a superb 32-point haul, while team-mates Adryan Winnan, Lewis Vinnicombe and Stan McKeen all claimed their first-ever tries in Pirates colours, the other going to Welshman Rhodri McAtee. It was vintage stuff from the Cornish club, who next week set sail for Headingley to face former Guinness Premiership outfit Leeds Tykes.

Understandably, McKay was happy with his side's showing, the Australian saying afterwards: "I'm very proud of the boys. After the result last week, which was very disappointing, we put ourselves under a bit of pressure to perform in this game. We needed to respond, which I think we did.

"I felt we fronted up very well and in the second half we played some very, very good rugby. Today we showed real glimpses of what we are capable of, but we're not going to get carried away.

"I still feel there is a lot more to come from us, but today was about getting ourselves back on track. The only real disappointment was the try we let in at the end, that was a real soft one."

That aside, McKay and his team can feel more than content with their display against a Moseley side who had headed west on the back of a notable victory over Bedford the week previous.

In a tight opening to the game, it was Moseley who broke the game's deadlock on seven minutes courtesy of an Ollie Thomas penalty.

That lead, however, was to prove short-lived as the Pirates hit back within two minutes. A good break from Henry Barratt saw him link-up with McAtee, who despite seeing his own path to the line blocked, was able to chip the ball back inside to the onrushing Di Bernardo to score.

As the half progressed, Thomas (two) and Di Bernardo traded penalties to make it 11-9, but it was the Pirates who stretched their lead in stoppage time when a ruck on the right was worked along the backs to Winnan, who turned on the after-burners to scorch to the line, Di Bernardo adding the extras.

If that was sweet, things were to get decidedly sweeter for the home side as first McAtee latched on to Duncan Bell's looped pass for try number three, then Canadian international McKeen made the most of Mark Evans' sin-binning to add the all-important fourth try, both of which were converted.

Things did not get any better for Moseley as they then had lock Paul Arnold yellow-carded for a deliberate knockdown. Di Bernardo punished his indiscretion with another penalty, before slotting the extras to Vinnicombe's effort, which came courtesy of an inch-perfect crossfield kick from the Italian.

Now seemingly in cruise control, the Pirates briefly let their foot off the pedal enough to allow Moseley No.8 James Rodwell to barge his way through the home defence for a converted consolation try.

However, that effort merely acted to kick-start the Pirates back into life. The inspirational Di Bernardo wrapping proceedings up with a 78th minute penalty, a second try - following a sniping break from skipper Gavin Cattle - and a conversion.

Cornish Pirates 52pts: Tries - Di Bernardo 2, Winnan, McAtee, McKeen, Vinnicombe. Conversions - Di Bernardo 5; Penalties - Di Bernardo 4

Moseley 16pts: Try - Rodwell; Conversion - Thomas; Penalties - Thomas 3

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee (J Hylton 71), H Barratt, D Bell, L Vinnicombe; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt), A Paver, V Ma'asi, S Heard (G Anderson 75); H Senekal, J Beardshaw (S Hobson 43-58); S McKeen , S Betty (I Motusaga 64), M Evans.
Replacements (not used): J Moore, S Winn , O Hambly.

Moseley: O Thomas; N Bressington, A Binns (capt), P Cox, C Colvin; G MacDonald, P Knight (D Hunter 75), B Buxton (P Coles 62), A Caves (C Hall 62), N Bayliss (R Sigley 75), P Arnold (A Hadley 74), R Stott; M Evans (N Mason 66), T Warren, J Rodwell (Mason 27-37). Yellow Cards: Evans, Arnold

Referee: B Robertson (RFU) .



National League 2. By Dick Benson-Gyles, of the Western Morning News, at Polson Bridge.

The Cornish All Blacks have soared to the top of the National Division Two table, just behind Esher on points difference, after this hectic derby with Redruth brought them their third consecutive five-pointer. The Blacks never really looked like losing this match at a packed Polson Bridge, although the Reds never bowed the knee and gave them a fright for 15 minutes after the re-start, narrowing the gap from 18-3 to 18-14 with a heroic, if relatively shortlived fightback.

The Launceston half-backs, fly-half Richard John and Sam Young, controlled the game for long periods with Young and full-back Ryan Westren putting in some superb territorial kicks.

This and the power and fitness of their pack saw the All Blacks home with something to spare.

Inevitably with a derby, play was intense and at times heated, and the All Blacks were perhaps unlucky to have both lock Brett Luxton (early on for a bit of a dust-up with Reds' scrum-half Mark Richards) and No.8 Nick Burnett (for a transgression which nobody understood) yellow-carded.

The Reds started well with pacy No.8 James Mann breaking clear only to be stopped by Young, who chased and caught him in the nick of time. Young and his opposite number Michael Hook both landed early penalties, Hook first and then Young a couple of minutes later.

Redruth were running opportunistically and well out of defence, but the All Blacks were soon in gear and on the attack. Indeed, if their line-out was in trouble throughout the first half, they were motoring smoothly in every other department. They posted two key scores just before the interval, wing Andy Matchett pouncing on a loose ball in his own half and shooting clear with Wayne Sprangle on his shoulder, and the flanker, who has a startling turn of pace for a big man, raced 30 yards to cross, shrugging off a late tackle.

Young's conversion was wide but further injury-time pressure brought the All Blacks to the line again. Their well-orchestrated, very fit pack went for the pushover, but then released it to John who sent Young storming in. He converted his own try.

After the break the All Blacks should have pressed home their advantage and sealed the game, but the Reds, to their credit, would not lie down and surged back into contention.

Within minutes they had scored, rucking and running to send left wing Nathan Pedley away down the touchline, before he linked with captain and centre Craig Bonds, who crossed in the corner.

Hook's conversion faded agonisingly just past the left upright but four minutes later Redruth came again, Hook landing two penalties (the second awarded for Burnett's sin-binning) to bring his side to within four pointsat 18-14. However, the All Blacks reimposed their authority and gradually and inexorably drew away to victory.

A quick tap was spun right to wing Nigel Simpson who was halted just short of the line and from two ensuing rucks, it was tighthead prop Wayne Reed who touched down infield. Young converted before then adding his third penalty of the afternoon.

After a flurry of home replacements the All Blacks then produced a copybook try. They drove into the Redruth 22, whipped it slickly right down the line and replacement full-back Kieron Lewitt raced over clear at the corner.

Young's conversion attempt from the touchline rebounded from an upright but his side were now home and dry, leading 33-14. Redruth, though, got a deserved consolation score deep into injury time,working their way determinedly, if frantically, towards the home line with replacement scrum-half Sam Brown crossing from a quickly taken tap penalty.

Cornish All Blacks 33pts: Tries - Sprangle, Young, Reed, Lewitt; Conversions - Young 2; Penalties - Young 3

Redruth 19pts: Tries - Bonds, Brown; Penalties - Hook 3.

Cornish All Blacks: R Westren (K Lewitt 69); N Simpson, M Sweeney, S Perry,A Matchett; S Young, R John; J Bolt, D Risdon (capt), W Reed; S Pape T Parker 70), B Luxton; J Lord, W Sprangle, N Burnett (D Kimberley 72).
Replacement (not used): I Langbridge.
Yellow Cards: Luxton; Burnett.

Redruth: J Caruana; M Lea, C Bonds (capt), PJ Gidlow, N Pedley; M Hook, M Richards (S Brown 75); D Jacques, S Harrison (D Dawiduik 62), P Joyce (S Lutey 65); D Cook, R Carroll;N Pascoe, A Lawton, J Mann.
Replacement (not used): C Fuca.

Referee: E Turnill (RFU).

CORNISH ROUND UP 16th September by Bill Hooper

In South West 1, normal service was resumed at Mount's Bay who travelled to Berkshire to face Reading Abbey. Bay "welcomed back" Steve Evans for this first away trip in the league. Bay hit the Abbey with three tries in the first half through Tom Edyvean, Darren Semmens and Lee Jarvis.

Jarvis opened Bay's account in the second half with his second and further scores came via Steve Evans, Ricky Pellow, Ben Hilton, and Mia Mua. Jarvis kicked seven conversions from eight. Final score 54-13 to the Bay.

St. Ives lost a close encounter at Maidenhead by 28-23. The Hakes scored four tries through Stuart Turnbull, Andy Skinner, Werner Gaigagar, and Mike Tulua, with Grant Thirlby adding the sole penalty success.

In South West 2West, Penryn maintained their unbeaten run with a 34-14 success over Spartans at the Memorial Ground. Borough got off to great start, scoring three tries during the first period through Dave Pascoe (2) and Paul Bannister. Pascoe's boot added a further nine points with three conversions and a penalty. Despite a mini-revival during the second half from the visitors, Ian Morgan scored a fourth try for the Borough, which was converted. Pascoe kicked a final penalty to complete the scoring.

Camborne found no solace up in Coney Hill, where the home side had a comprehensive win by 42-0.

In Western Counties West, Hayle recorded a welcome win at Withycombe by 19-5 to make it two wins from two played. James Jago, Neil Turner and Kevin Mankee scored the tries for Hayle, with Paul Lello kicking two from thee conversions.

Bude beat Devonport Services at Devonport 17-8. Danny Frost, Paul Williams and Mark Ninnis scoring the tries for the North Cornwall side.

Truro came close to a win at Ivybridge but went down in the end 10-7, Paddy Patterson converting his own try for Truro's points.

A truncated program in the Cornwall & Devon League, due to EDF Senior Vase Preliminary games, saw a win for Wadebridge Camels over South Molton 36-3 and St. Austell slip up at home against Tavistock 20-10.

In the EDF Senior Vase Preliminary round Perranporth bowed out 20-12 to Okehampton, whilst in the Junior version, Callington beat Plymouth Argrum 24-0, and Roseland defeated St. Columbia & Torpoint 31-7. Veor went out to Old Technicians 22-8.

23rd September 2006



National League 1. Report by Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News.

Hollywood scriptwriters could not have envisaged a more dramatic ending to this blockbuster as the Cornish Pirates were mugged of victory by Leeds Tykes at Headingley.

Jonny Hepworth's injury-time try, importantly converted by Leigh Hinton, not only allowed the Yorkshiremen to snatch a somewhat undeserved victory, but also claim their first home win of the campaign.

It was certainly rough justice on the Pirates, who could not have given any more in terms of effort and commitment, but who were ultimately punished for not making the most of their many chances.

The hysterical celebrations from the Tykes at the final whistle showed how much this victory meant to them. However, the home club - players and supporters alike - know they had got out of jail by the skin of their teeth.

Understandably, Pirates coach Jim McKay emerged from the visiting changing rooms a dejected man at the final whistle. The Australian remarked: "We are extremely disappointed with the result. I cannot fault the guys as their attitude and commitment was excellent and we played exactly to the script we had for the game.

"Little things didn't go our way tonight, which is disappointing, and we were quite often on the wrong end of a few 50-50 calls. As a team we are still very much coming together and you could say tonight was a kind of growing pain in our development. It's going to take time for everything to work, but gee everyone is so down because we gave so much to that game."

Certainly the Pirates came out of the traps firing as the opening exchanges offered them two early chances. Fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo just failed with a second minute penalty, while prop Sam Heard crucially knocked on just yards from the line as the Pirates looked to make the most of Jon Dunbar's early yellow card.

Eventually the Pirates pressure told when a bone-crunching tackle from Canadian international Stan McKeen on Leeds wing Tom Biggs saw him isolated inside his own 22, Di Bernardo this time atoning for his earlier miss when he slotted the resultant penalty after Biggs had been penalised for holding on.

The home response, however, was immediate and from the restart it was the Tykes who reclaimed the ball, before working it down the right channel to Hepworth, who brushed off at least three Pirates to score the game's opening try on 18 minutes. Two minutes later and it was the Pirates who were again back in front, a solid break in midfield from Henry Barratt created a ruck from which Gavin Cattle, Matt Evans and Joe Beardshaw combined to release winger Rhodri McAtee to dart over in the left-hand corner.

It was frenetic stuff from both sides, but just as before the Pirates immediately gift-wrapped an opportunity for the Tykes to level on 22 minutes. This time it was Sam Betty who was the culprit, the young flanker penalised by referee Tim Wigglesworth for holding on.

Hinton fired over that penalty, plus another on 34 minutes after Pirates prop Alan Paver had been yellow-carded for a professional foul. However, a second Di Bernardo penalty just before the interval ensured the two teams turned round with honours even at 11-all.

Again the Pirates started the second half as they had begun the first, their early pressure bringing more reward when Di Bernardo stroked over a sublime drop-goal from just inside the Leeds half.

The Argentinian - who did well to shut out the constant barracking from the home faithful all evening - then extended the Pirates lead yet further when he slotted a 62nd minute penalty, only for Hinton to replicate the feat at the other end five minutes later.

Still the Pirates were cruising and when Di Bernardo added yet another penalty with eight minutes remaining to make it 20-14, their appeared only one victor at that stage. Leeds, though, had other ideas and forced to try anything they looked for one final throw of the dice.

The move paid off three minutes into injury time when Hepworth collected a pass just in from the right touchline before somehow picking his way through the Cornish rearguard to score. Hinton added the extras to restore the Tykes lead once more.

Even then both sides had chances, Di Bernardo failing with a speculative drop-goal effort, as did opposite number Hepworth, whose kick was well charged down by Chris Cracknell. But it was the Tykes who ultimately held their nerve to win.

Leeds Tykes 21pts: Tries - Hepworth 2; Conversion - Hinton; Penalties - Hinton 3

Cornish Pirates 20pts: Try - McAtee; Penalties - Di Bernardo 3; Drop-Goal - Di Bernardo

Leeds: L Hinton; T Rock (R Welding 55), A Rock, C Jones, T Biggs; J Hepworth, D Edwards (J Rauluni 70); T McGee, R Rawlinson, M Cusack (D Paul 79); P Bouza, K Myall (P Nilsen 77); J Dunbar (S Stitcher 58), M Lock (capt), R Oakley. Replacements (not used): J Isaacson, R Vasey.
Yellow Card: Dunbar

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; J Hylton, H Barratt, D Bell (S Winn 4-15), R McAtee; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi, S Heard; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, S Betty (G Anderson 38-44, C Cracknell 64), M Evans. Replacements (not used): D Roke, J Moore, S Hobson, O Hambly.
Yellow Card: Paver

Referee: T Wigglesworth (RFU) Attendance: 2,039



National League 2. By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.

Redruth delighted their home crowd with this first league win of the season, indeed their first league success since their win at the Recreation Ground against Halifax back in February.

The success was built around a fine display from the forwards, who dominated the Harrogate pack throughout this encounter. Three of the Reds' tries came from the forwards whilst the fourth from a brilliant solo run by young winger Mark Lea, making his home league debut.

Harrogate kicked off playing up the slope with the breeze at their backs and the Redruth forwards were soon bossing their opponents in the tight and the loose.

The first try arrived after less than 5 minutes, when the Reds' forwards mauled their way to the line from 25 meters out, hooker Darren Daviduik securing the try. Fly-half Mike Hook was unable to add the conversion. Hook was kicking well and securing field position against the stiff breeze. James Mann was having another storming game, frequently out in the backline and breaking the gainline with purpose. It was not long before Redruth began to build on their lead as Harrogate made errors. Following a penalty at a lineout Hook kicked a penalty from 30 meters in front of the posts after 15 minutes. Five minutes later he kicked another penalty, as Harrogate lost flanker Nick Beaumont to the sin bin, from almost the same spot to put Redruth 11-0 up.

Redruth maintained their momentum as Harrogate were unable to make any headway and any possession they had was knocked on or turned over. They were rewarded with further penalties from Hook after 27 minutes and 35 minutes.

Harrogate did at last have some possession and field position as the game neared half-time and looked threatening. Yet it was to be Redruth who finished the half on a high when a kick out of defence bounced wickedly on the half-way line, Craig Bonds and Mark Lea got the ball to Marek Churcher who raced down towards Hell Fire corner. He unselfishly passed back inside to the onrushing Nathan Pascoe up in support, as a good backrow forward should be, to score under the posts. Hook's conversion sent Redruth in at half-time with a healthy 24-0 lead.

Harrogate made a couple of changes just after half-time which led to a major re-shuffle of their backline. Harrogate began to play with more confidence than they had shown during the first half. Nick Wainwright, having moved from centre to fly-half, was wide with a penalty attempt from wide out after 51 minutes.

However, it was Redruth who where the first to score with a breath-taking try from young Mark Lea, who beat both his opposite winger, Duthie, and the full back, Smithies, on the outside with fine turn of speed to skate in via the scoreboard corner to score under the posts. Hook's conversion took Redruth to 31-0 and the crowd sensed a fourth bonus point try was for the taking. Harrogate put on their last two replacements in an attempt to salvage some pride. Despite Spanish international prop Alejandro Onega lasting barely 10 minutes before getting a yellow card, Harrogate did score a fine try after 75 minutes. Following a catch-and-drive down in Hell Fire corner, the ball was spun out and Smithies cut a fine run to the posts. Wainwright kicked the conversion.

Redruth were still looking for the elusive fourth try and with all their replacements now on and Harrogate tiring, a period of pressure up in the scoreboard corner led to a penalty. From the catch-and-drive, replacement hooker Sam Harrison was driven over to the joy of the Redruth faithful. Hook's conversion capped a fine display for his Reds' Man of the Match award.

Redruth 36pts :Tries Daviduik, Pascoe, Lea, Harrison Cons (2) Hook Pens (4) Hook

Redruth: M. Churcher (S. Peters 70), M. Lea, C. Bonds (capt), J. Caruana, N. Pedley, M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques, D. Daviduik (S. Harrison 64), C. Williams (S. Lutey 64), D. Cook, R. Carroll, N. Pascoe, J. Mann (J. Navin 70), A. Lawton. Harrogate 7pts Try Smithies Con Wainwright Yellow Cards; Beaumont, Onega

Harrogate: E. Smithies, D. Hart, J. Baker, N. Wainwright, H. Duthie, L. Bramble (B. Hough 43), R. Davies; S. Baker (A. Onega 55), M. Erven (E. Spackman 60), M. Leach, R. Johnson (R. Brown 40), A. Jones, A. Enston (capt), N. Beaumont (S. Baker 64-74), S. Powell.

Referee Mr A. Hartwell (RFU)

CORNISH ROUND UP 23rd September by Bill Hooper

In South West 1, Mount's Bay propelled themselves to the top of the table with an impressive win over fellow promotion candidates Weston-super-Mare at the Mennaye on Saturday. The 37-10 win was sweet revenge for the Intermediate Cup exit suffered against the same side last season. Steve Evans scored the first try, with Thom Berry grabbing the second of the first half. Lee Jarvis converted both scores as well as a couple of penalties to give the Bay a healthy 20-3 half time lead.

Evans completed his brace in the second half and Ben Hilton scored Bay's fourth try, Jarvis again converting both scores and kicking a third penalty to complete Bay's tally.

St. Ives had a rude awakening at home as Oxford Harlequins upset the home side to win 31-18. Grant Thirlby scored a first half try for the Hakes, which he converted as well as two penalties. Luke Trescothick scored a try for St. Ives during the second half, which also saw St. Ives skipper Ian Boase sin-binned.

In South West 2 West, Camborne recorded their first league win of the season in dramatic style as fly half Mike Provis kicked a monster penalty from half way to secure a precious 23-22 win over Hornets. Despite trailing 10-0 early on, Camborne fought back with a try from veteran flanker Kevin Penrose, converted by Provis, who had already kicked an earlier penalty. Dave Roberts scored a second try for Town in the second half but Hornets battled back to level the scores. Hornets scored a third try, which was converted, only for Camborne to narrow the gap with a try from replacement hooker Andrew Smith. Provis then had the final say to clinch the win.

Penryn put up a battling performance at Taunton before going down by 37-26.

In Western Counties West, Hayle made it three wins from three played with a fine win at home against Crediton by 29-12. The Lions scored four tries through Neil Turner, Simon Pollard, Ben Eddy and Rikki Brandham.

Bude scored eleven tries in demolishing Ivybridge at Bencoolen Meadow 67-7. Paul Williams and Julian Morris each scored three tries with the other tries shared between Chris Sobey, Mark Dennis, Dan Frost (2) and Steve Yates.

Still no joy for Truro after a third consecutive loss, this time at home to Minehead Barbarians 17-0.

In the Cornwall & Devon league, Wadebridge Camels ran the early pace setters Tavistock close, losing only 17-15.

Falmouth had a good win at the Recreation Ground over Perranporth by 36-10, but St. Austell had no joy from their trip to Wellington, losing by 36-12.

In the Tamar League match played on Sunday afternoon at the Recreation Ground Redruth, the Redruth Development XV drew 21-21 with Westcountry Warriors.

30th September/1st October 2006



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News

It wasn't pretty, in fact it was down right ugly at times, but the Cornish Pirates put aside the disappointment of their narrow defeat at Leeds to return to winning ways over visiting Newbury Blues yesterday.

First half tries from Gavin Cattle, Viliami Ma'asi and a penalty try set the Pirates on their way to a third successive home victory, before Rhodri McAtee and Stan McKeen wrapped things up with touchdowns after the interval.

Yesterday's success certainly served as the ideal recipe for the Pirates following the misery of their Headingley defeat. However, this latest success was a far cry from the toil and endeavour they showed in the Yorkshire Dales seven days earlier. "It was an ugly win," said Pirates' coach Jim McKay at the final whistle. "Of course we'll take it and the five points, but we know we didn't play anywhere near our potential today and we still have lots to work on."

Certainly the tricky south westerly wind which howled across the Recreation Ground did little to help proceedings, nor did Newbury's insistence on looking to slow the home side's ball at every opportunity.

Indeed, when the Pirates were finally able to lay claim on some quick ball, the visiting Blues struggled to cope with the threat the home side offered.

"I thought we adapted quite well to the conditions, which were pretty tough," added McKay. "But our performance today didn't reach any great heights.

"I was very pleased with the way the forwards went, they really offered us a good platform to work from, so full credit to them and to Robin Cowling for the work he's done with them in the scrums. We really caused them problems in that department." In a lively opening from the Pirates, it took less than a minute for them to open the scoring, fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo landing a penalty after Newbury had been penalised for holding on in the tackle.

However, the Blues were soon back on level terms when Australian fly-half Tim Walsh plundered a fine drop-goal on 17 minutes. The score merely acted to reignite the Pirates, who two minutes later restored their lead when skipper Cattle sniped off the back of a ruck to ghost in from 20 metres, side-stepping Cornishman Mal Roberts along the way.

Di Bernardo converted that score, before adding the extras to a Ma'asi try on 27 minutes - the hooker powered over by his fellow forwards from a line-out on the right-hand side to make it 17-3.

It was no more than the Cornishmen deserved, but they were far from finished as they added a third try four minutes before the break.

With Newbury temporarily down to 14 men following the sin-binning of lock Gregor Hayer for a professional foul, the Pirates pack pressed home their authority with a scrum five metres out. As it closed in on the line, the visitors crumbled under the pressure and referee Alan Biggs had no hesitation in going under the posts, Di Bernardo slotting the easy conversion. Walsh had a chance to cut the deficit just before the break with a penalty, but his effort sailed wide of the posts.

While at the other end, a bullocking run from prop Sam Heard created space for Cattle and McAtee to release former Blue Duncan Bell down the left, but as he tried to collect the latter's pass, he knocked on just yards from the line and the chance was gone.

A Walsh penalty on 47 minutes brought about Newbury's first points of the half, but with the Pirates finally getting to grips with the wind, a fourth try was never far in coming.

Indeed, it duly arrived just past the hour mark when No.8 Matt Evans broke off a scrum only to be held just short of the line. However,** quick hands from replacement James Moore and Di Bernardo allowed McAtee to dart over in the right corner to make it 29-6.

Newbury - to their credit - continued to solider on and their efforts were rewarded when centre Mark Ireland picked a lovely line through the home midfield to score by the posts, Walsh obliging with the additional two points. However, it was all a little too late for the Blues, who were undone again in injury time when Canadian powerhouse McKeen made the most of some excellent approach play from Di Bernardo and Chris Cracknell to score his second try of the season.

A trip to Doncaster beckons for the Pirates this weekend, a game they know they can ill afford to falter in.

Cornish Pirates 34pts: Tries - Cattle, Ma'asi, Penalty Try, McAtee, McKeen; Conversions - Di Bernardo 3; Penalty - Di Bernardo

Newbury Blues 13pts: Try - Ireland; Conversion - Walsh; Penalty - Walsh; Drop-Goal - Walsh

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, H Barratt (D Roke 54), D Bell, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt, J Moore h/t); A Paver (G Anderson 68), V Ma'asi, S Heard; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen , I Motusaga (C Cracknell 59), M Evans.
Replacements (not used): O Hambly, S Hobson, S Winn

Newbury: M Roberts; D Rees (K Bingham 74), A James, M Ireland , L Gibson; T Walsh, D Smaje (M Simpson-Daniel 74); R Bruce, A Dalgleish (G Cooper 58), S Carter; G Hayter, T Radbourne (A Harris 50); M Styles, C Morgan, T Brown (G Holmes 64).
Replacements (not used): N Defty, B Wood. Yellow Card: Hayter.

Referee: A Biggs (RFU) Attendance: 1,746.

CORNISH ROUND UP 30th September by Bill Hooper

In National League 2, the Cornish All Blacks maintained their fine unbeaten start to the season with a hard fought 22-14 win over Manchester at Polson Bridge. Sam Young kicked an opening penalty for the Cornish All Blacks; however, Manchester hit back and scored a fine try through winger Gaz Wynne, who converted his own try.

The score remained at 7-3 to the visitors until shortly before half-time, when Manchester, reduced to 14 men, conceded a try scored by Josh Lord, which Young converted to give the Cornish All Blacks a 10-7 lead.

Manchester were first to score after the break, when fly-half Rich Wainwright went in under the posts, Wynne obliging with the extras for a 14-10 lead to the visitors. The home side regained the lead when full back Ryan Westren scored their second try, which went unconverted. The impressive Young scored the Cornish All Black's third and final try, which he converted to seal Launceston's hardest win of the season so far.

Redruth will have returned home from their trip to the Rectory Field at Blackheath disappointed at their heavy defeat by 55-16. Redruth conceded eight tries to their opponents. Fly-half Mike Hook kicked three penalties for the Reds and converted Adam Keverne's late try.

In South West 1, Mount's Bay found Chippenham a tough nut to crack, winning by a point T 18-17. Lee Jarvis kicked a couple of penalties and a conversion. Paulo Nonu and Jamie Semmens scored the Bay's tries.

St. Ives scored a fine away win at Reading Abbey 33-9. Lee Taylor, Sheldon Waetford, Arron Baigent and Andrew Skinner scored the Hakes' tries, with Grant Thirlby and Karl Martin kicking the other points.

In South West 2 West, the eagerly-awaited derby match between Penryn and Camborne at the Memorial Ground went the way of Camborne by 32-3. Joe Parma scored four tries for the "Town", Kelvin Smitham scoring the fifth Camborne try. Mike Provis kicking the points. Ian Morgan kicked the Borough's solitary score.

In Western Counties West, Hayle lost the top of the table clash with Barnstaple 21-0, the North Devon side looking already at this stage odds on to return to South West 1.

Bude enjoyed a fine win at Minehead Barbarians, winning 29-10. Rob Uglow and Simeon Lewry scored two tries apiece, with Steve Yates scoring the fifth and final try. Paul Williams kicked the other points.

Truro slumped to a fourth defeat at Ivybridge 24-6 and are now propping up the table.

In the Cornwall & Devon league, Falmouth won 10-8 at St. Austell thanks to a couple of Tim Gay tries. Perranporth lost at home to Okehampton 22-10, whilst Wadebridge Camels defeated Wellington 32-22.

In the latest Tamar League match, played under floodlights at Exeter's impressive new Sandy Park stadium, Launceston Development XV drew 22-22 with Exeter United.

7th October 2006



By Sam Wheeler at Castle Park, for the Western Morning News.

Captain Gavin Cattle believes that the Cornish Pirates are capable of winning National One after helping his side end their away hoodoo at Doncaster Knights on Saturday.

The Pirates' title chances had been written off after losses at lowly Waterloo and at Leeds Tykes, which followed five defeats on the road last season.

However, the commitment and defensive organisation they demonstrated in overcoming fellow Championship contenders Doncaster shows that they can be a force outside Cornwall as well as on their own turf.

"People think we are rubbish away from home," said scrum-half Cattle, who had set the visitors on the road to victory with a try after just 46 seconds. "There is a bit of a myth about our away form. It is hard to travel as far as we have to every second week - ten hours on the bus is a long time.

"But it's just a mindset and I hope that with the new boys in the side, we won't have that mindset. "I've been in National One for eight years and this is the most open division I've seen. Most of the full-time sides have got to be looking at winning it, us included. If we keep performing, we will be up there.

"That was not pretty but we showed a lot of character in the second half."

Doncaster, as Cattle acknowledged, have made huge strides since last season, when the Pirates twice took maximum points off them. Under new director of rugby Clive Griffiths, who won a Grand Slam as Wales's defensive coach in 2005, the Knights have developed into one of the more obdurate sides in the division. Only Plymouth had beaten them previously. Not many sides will win in South Yorkshire, so this was a victory worth savouring for the Pirates.

After Cattle had slipped through from a ruck for a converted try, following a feeble attempt by the hosts to deal with the kick-off, the visitors had to absorb plenty of pressure against the wind.

They did reasonably well to restrict their opponents to three penalties and a converted try, scored by veteran flanker Jason Forster - his ninth of a productive campaign - while flanker Iva Motusaga was in the sin-bin for entering a ruck from the wrong side.

Alberto di Bernardo, whose general contribution attracted the praise of his captain, kept his side in touch with two penalties, on his way to a personal haul of 19 points.

It was 16-13 at the break and the Argentinean levelled the scores in the 48th minute before putting them ahead four minutes later.

Doncaster had stifled the Pirates' attacking ambition by dominating possession and defending resolutely, but a clean line-out on halfway gave the Cornishmen the space they needed. They launched a raid down the far side of the field, keeping the ball alive, and when they came left again, centre Duncan Roke's side-step and strength took him away from Dave Scully for a try by the posts.

Di Bernardo converted and added a penalty to put his side 13 points ahead with 15 minutes remaining. The Knights had had chances but were struggling for fluency, particularly behind the scrum, and the Pirates' tenacity kept them at bay.

With five minutes of normal time remaining, though, No.8 Glen Wilson finished off a counter-attack from deep and Mark Woodrow converted. With the deficit down to six points, there were worrying echoes of the stoppage-time defeat at Leeds a fortnight earlier, but this time, the resistance was not broken.

"Inexperience cost us at Leeds," said Cattle, who saw team-mate Jonny Hylton carried off with concussion early on. "But we are learning and maturing."

With Plymouth Albion losing at Exeter Chiefs, the Pirates are very much in the race for the league title.

Doncaster Knights 23: Tries - Forster, Wilson; Conversions - Woodrow 2; Penalties - Woodrow 3

Cornish Pirates 29: Tries - Cattle, Roke; Conversions - Di Bernardo 2; Penalties - Di Bernardo 5.

Doncaster Knights: J Boden (O Cook 60); B Hunt (D van Vuuren 40), P Bailey, S Davey, W Davies; M Woodrow, D Scully (B Jones 60); S Bunting (R List 64), S Boden (B Phillips 57), N Tau (T Davies 64); G Kenworthy, L Gross (D Cook 64); R Earnshaw, J Forster (capt), G Wilson.

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke (H Barratt 66), D Bell, J Hylton (J Moore 10); A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi, S Heard; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga (C Cracknell 60), M Evans.
Replacements (not used): O Hambly, G Anderson, S Hobson, S Winn
Yellow Card: Motusaga

Referee: R Kitt (RFU)


National League 2. By Bill Hooper at Redruth Rec.

Redruth gave the best possible reply to doubters following their heavy defeat last Saturday at Blackheath's Rectory Field with a convincing win over a very useful Cambridge side at the Recreation Ground.

New signing from New Zealand side Tasman Makos, Mark Bright, gave a very promising debut at No 8 and despite having been in the UK for only 48 hours has already built a fine rapport with his new teammates.

Playing down the slope in the first half, Redruth conceded an early penalty which Cambridge fly-half Daf Lewis kicked after only 4 minutes. Cambridge looked threatening early on and were not afraid to put width on the ball with some crisp passing along the back line. But Redruth drew level after only 7 minutes when Bright caught a Cambridge player in his own 22, leading to a penalty which Reds' fly half Mike Hook kicked from in front of the posts. Hook was to go on to have a fine day, scoring 22 of his side's points from the boot, with no misses at goal.

Bright was soon in the thick of it again when he broke powerfully from a scrum on the Cambridge 22, almost reaching the line before the ball was nudged forward. Slowly but surely the Redruth pack began to gain the upper hand on the Cambridge eight, with scrum half Mark Richards bossing proceedings with breaks around the fringes mixed with some clever tactical kicking.

It wasn't until the 30 minute mark that Redruth extended their lead with a second Hook penalty after the Reds' forwards disrupted the Cambridge scrum. From the re-start Cambridge won a penalty and Lewis tied the scores once more. Hook soon regained the lead for the Reds with his third successful kick.

Moments later Cambridge shocked the home crowd with a well-worked try scored by scrum-half Tom Orton, who somehow managed to slip the Reds' cover to score near the posts. Lewis had no problem with the conversion. With half-time fast approaching Redruth launched an attack with a fine break involving Richards and winger Mark Lea, which took play into the visitors' 22. Cambridge conceded a penalty at the breakdown. Hook kicked into Hell Fire corner and from the catch-and-drive hooker Darren Dawiduik was driven over by the Reds' pack. Hooks conversion sent the Reds into half-time 16-13 up.

Once again Cambridge levelled the scores early in the second half when James Mann illegally disrupted a powerful surge by the Cambridge pack near his own line, Lewis kicking the penalty with Mann going to the sin-bin. Redruth seemed to gain strength from this set back, especially as from the restart they gained a penalty which Hook kicked to regain the lead. Redruth held out for the remainder of Mann's sin-binning, with Hook's fifth penalty after 60 minutes extending their lead to 22-16. As the final quarter ticked by Redruth exerted even greater control on the match.

As the game entered time added on, Hook kicked a sixth penalty, extending his side's lead to 25-16. The icing on the cake came with a second Redruth try, Bright claiming the lineout ball and a powerful drive from the Reds' forwards saw Dawiduik, awarded man of the match, claim his second try of the game, Hook's conversion being the final kick of the match. This result will be a massive boost to the Reds' morale as they prepare for their next match at Henley Hawks.

Redruth 32 pts: Tries Daviduik (2), 6 pens, 2 cons Hook Yellow Card Mann 48 mins

Cambridge 16 pts: Try Orton, 3 pens, con Lewis

Redruth: M. Churcher, M. Lea, C. Bonds (capt), PJ Gidlow, P. Teixeira, M. Hook (S. Peters 80), M. Richards; D. Jacques, D. Dawiduik (D. Job 80), C. Williams (S. Lutey 70), D. Cook, R. Carroll, J. Mann (J. Navin 80), M. Bright.

Cambridge: D. Jones, T. Kwilimbe, I. McInroy, C. Lombaard, P. Reed, D. Lewis (T. Dann 70), T. Orton; J. Ross, K. Ronaki (S. Hoad 78), J. Armitage, M. Pienaar (R. Candlin 60), J. Harlock, G. Remnant (capt), J. Leigh, H. Whitford.
Rep not used, D. Askew

Referee: Mr. N. Higginson (RFU)

CORNISH ROUND UP 7th October by Bill Hooper

It was a very busy weekend with league and EDF Energy Senior and Junior Vase 1st Round matches. Mount's Bay consolidated their top spot in South West 1 with an emphatic 90-10 win over Clevedon at the Mennaye Field. Steve Evans led the way in the try stakes, claiming four; there was a brace for Palepoi Nonu and Steve Larkins, with James Slater, Ricky Pellow, Lee Jarvis, Steve Dyer, Mika Mua and Olly Faulkner each claiming a try. Jarvis kicked ten conversions.

At Alexandra Road, St. Ives entertained Weston-super-Mare. This was a spirited affair with five yellow cards, four to the visitors! Weston raced into a 21point lead with three converted tries, before the Hakes fought back. Andy Skinner scored a try which was converted by Karl Martin, who also kicked a penalty to make it 10-21. After the break, Martin kicked a second penalty. However, Weston scored a fourth converted try to make it 13-28. Michael Brooke scored the second St. Ives try on 62 minutes, which saw both sets of players involved in a dust up. Martin's long-range penalty and conversion of Aaron Baigent's try tied the scores.

In South West 2 West, Camborne defeated St. Mary's Old Boys by 15-12 at the Recreation Ground, with Camborne's points coming from the boot of Trelawny's Army U.20 Player of the Year, Mike Provis.

Penryn are going through a rough patch: following their defeat at home to Camborne last week-end they had little joy at leaders Coney Hill, losing 79-6. Ian Morgan kicked a couple of penalties for the Borough.

In Western Counties West, Hayle defeated Kingsbridge at High House 18-17. James Jago and Kevin Jenkin scored tries for the Lions, with Jimmy Tresize kicking two penalties and a conversion.

Bude defeated Tiverton 26-5 at Bencoolen Meadow. A strong first half performance saw the North Cornwall side turn around 19-0 up with tries from Paul Williams, Simeon Lawry and Steve Yates, Williams also adding two conversions. Williams then completed his brace in the second half, again adding the extras.

Truro recorded their first league win of the season with a welcome 21-13 success over Withycombe at St. Clements. Ian Rowe scored two tries for the City side. Mike Patterson kicked three penalties and Ross Martin a conversion.

In the EDF-Energy Senior Vase 1st Round ties, Wadebridge Camels defeated Cullompton 46-7.

London Cornish had a fine win away at Hove 51-19 (see coach Dickon Moon's report on the forums).

Falmouth lost at home to Paignton 12-10 and St. Austell also bowed out at home 15-20 to Tavistock.

In the Junior version of the Vase, Roseland defeated Ilfracombe 14-6, and Redruth Albany won at Old Technicians 20-15. However, the three other Cornish sides all lost, St. Day at Salcombe 41-17, St. Agnes at Totnes 28-6, and Callington at home to Plympton Victoria 41-5.

14th October 2006



By Peter Collins at Park Lane, for the Western Morning News

Seven points up within two minutes of the start saw the Cornish Pirates firmly nail their colours to the mast. A further eight tries and four conversions saw them claim a second successive away win "up north" to keep them in touch with the leaders Rotherham and the chasing pack.

The fact that before this double they had lost on their two previous trips to north Manchester had played no part in the build-up to the game.

"It's what you do on the day that counts," said coach Jim McKay. "Past results were not the motivating factors, we didn't really talk about them during the week.

"We know Sedgley are a very spirited side and that we would have to be at our best to get a result, because these kinds of games can be very tricky. It was a real team effort and I was particularly pleased with not conceding a try and with our set-pieces, although we were not at our best in other aspects."

Catching the initial kick-off, the Pirates' rolling maul drove the ball 30 metres before it was unleashed out to the backs, with winger Lewis Vinnicombe going over in the left-hand corner and Alberto Di Bernardo adding the extras to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead and a perfect start.

Sedgley fly-half Phil Jones hit back with a penalty goal, but fears of a home fightback were allayed when the Pirates made the most of the man advantage after lock Jaco Swart was sin-binned.

Line-out ball was channeled into the middle, where Duncan Bell and Viliami Ma'asi unleashed Rhodri McAtee, who ghosted through the ineffective home defence and Di Bernardo's boot doubled the Pirates' score.

The Italian, together with half-back partner Gavin Cattle, ran the show all afternoon and the pair set up try number three, finished off by Namibian lock Heino Senekal.

The home side simply could not contain the Pirates' forward power, half-back poise and the back division's probing, and the bonus point was wrapped up three minutes into time added on at the end of the first half when Di Bernardo and Bell combined to set-up South African powerhouse Matt Evans, who showed the Sedgley cover a clean pair of heels to go over for try number four, with the Pirates taking a 31-3 lead into the half-time break.

Within two minutes of the restart McAtee's confident catch and run took the ball deep into Sedgley territory where it was recycled to Senekal, who again used his power to barrel over from ten metres. Cattle's run then paved the way for Iva Motusaga to claim try number six before the Pirates' skipper claimed a try of his own on 66 minutes - tapping and running a five-metre penalty.

Moments later McAtee claimed his second, pouncing on a delightfully weighted inside pass from Di Bernardo - with Duncan Roke completing the rout in the 77th minute.

Victory helped move the Pirates up one place to fifth after Leeds lost at Bedford and with two home games against Bedford and the eagerly awaited Westcountry derby with Exeter coming up, victory in both could see them climb even higher.

Sedgley Park 3 pts:Penalty - Jones

Cornish Pirates 55 pts: Tries - Vinnicombe, McAtee (2), Senekal (2), Evans, Motusaga, Cattle, Roke; Conversions - Di Bernardo (5)

Sedgley Park: A De Jager; C Hall, A Craig, J Duffy (I Voortman 44), C Briers; P Jones, J Albinson (C Leck 54); G Evans (P Du Plessis 60), J Roddam (M Jones 45), M Halsall (P Gazzola 60), J Swart, E Norris (A Bennett 40), A Newton , J Ponton (L Jope 54), J Skurr. Yellow Cards: Swart, Newton.

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke, D Bell (S Winn 54), L Vinnicombe; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt, J Moore 70); A Paver, V Ma'asi (O Hambly 72), S Heard (G Anderson 52); H Senekal, J Beardshaw (S Hobson 65); S McKeen (T Cowley 65), I Motusaga (S Betty 58), M Evans.

Referee: N Williams (RFU) Attendance: 609

CORNISH ROUND UP 14th October by Bill Hooper

It was an excellent day for both Cornish clubs in National League 2. Redruth recorded arguably the performance of the day with a fine win at Dry Leas against the high-flying Henley Hawks, whilst the Cornish All Blacks put behind them their disappointment of the previous Saturday when they surrendered their unbeaten record with a fine win over Halifax at Polson Bridge.

Henley Hawks 19 Redruth 23

There were not many people who fancied the Reds' chances up in Oxfordshire against Henley Hawks on Saturday. The Hawks, having lost only one league encounter, on the opening day at Polson Bridge, had subsequently won their next five matches, whilst the Reds had up to now an indifferent start to their campaign. To cap it all Redruth this week learned that their influential lock Richard Carroll had received an eight-week ban due to the upgrading of a yellow card to a red at Halifax last season by a RFU Disciplinary Panel.

Redruth made their statement of intent after only nine minutes when they scored their opening try of the afternoon. Luke Collins, in for the suspended Carroll, secured a lineout that set up a great forward drive to the Hawks' line for flanker James Mann to score, Mike Hook kicking the conversion for a 7-0 lead. Hawks' fly-half Mitch Burton trimmed the Reds' lead with a penalty almost immediately.

The big Henley forwards began to dominate as the game went into the second quarter and they took the lead on 21 minutes following the awarding of a penalty try, when Burton kicked through towards the line and was illegally blocked by Reds' centre PJ Gidlow. Gidlow was shown the yellow card, whilst Burton converted the score.

Redruth were not about to be overawed and both sides found themselves with 14 men as Hawks' prop Andy Le Chevalier was sent for his 10 minute stretch on 26 minutes. Hook kicked the penalty from this incident to level matters.

Burton kicked two further penalties before half time for the Hawks, while Redruth scored their second try through scrum half Mark Richards just before the break to leave the Reds trailing by a solitary point at 16-15.

The Reds regained the lead early in the second half with a second Hook penalty. They went further ahead after 57 minutes when flanker Nathan Pascoe scored their third try following some fine play from No 8 Mark Bright, Mann, and Richards to send Pascoe in. Although Burton kicked a fourth penalty for the Hawks and the home side threw everything at the Reds in search of a winning score, the Reds defence held out for a memorable win.

Cornish All Blacks 38 Halifax 11

Leading 18 - 11 at half-time, the Cornish All Blacks scored 20 points without reply in the second period to get back to winning ways at Polson Bridge.

Early penalties for each side, Sam Young for Launceston and Jervis Manupenu for Halifax, tied the scores at 3-3. The Cornish All Blacks then took the lead with a try from hooker Dave Risdon following a tremendous surge by lock Steve Pape, which set up the maul from which Risdon scored. Young's conversion gave the home side a 10-3 lead.

Young soon extended the lead to 13-3 with a second penalty success.

Halifax scored an opportunist try as scrum-half Craig Aikman exploited the blind side to run in unopposed.

Halifax soon found themselves down to 14 men as their lock Martin Smith was sent to the bin for persistent offside. Smith would later see red. Exploiting their advantage to the full, the Cornish All Blacks powered their way to the line for No 8 Nick Burnett to score their second try.

Manupenu's second penalty left the visitors trailing by only seven at the break.

In the second half the Cornish All Blacks took the game by the scruff-of-the-neck, adding three further tries on their way to securing the all-important bonus point. Winger Andy Matchett scored the opening try of the half, following some fine play from Steve Perry and Ryan Westren. As the game entered the final quarter and the usual changes the Cornish All Blacks found themselves minus Josh Lord and Brett Luxton, both yellow-carded. Nevertheless the home side continued to attack. Young kicked another penalty to extend Launceston's lead before late tries from prop Wayne Reed (converted by Young) and from replacement Kevin Francis put the icing on the cake for the Polson faithful.

In South West 1, Mount's Bay overcame potentially tricky opponents in former National League side Basingstoke at the Mennaye by 39-0. Danny Clackworthy scored the first Bay try after some fine team play secured the opening for the prop. Flanker Tom Outram scored two tries with Palepoi Nonu, Jamie Semmens and Lee Jarvis the others. Jarvis' boot added the other points.

St. Ives travelled to Chippenham and returned home with a fine 22-14 win. Luke Trescothick (try) and Grant Thirlby (penalty) gave the Hakes a slim 8-7 advantage at half-time. St. Ives then found themselves trailing 14-8 before tries from Lee Taylor and Sheldon Waetford, both converted by Thirlby, secured the vital points for St. Ives.

In South West 2 West, it wasn't a good day for our two Cornish sides. Camborne lost 13-0 at Torquay Athletic, who now top the table, whilst Penryn suffered a humiliating 50-17 defeat at the Memorial Ground to Hornets, to leave them struggling at the wrong end of the table. Peter Webster, Josh Chambers and Ian Morgan scored tries for the Borough, with Morgan converting his own score.

It was better news in Western Counties West, with Hayle and Bude recording fine wins. Hayle defeated Sidmouth 32-8. Kevin Jenkin, Jodie Marr, James Jago and James Tresize scored the Lions' tries, with Paul Lello's boot adding the other points.

Bude won at Withycombe 19-7 in a game delayed due an injury to Bude's fly-half Andy Yates. Simeon Lewry (2) and Rob Uglow scored the North Cornwall side's tries, with Paul Williams adding a couple of conversions.

After the euphoria of a first win last Saturday, Truro travelled to winless Crediton and were thumped 36-5.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels beat Okehampton 30-10 to go fourth in the table. St. Austell got their first win of the league campaign with a 29-3 win over fellow strugglers Perranporth. Falmouth, so close to a play-off spot last season, are disappointing this time around with a second loss from four games, this time at Wessex 22-7.

In London 4 South West, London Cornish maintained their unbeaten start with a hard-fought 16-3 win over Old Caterhamians (see coach Dickon Moon's report in the forums).

On Monday the latest Tamar League match took place at Polson Bridge between Launceston and Redruth's Development XV's, resulting in a 17-10 win for the visitors. Redruth scored two tries through Paul Texeira and Ashley Lawton, with former Launceston player Scott Martin converting both tries and a second half penalty. For Launceston, Kevin Francis scored a try, with former Redruth player Mark Scrivener adding the conversion and a penalty.

21st/22nd October 2006



By By Mark Stevens, for the Western Morning News

The Cornish Pirates have set their sights on the summit of National League One after they blew aside the challenge of Bedford at the Recreation Ground on Sunday.

A storming second-half show from Jim McKay's side helped lift the Pirates to second in National League One, just four points behind League leaders Rotherham, whom they face in a fortnight's time.

Yesterday's five-point maximum was just reward for a Pirates' side, who having weathered an early storm from the Blues, then set about dismantling their visitors with a ruthless display of forward momentum.

The home pack ravaged their Bedford counterparts for large parts of the game, while behind the Pirates' back division were allowed to slice open the Blues rearguard with some ever-so fancy footwork.

Not that it was so easy during the opening 40 minutes of yesterday's tussle at Camborne. Bedford - who had arrived in the Duchy with just one defeat to their name - certainly started brightly enough, stunning the home faithful when winger Mike Staten fly-hacked his way to a 16th-minute try to break the game's deadlock.

However, that score merely acted as the trigger the Pirates needed to fire themselves into contention. Indeed, by the half-hour mark McKay's men had found their gear, particularly at scrum-time, where the home eight shunted the Blues left, then right, then decisively on their backsides.

The pressure was clearly mounting and on 32 minutes it finally told when Gareth Copsey lost patience with Bedford's blatant attempts to collapse a series of close-in scrum, the referee having little hesitation in running under the posts for a penalty try, which fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo duly converted for a 7-5 lead.

Two minutes later and Di Bernardo was adding to his tally, punishing Staten's off-the-ball shoulder charge with a penalty that the Bedford wing was then able to admire from the comforts of the touchline sin-bin.

A second Di Bernardo penalty just after the restart extended the home side's lead to 13-5, before the Pirates cut loose with a devastating spell of running rugby.

A rampaging break in centre field from winger Lewis Vinnicombe created a gap in the Bedford defence - and when the ball was recycled through forwards Alan Paver and Iva Motusaga, there was No.8 Matt Evans to gallop over for a second try, again converted by Di Bernardo.

Four minutes later and the home support were on their feet once more, this time Welshman Rhodri McAtee the beneficiary as he ghosted his way over following some slick handling from the hosts.

Di Bernardo bagged the extras to that score, then plundered another two when referee Copsey awarded a second penalty try on 68 minutes, again given after the Bedford scrum creaked under the pressure of the Pirates' pack. Although that completed the scoring for the game, the Pirates still threatened in the latter stages, Adryan Winnan and Stan McKeen linking up to almost send Duncan Roke over in the right-hand corner.

Despite securing their fourth maximum points-haul at home this season, coach McKay had a somewhat mixed view of his side's display at the final whistle.

"I was pretty annoyed with our first-half display, we started very slowly and we didn't do anything of the things that we set out to do," said the Australian. "It was only our scrummage and our defence which kept us in the game. But we spoke about it at half-time, changed a few things round and we were much better in the second half. "We adapted much better to the conditions after the break and it meant we had much more control of the ball. When we had the ball, like we did, we caused them lots of problems."

McKay admitted the result was the ideal boost ahead of this weekend's Westcountry derby with Exeter Chiefs, but added: "The scoreline today was nice, but we are very much performance orientated. In other games we may not be so lucky with the result if we only really play for 30, 40 minutes. For now we'll enjoy this win, but tomorrow we'll start focusing on Exeter, which will be another tough game for us."

Meanwhile, Pirates' supporters were yesterday given their first glimpse of the club's two new signings - James Inglis and Fijian international Ravuama Samo.

Cornish Pirates 34: Tries - Penalty Tries (2), Evans, McAtee; Conversions - Di Bernardo (4); Penalties - Di Bernardo (2)

Bedford Blues 5 :Try - Staten

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee (H Barratt 58), D Roke, D Bell (S Winn 69), L Vinnicombe; A Di Bernardo (J Moore 80), G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi (O Hambly 77), S Heard (G Anderson 69); H Senekal, J Beardshaw (S Hobson 77); S McKeen, I Motusaga (T Cowley 69), M Evans.

Bedford Blues: B Patston (C Moir 61); M Staten, O Dodge, M Allen (capt), J Pritchard; R Broadfoot, D Malone (K Dickson 31, Moir 57-61); M Volland (B Alexander 64), C Johnson (C Whitehead 57), J Graham (D Cole 33); J Phillips (M Comb 69), A Brenton; N Strauss, S Harding, B Pienaar (A Kettle 64).

Yellow Card: Staten

Referee: G Copsey (RFU).


National League 2. By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground Redruth.

The Reds recorded a third successive win in this season's league campaign, exhibiting the team's new-found confidence. Playing up the slope first half, the Reds were soon on the attack, although it was Wharfedale who had the first opportunity to put points on the board when their fly-half Andy Baggett pulled a kick wide of the Redruth uprights. Despite plenty of endeavour it was not until the 17th minute that the deadlock on the scoreboard was broken. Following a lineout, hooker Darren Dawiduik broke off and sped in for the opening try. Fly-half Mike Hook kicked a very good conversion to make it 7-0 to the Reds.

Hook kicked a penalty after 27 minutes to stretch the Reds' advantage to 10 points before Baggett got Wharfedale on the scoreboard with a penalty from in front of the Reds' posts.

Redruth increased their advantage just before half-time after a kick through by scrum half Mark Richards was taken on by winger Mark Lea. From the breakdown, quick ball saw Mark Bright and Craig Bonds set up winger Nathan Pedley, who squeezed in at the corner. It was no more than the Reds deserved as they should have nailed more chances during the opening half.

Redruth resumed where they left off after the break, with Bright making a strong early break into Wharfedale's territory. The Dalesmen's cause was not helped when they lost their loose head prop Elton Fynn to the bin after 49 minutes. Whilst he was off, Redruth through their forwards claimed a third try through flanker James Mann after a big drive from the forwards to the line, with Bright once again playing a big role in the move. Hook's conversion made it 22-3.

With the game moving into the final quarter, Redruth sought that all-important bonus point try. Richards, who got better and better as the game progressed, was instrumental in launching attacks. Lea once again went very close down in Hell Fire corner. The fourth try arrived after 71 minutes, following a catch-and-drive up in the Piggy Lane corner, and once again it was Darren Dawiduik who claimed the score. Hook kicked another good conversion to cap a fine all-round display, deservedly getting the Reds' man-of-the-match award. To their credit, Wharfedale tried to salvage some pride in the final moments, but Redruth's defence was in no mood to give an inch.

Redruth can now look forward with confidence to successive away trips to Nuneaton and Barking.

Redruth 29 pts: Tries: Dawiduik (2), Pedley Mann Cons (3), Pen Hook

Wharfedale 3 pts: Pen A. Baggett

Redruth: M. Churcher, M. Lea, C. Bonds (Capt), P J Gidlow (S. Peters 64), N. Pedley, M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques (D. Job 70), D. Dawidiuk, C. Williams (S. Lutey 53), D. Cook, L. Collins, N. Pascoe, J. Mann (J. Navin 60), Mark Bright.

Wharfedale: A. Whaites, J. Hutchinson, M. Bedworth, N. Baggett, S. Horsfall, A. Baggett (Capt, S. Moon 59), J.Doherty, E. Fynn, G. Hindle, N. Dickinson (A. Mason 59), D. Lister, A. Capstick, O. Renton (A. Mason 48-58), H. Verity (T. Ball 65), R. Baldwin. Replacement not used: F. Lovatt .

Yellow Card E. Fynn

Referee Mr. M. Vernon (RFU)

CORNISH ROUND UP 21st October by Bill Hooper

In South West 1, Mount's Bay were made to work hard in their top-of-the-table clash against Reading. Trailing 21-12 just after half time, they managed to turn matters around and finished up winners by 31-26. Lee Jarvis showed all his experience at a critical time, kicking three penalties in a ten-minute period to bring Bay level. Jarvis then scored the first of two tries to seal the win. John Morrison (2), and Palepoi Nonu scored the other Bay tries, with Jarvis adding a conversion.

St. Ives travelled to bottom side Clevedon and recorded a handsome 65 - 3 win. The Hakes ran in eleven tries, with 3 apiece for Verner Gaiger and Aaron Baigent, a brace for Graham Corin, and one apiece for James Earp, Sheldon Waetford and Ian Boase.

In South West 2 (West), a good result for Camborne as they defeated Cheltenham North by 30-6 at the Recreation Ground. Tries for Camborne came via Andrew Smith, David Roberts, Josh Stevens, and Joe Parma. David Mankee kicking the other points.

Penryn's dismal run continues as they lost heavily at Brixham by 62-16. Dan Kirk scored the only Borough try of the game, which Ian Morgan converted, Morgan also kicking 3 penalty goals.

In Western Counties West, Hayle won the Cornish derby at Truro by 35-3. Richard Spear, Kevin Jenkin (2), James Jago and Simon Pollard all scored for the Lions, with James Tresize adding all five conversions. Michael Patterson kicked Truro's only points with a penalty.

There was a surprise in North Cornwall where Bude lost at home to Crediton 17-8. Steve Yates scored Bude's try and Justin Uglow a penalty.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels defeated Perranporth 77-5, whilst Cullompton defeated St. Austell 73-12.

Falmouth defeated Honiton 19-12 at the Recreation Ground.

In London 4 SW, London Cornish kept up their fine run with another win against Warlingham, 22-7.

28th/29th October 2006



By Mark Stevens, for the Western Morning News

Exeter's hopes of robbing the Cornish Pirates of their unbeaten home record for a second successive season ended in disappointment as the Chiefs headed home with scant reward from their trip to Camborne yesterday. Just like it was in January, Exeter 's Jason Luff scampered over for another injury-time try. However, this time the wing wizard's touchdown was merely a consolation, unlike his memorable match-winning effort at Kenwyn. Indeed, Luff's late score merely helped add a bit of respectability to the scoreline for the Chiefs, who for large parts of this game had to play second fiddle to their Cornish hosts.

As has been the norm at the Rec this season, the Pirates pack flourished, while behind the back division - again ably marshalled by fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo - offered a cutting edge, which the Chiefs struggled to hold. With both sides making changes from their previous outings - the Pirates brought in loan signing James Inglis for Heino Senekal at lock while the Chiefs added experienced quintet Sam Blythe, Ollie Hodge, Alan Miller, Kevin Barrett and Mark Fatialofa to their line-up - neither side were willing to give an inch early on. However, it was the Chiefs who drew first blood, fly-half Tony Yapp firing them ahead on eight minutes when home winger Lewis Vinnicombe had been penalised for holding on in the tackle.

That lead was to prove shortlived as within five minutes Di Bernardo drew the hosts level with the first offerings of his 17-point haul. Then the Argentinian-born back added the extras to Duncan Roke's opening try, the experienced Pirates centre picking off a somewhat telegraphed pass from former Worcester team-mate Yapp to race half the field and score under the posts.

It was to get no better for Yapp, who then failed with a penalty chance on 18 minutes. His misery was further compounded when opposite number Di Bernardo showed him just how it should be done, punishing winger Tom Bedford's decision to run, rather than kick, the ball out of defence.

Roared on by their biggest home gate of the season, the Pirates continued to dominate proceedings, adding a second try on 26 minutes when Canadian international Stan McKeen was allowed to power his way over from 15 metres out. Di Bernardo converted again for a 20-3 advantage.

It appeared one-way traffic for the Pirates. However, Adryan Winnan's hesitancy following a chip kick through by Luff gifted the visitors a lifeline back into the game. As Luff looked to chase his fly-hack towards the corner, the diminutive speedster was blatantly held back by Winnan, the result of which was a subsequent trip to the sin-bin for the home full-back.

With the man advantage, the Chiefs looked to press on. Two line-out moves on the right failed to reap any joy, but when the ball was worked back inside, there was former Pirate Mark Fatialofa to collect and crash his way over, Yapp converting. The score clearly lifted the Chiefs, who until that stage had failed to replicate the same pride and passion they had displayed when defeating arch rivals Plymouth Albion earlier this month.

Clearly growing in confidence, an Exeter revival was now high on the agenda. And whilst things did improve for the visitors as the half drew to a close, watching a re-run of the video this week the Chiefs coaching team will know it could have been decidedly more profitable had a sparkling move instigated by skipper Richard Baxter ended in Pete Fisher crossing in the corner.

In the grand scheme of things, this was a big chance, but one which was ultimately blown. Indeed, as Exeter coach Pete Drewett would later reflect: "In games like this, you have to maximise your chances". Although that opportunity was spurned, the Chiefs did claim the final points of the half, Yapp firing over a second penalty to make it 20-13 at the interval.

With both sides having gained their half-time breather, it was the Pirates who were first to show on the resumption. A cute Di Bernardo kick over the top caused problems in the Exeter defence, then Duncan Bell's bullocking through the centre brought him within yards of the line.

The third score, however, was not far in coming. Just as they did to Bedford the week previous, the home pack turned the screw in the scrum, allowing No.8 Matt Evans to burrow over for his third try of the season. Di Bernardo obliged with the easy conversion, then repeated the feat when Roke was the beneficiary of some comical passing from the Chiefs inside their own 22 four minutes later.

Replacements aplenty flowed from both dug-outs as the game petered out into a more processional pace. Di Bernardo added to his tally with a third penalty on 67 minutes, before Luff's late intervention rounded things off. Afterwards, Pirates coach Jim McKay said: "Obviously I'm pleased with the result, but I was a little disappointed with some of our completion sets. We showed what we could do in patches, but then we eased off a bit. "Fair play to them, they kept coming at us and they were always a threat. Our focus is very much about performance and at times our play was a little sloppy and it allowed them back into the game. We must make sure we sort that out, but we'll take the five points as Exeter are a very good side."

With tough trips to Nottingham and Rotherham next up for McKay and his men, this latest result is the ideal tonic ahead of what promises to be a tough fortnight for the Cornish club.

In the opposite camp, Drewett admitted his side had been left "disappointed" by the final outcome. He said: "We knew this was going to be a very strong Pirates side. The lads are very disappointed. But for three or four crucial errors it could have been a very competitive match.

"I think for all the lads - both sides - it was a positive, competitive derby match. That's what we want in Devon and Cornwall, this is the sort of stuff we want to see. From our point of view we'd very much like to have eradicated some of those errors, then it would have been more exciting for everyone."

Drewett admitted the Pirates had showed their ruthless streak by punishing the Chiefs at every opportunity. He added: "At this level you get your opportunity and you have to maximise it. Fair play to the Pirates, they did exactly that. "Now we have to work hard as a squad to make sure we do the same. All the top sides in this division are competitive, but I still believe we can beat anyone on a given day. We just have to put those little bits and pieces together."

Next up for the Chiefs is Saturday's home clash with Moseley.

Cornish Pirates 37pts: Tries - Roke 2, McKeen, Evans; Conversions - Di Bernardo 4; Penalties - Di Bernardo 3.

Exeter Chiefs 20pts: Tries - M Fatialofa, Luff; Conversions - Yapp, Staniforth; Penalties - Yapp 2

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke (H Barratt 56), D Bell (S Winn 73), L Vinnicombe; A Di Bernardo (J Moore 80), G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi (O Hambly 76), S Heard (G Anderson 68); J Inglis, J Beardshaw (S Hobson 77); S McKeen , I Motusaga (T Cowley 56), M Evans. Yellow Card: Winnan.

Exeter Chiefs: B Breeze; J Luff, J Fatialofa, M Fatialofa, T Bedford (P Fisher 22-38, 68); T Yapp (A Staniforth 66), K Barrett (R Bolt 68); S Bennett (S Jenkins 66), S Blythe (R Liddington 71), J Horn-Smith (Blythe 75); O Hodge (J Hanks 50), I Brown, T Walker, A Miller (M Rickner 71), R Baxter (capt).

Referee: D Newitt (RFU)

CORNISH ROUND UP 28th October by Bill Hooper


National League 2

No question this was the match of the day in National League 2 with second playing top at Polson. In the end Esher prevailed with a strong second half performance, outscoring their hosts by 24-3 in front of Polson's biggest crowd of the season.

Kicking honours were even during the first period with Cornish All Blacks' Sam Young and Esher's Ian Hallett kicking three penalties apiece. The difference on the scoreboard proved to be an injury time try scored by lock Steve Pape, who smashed through the Esher defence, Young's conversion gave the home crowd hope for a good second half performance to seal the win, especially as Esher were down to 14 men as flanker Mike Blackburn was in the bin for the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

It was not to be. Esher's winger Bevan Armitage found his way through some weak defence to score a fine try after only two minutes of the second half, Hallet's conversion levelling the scores. Back to full strength, Esher scored another try after 60 minutes when the division's leading try scorer, Matt Moore, scored in the corner, evading the attention of full back Ryan Westren. Hallett kicked a second conversion and a further penalty 7 minutes later to put his side in a commanding 26-16 lead.

Young reduced the deficit with a fourth penalty of his own. However, the points were well and truly sealed when Armitage latched on to a Steve Perry pass as the Cornish All Blacks attempted to launch an attack from deep. The Esher winger had a simple run in, Hallett another conversion.

This result, coupled with Blackheath's win over Halifax, sees the Cornish All Blacks slip to third in the table, with Henley and Stourbridge breathing down their necks only a point adrift. There is a dogfight for that second promotion spot. Iit may prove to be the challenge that they need to kick on again. We shall see.


National League 2

The Reds have turned the form book on its head in recent weeks and this fourth successive win has silenced the doom merchants good and proper.

It wasn't the prettiest of games but 4 points on the road is always welcome and, as in any league, a bonus.

The Reds were forced into a couple of changes, with hooker Darren Dawiduik recalled by the Cornish Pirates and scrum half Mark Richards unable to travel. Marek Churcher took over the No 9 shirt and, with young Paul Teixeira slotting in at full back, Sam Harrison took on the hooking duties.

A wayward pass from the Reds allowed Nuns' winger Lee Parry to score the opening try on 12 minutes, which Gareth Cull converted. Reds' own Welsh points machine, Mike Hook, kicked a penalty to open the Reds' account a few minutes later.

Cull kicked a penalty to extend the home side's advantage to 10-7 after 30 mins. Reds' winger Nathan Pedley had to leave the field temporarily with a cut, Sam Brown deputising as the Reds re-jigged their backs, Churcher moving to the wing, with Brown at scrum-half.

Hook kicked a couple of penalties to bring the Reds back to within a point, before taking the lead almost on half time from a try by No 8 Mark Bright scored out wide.

Cull kicked an early penalty in the second half for Nuns as they took the game to the Reds, whose defence held firm. A monster penalty from Cull gave the home side a two point advantage as the game entered the final quarter.

Redruth made three changes, with Brown returning at scrum-half and young Dan Job at hooker and Peter Joyce at prop gave the visitors fresh impetus.

Hook kicked a fourth penalty to regain the lead for Redruth on 67 minutes. Hook's long kicks pinned the home side deep in their own half, forcing them to attack from deep. From such a position Hook charged down a clearance kick, which centre PJ Gidlow gathered to score Redruth's second and, which proved to be, match-winning try.

Redruth can now travel to old foes Barking next Saturday in good heart with a strong belief in their ability to return home with another good result.

Outside of the National League games involving Cornish clubs, it was a weekend dominated by the various EDF Energy cups. There was, however, one Cornwall and Devon League match played, with Perranporth losing at home to Wellington by 29-3. The Brewers remain anchored at the foot of the league without a point.

In the Trophy, St. Ives entertained fellow SW1 side Basingstoke and booked a second round berth with an 18-3 win. The Hakes, trailing 3-0 at half-time, scored 18 unanswered points during the second half, with three tries from Nick Wolfgramm, Grant Thirlby and Richard Tucker, Thirlby also kicking a penalty goal.

In the Intermediate Cup, there was a win and loss for the Cornish clubs involved in the opening round. Camborne progressed at home against Cheltenham Tigers by 24-18. Skipper Dave Roberts got the opening Town try, with further touchdowns coming from Aisea Fisilau and Rob Ley, David Mankee kicking the other points.

Penryn exited the competition at the first hurdle, losing at the Memorial Ground to Frome 16-7. The sole Penryn try was scored by Dave Pascoe, with Ian Morgan kicking the conversion.

In the Senior Vase 2nd Round ties, Wadebridge Camels had a very good win at Okehampton by 25-7. Hayle joined the Camels in Round 3 with a fine win at Wessex by 20-8. There were defeats however, for Truro at home to Tavistock by 27-3 and Bude, surprisingly, at Paignton 29-8.

In the London section of the draw, London Cornish had a very fine win over higher league opposition, defeating Old Reigatian by 34-10, making it nine wins on the trot for the exiles.

The Junior Vase 2nd Round produced wins for Stithians, who defeated Redruth Albany at Trewirgie 13-0 in the only All Cornish tie, Roseland, who beat Plympton Victoria 36-9, Saltash, who got the better of Prince Rock/Woodland Fort 40-23, Helston, former finalists in the Junior Vase, 17-14 victors over OPM's, and Liskeard & Looe, who had a walkover against Tamar Saracens.

The other Cornish sides bowing out were Newquay Hornets, defeated at the Sports Centre by Old Public Oaks 14-3, and Illogan Park, beaten at Plymouth Civil Service 13-9.

4th/5th November 2006

CORNISH ROUND UP 4th November by Bill Hooper


National League 2

After two defeats the Cornish All Blacks got their promotion bid back on track with a six-try win over Nuneaton at the Polson Ground last Saturday. This result, coupled with Blackheath's large defeat at Stourbridge, saw the Cornish outfit back up to second place in the league.

Former T.A.S.C. Cornwall U.20 player of the year, full back Ryan Westren, came into the line and broke the cover to score an early try in the corner after only two minutes. Nonetheless, it was to be the visitors who scored next when Nuneaton winger Jody Peacock won the race to a charged-down ball to score; his try was converted by full back Jon Lowdon.

Sam Young made amends for his charged-down kick with a penalty success to re-gain the lead for the East Cornwall side, a lead they were not to lose. Winger Kieron Lewitt then scored the first of his two tries of the afternoon to stretch his side's lead.

The visitors then enjoyed a period of territorial advantage, which saw them gain a second penalty through Peacock. The Cornish All Blacks struck again before the half's end, with Lewitt scoring his second try of the game following some strong running from Westren. Young's conversion saw the Cornish All Blacks lead at half time 20-10.

Nuneaton lost a player to the sin-bin early in the second half. Flanker Wayne Sprangle was on hand to finish off a fine move and earn the try-scoring bonus point.

Launceston lost their influential fly half Young when he injured himself making a tackle, Mark Scrivener replacing him and kicking a fine penalty to stretch the lead once more to 28-10.

The visitors enjoyed another score when flanker Alex Shaw scored their second try, again converted by Lowdon, reward for their hard work. However, it was the Cornish All Blacks who had the final say, with two more tries scored by No8 Stuart Williams and replacement hooker Jason Bolt, with Scrivener kicking a conversion.


National League 2

Redruth recorded their fifth straight win and a first success ever at Barking's Goresbrook ground to maintain their recent fine run. Yet early on it appeared that Redruth's run might come to an abrupt halt. Trailing by 15 points after 22 minutes and with influential scrum half Mark Richards sitting out a spell in the sin-bin, the Reds were very much up against it. An early penalty by Harry Bryan was followed by a try from scrum half Andy Eaton, converted by Bryan, then a second Barking try from flanker, Sevanaia Rokobara.

Richards, back on the field after his misdemeanour, took a hold on the game and began to pull the strings as Redruth began to work their way back into the match. But Redruth had further problems as second row Luke Collins was yellow carded.

Richards set up winger Nathan Pedley for a try on the half hour mark, which was disallowed for an infringement by another Reds' player. A Redruth try was not long in coming and No 8 Mark Bright was at the centre of affairs as his break set up centre PJ Gidlow, who scored. Fly half Mike Hook added the conversion. (It was a good day for the Hook family as brother James was busy pulling Wales back into the game in Cardiff against Australia.) Hook then kicked a penalty on the stroke of half time to leave the Reds trailing 15-10 at the turnaround.

Redruth got off to a great start early in the second half when winger Mark Lea latched on to a Barking pass. Making ground, he set up his skipper Craig Bonds for a fine try under the posts; Hook's conversion put the Reds into the lead.

Redruth's young full back Paul Teixeira almost scored a try on 46 minutes. However, the referee felt he had lost control of the ball in the act of scoring. The youngster was in the thick of it once more as he was high-tackled by Barking's winger Felise Ah-Ling, who earned a yellow card, thus enabling Hook to kick another penalty goal.

The industrious Bright was on hand to score the Reds' third try after some good work from Hook on 64 minutes, Hook once again adding the extras.

Redruth looked for the bonus point and it was not long in coming with Teixeira scoring the try on 76 minutes. The final try went to Pedley, with Hook converting both for a personal tally of 16 points.

Redruth are back at the Recreation Ground to take on Manchester on Armistice Day in front of what should be a large and very vocal crowd.

In South West 1, it was Cornish derby Act 1 as St. Ives visited table-topping Mount's Bay in a mouth-watering and eagerly-anticipated match. The home side emerged triumphant 20-10 in front of some 1,500 spectators at the Mennaye to maintain their top spot in the league. Bay were made to work hard as St. Ives led 10-3. Grant Thirlby kicked a penalty and converted Luke Trescothick's try. Lee Jarvis kicked a couple of penalties for the Bay and converted both tries scored by Tom Outram and Johnny Morrison.

In South West 2 West, Camborne had a fine win at Exmouth, winning by 17-12. Town scored three tries through Andy Smith, Brett Wafker and Rob Lee.

Penryn are looking like relegation certainties at this early stage of the season following another heavy defeat, this time at St. Mary's Old Boys by 67-11. Josh Chambers scored the Borough's only try and Dave Pascoe kicked a couple of penalties.

In Western Counties West, Hayle entertained Bude in their own Cornish derby, with Hayle cementing their second spot in the league with a 22-15 over their North Cornwall rivals. Bude led 15-14 with ten minutes to go. Mark Dennis and Paul Williams had scored Bude's tries, with Andy Yates kicking the points. Hayle got ahead thanks to a Ben Eddy try. Paull Lello kicked four penalties and Kevin Jenkin scored the other Lion's try.

Truro remain anchored to the foot of the table following their 57-7 defeat at Kingsbridge.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels are the leaders following their 39-7 win over St. Austell. Perranporth remain pointless and bottom after a seventh defeat against Wessex by 42-3. A very much depleted Falmouth side travelled to Paignton and were trounced 61-3!

In the latest Tamar League match, played on Monday night at Sandy Park, a Launceston Development XV beat Exeter United by 25-7. Try scorers for Launceston were Barry Chapman, Ben Collins, Gareth Lovell and Nick Holt. Mark Scrivener kicked a penalty and Kieron Lewitt a conversion.



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

A sixth successive league victory ensured the Cornish Pirates will head into this Saturday's top-of-the-table clash with the Earth Titans as the form side in National League One.

Jim McKay's Pirates were never at their best against hosts Nottingham on Sunday, but the Cornish club still had enough in the tank to seal a win, which helped lift them back into second spot in the standings, just a point behind their Yorkshire hosts.

Having trailed to an early penalty from former Pirate Tom Barlow, the visitors hit back well to lead 18-3 in almost as many minutes. However, instead of building on their opening half advantage, which was 21-10 by the turn, the Duchy's finest were guilty of far too many handling mistakes after the break and with it the chance of a bonus point was spurned.

Although frustrated not to have claimed all five points, Pirates' coach Jim McKay was more than satisfied to secure another victory. He said: "It was an important win for us and it's something we can happily take into next week. It helps keep the momentum going, which is important.

"We're happy with the win, a lot of good effort went into it, but gee we only showed what we are truly capable of in patches. At times we looked very good and we had them on the rack, but at other times we didn't and we allowed little errors to creep into our game."

Had the Pirates made the most of their opportunities, particularly second half, then another maximum haul would have been safely accrued. Sadly they didn't.

For McKay, though, this victory in the heartland of Robin Hood was just the tonic the Aussie and his team needed ahead of Saturday's 'Clash with the Titans'.

The Pirates' chief took the opportunity of running his eye over Andre Bester's side during their 14-11 loss at Plymouth Albion on Saturday. Not surprisingly, McKay was impressed by what he saw from his former club.

"Saturday is going to be a very big test for us, but it's a game we're very much looking forward to," said McKay. "We know what's at stake and it's a good opportunity for us. We'll work hard this week in preparation for that game and hopefully that will stand us in good stead."

Part of that build-up will include the Cornish outfit setting up base in the Midlands in a bid to cut out yet another long trek up the motorways.

"It's a bit different to normal, but it won't change the way we prepare for the game itself. We will be fully focussed on the task ahead," stressed McKay.

Having trailed to Barlow's penalty after just 46 seconds, the in-form Pirates wasted little time in pulling their hosts back into line. Di Bernardo slotted a ninth-minute penalty, before doubling his tally just seven minutes later to make it 6-3.

The Italian's strike-rate certainly helped ease the Pirates' early nerves - and once they kicked into their normal game - so flooded in the points. Sustained pressure from the visitors brought about a try for skipper Gavin Cattle in the left corner, then the visitors made the most of Peter Cook's sin-binning to add a second score through flanker Iva Motusaga, this time converted by Di Bernardo.

Further opportunities followed for McKay's men, but they were unable to add to their tally. In fact it was the home side who cut the deficit when former Exeter back Ben Thompson applied the finish to a slick home move, Barlow converting.

With the half all but up, Di Bernardo fired over a third penalty, before adding a fourth just three minutes after the restart to put the Pirates firmly in control at 24-10 up.

This cushion should have provided the Pirates with the impetus to kick-on, but far too often they were found guilty of over-playing and some sloppy handling. The mistakes allowed Nottingham to grow in confidence and gave them a belief they could gain something from their toils.

Although they pressed hard, it was not until five minutes from time that Nottingham dented the scoreline, Barlow notching a second penalty to make it 24-13.

With the bonus point within reach, the home side pushed hard as the clocked ticked by; their efforts were finally rewarded when referee Chris Sharp awarded them a penalty try, converted by Barlow, eight minutes into injury time.

Barlow's kick, however, was the last of the action and it was the Pirates who headed into Sherwood Forest another four points richer.

Nottingham 20pts: Tries - Thompson, Penalty Try; Conversions - Barlow 2; Penalties - Barlow 2

Cornish Pirates 24pts: Tries - Cattle, Motusaga; Conversion - Di Bernardo; Penalties - Di Bernardo 4

Nottingham: R Nirmalendrah; B Thompson, J Wilson, T Molenaar (W Coles h/t), D Jackson (S Meek 62); T Barlow, R Springall; P Cook (M Parr 62), J Duffey (N Corin 72), R Hopkins (N Hall 58); N Rouse, L Morley (capt, S Raven 58), T Stannard, A Loney, T George (C Hammond h/t). Yellow Card: Cook

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; J Hylton (D Bell 68), H Barrett, S Winn (D Roke 68), L Vinnicombe (J Moore 80); A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi, S Heard (G Anderson 62, N Makin 80); J Inglis, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga, M Evans (C Cracknell 80).
Replacement (not used): S Hobson. Yellow Card: Vinnicombe

Referee: C Sharp (RFU)

Attendance: 1,709

11th November 2006



National League 1. By Guy Williams at Clifton Lane, for the Western Morning News.

Cornish Pirates' outstanding second-half recovery in National One's match of the day took them to the top of the League and their ninth win in 11 games gained revenge for their heavy defeat at Clifton Lane last season. On this occasion, the Pirates were far too strong after the interval, and their ability to fight back from being 18-0 down against the overnight leaders says much about the character and the quality of the squad. With a powerful gale behind their backs, Rotherham's Earth Titans 18-0 lead at the break appeared to have given them a measure of control, particularly with home advantage.

The Pirates, who had conceded tries on 19 and 40 minutes to centre Bernard Hennessey and fly-half Gareth Steenson, did not seem too concerned, and as their forwards had won a decent amount of ball and had launched several attacks, hints of a probable turnaround were clearly evident.

In the first half the home side's tackling and defence had been sharp and effective, but as the second unfolded, the Titans struggled to cope with the ferocity of the Pirates' pack, which ensured that the Yorkshiremen visited their opponents' 22 only twice.

Skipper and scrum-half, Gavin Cattle, launched the fightback with the second half only 30 seconds old. The Titans lost control of the ball from the restart and in a flash, Cattle pounced to steal it and score. With fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo adding the first of his three conversions, the recovery was well under way, and just four minutes later, the Yorkshire club's lead was slashed further following a penalty from the division's leading point-scorer. The Pirates now trailed by just 18-10 with the wind now in their favour and, vitally, with more than 30 minutes remaining. The forwards dominated possession and repeatedly controlled the ball in the Titans' half, so it came as no surprise that a second try was executed.

What was a shock was the ease with which Welsh centre Steve Winn smashed through to grab his first score for the club on 55 minutes. The simple conversion by Di Bernardo cut the gap to only 18-17. The momentum was now firmly in the Pirates' direction as the hosts began to look like a beaten side.

The match-winning try, scored by winger Lewis Vinnicombe in the 69th minute, followed a successful scrum close to the posts. The attack switched to the right and the quick transfer of the ball put the former Redruth flyer over in the corner. The Pirates led for the first time at 22-18 and once Di Bernardo's accurate touchline conversion went over, the Pirates moved further in front to 24-18, and with no sign of the home side making constructive use of their limited possession, the league leaders were toppled.

"We took the gamble to stay away after the Nottingham win and it worked out well for us," explained coach Jim McKay. "We changed a few things technically at half-time, but I put the win down to hard work. I was pleased with the collective spirit we showed. The forwards bounced back and I'm happy for the boys who've had a good two weeks." Meanwhile, Pirates' skipper Cattle said the Titans' 18-0 lead had not been enough in favourable conditions: "We were pretty confident we could pull it back. The pack weren't 100 per cent in the first half but the boys responded. It's good to be top but it's a long season and any one of four clubs can go top if one loses. We've got London Welsh next and that's the next focus."

Earth Titans 18: Tries - Hennessey, Steenson. Conversion - Steenson; Penalties - Steenson 2.

Cornish Pirates 24: Tries - Cattle, Winn, Vinnicombe; Conversions - Di Bernardo 3; Penalty - Di Bernardo.

Earth Titans: M Whitehead; B Tuohy, B Burke, B Hennessey, T Allen; G Steenson (E Classens 72), J Bedford (J Blackwood 79), S Walsh, N Hanna (N Conroy 67), A Hopcroft; H Head (L McGowan 56), E Lund (S Jacobsz 65); H Fourie, N Cochrane (capt, M McComish 43), J Bornman.
Replacement (not used): S Croall
Yellow Card: Burke

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan (D Roke 59); R McAtee, H Barratt, S Winn, L Vinnicombe (J Hylton 75); A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi, S Heard (D Seal 70); J Inglis, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga (C Cracknell 66), M Evans (D Seal 20-28).
Replacements (not used): J Moore, S Hobson, N Makin
Yellow Card: Paver

Referee: D Newitt (RFU).


National League 2. By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.

A sixth successive win for Redruth sees them continue their climb up National League 2, maintaining their fine run against a side that beat them twice in the league last season; though they will be the first to admit that it should have been a much more emphatic win against a Manchester side that offered very little on the day.

Prior to kick-off a minute's silence was observed in memory of Scots Royal Marine Craig Hodgkinson, who so tragically died during the Royal Navy v Cornwall Development match at Devonport on Tuesday evening, not forgetting it being also Armistice Day.

From the kick off, with Redruth playing down the slope in the first half, the home side took play to the visitors. A break in the first minute saw No 8 Mark Bright surging towards the line in the Piggy Lane corner. Moments later centre PJ Gidlow caused panic in the Manchester defence, off-loading to prop forward Darren Jacques, who unfortunately knocked on with the try-line begging. It was then the turn of skipper Craig Bonds making a dash down the touchline before being forced into touch just short of the line. It was all Redruth and a score seemed certain, yet a combination of over-eagerness coupled with some resolute defending by the visitors contrived to keep Redruth at bay.

After 10 minutes Redruth finally got on the scoreboard. Manchester were guilty of pulling a maul down, giving fly half Mike Hook the chance to finally open the Reds' account with a penalty, which he kicked comfortably.

The Redruth half backs, Hook and scrum half Mark Richards, were calling the shots as they initiated attack upon attack. The pressure finally paid off when Hook charged down a clearance from centre Scott Rawlings just outside the Manchester 22. The Welshman calmly kicked on before gathering to score under the posts on 19 minutes, his conversion of his own try giving Redruth a 10-0 advantage. Redruth continued to dominate but were unable to add to their score. Indeed, as the half drew to a close Manchester came more into the game and enjoyed a period of pressure, that was relieved for the Reds by a surging break by Kiwi Bright charging up the grandstand touchline, sending a couple of Manchester players flying, much to the delight of the vocal home support.

Redruth began the second half much as they had the first, dominating play, with little outcome. The players were becoming frustrated and some anxiety crept into the play, especially after Manchester's Gareth Wynne reduced the Reds' lead with a penalty, player coming into the maul from the side, after 48 minutes from 30 meters. Reds' full back Paul Teixeira, who received a cut to the head during the first half, was cynically taken out by Manchester flanker Danny Collins. All Redruth got was the penalty to set up a catch and drive into the opposition's 22, hooker Darren Dawiduik powering on with Bright in support. The No 8 got turned over in the tackle and the chance was lost. Frustration was bound to boil over with Gidlow for Redruth, and No 8 Jon Keep for Manchester being spoken to by referee Mr Parker-Sedgemore after a fracas near the touchline.

The breakthrough came finally after 69 minutes. Following a scrum near the Manchester line, centre field, Richards spotting a gap shot through with a run that took him almost to the line. Nathan Pascoe, on as replacement for John Navin, was on hand as a good backrow forward should be to take the scoring pass for Redruth's second try under the posts. Hooks conversion sent a palpable sigh of relief around the ground.

From the re-start Redruth gave away a penalty, and Manchester kicked to the corner in search of a try. Redruth's defence remained firm as they cleared their lines. Errors from both sides crept in as the gloom descended on the Recreation Ground. However, No8 Bright, named Redruth's man of the match, scored a third try for the Reds during stoppage time, crossing near the posts, Hook's third successful conversion proved to be the final points of the match.

Redruth take their winning run off to Yorkshire in two weeks time with Bradford & Bingley as their opponents, who it will be remembered, put an end to the Cornish All Blacks fine start!

Scores: Redruth: tries Hook, Pascoe, Bright, Pen, Cons (3) Hook
Manchester: Pen, Wynne

Redruth: P. Teixeira (M. Churcher 17-27 & 67), M. Lea, C. Bonds (capt), PJ Gidlow, N. Pedley, M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques, D. Dawiduik, P. Joyce (A. Morcom 70), D. Cook. L. Collins, J. Navin (N. Pascoe 45), J. Mann, M. Bright.
Rep not used; D. Job


National League 2.

No 8 Dave Kimberley led the way with a hat-trick of tries for the Cornish All Blacks in their ten-try romp at Claro Road on Saturday, a result which keeps them in second place in National League 2.

Mark Scrivener, deputising for the injured Sam Young at fly-half, kicked a couple of early penalties for the Cornish All Blacks, before Kimberley scored his first two tries in quick succession from scrums near the Harrogate line.

Despite Harrogate having some possession, the Cornish All Blacks hit their hosts with three further tries just before half-time from centre Kevin Francis, winger Keiron Lewitt, and full back Ryan Westren, with Scrivener kicking two conversions for a healthy lead at the break.

The Cornish All Blacks were in no mood to let up during the second period and ran in another five tries in a performance that joint head coach Chris Brown described as "the first 80 minute performance we've had this season".

Flanker Wayne Sprangle got the first try of the second half from a catch-and-drive. Replacement lock Tom Parker got on the scoresheet with a try which Scivener converted to make it 47-0 with thirty minutes to play!

Josh Lord made sure that the all the back row boys got on the scoreboard with a fine try in a move which he initiated before linking up with Kevin Francis and from the ensuing maul Lord scored. Kimberley completed his hat-trick of tries from another pushover try. Replacement wing Andy Matchett rounded off the scoring with the Cornish All Blacks' tenth try of the afternoon.

CORNISH ROUND UP 11th November by Bill Hooper

In South West 1, Mount's Bay saw off the challenge of a resurgent Bracknell in recent weeks with a 36-7 win. Bay, using their wide game, scored three first half tries through flanker Steve Dyer, full back Thom Berry and fly half Lee Jarvis. Jarvis converted all three scores as well as a penalty. Wingers Tom Edyvean and Ollie Faulkner scored second half tries for the Bay, with Jarvis adding another conversion.

St. Ives got back to winning ways with a 23-15 win over visitors Reading at Alexander Road. Aaron Baignet scored both the Hakes' tries, with Grant Thirlby kicking the conversions and three penalties.

In South West 2 West, Camborne are up to third in the league following their 32-20 win over visitors Newton Abbot. Architect of Town's win was young fly half Mike Provis, who continues to enhance his reputation with a haul of 22 points from a try, conversion, four penalties and a drop goal! Adrian Downing and Andrew Smith scored the other tries for Camborne.

At the other end of the table Penryn's losing run continues, this time at the hands of Torquay Athletic at the Memorial Ground. The Tics ran out winners by 35-8. Ian Morgan scored a try and a penalty for the Borough.

In Western Counties West, Hayle maintained their pursuit of league leaders Barnstaple with a fine win away against Devonport Services. Trailing at one point 14-6, after two Paul Lello penalties, the Lions clawed their way back to pinch the points. Lello kicked a couple more penalties during the second half and then caught the Services napping when he took a quick tap to score a soft try, then adding the conversion. Kevin Jenkin then scored a second try for Hayle which Lello converted to put them 26-17 up. A late converted try from the Services wasn't enough to deny the brave Lions.

Bude regained winning form following three successive defeats with a 20-12 win over Kingsbridge. Scrum-half Dan Frost scored two tries, with fly-half Steve Yates a third for the North Cornwall side, Paul Williams' boot adding the other points.

Truro suffered another heavy defeat at home, this time to Sidmouth who won 41-3. Mike Patterson kicked Truro's solitary points from a penalty.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels lost top spot after only drawing with Cullompton 5-5, Ian Boyling scoring the Camels' try.

Falmouth recorded a welcome win, defeating South Molton 23-13 at the Recreation Ground. Kevin Hughes, Darren Pellow and Tim Gay scored tries for Falmouth.

St. Austell lost 18-0 at home to Wessex, whilst Perranporth remain firmly at the foot of the table following a 31-17 defeat at Ponsmere Valley by Honiton.

In London 4 SW, London Cornish's fine run came to an end at home on Saturday as Cobham ran out winners 28-7 at the Richardson Evans Memorial Playing Fields. (See Dickon Moon's match report in the forums.)

In a Tamar League match played on Sunday at Redruth, the Westcountry Warriors beat the Redruth Development XV 27-10. Adam Keverne scored a try for the Reds, which was converted by Alan Rule, Matt Thomas kicking an earlier penalty. Reds No 8 Ashley Lawton went off injured with a shoulder injury; we all wish "Viper" well and hope to see him back on the paddock soon. Former Cornwall hooker Graham Dawe made an appearance for the Warriors: it's always good to see Graham down in this part of the Duchy.

18th/19th November 2006



By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

A storming second half display - including a timely treble from Rhodri McAtee - helped return the Cornish Pirates back to the summit of National League One yesterday.

Having been briefly ousted from top spot 24 hours earlier by near neighbours Plymouth Albion, the Pirates served up yet another Sunday special by claiming all five points against visiting London Welsh.

Welsh whizzkid McAtee led the way with his second half hat-trick, while hooker Vili Ma'asi, flanker Chris Cracknell and a penalty try helped put the seal on the Pirates' sixth successive home win of the season.

For 40 minutes, however, the visiting Exiles were more than a match for their high-flying hosts. Indeed, they had the cheek to lead at the break, scrum-half Robbie Shaw's converted try on the stroke of half-time ensured the capital city visitors of a 13-12 lead.

It was a scoreline which clearly unsettled the natives - and a scenario, which had left both them and the Pirates in new uncharted waters. In six games at Camborne this term, no visiting side has led at the break.

The Exiles, however, were worthy of their slender advantage. Having survived a strong opening blast from the Pirates, one which had brought about Ma'asi's early touchdown, plus the penalty try - converted by Alberto Di Bernardo - the visitors slowly began to fight fire with fire.

Full-back Sam Ulph fired them back into contention with a penalty on 26 minutes, then he repeated the dose with a similar effort just before the break to make it 12-6.

But with the half all but up, the Exiles stunned their Cornish counterparts when good turnover ball on the left flank allowed the lively Shaw to snipe down the touchline, before he evaded the onrushing challenge of home wing Lewis Vinnicombe to score in the corner. Ulph landed the tough touchline conversion to bring a close to proceedings.

As McKay later explained, tough words were needed in the home camp during the half-time break.

"We had a few words at half-time because the first half wasn't acceptable," said McKay. "Before the game we had set out a number of objectives we wanted to achieve, but we didn't get anywhere near them in the first half.

"They [Welsh] are a very proud side and they pushed us real hard. They deserved to be in front at the break as they played very well and they took their chances. In the first half we played too much as individuals, but in the second half we played very much as a team - and that was the key difference."

Whilst it's unlikely the affable Australian resorted to the Sir Alex Ferguson-style 'hairdyer' treatment, whatever message McKay instilled into his troops during the interval, it clearly had the desired effect on their resumption.

A Di Bernardo penalty five minutes into the second period restored the home side's lead to 15-13 - and from that point the Pirates kicked into overdrive as Welsh struggled to cope with their power and pace.

Again gaining the authority up front, the Pirates piled on the pressure and with it came a flurry of points. Strong work from the home eight saw one of their driving mauls deliberately hauled to the floor, an indiscretion which led to Welsh skipper Howard Quigley spending ten minutes in the bin, and from the ensuing passage of play, it was flanker Cracknell, who dived over at a scrum close in.

Although Di Bernardo's conversion attempt fell short, the play-making fly-half was able to administer the extras to McAtee's first two tries on 68 and 73 minutes.

On both occasions, star man Duncan Roke was the key instigator, the experienced centre twice cutting through the Welsh back division before offloading to the grateful McAtee to cross.

Better was to follow for the lively speedster, who today goes off for a brief training stint with the Welsh Sevens squad. With two minutes of time remaining, excellent ball retention from the home side created the opening for McAtee to scorch in for his third.

This time Di Bernardo's replacement, James Moore, was on hand to fire over the tough touchline conversion to seal victory.

Cornish Pirates 41: Tries - Ma'asi, Penalty Try; Cracknell, McAtee 3; Conversions - Di Bernardo 3, Moore; Penalty - Di Bernardo

London Welsh 13: Try - Shaw; Conversion - Ulph; Penalties - Ulph 2

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke, S Winn, L Vinnicombe; A Di Bernardo (J Moore 76), G Cattle (capt); A Paver (G Anderson 69), V Ma'asi (N Makin 69), S Heard (D Seal 65); J Inglis (H Senekal 58), J Beardshaw; C Cracknell, I Motusaga (S Betty 33), M Evans.
Replacement (not used): D Bell.

London Welsh: S Ulph; T Holgate (A Hopkins 80), J Storey, D Hayward, J Greenwood; L Cholewa (M Meenan 65), R Shaw, (O Walbyoff, 80); D Williams, C Ritchie (S Millard 69), C Hannon (P Durant 65); H Quigley (capt, J Pettermerides 65), A Slade; B McNamee, M Anayi (P Clarke 69), R Griffith.
Yellow Card: Quigley.

Referee: T Beddow (RFU)

Attendance: 2,458

CORNISH ROUND UP 18th November by Bill Hooper

Outside of National League 1 it was mostly EDF-Energy Cup matches, with just a couple of Cornwall & Devon league encounters.

Everyone connected with Cornish rugby will have been delighted to see Phil Vickery back at International level when he came on as a replacement for Andrew Sheridan in the first test against South Africa at Twickenham. Phil was on hand to burrow over for the match-winning try, which Andy Goode converted to give England a 23-21 win, putting to an end a seven match-losing streak. Proper Job!

St. Ives made the long trek to Kent to take on National League 3 South side Canterbury in the 2nd Round of the National Trophy. Despite putting up a brave fight, the Hakes bowed out, losing 26-16 to their higher league hosts. Aaron Baigent and Sam Snee scored tries for St. Ives, with Grant Thirlby kicking a couple of penalties.

In the Intermediate Cup 2nd Round, in the only tie played involving a Cornish club, Camborne travelled to Weston-super-Mare who play in South West 1 and lost by 67-17. Camborne scored a couple of tries through Andrew Smith and Brett Wakfer, Wakfer kicking the remaining points. Mount's Bay had a walkover as St. Mary's Old Boys couldn't raise a side.

A good day for Cornish sides in the Senior Vase, with all three progressing. Hayle won impressively at Ivybridge by 32-3. Prop Doug Wood scored two of the Lions' four tries, with other touchdowns coming from Neal Turner and Danny Nicholls. Paul Lello kicked the goals, with Jimmy Tresize adding a drop goal.

Cornwall and Devon high-flyers Wadebridge Camels beat Western Counties West side Devonport Services at the Rectory 27-25 to progress to Round 3.

In the S.E. section of the draw, London Cornish defeated higher league opposition, winning at Old Dunstonians 20-10. Dickon Moon has a very good match report of this game in the forums.

The Junior Vase saw a very good win for Stithians, who travelled to Devonport HSOB's, winning by 18-10. Liskeard & Looe won at Plymouth Civil Service by 29-21, and finally Helston came out on top in the only all-Cornish affair at Roseland by 21-18.

The only other Cornish side to exit at this stage was Saltash, who lost at Old Public Oaks by 31-5.

The two Cornwall & Devon league matches played brought little cheer for the Cornish clubs involved. Cullompton defeated Perranporth 76-5 who having lost all nine of their league games so far remain rooted to the foot of the table. Cullompton go top after this win.

No joy either for St. Austell, who lost 18-5 at Okehampton and are just above Perranporth in the league table with just two league points from nine matches played.

The Mennaye Field stages tonight (Monday) the latest Cornish Pirates Academy match, as they take on Irish opposition in the form of Leinster Development XV. Kick off is 7-45pm.

25th November 2006



By David Tyler at Cross Green, for the Western Morning News

Cornish Pirates' coach Jim McKay admitted he and his side had been left "bitterly disappointed" after they slipped to defeat against Otley on Saturday. Having seen off the Yorkshiremen 39-0 in the opening fixture of the season at Camborne, Otley gained sweet revenge in this return fixture, inflicting a third league defeat of the campaign on the visiting Pirates. To make matters worse for the Pirates, the loss not only saw them drop from the top of the division to fourth spot, but they had to play the final ten minutes of the match with 14 men following the dismissal of back-row forward Tim Cowley for a late tackle on Otley fly-half Simon Binns.

Yesterday McKay confirmed the Pirates would study the match video before deciding whether or not to appeal against the red card handed out by referee Terry Hall. The Australian coach said afterwards: "We are bitterly disappointed with the result, but fair play to Otley they played very well and they deserved to win the game.

"We have a no excuse mentality and we are disappointed because we didn't deliver on the goals we had set ourselves before the game. We made too many mistakes during the match and if you make that many mistakes in a game, it's always going to be tough going."

With little to choose between either side in the early exchanges, it took until the 27th minute before Otley broke the game's deadlock, flanker Robin Kitching firing over a drop-goal. Moments later and Otley added to their tally, Binns firing over a penalty after visiting flanker Chris Cracknell was yellow-carded for a technical offence by referee Hall.

The Pirates, however, roared back in the closing minutes of the half as leading scorer Alberto Di Bernardo sent over two quickfire penalties, one of which also resulted in a sin-binning for home centre Paul Mooney, to level the scores at the interval.

A third penalty from the Argentinian playmaker just two minutes after the break put the Cornishmen in front for the first time, but again indiscipline from the visitors saw Welsh centre Steve Winn banished to the sin-bin after he flattened home skipper Ian Shuttleworth as he looked to follow up a chip kick over the top.

With the numerical advantage, Otley made the Pirates pay, lock Howard Parr driving over on 48 minutes to put the hosts in front 11-9. However, home celebrations were quickly curtailed as the Pirates regained the lead on 51 minutes, Cracknell driving over for his second try in as many games.

But instead of kicking on, like they did against London Welsh the previous week, the Pirates allowed Otley to regain the initiative, the deadly boot of Binns firing them into a 23-14 lead, courtesy of four penalties, the last of which was given following Cowley's indiscretion. Despite this, the Pirates were far from finished and in a rousing finale to the game they threw everything at their Yorkshire hosts. Strong Pirates pressure saw home prop Justin Wring sin-binned with nine minutes remaining for a professional foul - and from the ensuing play, lock Joe Beardshaw gave the visitors a glimmer of hope with his first try of the season.

With time fast running out, the Pirates went in search for that all-important winning score. Sadly it did not arrive and it was the Cornishmen who were left licking their wounds as they headed back down the motorway on Saturday evening.

Next up is this Sunday's visit of Waterloo, a side who inflicted the Cornish club's first defeat of the season at Blundellsands. Revenge and a return to winning ways is high on the home side's wish-list.

Otley 23 pts:Try - Kitching; Penalties - Binns 5; Drop-Goal - Kitching

Cornish Pirates 19pts: Tries - Beardshaw, Cracknell; Penalties - Di Bernardo 3

Otley: I Shuttleworth (capt, X Andre 49); S Connor (A Livesey 74), P Mooney, J Tiffany, D Smith; S Binns, N Chivers; J Wring, D Sayers, S Barretto; H Parr, D Whitehead; R Kitching (A Monks 64), M Stockdale, M Maifea. Replacements (not used): P Turner, B Steele, B Back, A Brown. Yellow Cards: Mooney, Wring

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke (J Hylton 66), S Winn (D Bell 60), L Vinnicombe; A Di Bernardo, J Moore; A Paver (capt), V Ma'asi, S Heard (D Seal 49); H Senekal, J Beardshaw; C Cracknell, S Betty (T Cowley 49), M Evans.
Replacements (not used): D Dawiduik, J Inglis, G Anderson.
Yellow Cards: Cracknell, Winn.
Red Card: Cowley.

Referee: T Hall (RFU) Attendance: 912.



The Cornish All Blacks maintained their promotion push with a hard fought win in difficult conditions over a dogged Blackheath at the Polson Ground on Saturday.

Half-time saw the Cornish side leading by a score of 6-3, two Sam Young penalties, to one from Club's Matt Vaughan. A mini re-shuffle in the backs saw Andy Birkett switch from full-back to scrum-half, with Marc Dibble switching to the wing and Keiron Lewitt to full-back. The new combination gave the Cornish All Blacks a greater fluidity in attack.

With Blackheath's lock Ali Vanner sitting in the sin bin for having been adjudged collapsing a maul, the Cornish All Blacks kicked for the corner and then scored from a catch-and-drive with prop forward Wayne Reed claiming the try. Sam Young added the conversion for 13-3 lead.

Blackheath's full back Prince Moyo snuffed out a likely second try for the home side and then pounced on the re-cycled ball to dash up field to score a fine try which Vaughan converted.

Vaughan's second penalty some ten minutes later tied the scores.

With 15 minutes remaining Sam Young kicked his third penalty kick to give the Cornish All Blacks a slender 3 point advantage which they held on to until the final whistle.


Redruth maintained their fine recent run at Wagon Lane with a 7th consecutive win. Despite the long journey up to Yorkshire, Redruth started with an impressive first quarter display, which saw the Cornish side race to a 21-0 lead.

Centre PJ Gidlow scored the first try after 10 minutes after No 8 Mark Bright had been stopped just short of the line.

Bright grabbed the next two tries in quick succession 14 minutes and 18 minutes; all three scores were converted by fly-half Mike Hook.

Redruth were unable to add any further scores before half-time, although winger Nathan Pedley went very close to scoring.

Ian Gibbons (ex-Henley Hawks) made his first appearance for the Reds as a second half replacement for hooker Dan Job after 45 mins.

A 56th minute turnover saw flanker James Mann and skipper Craig Bonds set up Hook for the Reds' fourth try of the match to secure the bonus point.

Yorkshire pride was stung, however, and the Bees did get on the scoreboard after 70 minutes when Tongan Hesse Fakatou scored a try for the home side, which was converted by Tom Rhodes.

It was fitting that the final word and score went to the Reds' Kiwi No8 Mark Bright who, with his three tries and all-around game, had an outstanding match. Hook converted the final try.

Redruth will look forward to giving Halifax a warm reception at the Recreation Ground on Saturday as they bid to make it eight wins on the bounce.

In South West 1, Mount's Bay won the top-of-the-table clash with second placed Cleve 37-22 at the Mennaye, to move five points clear at the top of the table. Bay try scorers were Johnny Griffiths, Miku Mua, and Jamie Semmens, all three players scoring a brace each. Lee Jarvis' boot added the other points.

St. Ives also enjoyed a fine win against Basingstoke at Alexandra Road, winning 25-17. Lee Taylor, Louis Stevens and Luke Trescothick all scored tries for the Hakes, with Grant Thirlby adding a couple of conversions and two penalties.

In South West 2 West, Camborne defeated bottom side Spartans 51-8, running in eight tries, with Dave Mankee(2), Rob Ley, Martin Woodcock, Joe Parma, Mark Rogers, Dave Roberts and Ryan Smith all touching down for the Cherry & Whites. Mankee also kicked a penalty and four conversions.

Penryn travelled to Cheltenham North with just 15 players and were forced to play 55 minutes with just 14 men after No 8 Darryl Foster retired injured. Under the circumstances their 29-15 defeat was no disgrace. Andrew Seviour and Charlie Ross scored the Borough's tries, with Ian Morgan kicking a conversion and a penalty.

In Western Counties West, Hayle beat Ivybridge for the second week end running to follow up their EDF Senior Vase success. The league points keep Hayle in second place. Hayle won this time by 42-15. Neil Turner scored two of the Lions' tries.

Bude slipped up at Sidmouth, losing 35-22 and are now six points behind Hayle. Bude started well, scoring a couple of early tries through Paul Williams and Paul Cholwill, with Williams kicking a conversion. However, by half-time Sidmouth had regained the lead 17-12. Sidmouth pulled away during the second half, before a late rally by the North Cornwall side saw them score a couple of unconverted tries through Dave Bolt and Matt Trewin.

Truro entertained table-topping Barnstaple at St. Clements, going down to the leaders 41-0.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels won 17-10 at Wessex to go second behind leaders Wellington.

Tavistock got the better of Falmouth 35-23, St. Austell lost at Honiton 42-17, whilst Perranporth's dismal run continues, with Paignton winning their match 59-0.

In London 4 SW, London Cornish got back to winning ways, victorious at Petersfield by 50-29. (See Dickon Moon's match report in the forums.)

2nd/3rd December 2006



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, for the Western Morning News at Camborne Recreation Ground.

Cornish Pirates' coach Jim McKay praised his side's endeavour as they returned to winning ways with victory over Waterloo. Having been wounded earlier in the season by the visiting Merseysiders - and still feeling the after-effects of their defeat at Otley the week previous - the Pirates ensured there was to be no repeat prescription, securing their seventh successive five-pointer at the Rec this term.

Although it wasn't of the same vintage as shown in the home displays against the likes of London Welsh, Bedford and Exeter, McKay's men still had enough in their locker to overcome National One's basement boys without too much trouble.

For much of the afternoon it seemed like the Pirates were happy to strut their stuff in third gear. Certainly that appeared good enough to contain the visitors, but it was when the Cornish club upped the ante - both in attack and defence - that they finally gleaned their true rewards. Adryan Winnan gave the home side the perfect opening, the Truro-born full-back claiming his second try of the season when he finished off good link play involving Matt Evans and James Moore to score on six minutes.

However, Waterloo 's response was impressive and within ten minutes they drew level, all-action No.8 Rory McKay charging down Alberto Di Bernardo's intended clearance to score by the posts. Winger Dan Loader added the conversion to put them ahead 7-5.

Although visiting celebrations were soon curtailed as the Pirates hit back on 20 minutes. Up against a tough head wind, fly-half Di Bernardo opted for a kick to the corner with a penalty and from the resultant line-out, it was the home pack who steam-rollered their Waterloo counterparts back some 25 metres with a drive that ended in Chris Cracknell diving over for the first of his two tries on the day. Di Bernardo landed the conversion for that score, but failed to repeat the feat when Sam Betty went over for his first-ever Pirates' try on 25 minutes, with the young flanker the beneficiary of another highly destructive driving maul.

Loader cut the deficit to seven points with a penalty shortly after - and that was how it stayed until the interval, although the Pirates could easily have added to their tally had they not tried to be too clever in some of their handling moves.

A second Loader penalty three minutes after the restart helped briefly keep Waterloo in contention, only for the Pirates to once again kick back into action, with the home side re-engaging fifth gear to bring two tries in three minutes. Duncan Bell was the first over, the Samoan centre latching on to a pass from midfield partner Steve Winn to glide in under the posts; then a good turnover by replacement prop Sam Heard allowed the Pirates to generate quick ball and expose a gap wide on the left, Di Bernardo feeding winger Jon Hylton to race in from 35 metres for try number five.

Di Bernardo added the extras to both scores to put the home side firmly in control at 31-13. To their credit, Waterloo refused to lie down. Imposing prop Martin O'Keefe led their charge with a number of bullocking runs out of defence, while behind the acumen of skipper Freeman Payne offered numerous attacking outlets. It was therefore just reward that a sustained spell of pressure midway through the second half brought about some success for the visitors. Using their pack to prod themselves down field, quick hands along their back division created the opening for winger Ben Lyon to cross. Sadly that was to be Waterloo 's curtain call to the game.

The Pirates, however, were far from finished and in a rousing encore to their Sunday matinee, it was Cracknell who dived over for a second try in injury time. Winger Moore thought he had followed Cracknell's lead moments later, but his effort was ruled out for a forward pass by Winn.

"We're pleased to get the five points," said McKay afterwards. "At the start of the day that was the main aim. It wasn't a great performance from us, but I thought the endeavour and commitment from the boys was pretty good today.

"I thought at times our final execution and our handling let us down, but other areas of our game went really well, particularly our line-out and our driving maul.

"There are obviously things to work on this week but, like I said, the important thing was the result and the five points, especially after last week."

Cornish Pirates 36: Tries - Winnan, Cracknell 2, Betty, Bell, Hylton; Conversions - Di Bernardo 3

Waterloo 18: Tries - McKay, Lyon; Conversion - Loader; Penalties - Loader 2

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; J Moore, D Bell, S Winn, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt, R Wells 80); A Paver (G Anderson 60), V Ma'asi (D Dawiduik 80), D Seal (S Heard 50); H Senekal, J Inglis; C Cracknell, S Betty, M Evans (S McKeen 50, J Beardshaw 80).
Replacement (not used): L Vinnicombe.
Yellow Card: Senekal

Waterloo: A Monro; B Lyon (C McGlory 80), F Payne (capt), A Sliczny, D Loader; T Handley, C Erskine; M O'Keefe, P Ince (C Tyms 64), J Hopgood (S Ruwers 51); J Nugent, D Blyth; D Smith (D Hall 71), D Palmer, R McKay.
Replacements (not used): J Branding-Harris, J Lyon, J Broxon.
Yellow Card: Blyth

Referee: Mr. A Rowden (RFU)

Attendance: 1,769.


National League 2. By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.

Two tries scored early in the second half wrapped up the points for the Reds as they recorded their eighth successive league victory, consolidating their fifth place in the National League 2 table.

Mark Bright once again staked his claim for the starring role with two tries in the match coupled with his mighty presence around the field, earning him the Reds' Man-of-the-Match award. However, there were notable contributions from the industrious scrum half Mark Richards, and in mid-field the ever willing centre PJ Gidlow.

Both sides ran on to the pitch with the impressive Heineken Cup sitting proudly just above the players' tunnel. Redruth kicked off playing down the slope towards Hell Fire corner and immediately earned the first penalty of the afternoon, as Halifax were caught off-side. Mike Hook elected to kick for goal into the tricky breeze, but his effort was wide and short.

The heavy overnight rain had left the pitch sticky, which didn't help either side as they attempted to assert their game.

Halifax looked to their full back Jervis Manupenu as an attacking threat, but Redruth's defence was well organised containing that particular threat. The sparring between the sides lasted almost 20 minutes; it was ended by Bright who, fielding a kick back in his own half, went off on a blistering run, finding his captain Craig Bonds who passed on to winger Mark Lea to carry the threat into the visitors' 22. Halifax were penalised for a high tackle on the winger. Hook kicked for the corner as the Reds looked to set up a catch and drive. The ball was spun out along the line with Nathan Pedley almost getting in the opposite corner, quick re-cycled ball was passed back along the line with Bright coming in from deep to force his way over the line for the opening score. Hook couldn't add the extras with the conversion.

Halifax didn't take long to respond as they benefited from a penalty on 23 minutes, 30 meters out in front of the posts, which Manupenu had little difficulty in kicking. Redruth looked to attack but the visitors' defence held firm. Richards looked to vary the attack with some delicate inside passes allied to his kicking game. Gidlow was barging through the centre trying to create the elusive opening.

Just before half-time Redruth got the breakthrough they were seeking, benefiting from a scrum in front of the Halifax posts. The ball was moved right with Bonds setting up full back Paul Teixeira to score in Hell Fire corner; Hook was once again unsuccessful with the conversion attempt. There was still time for one more promising Reds' attack before the whistle blew for the break, PJ Gidlow going close up in the Piggy Lane corner.

With the stiff breeze now at their backs Redruth wasted little time after the pause to secure a stranglehold on the game with two tries within six minutes. The first came after 42 minutes, scored by Bonds under the posts following some fine play from Gidlow and Bright to put him clear. Hook at last got his name on the score sheet with the conversion. Six minutes later Redruth had secured the try-scoring bonus point with their fourth try: a blistering threequarter move saw Teixeira high-tackled near the Halifax line. Referee Mr Sheard played advantage and from the ensuing ruck Bright burrowed over from short range to score his second try of the match, which Hook converted. From then on the game petered out. Redruth largely controlled the game, pinning Halifax in their own half for long periods. When Halifax did look dangerous it was Manupenu who carried the threat. However, their chances were few and far between. Both sides made the usual raft of replacements during the final quarter, Ian Gibbons making his home debut as replacement for young Dan Job. With the gloom descending, Halifax on a rare visit into the Redruth 22 managed to score a consolation try through centre Oli Marns.

Redruth's winning streak is now set to receive the sternest of examinations with consecutive trips to promotion-chasing Esher, firstly in the EDF National Trophy and then the league, before the eagerly-anticipated visit to the Recreation Ground on the Saturday prior to Christmas of the Cornish All Blacks. It promises to be an interesting December!

Redruth 24: Tries: Bright (2), Teixeira, Bonds, Cons Hook (2)

Halifax 8: Try: Marns, Pen Manupenu

REDRUTH: P. Teixeira (M. Churcher 68), M. Lea, C. Bonds (capt), PJ Gidlow, N. Pedley. M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques (A. Morcom 68), D. Job (I. Gibbons 62), P. Joyce, D. Cook, L. Collins, N. Pascoe, J. Navin (C. Fuca 68) M. Bright.

HALIFAX: J. Manupenu, B. Mitchell, O. Marns, G. Robson (R. Hughes 71), W. Greenwood, T. Eaton, C. Aikman, A. Blades, capt (J. McArthur 80), C. Mortimer, K. Fullman, R. Hill (M. Smith 68), G. Jones, C. Wilson, G. Lewis, R. Afoa Peterson.
Rep not used: A. Gravil

Referee: Mr. R. Sheard (RFU) rep Mr. I. Pengelly (C.R.R.S.) (80)



National League 2.

A moment of inspiration from Marc Dibble in injury time kept the Cornish All Blacks' promotion challenge on track with a precious away win at Cambridge.

Dibble, playing at scrum half having switched from the wing, collected a ball from a maul near the half-way line. Seeing a gap, he pinned his ears back and ran in to score in the corner. The try sealed a great comeback for the Cornish side who trailed 27-20 with ten minutes to play.

Yet in the first half the Cornish All Blacks built up a useful lead. Three penalties by fly half Sam Young gave them a 9-0 lead. Chris Lombaard then scored a try for Cambridge, converted by Tom Dann, to cut the visitors' lead. Young kicked a fourth penalty before Dibble scored the first of his two tries.

Dann kicked a couple of early penalties for the home side to reduce the deficit once more, before they took the lead with Lombaard scoring his second try of the game under the posts, following some good work from former Pirate James Shanahan, with Dann converting the score.

Young's fifth penalty tied the scores shortly after the hour mark. However, with less than ten minutes remaining the game appeared to be slipping away from the Cornishmen as John Harlock scored a third try for Cambridge, which Dann converted.

With defeat now a real possibility, the Cornish All Blacks dug deep with the pack throwing out a lifeline with a well-worked try claimed by prop forward Wayne Reed, Young's conversion tying the scores. Dibble's second try secured the four points.

The Cornish All Blacks can now look forward to entertaining Manchester in the 3rd Round of the EDF National Trophy on Saturday.

South West 1 provided the upset of the day as Mount's Bay succumbed to their first defeat of the season at Maidenhead by 24-14. Bay elected to rest certain players for this match, a decision they probably now regret and one which they are unlikely to repeat when both sides meet again next Saturday in the EDF Intermediate Cup. Ben Hilton scored both the Bay tries from catch-and-drives, Lee Jarvis kicking both conversions.

St. Ives grabbed an important win at Bracknell by the slenderest of margins, 14-13. The Hakes scored two tries through Aaron Baigent and Michael Brook, both converted by Grant Thirlby.

In South West 2 West, Camborne scored four first half tries to turn around 23- 7. Paul Gadsdon, Kevin Penrose, Joe Parma and Andrew Smith scored Town's tries, with David Mankee adding one conversion and a penalty. Mankee found conditions for kicking difficult as six attempts at goal went begging. However, the fly-half did score a second half try which he managed to convert, Mark Rogers scored the other try for Camborne as they finished 35-7 winners to go third in the league.

The same depressingly familiar outcome for Penryn as they succumbed to another home defeat, 25-3 against Exmouth. Ian Morgan kicked a second half penalty for the Borough.

In Western Counties West, Hayle slipped to a surprising defeat at Minehead Barbarians 16-5. Prop Mark Stevens scored the Lions' only try.

The other two Cornish sides in the league met at Bencoolen Meadow with predictably on current form Bude running out easy winners over Truro by 72-5. Bude ran in eleven tries with three a-piece for Paul Williams and Dan Frost, with Matt Trewin, Mark Dennis, Dave Uglow, Steve Yates and Paul Cholwill all getting on the score sheet. Mike Patterson saved Truro's blushes with a score just before the end. It was not a happy week for Truro, who this week parted company with their club coach Gary Becconsall.

In the Cornwall and Devon League, congratulations to Perranporth who recorded their first league win of the season on Saturday with an 11- 6 win over South Molton.

Wadebridge Camels maintain their challenge near the top of the table following their 46-7 win over Honiton.

Falmouth showed some of the form many have been waiting for when they defeated league leaders Wellington 35-17 at the Recreation Ground.

St. Austell's poor league form continues following their 27-7 defeat at Tregorrick Parc by Paignton.

In London 4 SW, London Cornish survived late withdrawals to get back to winning league form with a 39-21 on the Isle of Wight against Sandown and Shanklin. (See Dickon Moon's match report on the forums together with the link to Marian Prowse's photos of the game).


9th/10th December 2006



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, for the Western Morning News

The Pirates may have been in uncharted territory at Billesley Common, but the visiting Cornish crew had too much firepower for Moseley as they stormed to their first league double of the season. Playing in their first-ever away fixture against the Midlanders, Jim McKay's side ran in six tries on their way to a 42-15 success, one which also helped lift them back into the division's top three.

However, no sooner had the dust settled in this encounter, then McKay and his team were immediately switching their attentions to this Sunday's top of the table tussle with league leaders Leeds Tykes at Camborne.

"Every week in this league is important, but the next couple certainly have a bit more on them you could say," said the Australian.

"We've got Leeds and Plymouth , both at home, and in successive matches, so it's going to be a tough period for us.

"They are both big games for us, but so was today and we're very pleased to have picked up five points. The focus this week was on winning today and hopefully getting five points, which we did.

"Again we played with a lot of endeavour and I was pleased with some of the tries we manufactured. I thought in the first half we came out of the blocks very well - and it was the work we did in that half which created the space for us in the second half."

Certainly the Pirates started with a bang, centre Duncan Bell latching onto a pass from fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo to open the scoring with a try in the eighth minute.

That lead was added to moments later when Di Bernardo fired over a penalty after the home side had been penalised for handling on the floor.

Moseley full-back Ollie Thomas briefly reduced the arrears with a penalty, given after referee Mark Wilson had harshly sent off visiting skipper Gavin Cattle for going offside.

It was certainly a harsh call on the Welshman, particularly as he had not strayed anywhere near the area where the offence was committed, yet Wilson was adamant he had transgressed and sent the scrum-half to the sidelines.

Despite the loss of Cattle, it was the Pirates who added to their tally, full-back Adryan Winnan crossing in the right-hand corner following good work from James Moore and Bell.

With Cattle still inactive on the touchline, things got decidedly worse for the Pirates when half-back partner Di Bernardo was forced out of the action with a nasty-looking injury to his right ankle.

It meant the versatile Moore, who had started the game on the right wing, was forced to first cover Cattle, then the hole vacated by the Argentinian playmaker. However, the former Coventry man carried out his duties with aplomb and will be a more than able deputy should Di Bernardo fail to make Sunday's clash.

Indeed, it was Moore who added a second penalty - given after a high tackle by Andy Binns on replacement Lewis Vinnicombe - which made it 16-3 to the Pirates at the break.

With Binns yellow-carded for his part, the Pirates started the second period just as they had done the opening half, on the attack.

A turnover by the Pirates inside their own half helped release Bell, who made 35 metres before offloading to Vinnicombe to cross. Moore added the extras to that score, then obliged with the additional two points for Chris Cracknell's sixth try of the season on 50 minutes.

A fifth try followed for Winnan three minutes later, the full-back this time collecting a pass from Steve Winn to cross in the corner.

Moseley briefly countered with a Nathan Bressington try, converted by Thomas, but by then the Pirates were already home and dry, even though they lost centre Winn to a yellow card for his part in an on-field brawl.

Lock James Inglis made sure the game was safely put to bed when he thundered over for his maiden try on 73 minutes, again converted by Moore.

With time all but up, Moseley claimed a second try through Thomas. That, however, was a mere consolation for the Birmingham club, who themselves face a tough battle to avoid relegation this term.

"There were definitely positives to take from the game, but there were also areas that were not so great, like our line-out. That didn't function at all, so we've got some work to do on that this week," added McKay, whose side will be looking to avenge their narrow 21-20 defeat at Headingley back in September.

"We won't really be thinking about revenge against Leeds. We just want to go out there, perform well, and hopefully get the right result, it's as simple as that. It's a big game for both sides."

Moseley 15: Tries - Bressington, Thomas; Conversion - Thomas; Penalty - Thomas

Cornish Pirates 42: Tries - Bell, Winnan 2, Vinnicombe, Cracknell, Inglis; Conversion - Moore 3; Penalties - Di Bernardo, Moore

Moseley: O Thomas; N Bressington (D O'Leary 74), A Binns (capt), N Buckley, J Aston; T Hayes, D Hunter (P Knight h/t); P Coles, A Caves (C Hall 54), K Moran (R Davies 79); A Hadley (M Evans h/t-51), T Skelding; A Lightowler (C Daniell 54), R Bignell, J Rodwell (Evans 54).
Replacements (not used): J Pearson, D Hunter. Yellow Card: Binns

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; J Moore, D Bell, S Winn, J Hilton; A Di Bernardo (L Vinnicombe 36), G Cattle (capt, R Wells 79); A Paver (G Anderson 54), V Ma'asi (N Makin 54), D Seal; H Senekal (J Beardshaw 64), J Inglis; C Cracknell, I Motusaga (S Betty 64), T Cowley (M Evans 46).
Yellow Cards: Cattle, Winn

Referee: M Wilson (RFU)

Attendance: 771



EDF-Energy National Trophy Round 3

There can be no doubting that this was the performance of the Round from the Reds as they travelled to mighty Esher and returned to Cornwall with a 4th Round tie at home to Lydney on the 20th January in the bag. Yet it was not without cost as they lost winger Nathan Pedley after only two minutes of the game with a broken ankle!

With the game being held up for 10 minutes so early on it was good to see the Reds not lose focus -- indeed, they opened the scoring after 7 minutes when No.8 Mark Bright scored the opening try following a rolling maul towards the Esher line. Fly-half Mike Hook added the extras. Esher pulled back five points from their excellent No. 8 Lee Starling on 22 minutes, Starling having previously scored against the Reds down in Redruth in September. The score remained 7- 5 to the Reds until half-time.

Early in the second half Esher's Ivory Coast international flanker Emmanuel Amapakabo made a determined run into the Reds' half which led to a try for winger Richard Briggs, which was converted by fly-half Matthew Leek. Mike Hook kicked a penalty for Redruth to cut the deficit to just two points.

Redruth wrapped up the win with two tries from young Paul Teixeira, who had replaced the unfortunate Pedley, with the second converted by Hook to inflict a first defeat this season on the National League 2 pace-setters.


EDF-Energy National Trophy Round 3

Trailing their visitor's by 14-0 at half-time, two tries, both converted by Gareth Wynne, one scored by centre Andre Wilson and a penalty try awarded by referee Mr Vernon, turned it around for the Cornish All Blacks. Their changed line-up put in a storming second half performance to secure their place in Round 4 with an away trip to the delightful surroundings of Sharmans Cross Roads, the home of National 1 outfit the Pertemps Bees.

Mark Scrivener landed an early second half penalty to get the Blacks on the scoreboard, before the try-fest started. Lock Tom Parker grabbed the first on 49 minutes, winger Marc Dibble the second and flanker Josh Lord the third, all three converted by Scrivener. The CAB's now had a firm grip on the tie at 24-14. They sealed the turnaround with further tries from No8. Stuart Williams and a penalty try, both converted by Ryan Westren, on for Scrivener.

Elsewhere in the EDF-Energy Intermediate Cup 3rd Round, Mount's Bay had the opportunity to exact immediate revenge for their league defeat at Maidenhead last Saturday and they did so, winning by 34 - 20. Bay wasted little time in establishing a lead which at one stage was a commanding 34-5 with tries from Palepoi Nonu (2), Darren Semmens, Tom Edyvean and John Morrison. Lee Jarvis kicked a penalty and three conversions. Bay's dream of a Twickenham appearance this season lives on.

In the EDF-Energy Senior Vase 4th Round, Hayle defeated Kingsbridge by 69 - 5. The Lions ran in eleven tries through Dave Seager (2), Jamie Thomas, Paul Lello, Ben Eddy, Rob Hardwick, Jimmy Trezise, Dave Guffick. Simon Pollard, Dan Nicholls and James Jago. Paul Lello kicked five conversions and Jimmy Trezise two.

Wadebridge Camels bowed out as they lost at home to higher league opposition Barnstaple by 24-15. Camels gave the Western Counties West pacesetters an almighty fright as they led 15-10 with just six minutes left on the clock. Pete Bush and Sam Stone got the Camels' tries, with Sean Hawkey kicking the points. Barnstaple got their act together and squeezed through luckily.

London Cornish are also through to Round 5 having won at higher league Brentwood by 15 - 10. (See Dickon Moon's report on the forums.)

In the EDF- Energy Junior Vase, Liskeard & Looe are left to hold the banner for Cornwall in this season's competition. They defeated Salcombe at Lux Park 12 - 9 in a tight game.

Stithians bowed out against Bideford at the Playing Fields 72 - 3, and former finalists Helston lost at home to Old Public Oaks 22 - 5.

In the one Cornwall & Devon league encounter played involving a Cornish club, Falmouth won at Okehampton 23 - 15, with centre Jamie Instance scoring all the points for Falmouth.

16th/17th December 2006



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, for the Western Morning News

Cornish Pirates' coach Jim McKay admitted his side had been left "bitterly disappointed" despite snatching a last-gasp draw with National One leaders Leeds Tykes.

A converted Tim Cowley try deep into added on time helped the Pirates gain a share of the spoils in Camborne. However, the home side could well have been celebrating victory had Alberto Di Bernardo slotted a penalty with the very last kick of the game.

Having just kicked the all-important conversion to level things up at 21-21, the Argentinian fly-half was then called upon to deliver a knockout blow to the Tykes, who found themselves hit with a late double bombshell by referee Gareth Copsey.

First lock Kearnan Myall was banished to the sin-bin following an altercation in the lead-up to Cowley's late touchdown, then instead of the normal restart, Copsey awarded a potentially match-winning penalty to the Pirates on halfway.

However, as the Rec crowd held their breath in anticipation, and the drizzle began to fall a little harder, the normally deadly Di Bernardo scuffed at his intended target and the Tykes were spared.

It certainly would have been a cruel twist of fate on the Yorkshire club, who for a large part of this encounter showed why they remain the favourites for an immediate return to English rugby's top tier.

But if there was to be one criticism of Stuart Lancaster's high-flyers, it would be the fact that they were unable to close the game out when in a position of command, 21-11, entering the final quarter of this entertaining encounter. Sure they may have switched off in some aspects of their play. However, let's not take away the part the home side played as they looked to gain some reward for their endeavours. Some would argue past Pirates' sides would have quite happily accepted it was not going to be their day, instead opting to merely run down the clock and save their bodies for their next adventure.

Certainly this hearty crew don't adopt such an approach and neither does coach McKay. The Aussie comes from a country where winning is everything, while coming second is pointless. "We want to be the best and we're pretty disappointed we didn't win in the end," said the Pirates boss. "We could have snatched it, which would have been amazing, but in the end we'll take the draw.

"Leeds are a very good side and they had the momentum in the first half. In the second half we probably cancelled each other out, but when we got into good positions we completed, which was good."

Even without the likes of Adryan Winnan, Stan McKeen, Iva Motusaga, Henry Barratt and James Inglis, McKay was delighted with the commitment shown by his side. He added: "We've got no rock stars or superstars, but we have got a good team that works hard for each other and that was pretty evident today."

However, not for the first time this season, McKay was forced to address key issues with his players during the half-time break. Whatever was said, it seemed to have the desired effect as the Pirates took control after resuming 14-6 down.

"I was pleased with our self-belief. We had it before the game and we had it during the game. I just felt we were a little bit jittery in the first half. We had opportunities to exert some pressure on them, but we didn't," said McKay.

"I said to the guys at the break we need to score three times, but unfortunately they scored as well. We hadn't really operated with the ball in the first half, so it was important we hung on to it for longer, which we did."

Once the Pirates did keep control of the ball, they offered a real attacking threat, one which is sure to have been noted by watching Plymouth Albion coach Graham Dawe, whose side head to Camborne this Saturday.

In a match which was always going to be tight (Leeds narrowly won 21-20 at Headingley in September), it was the home side who broke the deadlock early on, Di Bernardo plundering a fourth-minute penalty. The same player could have added a second kick shortly after, but this time his effort - from just inside his own half - sailed wide of the left post.

With the forward battle intense, the Pirates were dealt a blow on 17 minutes when flanker Sam Betty was yellow-carded on the advice of a touch judge. Instead of taking the easy penalty chance, Leeds looked to make the most of their numerical advantage. In the end a series of scrums in the left-hand corner finally brought reward when flanker John Dunbar dived over from close range, former Pirate Richard Welding converting to make it 7-3.

However, a second Di Bernardo penalty, given after Chris Cracknell had been taken out in a line-out, saw the Pirates reduce the arrears before Betty returned to the fray.

As defences dominated, it was not until first-half stoppage time that the scorers were troubled again, Tykes fly-half Jonny Hepworth exposing a yawning gap in the home defence to go in under the posts, Welding again converting.

Having secured maximum points from all their previous home engagements this season, the Pirates needed a strong start to the second half. Lifted by their half-time pep talk, the home side re-emerged with a renewed vigour that soon brought its rewards. Strong pressure from the home pack saw them punch their way into enemy territory, Chris Cracknell eventually burrowing over for his seventh try of the campaign.

Di Bernardo's up and down day with the boot continued as he failed with the conversion, then a penalty on 53 minutes. But having got within strike range, Leeds then silenced the home faithful with a somewhat fortunate third score. Welding's long punt out of defence seemed destined for the sidelines, but instead bounced favourably for Chris Hughes, who linked with his full-back, who in turn fed Tom Rock to cross.

Down by ten, the Pirates needed a rapid response. Di Bernardo's third penalty instigated the revival, which culminated in Cowley's late touchdown.

Cornish Pirates 21pts: Tries - Cracknell, Cowley; Conversion - Di Bernardo; Penalties - Di Bernardo 3

Leeds Tykes 21pts: Tries - Dunbar, Hepworth, Rock; Conversions - Welding 3

Cornish Pirates: D Roke; R McAtee (J Hylton 37), D Bell, S Winn , J Moore; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt, L Vinnicombe 63); A Paver, V Ma'asi, S Heard (D Seal 80); H Senekal, J Beardshaw; C Cracknell, S Betty (T Cowley 56), M Evans.
Replacements (not used): R Wells, S Hobson , N Makin.
Yellow Card: Betty.

Leeds Tykes: R Welding; C Hughes, T Rock, A Tuilagi, J Holtby; J Hepworth, J Rauluni (D Edwards 63); M McDonald (D Paul 80), R Rawlinson (J Parkes 69), C Noon (M Cusack 66); S Hooper (capt), K Myall; J Dunbar (R Bryan 70), M Schusterman, R Oakley.
Replacements (not used); R Vasey, A Rock.
Yellow Card: Myall.

Referee: G Copsey (RFU).

Attendance: 3,024.



National League 2.

Redruth's fine run finally came to a halt at Moseley Rd with the league leaders getting ample revenge for last Saturday's EDF-Energy National Trophy defeat against the Reds.

As the score-line suggests, Redruth gave Esher another mighty tussle, running them close and coming away with a losing bonus point.

Redruth fell behind to a try from Esher's skipper, prop forward Duncan McCormack, who finished off a catch-and-drive which fly-half Matt Leek converted. Redruth were then guilty of conceding a turnover, which flanker Emmanuel Amapakabo fully exploited by running in Esher's second try out wide.

Redruth got on the scoreboard close to half-time when a strong maul was illegally pulled down by the home side, referee Nick Williams correctly awarding a penalty try to the Reds, which fly-half Mike Hook converted.

Leek kicked a penalty for Esher just on half-time to leave the score at the break 15-7 to the Surrey side.

Esher stretched their lead during the third quarter, scoring a third try through scrum-half Graham Barr, with Leek kicking a second penalty.

As Esher looked for the bonus point they left themselves open to the counter-attack. No 8 Mark Bright crossed out wide for an un-converted try. Then, in the last move of the match, Bright scored a second try under the posts, which Hook converted to snatch a vital bonus point for the Reds.

The run may have ended but Redruth will look to get back to winning ways on Saturday at home to the Cornish All Blacks. It promises to be a very interesting encounter, with everything to play for.


National League 2

Credit to plucky Wharfedale, who never gave up and in the end dealt the Cornish All Blacks an unwelcome defeat and blunted their promotion challenge.

The Cornish All Blacks got off to fine start with Marc Sweeney scoring an opening try after 5 minutes. Sam Young converted, and kicked a penalty shortly after for a 10-0 lead.

Wharfedale soon hit back with a catch-and-drive straight out of the Cornish All Blacks' manual, finished off by hooker Gavin Hindle, Mark Bedworth kicking the conversion. The Cornish All Blacks were stung again as the Dalesmen scored a second try through winger Neil Baggett, Bedworth once more obliging with the extras.

The Cornish All Blacks were thwarted as they tried to impose their game on the match. Eventually referee Mr Turnill tired of Wharfedale's tactics and sent two of their players to the bin within six minutes, prop Elton Fynn and No 8 Rob Baldwin. Fynn's indiscretion of pulling down the maul also led to the award of a penalty try, which Young converted to leave the Cornish All Blacks 17-14 up at the break.

Bedworth tied the scores with a long-range penalty early in the second half, before the Cornish All Blacks pulled away again with the awarding of a second penalty try against Wharfedale. Young added the extras for 24-17 lead.

The home side should have made sure of the result at this point. Instead Wharfedale were allowed to get back on level terms, scoring a third try through second row Dave Lister, converted by Bedworth, and then taking the lead with a fourth try, scored by replacement Andrew Clements, which went un-converted.

The see-sawing on the scoreboard continued as the Cornish All Blacks snatched back the lead with a try from replacement Dave Kimberly, converted by Young, as Wharfedale were once again reduced in numbers with a third player Alistair Allen in the bin. Wharfedale then snatched the lead with a penalty from Bedworth. There was still time for Young to win the game with a penalty for the Cornish All Blacks, which sailed agonisingly wide.

The Cornish All Blacks now head to Redruth needing a win to stave off the ever-threatening attention of the Henley Hawks for the second promotion spot. It promises to be a full-bloodied Christmas cracker down at the Rec this Saturday!

In South West 1, Mount's Bay made sure that they went into the Christmas break in pole position, defeating Bracknell 40-17 at the Mennaye. Bay stormed off into a 19-0 lead before Bracknell nibbled away at the lead to get back to 19-17 early in the second half. Bay put a stop to any suggestion of an upset, scoring a further 22 points to end up worthy winners. Tom Edyvean and Lee Jarvis got two tries each, with other scores coming from Darren Semmens and Johnny Morrison. Jarvis also kicked five conversions.

St. Ives will be delighted with their third spot in the table at this stage of the season. The Hakes recorded a great win at Reading by 27-21. Neil Corin and Daniel Bassett scored first half tries for St. Ives, both of which Grant Thirlby converted, as well as a penalty to lead 17-7 at the interval. Neil Corin then scored his second try of the game, before Graham Corin scored the Hakes' fourth try of the game to seal the win.

In South West 2 West, Camborne lost at Newton Abbot 36-10, whilst Penryn were forced to concede their game to Torquay Athletic as they were unable to field a front-row.

In Western Counties West, Hayle are maintaining the pressure on leaders Barnstaple following their 21-6 win over Devonport Services. Dave Seager scored two tries in three minutes midway through the first half. Jimmy Trezise's boot added the other points for the Lions.

Bude's defeat at Kingsbridge by 22-19 leaves them trailing Hayle by six points. A proverbial game of two halves saw Bude 19-0 up at half-time. Paul Williams converted a penalty try and a score from Steve Yates, with Simeon Lewry scoring an un-converted try right on half-time. Bude were hanging on at 19-15 but were undone by an injury-time score.

Truro's woes continue as they succumbed 46-3 at Sidmouth.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels entertained league leaders Cullompton and defeated them 30-16. Camels scored five tries through Brian Finnemore, James Kneil, Sean Hawkey, Gavin West and skipper Gary Gynn.

Falmouth are starting to show the form many had been expecting with a 20-10 win at South Molton. Jamie Instance, Darren Pellow and Mike Slater scored the tries for Falmouth.

Honiton defeated Perranporth 40-6, whilst St. Austell fared little better, going down at Wessex 42-3. Both Cornish sides appear set for a return to Cornwall 1 next season.

Up in London 4 SW, London Cornish maintained their second spot in the league with another fine win, this time over Old Amplefordians by 32-5. (See Dickon Moon's report in the forums.)

This coming week-end sees a veritable feast of National League rugby, with the Cornish Pirates taking on Plymouth Albion in National League 1 at Camborne on Saturday (KO 2pm), whilst up the road at Redruth in National League 2 the home side take on the Cornish All Blacks (again a 2pm kick-off). Over the next two weekends the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup 1st Round matches will be played, and of course Boxing Day will see some of the classic local derby fixtures, Redruth v Camborne, Falmouth v Penryn and Hayle v St. Ives.

Trelawny's Army Supporters Club wishes "One & All" a Very Merry Christmas, Nadelek Lowen.

23rd December 2006



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

Cornish Pirates' skipper Gavin Cattle offered few excuses after watching his side surrender their unbeaten home record to near neighbours Plymouth Albion.

Having dug deep the week previous to snatch a draw with league leaders Leeds, the Pirates were unable to reproduce a similar effort as the Devon visitors claimed their revenge for last season's narrow defeat at Kenwyn.

Two tries from French winger Nic Sestaret, plus the right boot of South African centre Regardt Van Eyk did the damage for Albion, who themselves face yet more testing times against Bedford and Leeds in the next fortnight.

Despite trailing to an early Van Eyk penalty, the Pirates dominated for large parts of the opening half. However, they were unable to turn numerous attacking positions into points as Albion's defence held firm in the face of a heavy home battering.

"We put a lot of pressure on them for the first 20, 25 minutes," said Cattle. "We were camped on their line, but we came away with nothing, which was disappointing. Albion's defence was very good, but I felt we were also on the wrong end of a few decisions. Although I felt the main thing was not scoring when we had the chance. At this level if you don't come away with something you are going to pay for it later - and we did."

Indeed, having absorbed strong Pirates' pressure, Albion turned defence into attack late in the half, extending their lead through a second Van Eyk penalty.

Worse followed for the home side when fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo's attempted chip over the top was plucked out of the air by Albion's towering lock Colin Stewart and he helped quickly recycle the ball along the visiting back division to the onrushing Sestaret, who darted over in the left-hand corner, Van Eyk's conversion made it 13-0 at the break.

As the large band of Albion supporters celebrated during the interval, it was not long before they were cheering yet more success, Sestaret the beneficiary again, this time the Frenchman burrowed his way over from a lineout move, which Van Eyk again converted.

The Pirates were in desperate need of a way back into the game and two successful Di Bernardo penalties seemed to do just the trick. But no sooner had the home side given themselves a way back into the contest, they then handed Albion a third penalty which Van Eyk duly dispatched on the hour.

Despite a 17-point buffer, Albion were far from comfortable and they were made to sweat in the first quarter by the Pirates, who threw everything at them in a bid to get themselves back into the game.

Winger Jon Hylton thought he had claimed their first score on 69 minutes, only for referee Dean Richards to rule his effort out for a forward pass by Rhodri McAtee.

The try, however, was not long in coming. Good pressure from the home pack caused an Albion scrum to creak, the ball back to Nigel Cane was hardly inviting, and when the Pirates turned over the visitors, the ball was spread at pace through Hylton and McAtee to replacement Lewis Vinnicombe, who made no mistake from 15 metres out, Di Bernardo converting.

Even then there were some who thought the Pirates could well get themselves out of the mire, but sadly it did not happen.

In a truncated final ten minutes, Albion saw Argentinian flanker Federico Genoud stretchered off with a nasty-looking head injury, before Van Eyk wrapped things up with a late penalty.

Cattle added: "As Jim [McKay] always says, we have a no excuse mentality. We just have to accept we were beaten on the day and look to put things right next time. Our skill level was not up to what it should be, we didn't execute some of our moves, and we have to give credit to Plymouth, they played very well.

"All we can do now is go away, have a think about things, then come back and try to put things right. We need to take a leaf out of Doncaster's book perhaps. We beat them up there, but they bounced back and are probably the form side in the division at the moment. We need to do the same."

Cornish Pirates 13: Try - Vinnicombe; Conversion - Di Bernardo; Penalties - Di Bernardo 2

Plymouth Albion 26: Tries - Sestaret 2; Conversions - Van Eyk 2; Penalties - Van Eyk 4

Cornish Pirates: D Roke; R McAtee, H Barratt (L Vinnicombe 60), D Bell, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt, J Moore 80); A Paver (D Seal ); V Ma'asi (N Makin 80), S Heard; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; C Cracknell (I Motusaga 49), S McKeen, M Evans (T Cowley 49).
Replacement (not used): S Winn.

Plymouth Albion: N Saumi; T Arscott, R Van Eyk, K Fisilau, N Sestaret; E Barnes, E Lewsey (N Cane 67), M Rice, R Oxley (J Owen 80), S Zimmerman (F Deformes 57); C Stewart (B Stroud 49), T Hayes; F Genoud (T Mathias 80), D Thomas (capt), C Lowrie.
Replacements (not used): D Delaney, A Cruickshanks.

Referee: D Richards (RFU).

Crowd: 5380

23rd December 2006



National League 2.

A good sized crowd of 1,500 witnessed a feisty Cornish derby at the Recreation Ground, with the Cornish All Blacks once again getting the better of their West Cornwall rivals to complete the "league double" for this season, and maintaining their push for promotion to National League 1.

Redruth came into the match with high hopes, and rightly so, with their impressive league form having only been halted by unbeaten league leaders Esher in a tight finish in Surrey.

Young Redruth full-back Paul Teixeira was taken out by winger Marc Sweeney when chipping ahead, offering fly half Mike Hook an early penalty chance, which he spurned. Hook made no mistake ten minutes later when he kicked the Reds into the lead. The advantage was short-lived, as the Cornish All Blacks made the most of a charged-down kick in the Redruth 22. From the scrum veteran full back Andy Birkett slipped the cover to score his side's opening try, on 12 minutes, in the score board corner. Fly half Sam Young converted from the touchline.

Momentum was now with the men from East Cornwall. Despite their indifferent lineout, Steve Perry was having a big game in the mid-field for the Cornish All Blacks, along with his centre partner Ryan Westren. Both sides found themselves reduced to fourteen men after 17 minutes when PJ Gidlow for Redruth and No 8 Nick Burnett for the visitors were sent to the bin for fighting.

Young hit the up-rights with a penalty attempt before the Cornish All Blacks scored a second try on 27 minutes through winger Marc Dibble, set up by Westren, which Young converted for a 14-3 advantage. Which is how it remained until half-time.

Redruth came out well-fired up for the second half. Hook reduced the arrears with a second successful penalty after 47 minutes and then further still with a third after 58 minutes. The Cornish All Blacks were reduced to fourteen men as Burnett was quite rightly shown a red card for a professional foul for killing the ball on his own line!

Despite tremendous pressure, the Cornish All Blacks denied Redruth to secure a precious win. So, with a week's break, league action resumes on January 6th with Redruth travelling to Claro Road to take on Harrogate, whilst the Cornish All Blacks entertain Barking at Polson Bridge.

REDRUTH: P. Teixeira; M. Lea, C. Bonds (Capt), PJ Gidlow, S, Peters (S. Brown 72); M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques, O. Hambly, Morcom (P. Joyce 32), D. Cook, L. Collins, N. Pascoe, J. Navin (R. Carroll 50), M. Bright.
Rep not used D. Job
Pens (3) Hook Yellow Card PJ Gidlow

CORNISH ALL BLACKS: A.Birkett; M. Dibble, R. Westren, S. Perry, M. Sweeney (A. Matchett 74); S. Young, R. John; J. Bolt, D. Risdon, K. Brooking (Capt), T. Parker, B. Luxton, W. Spangle, J. Lord, N. Burnett.
Reps not used: S. Roberts, M. Scrivener, D. Kimberley.
Tries: Birkett, Dibble, Cons: (2) Young
Yellow Card N. Burnett, Red Card N. Burnett

Ref Mr A. Biggs (RFU)


There were three 1st Round ties played last Saturday, with the other three ties due to take place on the 30th December.

Camborne were given a tremendous fright by Devon and Cornwall side Wadebridge Camels, being held 17-17 after extra time and progressing as the away team! The Camels scored three tries through Alistair MacLellan (2) and hooker Matt Ballard, with Sean Hawkey kicking a solitary conversion. Town also scored three tries, with Mark Rogers getting a brace and one for Dean Pascoe.

St. Ives, as expected, proved too much for Falmouth at the Recreation Ground, winning comfortably 72-14. The Hakes ran in eleven tries.

In the third tie played at the Sports Centre, Newquay Hornets gave Truro a fright when they led 14-12 with 15 minutes to play, before finally succumbing 30-14. Marco Danielli, Chris Gilbert (2) and Colin Long scored the tries for Truro, giving them a much-needed win. Ben Smith got the Hornets only try, with their other points coming from the boot of Ryan Johns.


Redruth and Camborne entertained a fine crowd in this traditional Boxing Day encounter at the Redruth Recreation Ground. Redruth won the day by 19-10 with Tom Glover kicking four penalties and converting Ed Carne's try.

Camborne had the satisfaction of scoring two unconverted tries through Cameron Bone and the evergreen Kevin Penrose.

Falmouth had high hopes of winning their Boxing Day encounter with near neighbours Penryn for the first time in eighteen years, in what may well be the final Boxing Day clash to be held at Falmouth's famous old Recreation Ground. With the scores tied at 11-11 and time running out, Penryn's Nick Brown intercepted a pass to race under the posts for Dave Pascoe to convert and secure an 18-11 win over their old rivals. Pascoe scored the Borough's other try and also kicked a penalty, Ian Morgan kicked the other penalty for the visitors.

St. Ives entertained Hayle at Alexandra Road in front of another good crowd, running out 37-7 winners; Adrian Symons scored the Lions' only try, which was converted by Paul Lello. For the Hakes, tries were scored by Justin Bishop, Stuart Turnbull, Grant Thirlby, Graham Corin (2) and Ben Wheeler. Thirlby kicked a penalty and conversion, with Karl Martin kicking a second conversion for St. Ives.

Finally, Trelawny's Army Supporters Club wishes "One & All" a Happy New Year.



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

Cornish Pirates' skipper Gavin Cattle offered few excuses after watching his side surrender their unbeaten home record to near neighbours Plymouth Albion.

Having dug deep the week previous to snatch a draw with league leaders Leeds, the Pirates were unable to reproduce a similar effort as the Devon visitors claimed their revenge for last season's narrow defeat at Kenwyn.

Two tries from French winger Nic Sestaret, plus the right boot of South African centre Regardt Van Eyk did the damage for Albion, who themselves face yet more testing times against Bedford and Leeds in the next fortnight.

Despite trailing to an early Van Eyk penalty, the Pirates dominated for large parts of the opening half. However, they were unable to turn numerous attacking positions into points as Albion's defence held firm in the face of a heavy home battering.

"We put a lot of pressure on them for the first 20, 25 minutes," said Cattle. "We were camped on their line, but we came away with nothing, which was disappointing. Albion's defence was very good, but I felt we were also on the wrong end of a few decisions. Although I felt the main thing was not scoring when we had the chance. At this level if you don't come away with something you are going to pay for it later - and we did."

Indeed, having absorbed strong Pirates' pressure, Albion turned defence into attack late in the half, extending their lead through a second Van Eyk penalty.

Worse followed for the home side when fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo's attempted chip over the top was plucked out of the air by Albion's towering lock Colin Stewart and he helped quickly recycle the ball along the visiting back division to the onrushing Sestaret, who darted over in the left-hand corner, Van Eyk's conversion made it 13-0 at the break.

As the large band of Albion supporters celebrated during the interval, it was not long before they were cheering yet more success, Sestaret the beneficiary again, this time the Frenchman burrowed his way over from a lineout move, which Van Eyk again converted.

The Pirates were in desperate need of a way back into the game and two successful Di Bernardo penalties seemed to do just the trick. But no sooner had the home side given themselves a way back into the contest, they then handed Albion a third penalty which Van Eyk duly dispatched on the hour.

Despite a 17-point buffer, Albion were far from comfortable and they were made to sweat in the first quarter by the Pirates, who threw everything at them in a bid to get themselves back into the game.

Winger Jon Hylton thought he had claimed their first score on 69 minutes, only for referee Dean Richards to rule his effort out for a forward pass by Rhodri McAtee.

The try, however, was not long in coming. Good pressure from the home pack caused an Albion scrum to creak, the ball back to Nigel Cane was hardly inviting, and when the Pirates turned over the visitors, the ball was spread at pace through Hylton and McAtee to replacement Lewis Vinnicombe, who made no mistake from 15 metres out, Di Bernardo converting.

Even then there were some who thought the Pirates could well get themselves out of the mire, but sadly it did not happen.

In a truncated final ten minutes, Albion saw Argentinian flanker Federico Genoud stretchered off with a nasty-looking head injury, before Van Eyk wrapped things up with a late penalty.

Cattle added: "As Jim [McKay] always says, we have a no excuse mentality. We just have to accept we were beaten on the day and look to put things right next time. Our skill level was not up to what it should be, we didn't execute some of our moves, and we have to give credit to Plymouth, they played very well.

"All we can do now is go away, have a think about things, then come back and try to put things right. We need to take a leaf out of Doncaster's book perhaps. We beat them up there, but they bounced back and are probably the form side in the division at the moment. We need to do the same."

Cornish Pirates 13: Try - Vinnicombe; Conversion - Di Bernardo; Penalties - Di Bernardo 2

Plymouth Albion 26: Tries - Sestaret 2; Conversions - Van Eyk 2; Penalties - Van Eyk 4

Cornish Pirates: D Roke; R McAtee, H Barratt (L Vinnicombe 60), D Bell, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt, J Moore 80); A Paver (D Seal ); V Ma'asi (N Makin 80), S Heard; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; C Cracknell (I Motusaga 49), S McKeen, M Evans (T Cowley 49).
Replacement (not used): S Winn.

Plymouth Albion: N Saumi; T Arscott, R Van Eyk, K Fisilau, N Sestaret; E Barnes, E Lewsey (N Cane 67), M Rice, R Oxley (J Owen 80), S Zimmerman (F Deformes 57); C Stewart (B Stroud 49), T Hayes; F Genoud (T Mathias 80), D Thomas (capt), C Lowrie.
Replacements (not used): D Delaney, A Cruickshanks.

Referee: D Richards (RFU).

Crowd: 5380

6th/7th January 2007



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

Cornish Pirates' coach Jim McKay insisted he and his side were just happy to take the win after they came from behind to beat visiting Coventry 16-15 in a hard-fought battle at Camborne yesterday.

A penalty ten minutes from time from Argentinian fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo assured the Cornishmen of their 14th league win of the season. However, McKay's men were made to fight all the way by a resilient Coventry side, who were at least rewarded with a bonus point for their valiant efforts on a filthy day down in West Cornwall.

Having travelled to the Duchy with just one victory on the road all season - that came in their seasonal opener at Sedgley Park - Coventry were not expected to pose too much of a challenge to a Pirates side determined to regain some home pride following their pre-Christmas defeat by near neighbours Plymouth Albion.

With a howling wind at their backs, it was the Midlanders who were first to show, experienced winger Kurt Johnson latching onto Myles Dorrian's cute chip over the top of the home defence to score the opening try, converted by skipper Ben Russell, on three minutes.

More prolonged pressure from Coventry, particularly through their pack, caused further problems in the Pirates half. However, the lively visitors were unable to turn their superior territory and possession into much needed points. Sadly for them it was not until the 28th minutes that they finally added to their tally, Russell firing over a penalty after the home side had been penalised by referee Terry Hall for going offside in front of the posts.

As conditions worsened by the minute, the Pirates continued to do their best to keep Coventry at bay. Good rush defence created a number of turnovers close to the home line, but the gale-force conditions meant any attempt of a long punt downfield was easily swallowed up.

That said, the Pirates were hardly helping themselves. Just as it was against Albion last month, they struggled to find a game-plan strong enough to break through Coventry's solid defence when they did win quality ball.

Far too often in the opening half poor decision-making or sloppy handling was to prove the Pirates' downfall. Although when they did finally string a series of phases together at the end of the half, Coventry's rearguard action was more than able to cope with the home threat.

A change of jerseys for both sides brought a splash of colour to the start of the second half. That did not last and it was the Pirates who finally began to find their feet. Two successful Di Bernardo penalties inside the opening ten minutes of the second half brought the Pirates back into contention.

However, Coventry were undeterred and on the hour they stretched their lead when they capitalised on a rare Gavin Cattle mistake. The Pirates skipper was scragged at the base of a scrum; the visitors turned the ball over, before shipping it at pace to the left flank where Johnson crossed in the corner.

With 20 minutes remaining, McKay sent on forwards Vili Ma'asi and Chris Cracknell to help the Pirates find a way back into the game. The fresh muscle certainly appeared to pay off as within five minutes, Cattle atoned for his earlier error when he steered the home pack to within inches of the line, before burrowing over from close range. Di Bernardo added the extras.

Now in the ascendancy, the Pirates slowly began to turn the screw. Whereas before they had struggled to keep hold of possession, they were now clutching the match-ball as though it was a piece of white gold.

Using the forwards to punch them deep into Coventry territory, it took an indiscretion from former Albion player Friswell, ten minutes from time, to gift the Pirates the opportunity they needed. His professional foul not only saw him banished to the sidelines for the closing minutes, but it gave Di Bernardo a chance he was not going to waste. He duly obliged with the difficult kick to put the Pirates in front for the first time in the match.

From there, the home side easily closed out the match, much to the relief of McKay. The Australian said afterwards:

"I'm very pleased and somewhat relieved in the end to get the four points. I thought Coventry, fair play to them, played the conditions well and they pushed us all the way.

"We played with endeavour in the first half, but we turned the ball over too many times. They took their chances, so we found ourselves in a bit of a dogfight. That said, we held our nerve, which is a good sign, and we clawed out a win.

"It was trench warfare out there. It was really muddy, but to compound things the wind was very strong. I don't think people realise just how windy it is when they are tucked away in the grandstand. It makes handling difficult, so it wasn't going to be pretty. I'm just really happy with the win, we'll take that," added McKay.

"When we look back at the end of the season this win is going to be really important for us."

Cornish Pirates 16pts: Try - Cattle; Conversion - Di Bernardo; Penalties - Di Bernardo 3

Coventry 15pts: Tries -K Johnson 2; Conversion - Russell; Penalty - Russell

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; J Moore, H Barratt (R McAtee 68), D Bell J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); G Anderson (R Samo 75), N Makin (V Ma'asi 61), D Seal; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga (C Cracknell 61), T Cowley (M Evans 75).
Replacements (not used): L Vinnicombe, S Winn

Coventry: B Russell (capt); K Johnson, K Geraghty, D Sanders, S Montague; M Dorrian, M Walls; N Treston, R Portherough (S Friswell 50), R Brits; H Rheeders, I Nimmo (D Campton 78-80); H Venter (Protherough 75-80), J O'Connor, T Johnson.
Replacements (not used): C Rimmer, E Binham, D James, B Toft, G Dixon Yellow Card: Friswell.

Referee: T Hall (RFU).

Attendance: 1,870.



National League 2. By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

Cornish All Blacks' joint coach Chris Brown is predicting an exciting second half to the National Two season after watching his side kick-off their 2007 campaign with a maximum haul against visiting Barking.

In a dominant first half from the All Blacks, they led 31-0 in as many minutes, and the all-important bonus point was already in the bag by the time the two teams headed for their half-time cuppa and a kit-kat.

Sadly, though, the All Blacks literally took to heart the chocolate bar's famous slogan of "Take a Break" on their resumption. Whereas in the first 40 minutes they blitzed Barking both upfront and behind to score tries through Marc Dibble, Wayne Sprangle (two), Steve Pape and Marc Sweeney, the second 40 was more of a damp squib as they took their foot off the accelerator and allowed the visitors to at least offer a glimmer of resistance. Not that Brown was overly concerned come the final whistle. He said:

"At 31-0, with the bonus point already in the bag at half-time, we were very, very pleased with how things had gone. I thought in the first half we were very clinical, our defence had great shape to it, and we attacked with real variety.

"It was difficult mentally at half-time. I would like to have seen us play more rugby in the second half, but we made too many mistakes trying to entertain. We put a lot of good phases together, but we didn't look after the ball in the critical phases. We perhaps tried to throw too many 50-50 passes, rather than hanging on to the ball and putting it through the phases and working the overlap. On that score, I felt we could have done a lot better.

"Having said that, it was a very pleasing performance. To start the New Year with a five-point win is what it's all about and we can take a lot of positives from that."

Certainly the All Blacks started with a bang, Dibble breaking the deadlock inside four minutes when a good turnover by the home pack saw fly-half Sam Young scoop up the loose ball and dart down the blind-side. As he drew in the Barking defence, the Kiwi ace popped the pass to Dibble to dive over in the right-hand corner.

Young missed with the difficult touchline conversion, but he atoned moments later when he added the extras to Sprangle's first try of the game, the all-action openside again finishing off good approach work from Young.

Centre Ryan Westren had the chance to extend the home side's lead with a penalty on 15 minutes, but his effort from 35 metres out sailed just wide of the posts. It did not matter, however.

Just four minutes later, Barking's Pawel Densiuk was penalised for punching. The All Blacks opted for a kick to the corner - and from the resulting line-out, it was Sprangle who went over once more, Young again converting.

It was one-way traffic from the All Blacks, who secured a fourth try on 23 minutes when the dominant home pack helped drive lock Steve Pape over to make it 24-0.

Barking - who included former Plymouth Albion players Mathias Albina and Jon Marlin in their line-up - were clearly reeling as the home side threatened to run riot. Indeed, it was to get no better for the Essex-based visitors.

An All Blacks' scrum just outside the Barking 22 saw Richard John and Young combine well to release full-back Andy Birkett, who like Young earlier in the game, drew the visiting tacklers in before offloading superbly to Marc Sweeney, who raced in just left of the posts. Young's conversion made it 31-0 at the turn.

That, however, was as good as it got for the All Blacks. Although they tried to pick their way through for further points after the break, they were unable to add to their tally and it was Barking who added the only points of a disappointing second period, hooker Mike McCardie and No.8 Scott Donald both crossing for unconverted tries.

The win ensured the All Blacks remain second in the standings and still on course for what they hope will be a promotion-winning season. Brown added: "We have got ten league games to go and every single one of them is winnable. I know we are capable of doing well and we're capable of being in the mix. I think it's going to be one hell of a ride, so everyone should fasten their seatbelts."

Cornish All Blacks 31pts: Tries - Dibble, Sprangle 2, Pape, Sweeney; Conversions - Young 3

Barking 10pts: Tries - McCardie, Donald

Cornish All Blacks: A Birkett; M Dibble (A Matchett 49), R Westren, S Perry, M Sweeney; S Young, R John; J Bolt, D Risdon, K Brooking (capt, W Reed 46); S Pape, B Luxton (D Kimberley 46); J Lord, W Sprangle, N Burnett (S Williams 49).
Yellow Card: Lord.

Barking: E Harvey; J Marlin (capt), M Fafalatu, P Mahoney, F Ah-Ling; C Dermody, M Albina; E Ambrose (S Phillips 39), M McCardie, A Halsey (S Rate 64); G Livingston, P Densiuk (R Batho 55); S Rokobaro , D Cadby, S Donald.
Replacement (not used): H Bryan.
Yellow Card: Mahoney

Referee: K Lewis (RFU)


Congratulations to Phil Vickery on being appointed captain of England for the forthcoming RBS 6 Nations matches and for the Rugby World Cup in France this autumn, when England defend the crown they won in Australia in 2003. Vickery, who hails from Kilkhampton in North Cornwall, played rugby with Bude and Redruth before moving up country to pursue his rugby career. He currently plays for the London Wasps.

Vickery has captained England on one previous occasion when they beat Argentina in Buenos Aires in 2002. He will be the first Cornishman to captain England in the championship since Richard Sharp led England to the then 5 Nations title in 1963.

Young Cornish Pirate Scott Hobson gained an England U.19 cap when he came off the bench to help England defeat Italy U.19s 18 - 11 at Sunbury last Friday. Well done, Scott!


National League 2

After two league reversals Redruth got back to winning ways with this fine win at Claro Road. Redruth were forced into a re-shuffle as fly-half Mike Hook was laid low with tonsillitis on Friday morning, forcing PJ Gidlow to slot in at fly-half and kicking duties taken up by scrum-half Mark Richards. Simon Peters came into partner skipper Craig Bonds in the centre.

Redruth started the match well, scoring an early try through No 8. Mark Bright after only five minutes, which Richards converted. Richards then kicked a penalty after seventeen minutes to put the visitors further ahead; Harrogate's prop Ed Pawsey received a yellow card for killing the ball.

Rather than build on their lead Redruth allowed Harrogate back into the game before half-time, with Nick Wainwright kicking a couple of penalties to leave his side trailing by just four points at the break.

Reds' coach Nigel Hambly gave his side the desired motivation during the half-time team talk. It wasn't long before the Reds had scored a second try. Following some good play from lock Luke Collins taking play into the Harrogate 22, Gidlow was on hand to score near the posts. Richards added the extras. Redruth maintained the tempo. Following a driving maul which took play up the Harrogate line, a couple of passes saw Bright put through to score his second try of the match near the posts after fifty-nine minutes. Richards, relishing his kicking role, once again added the conversion.

With a healthy cushion Redruth went in search of the bonus point try, which duly arrived after Harrogate were turned over in midfield. Gidlow and Bright set up winger Mark Lea, who crossed for the try. Richards kicked the last of his conversions before being replaced. What a pity the Redruth scrum-half was overlooked by the selectors of England Counties for the forthcoming matches against Ireland and France!

Redruth then completed the scoring, adding two further tries through skipper Craig Bonds and the remarkable Bright, completing his try hat-trick for his thirteenth try of the season. Ed Carne kicked both conversions.

HARROGATE: H. Duthie; L. Bramble, G. Morley, J. Buchanan, C. Breslin; N. Wainwright, C. Du Pre (Rep D. Venn 66 Min); E. Pawsey, E. Spackman, M. Howard (Rep M. Leach 56 Min), A. Enston (Capt), L. Brown, J. King, D. Harland (Rep M. Leach 20-28 Min,R. Brown 55 Min) Powell.
Rep not used P. Clayton
Scores : Pens- Wainwright (2)
Yellow Card: Pawsey

REDRUTH: P. Teixeira; M. Lea, C. Bonds (Capt), S. Peters, S. Brown; PJ Gidlow, M. Richards (Rep E. Carne 71 Min); D. Jacques (Rep D. Job 64 Min), O. Hambly, P. Joyce (Rep S. Lutey 70 Min), D. Cook, L. Collins, N. Pascoe, C. Fuca (Rep J. Navin 66 Min), M. Bright.
Scores: Tries- Bright (3), Gidlow, Lea, Bonds; Cons- Richards (4), Carne (2) Pen- Richards

Ref Mr E. Turnill (RFU)

In South West 1, it was St. Ives 9 Mount's Bay 12. There were no tries in this feisty derby encounter at Alexandra Road, as Mount's Bay took the points to maintain their push for National League rugby next season. Bay had the boot of fly-half Lee Jarvis to thank as he not only kicked all their points but also drove the Hakes back with his racking clearance kicks. Grant Thirlby kicked three penalties for St. Ives.

Bay introduced their new signing Shane Laloata during the final quarter. Although Bay have completed the league double over their Penwith neighbours this season, St. Ives will relish the opportunity at having another crack at their local rivals as the sides have been drawn together in the second round of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup.

In South West 2 West, Penryn enjoyed a fine start to 2007 with a welcome win over St. Mary's Old Boys at the Memorial Ground by 24-19. The Borough's tries were scored by Will Paine, Ian Morgan and Toby Freeman, with Morgan converting all three and also dropping a goal. Are we to witness a miraculous escape from the drop by the Borough? We hope so.

Despite a storming fight-back, Camborne came up short as they lost at home to Exmouth by 26-24. Trailing 21-12 at half-time, with four Mike Provis penalties for the Cherry & Whites, Camborne soon found themselves further adrift as Exmouth scored a fourth try. Mark Rogers scored a try for Camborne and then late on they were awarded a penalty try, which Provis converted. However, they were still two points shy of the Devon side's total at the final whistle.

In Western Counties West, the Cornish derby between Bude and Hayle fell foul of the weather as the Bude pitch was waterlogged.

At St. Clements a much-improved Truro defeated Kingsbridge 13-5 to record only their second league success of the current campaign. Former coach Phil Angove has returned to Truro and has set about steadying the ship. Truro led 6-5 at half-time thanks to a couple of penalties, one each struck by Mike Patterson and Ross Martin. Sean Rosevear's try in the second half confirmed Truro's win. Can Truro defy the odds and escape the drop? We shall see.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels defeated St. Austell at Tregorrick Parc 28-7 in another Cornish derby. Camels scored tries through Gary Gynn, Ian Boyling, Rob Treleven and Tom O'Donnell, with Shane Hawkey kicking their other points. Adam Riddle scored a try for the Saints.

Falmouth went down at home to table-toppers Paignton by 14-3, James Instance kicking the solitary points for Falmouth. Perranporth lost at home to Wessex by 29-16.

In London 4 SW, London Cornish defeated Petersfield 16-6. (Dickon Moon's match report can be found in the forums.)

The 2nd Round of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup has thrown up some interesting ties. Ties are to be played on or before 10/11 February 2007:

Cornish All Blacks vs. Hayle
Perranporth vs. Truro
Mount's Bay vs. St. Ives
Camborne vs. Redruth

In the latest Tamar League match played on Sunday at Redruth the home side defeated the Cornish All Blacks 18-5. Ben Priddey scored two tries for the Reds, with Scott Martin kicking a couple of penalties and a conversion. Dave Kimberley scored the CAB's try.

13th January 2007



By Dave Tyler, for the Western Morning News at Monk's Lane

Newbury v Cornish Pirates

Cornish Pirates' skipper Gavin Cattle praised the never-say-die attitude of his team-mates as they secured a last-gasp 20-15 victory over hosts Newbury. For a third successive game, Jim McKay's Pirates had to come from behind to secure all four points at Monks Lane, and this time it was hooker Viliami Ma'asi who came to their rescue with a late converted try. The Tongan international's late intervention ensured the Cornish club not only headed home with a crucial away-day victory, but a win that elevated them to fourth in the table.

"It was another hard slog for us, but we'll take the four points," declared Cattle at the final whistle. "It was a bit like the last two weeks, the conditions were really tough and it levelled things out for both sides.

"I thought in the first half we played very well. We made quite a few line breaks, but just couldn't finish them off and turn the pressure into points. They [Newbury] played very well, especially in defence."

Having trailed to an early penalty from Newbury fly-half Tim Walsh, the Pirates slowly began to find their feet, their fresh impetus ignited by a crunching tackle from fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo. The Pirates, however, were left infuriated on 17 minutes when a chip-kick over the top from winger Rhodri McAtee saw him cynically tripped en route to the try-line. As the hearty visiting support called for not only a card, but a penalty try, referee Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts consulted his touch judge in relation to the incident, but deemed the offence only worthy of a penalty, which Di Bernardo slotted to level the match up. It was a let-off for the home side, who then had to produce a stout rearguard action to keep the Pirates at bay.

McKay's men tried with numerous attacks to find their way over the Blues try-line, but on each occasion they were held at bay. Indeed, having absorbed strong Pirates' pressure, Newbury then pulled off the ultimate sucker punch five minutes before the break. Stealing Pirates' ball through No.8 Tom Brown, Newbury broke out of defence through Cornishman Mal Roberts and David Rees to get within ten metres of the visiting line.

Although the initial foray proved fruitless for Newbury, the home back-row helped recycle the ball at pace, where Australian Walsh collected and dived over for the opening try, which he also converted.

The score clearly riled the Pirates, who deservedly drew level in stoppage time. A thunderous clearance out of his 22 by Di Bernardo did not appear to be causing too many problems, but when Newbury knocked on, McAtee collected the ball before feeding fellow Welshman Steve Winn to cross for his second try of the season. Di Bernardo's successful conversion was the last meaningful action of the half, which finished with both sides locked at 10-10.

Although Di Bernardo failed with an early penalty attempt, the Argentinian playmaker atoned on 51 minutes with a sublime kick, which gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the game. Newbury, however, were far from finished and they regained the initiative just past the hour mark when Di Bernardo's intended clearance was charged down by Brown, allowing Fijian Isau Damudamu to win the race to the line and score, Walsh obliging with the additional two points.

Replacements aplenty flowed from both sides, but it was the Pirates who set about undoing their latest reverse with a grandstand finish. Roared on by an army of supporters, the game was all but up when a line-out inside the Newbury 22 offered them a final throw of the dice. Although initially halted, the visitors applied the shove once more, Ma'asi was eventually credited with the all-important touchdown, converted by Di Bernardo.

Next up for the Pirates is Sunday's EDF Cup clash at home to Moseley, a game Cattle and Co cannot wait to get stuck into.

Newbury 15pts: Tries - Walsh, Damudamu; Conversion - Walsh; Penalty - Walsh

Newbury: M Roberts; D Rees (G Barden 80), M Ireland, A James, M Nutt; T Walsh, D Smaje (K Bingham 76); R Faulkner, A Dalgleish, R Brown (T Radbourne 78); G Hayter (capt), A Harris (J Chance 48); R Thorpe (I Damudamu 48), C Morgan, T Brown.
Replacements (not used): G Cooper, S Robinson.

Cornish Pirates 20pts: Tries - Winn, Ma'asi; Conversions - Di Bernardo 2; Penalties - Di Bernardo 2

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, S Winn (S Parsons 78), D Bell, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); G Anderson (P Joyce 54-64), N Makin (V Ma'asi 64), D Seal (Joyce 71); H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen (C Cracknell 38), I Motusaga, T Cowley (M Evans 64)
Replacements (not used): R Wells, S Hobson.

Referee: L Apgeraint-Roberts (RFU)

Attendance: 915



National League 2. By Bill Hooper at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.

Redruth built on last week's fine win at Harrogate, defeating Blackheath, who were on the same points as the Reds at the start of the day. In so doing Redruth gained some revenge for their heavy defeat at Blackheath at the end of September, in what proved to be a highly entertaining match.

There was a tremendous reception for Rob Thirlby, signed this week on loan from Guinness Premiership side Gloucester. The England Sevens' star was making a return to his old stomping ground. There was a welcome too for Reds fly-half Mike Hook, back from a bout of tonsillitis, and also flanker James Mann from a recent operation.

Blackheath kicked off playing up the slope with a stiff breeze at their backs. Despite this advantage it was to be the home side who opened the scoring after only three minutes. Following a break from centre Simon Peters into the visitors' 22, Peters failed to find a supporting player and his pass was taken by a Blackheath player who was forced into touch. Redruth drove on from the lineout to win a scrum in front of the posts. Bright made an initial drive with lock Luke Collins on hand to score the opening try. Hook's conversion attempt faded past the posts in the tricky wind.

Despite this score it was Blackheath who enjoyed possession, threatening the Redruth half with some powerful forward play. However, the home side's pack were a match for the Londoners.

Blackheath earned a penalty chance on 13 minutes when Peters was deemed to hold on to the ball after a tackle. Frankie Neale missed with this attempt from 27 meters. The same player soon made amends when his side were awarded another penalty as Reds' prop Darren Jacques was deemed not be binding.

Redruth were soon back on the attack with Rob Thirlby showing fine pace and balance in making ground into the opponents' half. Thirlby's clever running lines were a constant thorn in the visitors' side. Skipper Bonds made a strong run into the Piggy Lane corner. From the re-cycled ball Redruth pounded away at the Blackheath line, to no avail on this occasion, as Blackheath cleared their lines. Thirlby once again caused alarm bells to ring as he was kept out down in Hell Fire corner. Mann and prop Darren Jacques kept the pressure up with strong drives into the 22. In the end the pressure told as Blackheath were penalised in front of the posts after 26 minutes, Hook slotting the penalty.

Redruth maintained the momentum during this period, Thirlby once more causing panic. A penalty was kicked to touch and a catch-and-drive set up, with Mann forcing his way over the line but held on his back on 29 minutes. Despite a five-meter scrum for the Reds, Blackheath managed to clear their lines. Eventually Redruth were able to add to their score with Hook kicking a second penalty on 35 minutes.

From this point on until half-time it was Blackheath who enjoyed the possession and field position. Redruth repelled a catch-and-drive attempt brilliantly, legally disrupting the receiver. Eventually, Neale, after missing another penalty chance, chalked up his second effort on the stroke of half-time.

With the wind at their backs Redruth set about pinning the visitors in their 22 at the start of the second half. Hook and Neale traded early penalties. Blackheath were then reduced to fourteen men as prop Alistair McKenzie earned a spell in the sin-bin for punching Richards. It was during this period that Redruth scored their second try of the game on 58 minutes. A drive by Nathan Pascoe found winger Mark Lea in space, and he finished off the move with aplomb under the posts. Hook's conversion stretched the lead to 21-9.

Redruth went in search of further tries as the game entered the final quarter, using the wind to pin their opponents back. Hook saw a snap drop goal attempt fade just wide of the posts. Paul Teixeira put in a good run, beating two or three players. No 8 Mark Bright, who throughout the match was always involved, made a thunderous charge up the Eastern Bank touchline. It seemed just a matter of time before Redruth would score another try.

A try did come, but to Blackheath, as Neale managed to escape the attentions of the home side to sprint into the Piggy Lane corner on 68 minutes. He couldn't convert his own try from the touchline in the gathering gloom and driving drizzle. Still his side were now only seven points adrift, and Redruth needed at least one more score to make the game safe. Hooker Owen Hambly, on loan from the Cornish Pirates, made a telling burst into the Blackheath 22. From a Blackheath scrum Richards pinched the ball, which he moved quickly along the line for skipper Craig Bonds to score near the posts on 73 minutes, Hook adding the extras.

Redruth looked for that fourth try for the bonus point but couldn't get it in a seemingly long amount of time added on. All in all, a fine win over very worthy opponents that keeps the momentum up and sent the large crowd home happy.

Next Saturday Redruth play host to National League 3 South side Lydney in an EDF-Energy National Trophy 4th Round tie.

Redruth: R. Thirlby, M. Lea, C. Bonds (capt), S. Peters, P. Teixeira, M. Hook, M. Richards (S. Brown 80); D. Jacques (D. Job 78), O. Hambly, S. Lutey (C. Williams 54), D. Cook, L. Collins, N. Pascoe (J. Navin 63), J. Mann, M. Bright.
Tries- Collins, Lea Bonds, Pens (3), Cons (2)- Hook

Blackheath: F. Neale, T. Foster (N. Maurer 15), J. Wheaton, R. Binder, R. Piotrowski, M. Vaughan, J. Simpson; A. McKenzie, R.Webber (A. Natera 63), D. Brett (S. Legg 64), M. Corker, A. Vanner, J. Kellard (S. Legg 54-64, N. Dewale 70)), D. Allen (capt), K. Aseme.
Try- Neale, Pens (3)- Neale
Yellow Card; A. McKenzie 49

Referee: Mr. D. C. Sainsbury (RFU)


London 4 South West. By Dickon Moon, London Cornish RFC Head Coach.

London Cornish fell to their first away defeat for 11 League and Cup matches when they were eventually beaten at Cobham on Saturday, a run stretching back to March 2006. Barring disaster, the win should ensure the home side a relatively comfortable run to the London 4 South-West title and they were good value for their win by a goal, two tries and two penalties to one penalty. Cornish will rue a massive penalty count against them as they struggled to come to terms with the referee's interpretation of the breakdown, a sin bin at a crucial time also costing the exiles dear.

Cornish made only a couple of changes from the victorious squad of the previous week, prop Andy Renner returning and John Hollick stepping up from the bench to replace the injured Jim Chilcott. Club Skipper Tom Thirlwall came onto the bench, having recently returned from a 14-hour flight.

In damp, dull conditions on a poor pitch with little grass the game was set for a forwards' battle and it was the visitors who started the better. Playing away from the clubhouse, Cornish fashioned a fine catch-and-drive from inside their own half to drive Cobham back and win a penalty on 2 minutes. In a strong, swirling wind the effort dipped narrowly beneath the uprights.

Now Cornish came under pressure as they gave up penalties on the floor and one of these gave the Cobham kicker the chance to give his side an early lead on 4 minutes. In contrast to the first meeting between these sides, Cornish gave Cobham real trouble at scrum time with Renner, Will Carew-Gibbs and Ben Wheeler playing together for the first time ever, but the home lineout remained imperious on its own ball.

Further penalties gave the league leaders the chance to kick to the corner on 11 minutes and for the first time this season Cornish conceded a try to a rolling maul out wide, the conversion attempt missing.

On each visit Cornish made to the Cobham 22, they coughed up key possession at lineout time and this hindered their ability to strike back. A steady stream of possession and penalties gave Cobham good field position on a number of occasions and they continually used runners coming from depth close to rucks and mauls to bash holes, but the two defences remained resolute for the remainder of the half and the break came with the home side 8-0 to the good. It was little comfort for the visitors to learn that they had conceded only 8 points despite a penalty count of 14 to 2 against them.

Cornish were forced to make a change at the break with lock Jay Stirrett, an increasing presence at lineout time, succumbing to a groin strain to be replaced by Thirlwall. A wholesale reshuffle of the back row saw Rob Aird move into lock, Will Ho move to blind side, Hollick move open and Thirlwall come in at no 8. On 43 minutes and with his first contact the powerful Thirlwall won a turnover and the ball was driven into the Cobham half. Cornish worked some room for wing Nick Barber to hit the line at pace but the ball was spilled with the player in the clear and the referee brought play back for a penalty for offside. Fly Half Dan Pollard stepped up to drive his kick between the posts and reduce the arrears to 5.

Now Cornish upped their game and it was against the run of play when the home side won a penalty on 51 minutes, which their kicker slotted to ease his side out to an 11-3 lead. Almost immediately Cornish lost a player to the sin bin and with the ensuing penalty being driven to the corner, it took a series of phases for the exiles to run out of numbers for a Cobham forward to crash over half way into the posts. The conversion was made and from being in the game a few minutes earlier the visitors were now looking at an 18-3 deficit.

Cobham continued to eschew the wide game, content to hammer away close in or on the narrow side, while Cornish simply could not gain any clean ball for their backs in attacking positions so the next 15 minutes were spent with the home side pinning Cornish back. Only a series of relieving kicks by centre Josh Bartley-Smith brought field position for the visitors but these were returned with interest after the lineouts, the freshening wind now turning behind Cobham's backs.

On one occasion wing James Strover broke away down the short side with full back George Bramble in support but the ball was turned over and cleared. A microcosm of the whole match on 62 minutes saw Renner burst out from half way and shrug off tacklers to drive into the Cobham 22. Not held, he regained his feet to drive toward the shadow of the posts, only to be penalised for not releasing, the visitors' clear frustration with the referee simmering to boiling point.

The referee was clearly struggling with a hamstring injury and with the distraction of some kind of wireless ref-link to his assessor, Cornish felt that he simply did not shout his verbal warnings loud enough.

With 15 minutes left and after a series of battering runs, Cobham finally broke through an exhausted Cornish defence to score near the posts, the kick shanked poorly wide to make the score 23-3. Another injury, this time to Skipper Dave Furze forced another change, with both Matt Strover and James Turnbull coming one. One last attempt to attack from deep saw Cornish fashion a huge overlap but a looping cut-out pass drifted forward and the opportunity was lost.

The final whistle went with Cobham hammering away at the Cornish line but unable to make any further inroads, both sides having given everything and the likes of Pollard, Ho and Wheeler having tackled themselves to a standstill.

Cobham produced another near faultless performance to win this match and must be strong favourites to win London 4 South-West. The mix of a number of hugely experienced ex-Harlequins and Esher players with some talented youngsters deserves to be seen at a higher level, where they will again be extremely competitive.

Cornish need to learn fast how to cope with a referee who is repeatedly pinging them - it is the first time this has happened this season and was not down to the tactics of the opposition alone. No side had come within 40 points of Cobham at their Fairmile Lane base in the League this season so the scoreline does represent a small triumph for the visitors, but of greater importance is the return to fitness from injury of Tom Fegen, their top points scorer of the last two seasons who had been missing since October, and the return from holiday of the giant pair Tom Moon and Rob Webster.

With the 2nd team turning over their Cobham counterparts the coaching team can ponder some exciting selection decisions for the important League and Cup matches in the next few weeks - Cornish may have lost a battle but they have certainly not lost the war!

London Cornish: George Bramble, Nick Barber, Dave Furze (James Turnbull), Josh Bartley-Smith, James Strover (Matt Strover), Dan Pollard, Richard Gregory, John Hollick, Will Ho, Rob Aird, Jay Stirrett (Tom Thirlwall), Glen Barton, Andy Renner, Will Carew-Gibbs, Ben Wheeler.



National League 2.

It remains to be seen whether this will be judged as two points gained, or two lost in the Cornish All Blacks' quest for National League 1 rugby next season. The Cornish All Blacks have never won up at Grove Park, so in that respect a draw could be considered more than respectable.

Manchester began the match in buoyant fashion, no doubt still basking in the glory of their fine win at hitherto unbeaten Esher in the league last Saturday. Manchester scored their opening try after only 12 minutes and it came from a rolling maul set up from a lineout, with lock Gaz Rawlings claiming the try which his brother centre Scott converted.

Manchester continued to keep the Cornish All Blacks pinned down in their 22. Eventually Manchester's pressure reaped dividends as the visitors mis-handled in their 22, turnover ball was spun wide by Manchester with winger Dave Woods on hand to score in the corner. Rawlings converted from the touchline for a 14-0 lead to the home side.

The Cornish All Blacks had a battle on their hands and were going to have to dig deep to get back into the match. They did so through the tried and trusted method of their forward power. Gaining a penalty they kicked to touch on the Manchester 22 and from the catch-and-drive they drove over for No 8 Nick Burnett to claim the try, which fly-half Sam Young converted. The visitors pressed hard for a second try before half-time but to no avail.

The Cornish All Blacks continued with their dominance after the break and eventually they scored a second try on 50 minutes. Following a tap penalty, Sam Young took the ball from the ruck and slipped the defence to score a well deserved try, adding the extras for good measure to tie the scores.

The visitors looked to score again but stout home defence repelled the Cornish side. With time fast running out it was Manchester who thought they may have snatched a win by scoring in the corner, only for referee Mr Copsey to disallow the score after consulting with the touch judge.

Some good news though in that Marc Sweeney, from the Cornish All Blacks & Cornwall, has been called up into the England Counties' squad for the forthcoming International against an Irish Clubs XV at Leinster's Donnybrook ground on the evening of Friday 23rd February, linking up with club colleague Wayne Reed.

Cornish All Blacks: A Birkett (M. Scrivener 71), M. Dibble, R. Westren, S. Perry, M. Sweeney, S. Young, R. John; W. Reed, D. Risdon (J. Bolt 70), K. Brooking(capt), S. Pape, B. Luxton (T. Parker 38), J. Lord, W. Sprangle, N. Burnett (S. Williams 65).

In South West 1, Mount's Bay strengthened their position at the top of the league with an impressive 71-26 win over Reading at the Mennaye. Palepoi Nonu led the way with a hat-trick of tries, with Steve Larkins helping himself to a brace. Other scores came from recent signing Shane Laloata, Adam Nicholls, Jamie Salter, Tom Outram and Lee Jarvis. Jarvis landed nine conversions and a penalty. Bay's win was marred by a couple of injuries to players, namely Jamie Salter and Ben Hilton.

St. Ives, in defeating bottom side Clevedon 27-7 at Alexandra Road, closed the gap to second-placed Cleve for that all-important play-off berth. Despite going 7-0 down early in the match, St. Ives fought back with an opening try scored by player-coach Ian Sanders. Lee Taylor and Neil Corin each scored tries to leave the Hakes 15-7 up at the break. In the second half on-loan hooker Tom Hurdwell scored a fourth try for St. Ives, before Graham Corin scored the fifth try which Grant Thirlby converted.

In South West 2 West, it was not a good day for our two Cornish clubs. Camborne travelled to Cheltenham North and lost 13 - 5, with skipper and No 8 Dave Roberts getting the only try for the Cherry & Whites.

Penryn lost a proverbial game of two halves, having built up a 20-3 lead at half-time only to see visitors Brixham storm back in the second period to score 20 points of their own. Playing with the wind first half, the Borough opened the scoring with an Ian Morgan penalty. Morgan then converted a Peter Webster try before adding a second penalty. After 30 minutes Brixham kicked a crucial penalty against the elements. However, before half-time Penryn scored a second try through Chris Mann, again Morgan added the extras. That was as good as it got.

In Western Counties West, it was a Cornish derby at the Memorial Park with Hayle entertaining Truro, who continued to show much improved form despite going down to the Lions 17-12. No 8 James Jago scored a first half try for Hayle. Hayle continued to press but lost the ball close to the Truro line, allowing Truro winger Ben Chenoweth to run the length of the field for a spectacular try to leave the scores tied at half-time.

Despite the wind at their backs Truro couldn't get the first score of the second half. Instead it was Hayle who, against the run of play at this stage, scored a second try through Liam Kearey, with Paul Lello converting. Hayle scored a third try from a driving maul through Neal Turner. Truro didn't give up and were rewarded with a second try scored by Shaun Roseveor, converted by Ross Martin.

Bude lost 18-14 at Crediton, who completed the double over the North Cornwall club this season. Trailing 15-0 at half-time, Bude were very much up against it, more so when they lost their goal kicker Paul Williams with a knee injury. Zarren Bell and Andy Yates scored tries for Bude, both of which Yates converted.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels as expected won the Cornish derby with Perranporth comfortably by 74-0, scoring 12 tries with full-back Dan Briskham scoring four tries, Tom O'Donnell three and Matt Ballard a brace. Miles Davey, Jamie Kneal and Ben May completed the try count. Sean Hawkey kicked 7 conversions.

St. Austell earned a creditable draw at home to high-flying Cullompton 15-15, with prop Will Handcock, and centres Paul Read and James Rowe each scoring tries.

Falmouth lost 17-12 at Honiton. No 8 James Allen and lock Kevin Hughes scored tries for Falmouth, with Instance getting a conversion.

On Sunday afternoon at the Recreation Ground, Redruth defeated Old Redcliffians 15 - 7 in the National Colts' Cup 4th Round.

This coming Sunday sees Cornwall U.20's kick off their County Championship program with a home game at Penryn against Somerset U.20's. We hope to have further news later during the week.

27th/28th January 2007



By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News

For a second successive season, Doncaster were left cursing the finishing prowess of Cornish Pirates' winger Rhodri McAtee. At Kenwyn 12 months ago, the 'Welsh Whippet' led the Yorkshire club a merry dance, claiming a hat-trick of tries in a 43-26 victory. Yesterday, McAtee was at it again, this time sealing the all-important score as the Pirates edged to a much closer 26-23 triumph at Camborne. His scorching burst down the left flank, created following a sumptuous break in midfield by centre Duncan Roke, assured the 22-year-old of his 13th touchdown of the campaign. In truth, though, he is unlikely to score a more important effort this season. Not only did his second-half heroics help the Pirates record a notable league double over the visiting Knights, but it helped Jim McKay's crew edge back into third spot, hot on the heels of the league's frontrunners, Leeds Tykes and Rotherham, the latter of whom still have to head for the Duchy in March.

"In the grand scheme of things, this was a really important win for us," hailed McKay at the final whistle. "It was a really interesting game and both sides played their part out there. That said, in some ways we both cancelled each other out. Both sides had done their homework on each other and in the end it came down to a few little things which, thankfully, we managed to do well."

Certainly the Pirates began brightly enough, taking the lead inside two minutes when fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo thundered over a 60-metre penalty to break the deadlock. His opening salvo was in marked contrast to opposite number Ben Gollings, himself a Cornishman, who saw four of his attempted restarts fail to cross the 10-metre line. His afternoon, however, would improve, as would Doncaster's fighting spirit.

Gollings levelled the game up on eight minutes with a successful penalty of his own, only for the Pirates to regain the initiative straight from the restart when Doncaster were penalised for holding on. Instead of kicking for the posts, Di Bernardo targeted the left-hand corner and set the platform for the now well-rehearsed Pirates' catch-and-drive move. Hooker Vili Ma'asi sent the ball to the centre, the drive was applied by the hosts, only for Doncaster flanker Jason Forster to unscrupulously pull down the driving maul just inches from the line. Forster's efforts did not go unnoticed as referee David Rose immediately banished him to the sin-bin.

With the man advantage, the home side went for a repeat performance. This time, however, their efforts proved more fruitful as Tongan Ma'asi emerged from the mass of bodies on the far side proudly clutching the match ball. Di Bernardo's plundered the difficult touchline conversion, plus added penalties on 18 and 24 minutes to put the Pirates further over the horizon at 16-3.

Sadly, they were unable to build on their early foundations and it was the Knights who then dominated for much of the first period. No.8 Russell Earnshaw brought the visitors back into contention when he drove over for a converted score eight minutes before the break. Then Gollings penalised Iva Motusaga for coming off a scrum too early to make it 16-13 at the break.

A converted Gollings try - the fly-half was given acres of room to dart through a static home defence, plus another penalty - had the natives growing restless, but any concerns were quickly allayed when Ma'asi burrowed over for his second of the afternoon, again from a line-out move. Di Bernardo's conversion attempt missed the right post, but referee Rose ordered a retake for the Argentinian after a clutch of Doncaster players charged his effort a little too early. Take two, however, fared no better, as this time his kick was pulled left of the uprights, even though the visitors were happy to stay rooted to their line.

The Pirates, though, were not going to be denied and in a thrilling final quarter to the game, they gleaned their reward with a moment of sheer magic. A superb turnover by No.8 Tim Cowley allowed skipper Gavin Cattle the time and space to feed Roke, who in turn dropped his shoulder, ghosted past two Donny tacklers, before offloading to McAtee to scorch his way to the try-line.

It was scintillating stuff from the two former Worcester aces, one of whom is set to call time on his spell with the Pirates at the end of the season. Roke has already confirmed that this will be his last season in the black and red: a return to the Midlands beckons for him and his family. However, he is determined to ensure his Cornish swansong finishes on a high note. His experience helped galvanise the Pirates in the latter stages as Doncaster looked to snatch a last-gasp victory.

In the end, solid defence from the home side prevailed. McKay added: "In terms of our character and our resilience I'd give us nine out of ten. In terms of our performance, it was more like six out of ten. We didn't quite execute some of the things we had planned to do.

"Our will to win was very strong and it got us through in the end. The fact that we never gave up is a fantastic characteristic to have in the side, but it's something we have worked hard on and we'll continue to work on.

"In games like this, you need people to stand up and be counted. We had that today, which was very, very pleasing. I thought Duncan Roke showed a real touch of class to hold and put Rhodri away at the end, plus our catch-and-drive went very well and some of Alberto's kicking was excellent. Like I said, that's a big win for us. Now we have to continue to build on that and look to finish the season as strongly as possible."

Cornish Pirates 26pts: Tries - Ma'asi 2, McAtee; Conversion - Di Bernardo; Penalties - Di Bernardo 3

Doncaster Knights 23pts: Tries - Earnshaw, Gollings; Conversions - Gollings 2; Penalties - Gollings 3

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke, D Bell, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi (N Makin 72), D Seal; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga (M Evans 72), T Cowley.
Replacements (not used): J Moore, S Winn , L Vinnicombe, G Anderson, J Inglis.

Doncaster Knights: A Carter; W Davies, B Hunt (M Woodrow 77), J Cannon, D Van Vuuren; B Gollings, B Jones (D Scully 72); N Tau, S Boden (B Phillips 69), J Rawson ( S Barretto 64); G Kenworthy (D Cook 69), L Gross; O Cook, J Forster, R Earnshaw.
Replacements (not used): S Grainger, S Davey .
Yellow Card: Forster.

Referee: D Rose (RFU)

Attendance: 2,862.



National League 2. By Bill Hooper.

After the disappointment of last weekend's EDF Energy National Trophy exit against Lydney, Redruth got the show back on the road with this important win at Grantchester Road.

Despite falling behind to an Alex Goode penalty after only 6 minutes, Redruth fought back well, soaking up some Cambridge pressure before asserting themselves up front. Mike Hook levelled matters with a penalty kick after 25 minutes. The scoreboard remained at 3-3 till half-time.

Redruth upped the pace in the second half and were rewarded with a try on 52 minutes when hooker Owen Hambly took a clearance kick by Cambridge's full back Goode to run in a superb try from 30 meters. Mike Hook kicked the conversion.

Redruth were soon back on the attack. From a penalty kicked to touch, a catch-and-drive saw No 8 Mark Bright power over. Hook helped himself to the extras and the Reds were 17-3 up. Cambridge hit back and scored a very good try through their Kiwi hooker Kramer Ronaki, which Goode converted from the touchline.

Redruth's third try came after 60 minutes when, following a fine run from winger Mark Lea, skipper Craig Bonds was on hand to dive into the corner.

Paul Thirlby, making a welcome return to Redruth, came on to join up with his brother Rob as the game entered the final quarter.

Redruth went in search of the bonus point try and it came through lock Damien Cook, who ran on to a ball from deep to canter over under the posts. Hook completed the scoring with his conversion.

This win lifts the Reds up to fourth place in the league, six points behind the Cornish All Blacks, who slipped to third as they had no game this week. Henley Hawks have taken second place from the CABs and they will be travelling to Redruth for next Saturday's mighty encounter with high hopes. Redruth will have hopes of their own!

In South West 1, there was a shock at Basingstoke, where the home club inflicted a second league defeat on league leaders Mount's Bay by 29-25. Bay's points came from three tries scored by Tom Outram, Lee Jarvis and Shane Laloata, Jarvis kicking a couple of conversions and two penalties.

St. Ives were given a tough time at Alexandra Road, winning 11-8 against Chippenham. Luke Trescothick scored the Hakes' try, with Aaron Baigent kicking a couple of penalties. St. Ives remain in third spot, still chasing a play-off spot.

In South West 2 West, Camborne had a fine win at the Recreation Ground, defeating Torquay Athletic 21-17. Mark Rogers scored a couple of tries for the Cherry and Whites whilst the boot of David Mankee added the other points.

Penryn had no luck away at Hornets, losing 20-5 to remain very much in the relegation zone. Chris Mann scored the only try for the Borough.

In Western Counties West, Hayle produced a rousing comeback during the second half of their match at Sidmouth to turn a 26-6 half-time deficit into a 35-26 full time win. All the Lions had to show for the first 40 minutes were two penalties from Paul Lello. Hayle's comeback came via tries from Rikki Brandham, Ben Eddy, Kevin Mankee and Luke Ellis, Lello adding two conversions and a drop goal.

Bude secured a slim 12-11 win over visitors Withycombe with tries from Julian Morris and Steve Yates, one of which Andy Yates converted to keep alive their fading hopes of a play-off spot.

Truro lost a crunch game at home to Crediton by 17-13.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels remain in second place after their 24-8 win at Okehampton. Camels scored four tries through James Kneale, Ollie Hawkey, Dave Pretty and Miles Davey, and Sean Hawkey kicked acouple of conversions.

Falmouth beat Wessex 20 - 10 with tries from Tom Spiller, Scott Langdon and Mike Slater.

The bottom two sides, Perranporth and St. Austell, battled out an 11 all draw at Ponsmere Valley.

In London 4 SW, London Cornish defeated Old Paulines 40-12, scoring six tries. (See Dickon Moon's report in the forums.)

This weekend sees the start of this season's RBS 6 Nations' Championship, with England, under the captaincy of Cornishman Phil Vickery, seeking to regain the Culcutta Cup from Scotland at Twickenham. We wish Phil and his squad well. Unfortunatly a player with Cornish connections, former Plymouth Albion now with Bristol No 8 Dan Ward-Smith, will not take part in this season's championship due to dislocating his right knee cap in Bristol's match at Northampton on Saturday. We wish him a speedy recovery.

There is International Rugby in the South West this Friday night, as the England Saxons take on Italy 'A' at Exeter Chiefs' new Sandy Park ground. Cornishman Olly Barkley is in the Saxons' squad; we wish him well.

4th/5th February 2007



By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News

Whilst the stricken MSC Napoli remains beached just off the East Devon coastline, further west the Cornish Pirates continue to sail swimmingly towards the summit of National League One. Having overcome a tricky swell of fixtures in recent weeks, Jim McKay's hearty bunch again had too much for visiting Sedgley Park as they cruised to a 39-13 success at Camborne yesterday.

The Pirates followed up their 55-3 win over the Manchester-based club back in October, by claiming their first five-point success in the league since winning at Moseley in mid-December. It was a victory, coupled with Rotherham's inactivity because of a frozen pitch at Nottingham, which helped lift the Pirates back into second spot in the division, eight points adrift of leaders Leeds, whom they face this Friday in the fifth round of this season's EDF Energy National Trophy.

Realistically, though, the Pirates are well aware they will need to be much sharper for their trip to Headingley than they were yesterday. An end try-count of 5-1 certainly sounds good enough, but for periods of the game the home side were forced to live off scrappy possession as the vibrant visitors offered a decent enough threat with their livewire back division. Had they possessed more patience and penetration out wide, the Pirates could well have been struggling to hold their series of attacks. Several times the visitors worked good openings, only for poor handling or some last-ditch tackling to thwart their advances.

The Pirates, on the other hand, were more ruthless when handed similar scoring opportunities. Whereas Sedgley were unable to find the necessary firepower to get them over the gain line, the home side had a plethora of hard-hitting options at their disposal.

With the scores locked at 6-6 after two penalties apiece from Alberto Di Bernardo (Pirates) and Phil Jones (Sedgley), the Pirates finally laid claim to their opening try on 27 minutes. Rhodri McAtee, Duncan Roke and Alan Paver all dented their way into the Sedgley 22, before the ball was scooped up by the Pirates' pack and mauled towards the try-line. With the try inevitable, referee Terry Hall had little option but to go in under the sticks when Park lock Lloyd Benjamin hauled the assembled gathering to the floor. Argentinian ace Di Bernardo converted from in front of the posts, but he was unable to add the extras to Tim Cowley's touchdown just four minutes later, the imposing No.8 picking up from the base of a five-metre scrum to barge over in the right-hand corner.

The Pirates were now in the ascendancy and they rightfully claimed a third score on the stroke of half-time. A line-out move in the corner saw the ball fed to skipper Gavin Cattle. He fired the ball left to Di Bernardo, who in turn produced a sumptuous miss move in the midfield to find centre Duncan Bell, who collected at pace to go in by the posts. Di Bernardo's conversion brought the curtain down on the half as the Pirates went in 25-6 to the good.

Sedgley, though, returned with a renewed vigour and within seven minutes of the restart claimed their first try of the game, flanker Ledua Jope crossing for an effort which Jones happily converted.

The score, however, merely acted as a wake-up call to the Pirates, who responded with some panache. A jinking break through the middle by the impressive Bell saw him combine with Di Bernardo to send Iva Motusaga over for the all-important fourth try.

From here the Pirates should have inflicted further misery on their opponents. That they didn't was a concern, particularly as they allowed Sedgley to control large parts of the possession. Home frustrations were clear to see and when replacement prop Dan Seal was sin-binned just three minutes after arriving on the field, you kind of sensed the Pirates were already looking ahead to their forthcoming trip to Yorkshire.

Once they did regain their composure, they wrapped up victory with a late Grant Anderson try, converted by James Moore. Afterwards coach McKay admitted it was a mixed display from his side, but the Aussie was keen to focus on the positives. He said:

"We're really happy with the five points and the end result. There were good things to our game today and there were a few things that were not so good.

"The good things were that we got to use a lot of the bench guys, plus James Inglis got his first start in a while. We also scored some really good tries and some of the mauls we created were top drawer.

"On the downside, some of play did not go as we intended it to. However, that's something we can work on this week, the main thing was to win and get the five points, which we did."

Cornish Pirates 39pts: Tries - Penalty Try, Cowley, Bell, Motusaga, Anderson; Conversions - Di Bernardo 3, Moore; Penalties - Di Bernardo 2

Sedgley Park 13pts: Try - Jope; Conversion - Jones; Penalties - Jones 2.

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke (L Vinnicombe 69), D Bell, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo (J Moore 73), G Cattle (capt); A Paver (G Anderson 77), N Makin (V Ma'asi 54), S Heard (D Seal 54); H Senekal, J Inglis; S McKeen, I Motusaga (Anderson 61-69), T Cowley.
Replacement (not used): J Beardshaw.
Yellow Card: Seal.

Sedgley Park: C Hall; H Monsell, C Briers, I Voortman (J Duffy 65), A Craig; P Jones, C Leck (J Albinson 65); P Gazzola (G Roberts 75), J Roddam (P Keys 78), P Du Plessis; L Benjamin, E Norris; L Jope (D Livesey 75), A Newton, J Skurr (capt).
Replacements (not used): T Fourie, J Ponton.

Referee: T Hall (RFU).

Attendance: 2,012.



National League 2. By Bill Hooper, at Redruth Recreation Ground.

Redruth deservedly completed a league double over the high-flying Hawks in an absorbing encounter at the Recreation Ground.

It was an abrasive encounter, fiercely physical yet not at all dirty. This result leaves Redruth in 4th position, just four points behind the Hawks, seven points behind the Cornish All Blacks, who are now back up to second, tantalisingly close to the second promotion berth!

The stiff breeze played an important role in the match: interestingly each side was to play better into it than with it.

Henley gave Redruth an early scare when centre Luke Burns thought he'd scored the opening try on 5 minutes, only to be denied by referee Mr Leyshon who had spotted an infringement.

The opening quarter was very much a case of each side feeling the other out with both defences being sternly tested. The Redruth back row were trying to punch their way though, with Mark Bright being the main weapon, whilst PJ Gidlow was using his strength in midfield. Yardage was gained but no clear cut chances appeared. It wasn't until the 23 minute that a breakthrough came. Redruth had a penalty up in the Piggy Lane corner. They took the scrum, and drove from the base before the ball was whipped out, and from a ruck near the line scrum-half Mark Richards cleverly dummied the opposition to score a simple try near the posts. Hook's conversion gave the Reds a deserved 7-0 lead.

Five minutes later further pressure from the home side led to a penalty on the 22, which Hook kicked to make it 10-0. The crowd were right behind the Reds as the noise from the grandstand was deafening.

The Hawks pressed deep into the Redruth 22 towards half-time. Their fly-half, Mitch Burton, had a penalty attempt, which drifted wide, leaving the score unchanged at the break.

The second half began with a kicking contest as each side once again sought field position. Hook was guilty of a schoolboy error as he took his eye off the ball as it was coming back to him in his own 22: his knock-on was to prove costly. The Hawks pressurised from the scrum and were only just held up over the line. Once again they turned the screw in the scrum before Redruth were deemed guilty of kicking the ball out of the set-piece, allowing referee Mr Leyshon to award the Hawks a penalty try on 50 minutes. Burton added the conversion to cut the Reds' lead to 10-7.

Redruth got back on the attack, pressing up in the score board corner. Hambly took a heel against the head as Redruth maintained the pressure. A catch-and-drive went to ground, but Hook was waiting in the pocket to drop a fine goal to stretch the Reds' lead to 13-7. Almost from the restart Henley benefited from a penalty, which Burton kicked to reduce his side's arrears to just three points.

That was to prove to be the end of the scoring, yet the remainder of the match was fascinating. The Hawks pressed for another score but Redruth's defence remained solid, with Nathan Pascoe tackling everything in sight. Hook kicked his side out of trouble and put in some towering Garryowens to the Hawks' 22 as Redruth tried to manufacture an opening. Hook had another drop goal attempt as no-side approached, only to see it flash wide.

Mr Leyshon's final whistle brought a huge cheer from the fans, not just of relief but appreciation of a fine contest from two evenly matched sides.

Redruth: P. Thirlby, M. Lea, C. Bonds (capt), PJ Gidlow, S. Peters, M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques, O. Hambly, P. Joyce (A. Morcom 72), D. Cook, L. Collins, N. Pascoe, J. Mann (J. Navin 80), M. Bright.
Reps not used: S. Brown, B. Priddey
Try Richards Con, Pen, Drop, Hook

Henley Hawks: J. Farndon, D. Tibbet, P. Dunckley, L. Burns (B. Reeves 75), A. Gill, M. Burton, J. Gaunt; A. Le Chevalier, L. Wordley (capt), T. French, J. Winterbottom, S. Hurrell, M. Payne, S. Williams (G. Chamberlin 72), D. Archer
Reps not used: J. Hadfield, T. Muggeridge
Try Penalty, Con, Pen, Burton

Referee S. Leyshon (RFU)



National League 2.

The Cornish All Blacks, thanks to this five-point win at Ovenden Park, coupled with Redruth's success over Henley Hawks, are back up to second spot in the league. With still a game in hand over their rivals, the Cornish All Blacks know that their destiny is in their own hands: if they keep winning they will be promoted.

Fly-half Sam Young kept the CABs on the front foot all afternoon with some astute positional kicking. Young kicked a couple of early penalties, with Fax's Greg Robson pulling one back to leave the visitors 6-3 up. Halifax then took the lead with an unconverted try scored by winger Joe Knowles in the corner. It wasn't long before the CAB's hit back, with full back Andy Birkett rounding off a fine move involving Mark Dibble, Richard John and Young. Young added the conversion for a 13-8 lead, which they held to the break.

In the second period, Halifax lost their centre Robson to a yellow card, and the visitors soon took full-advantage of the extra man. Following a scrum near the Halifax line, flanker Wayne Sprangle was driven over for the CABs second try. A third try was scored just around the hour mark when the visitors broke out of defence with John, Young and Marc Sweeney carrying the move, before releasing winger Andy Matchett, who flew in to score. Young's conversion took the score to 25-8.

Although Halifax did come back with a good try scored by flanker Craig Wilson, the Cornish All Blacks had the final word and secured the try-scoring bonus point when Sprangle was driven over for his second try.

Cornish All Blacks: A. Birkett, M. Dibble, M. Sweeney (S. Parry 59), R. Westren, A. Matchett, S. Young, R. John; J. Bolt, K. Brooking (capt), W. Reed (D. Risdon70), S. Pape (D. Kimberley 68 ), T. Parker, J. Lord, W. Sprangle, N. Burnett (S. Williams 57).

In South West 1, Mount's Bay resumed normal service after their hiccup at Basingstoke with a 50 - 12 win at basement side Clevedon. The game was marred by a nasty looking injury to Bay full back Ollie Faulkner, which resulted in a delay of some 45 minutes whilst the player was attended to before being transported to hospital. Thankfully he has been released from hospital and the injury is not as bad as first feared. We wish him a speedy recovery.

Bay's try scorers were Jamie Semmens, Everard Reid and Scott McLean, who each scored twice, with Steve Evans and Palepoi Nonu getting one each. Lee Jarvis kicked five out of eight conversions.

St. Ives play-off ambitions took a knock with a 29-28 defeat at rivals Weston-super-Mare. The Hakes scored three tries through Lee Taylor, Aaron Baigent and on-loan signing Ashley Lawton. Grant Thirlby added the other points via the boot.

In South West 2 West, Camborne lost at St. Mary's Old Boys 17-8. Camborne's points came from a Paul Gadsdon try and a Dave Mankee penalty.

Penryn's fate is almost sealed following another heavy defeat at home, this time to league leaders Coney Hill by 62-15. Borough did score a couple of tries through flanker Peter Webster and scrum-half Paul Bannister, with full-back Ian Morgan kicking a conversion and a penalty.

In Western Counties West, Hayle beat Kingsbridge 15-0 in an uninspiring performance. Luke Ellis scored an early try for the Lions before a late score from Kevin Mankee (try), converted by Paul Lello, who then added a penalty to complete the scoring.

Bude's outside hopes of a play-off place were extinguished with defeat at Tiverton by 22-3.

Truro lost heavily at Withycombe 55 - 3 to remain firmly anchored at the foot of Western Counties West.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels cemented their second place with a comprehensive 50 - 24 win over Falmouth at the Molesworth Field. Shaun Hawkey and Dan Briskham each got a couple of tries for the Camels.

Cullompton won at Perranporth 28 - 15, whilst St. Austell lost at home to Okehampton 22 - 13. It looks likely that both clubs will be back in Cornwall 1 next season.

Yesterday afternoon at Plymouth Albion's Brickfields ground, Cornwall U.20s played their second game in this season's U.20 County Championship. Despite leading at half-time 16-11, through a try by Fraser Kellythorne and three penalties and a conversion by Karl Martin, Cornwall were unable to add to their score during the second half, whilst Devon scored 20 points to run out 31-16 winners.

In the other game in the group Somerset beat Gloucestershire 38-20. After two rounds of matches each side has won one and lost one, leaving it all to play for on the final weekend of matches, when Cornwall travel to Lydney to play Gloucestershire on March 18th. Cornwall are currently third in the table with an inferior points difference behind Devon and Somerset. To progress Cornwall need a big win at Lydney, whilst a draw or even a narrow win for either Somerset or Devon might be good enough to see them through.

It was good to see Phil Vickery celebrate his 50th cap for England by collecting the Calcutta Cup from Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, patron of the Scottish Rugby Union, after leading England to a 42-20 win over Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon. Phil will lead out England next Saturday for cap no 51 against Italy at Twickenham.

Ireland confirmed their status as favourites for the tournament with a 19-9 win at Cardiff, whilst in Rome France ridiculed, for now, those pundits who prior to the tournament wrote them off, with a 39-3 win over Italy. Next Sunday's match at Croke Park against Ireland, together with England's visit to the same ground a fortnight later will be fascinating and no doubt the key to the probable outcome of the championship.

Talking of Italy, I must mention the England Saxons versus Italy "A" match, won by the Saxons 31 - 3, played at Exeter Chiefs new Sandy Park ground. It was pleasing to see International rugby at this level back in the South West six years after Redruth hosted the second of its England "A" v France "A" Internationals back in 2001. Good to see Bath's and Cornwall's Olly Barkley play for the Saxons. A tremendous occasion played in an arena that we in Cornwall for the moment can only dream of having.

10th February 2007


It was Cup action in Cornwall this weekend, both nationally and locally.

What a gutsy display by the Cornish Pirates up at Headingley against the Leeds Tykes last Friday night in the EDF-Energy National Trophy, coming out on top with an 18-17 win to progress to the next round. Well done to BBC Radio Cornwall for arranging live commentary of the match and thanks to Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News and Robin Turner of the Cornish Pirates for doing the commentary, which was appreciated by many in far and wide places. One unpleasant note was the constant barracking of the Pirates' kicker Alberto Di Bernardo by a section of the home support. Still Di Bernardo had the last laugh with his final conversion to win the tie.

Their reward is a Quarter-Final tie AWAY at Doncaster Knights, to be played on Saturday March 3rd.

In the EDF-Energy Intermediate Cup, Mount's Bay secured a berth in the semi-final draw with a 43 - 7 win over Midland 1 side South Leicester up in the Midlands. Bay led at half-time 21 - 0 with tries from Shane Laloata, Palepoi Nonu and Danny Clackworthy, with Lee Jarvis converting all three.

Although the home side pulled back a converted try from Dave Hadkiss during the second half, Bay scored three more tries through Jamie Semmens, Steve Larkins and debutant Duke Seymour. Jarvis kicked a further conversion to complete the scoring.

The semi-final draw is due to take place at Twickenham on Tuesday 13th. A Penzance double bill at Twickenham is still a real possibility!

In the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Knock Out Cup 2nd Round matches played this weekend, Redruth and Truro progressed.

Meanwhile, the Cornish All Blacks were waved through by Hayle, who pulled out of their tie with the holders. Hayle were due to play a re-arranged Western Counties West league match at Bude on Saturday but this once more fell foul of the weather.

Redruth, as expected, proved too strong for old rivals Camborne, winning 49-5. Redruth notched up eight tries through Ben Priddey, skipper Craig Bonds, Mark Richards (2), a penalty try, Mark Bright, Sam Harrison and Sam Brown. Richards assumed the kicking duties in place of the absent Mike Hook, kicking three conversions and a penalty. Camborne never gave up and were rewarded with a consolation try scored by full-back Joe Parma.

At Ponsemere Valley, Truro defeated Perranporth 22-5 to book their semi-final berth.

The final 2nd Round tie between Mount's Bay and St. Ives is scheduled to be played next Sunday afternoon at the Mennaye.

We will bring news of the semi-final draw when we have it.

I turn my attention now to this weekend's RBS 6 Nations matches. Phil Vickery led England to a second win at Twickenham against a plucky Italian side by 20 - 7. Jonny Wilkinson kicked five penalties in the process of becoming the highest points scorer in 6 Nations history, surpassing the previous mark of Welshman Neil Jenkins, whilst Jason Robinson scored England's only try during the first half. Many have bemoaned the fact that England, especially in the second half, were dragged down to Italy's level. I, on the other hand, prefer to play tribute to the Italians for never giving up. Their forwards played with great heart and they fully deserved their try, scored and converted by fly-half Andrea Scanavacca. I thought the Twickenham crowd petulant when they booed Vickery for asking Wilkinson to kick for goal during the second half. It was tough out there in the forward exchanges and Vickery, quite rightly in my opinion, took the points on offer.

Up at a freezing Murrayfield Scotland defeated Wales 21-9 in a game devoid of any tries. Chris Paterson kicked seven penalties for Scotland whilst Stephen Jones replied with three for Wales. I am sure the single malts revived the spirits after a disappointing game.

And so to Croke Park, Dublin, for an enthralling game played out in front of 81,572 paying spectators, with France defeating the pre-tournament favourites Ireland by 20-17 with a piece of typical French magical three-quarter play from the Toulouse winger Vincent Clerc deep into time added on. A disaster for the Irish to lose concentration at the restart, having just seen Ronan O'Gara kick his fourth penalty to put the Irish 17-13 up. What an awesome venue Croke Park proved to be. You do wonder whether the refurbished Lansdowne Road will be redundant even before it's built! I have no doubts that the atmosphere for the England game will be even hotter than for the France game. I thought that former England hooker Brian Moore was somewhat churlish with his comment in today's Daily Telegraph when he wrote "I was amazed at Keith Wood's post-match attitude. The Triple Crown, who gives a monkey's about that?" I think he'll find out just how much it means to Ireland when they take on England in two weeks time.

England Saxons enjoyed a fine win at Ravenhill, Belfast, 32 - 5. Olly Barkley came off the bench after 73 mins to replace Mike Catt.

At the conclusion of this season's County Championship the England Counties side will be touring Russia in June, according to the Russian RFU website this week. Three matches are scheduled to be played, with an opening fixture in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia and two matches in Moscow, including an international against Russia.

17th February 2007



National League 2

A storming second-half performance, especially from the pack, enabled the Cornish All Blacks to claim all five points in their pursuit of promotion to National League 1 next season.

Pitch conditions were difficult for two sides who like to throw the ball about. The scoring was opened after 33 minutes when CAB's fly-half Sam Young kicked a penalty goal. Stourbridge levelled almost immediately when Ali Bressington kicked a penalty for the visitors.

With time running out during the first period, the Cornish All Blacks were awarded a penalty, which Young kicked to the corner. The line out was taken by the attacking side, who then drove over the line for No 8 Stuart Williams to claim the first try of the game. Young couldn't add the extras. However, Bressington did manage to kick a second penalty to leave the Cornish All Blacks 8-6 to the good at half-time.

Stourbridge took the lead early on in the second half when, following a tap penalty on the visitors' 22, their centre Mark Eastwood chipped the cover, with fellow centre Lachlan Porteous winning the race to the line. Bressington's conversion just made it to put the visitors 13-8 up.

It was just the jolt the home side needed to take their play to another level. The home pack set about dismantling the visiting eight to set up the platform for an impressive win. From a scrum on the Stourbridge 22 centre Ryan Westren made a break, linking up with prop Jason Bolt, who in turn fed Williams who scored his second try of the game. Young's conversion regained the lead momentarily for the CAB's, Bressington's third penalty snatching it back for the visitors on 49 minutes.

It was the signal for the home side to turn the screw up front. From a catch-and-drive tight head prop Wayne Reed was driven over to claim his side's third try. A few minutes later, following a tap penalty, a powerful maul was driven over the Stourbridge line for lock Tom Parker to score the fourth bonus point try. Ryan Westren kicked the conversion for a 27-16 lead. With time almost up another maul saw replacement Dave Risdon driven over for his side's fifth try, which Westren again converted.

An impressive second half performance to take apart one of the form sides during the season in this division. A trip to leaders Esher in two weeks time should hold no fear for a side in such commanding form.

No matches in this division next weekend as England Counties play Irish Clubs at Donnybrook on Friday evening. We wish Marc Sweeney and Wayne Reed well on their International duty.

Cornish All Blacks 34: Tries, Williams (2), Reed, Parker, Risdon; cons, Young, Westren (2); pen, Young

Stourbridge 16: Try, Porteous; con, Bressington, pens, Bressington (3)

Cornish All Blacks: A Birkett (S Perry 57), M Dibble, M Sweeney, R Westren, A Matchett, SYoung, R John, J Bolt (D Risdon 65), K Brooking (capt), W Reed, S Pape (B Luxton 41), T Parker (M Myerscough 72), J Lord, W Sprangle, S Williams

Stourbridge: M Williams, A Bressington, M Easton, L Porteous (N Baxter 63), J Hall, M Cook (A Sturdy 66), T Richardson, V Hartland, B Gerry, J Tideswell, S Horner, A Muldowney, R Dean, T Jordan, J Jenner

Referee: Mr N Williams (RFU)


National League 2

A creditable draw for the Reds up at the Avenue, but in reality they will be disappointed to come away from the Dales with only 2 points in the bag.

Redruth will point to the fact that they drove over the home side's line on four occasions, only to be denied by referee Mr. Taylorson each time!

After the Reds dominating the early exchanges, which saw lock Luke Collins and centre PJ Gidlow both held up over the home side's line, it was Wharfedale who opened the scoring after 26 minutes with a penalty from their centre Mark Bedworth. Redruth fly-half Mike Hook replied with two penalties before half-time to leave the Reds 6-3 up at the break.

Just after half-time Hook kicked a third penalty to stretch the Reds' lead. Wharfedale then dominated for long periods. However, the Redruth defence contained the threat. Bedworth kicked a penalty on 51 minutes to cut the deficit, and the same player missed with another effort shortly after.

With time running out, Bedworth kicked his third penalty to level the scores. Greens' winger Simon Horsfall charged down a Craig Bond clearance: however, the ball ricocheted away to safety before the winger could react. Hook had a final chance to snatch a win but a long-range effort fell just short of the bar. Redruth will now look to get back to winning ways when they entertain Nuneaton at the Recreation Ground on Saturday March 3rd.

Wharfedale 9 pts: Pens: Bedworth 3

Redruth 9 pts :Pens: Hook 3

Wharfedale: J. Hutchinson, C. Malherbe, M. Bedworth, S. Horsfall; A. Baggett (Capt), J. Doherty; T. Horner (Rep N. Dickinson 74 Min), G. Hindle, N. Dickinson (Rep E. Fynn 44 Min), D. Lister, A. Capstick, A. Allen, H. Verity, R. Baldwin
Reps not used: C. Steel, O. Renton, M. Langstaff.

Redruth: C. Bonds (Capt); J. Caruana, P. Thirlby, PJ Gidlow, S. Peters; M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques, O. Hambly (Rep B. Priddey 77 min), P. Joyce (Rep S. Lutey 75 Min), D. Cook, L. Collins, N. Pascoe, C. Fuca, M. Bright
Reps not used S. Brown B. Fox.

Ref Mr A. Taylorson (RFU)

In South West 1, Mount's Bay maintained their grip at the top of the table with a 37-14 win at the Mennaye against Chippenham. Centre Michael Mua and hooker Jamie Slater each got a brace of tries, with Steve Larkins and Tom Outram scoring the other tries. Lee Jarvis kicked a penalty and two conversions.

St. Ives maintained the pressure on Cleve for the play-off spot with an impressive 57-3 win over visitors Reading Abbey. Grant Thirlby scored three tries, Lee Taylor two, with Anton Waller, Aaron Baigent and Neil Corin each scoring one. Thirlby and Karl Martin kicked the remainder of the points.

In South West 2 West, it was Cornish derby day as Camborne entertained Penryn, winning 66-10. Penryn look set for yet another relegation this season. The Cherry & Whites ran in a dozen tries in a game which had to go at times to uncontested scrums, as Penryn didn't have sufficient front row cover. James Richards (2), Mark Rogers (2), Dave Roberts, Dave Mankee, Martin Woolcock (2), James Allen, Rob Ley, Nathan Curnow and Kevin Penrose all got on the score sheet for Town. To Penryn's credit they did manage to score a couple of tries of their own.

In Western Counties West, Hayle travelled to table toppers Barnstaple as the top two sides met. However, it was the North Devon side who are all but crowned league champions as they ran out comfortable winners by 34-3. Paul Lello kicked the solitary points for the Lions. Hayle have it in their own hands to secure the vital home advantage against the runners-up from Western Counties North.

Truro recorded just their third win of the league season when they defeated visitors Tiverton 17-12 at St. Clements. However, they remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table. Truro scored tries through Ross Martin and Jovin Harper, with Martin converting both scores and a penalty kick.

Bude's home match with Minehead Barbarians was postponed due to the waterlogged pitch at Bencoolen Meadow.

In the Cornwall & Devon league Wadebridge Camels maintain their second spot following a 22-7 win at Wellington. The Camels scored four tries through Alistair McCelland, Matt Ballard, Brian Finnemore and Dan Lumb. Jamie Kneale kicked the solitary conversion.

Falmouth defeated St. Austell at the Recreation Ground 21-5, with tries from Darren Pellow, James Greville-Smith and Ben Short, with James Instance kicking a couple of penalties. Peter Winterbottom scored for St. Austell.

Perranporth lost to Okehampton 30-7, the Brewers' points coming from a converted penalty try.

Up in London, London Cornish cemented their second place in London 4 SW with a hard fought 14-13 win over Warlingham (report from Dickon Moon in the forums).

Sunday saw the completion of the Second Round/Quarter Finals of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup when Mount's Bay defeated local rivals St. Ives 21-18 at the Mennaye. It was a Steve Larkins penalty, kicked in the fifth minute of time added on which decided the tie. Ben Hilton and Tom Edyvean scored first half tries for the Bay, with Larkins kicking a penalty and a conversion for a 15 - 8 lead. Aaron Baigent try and Grant Thirlby penalty replied for the Hakes. Larkins kicked a second penalty before the Hakes rallied to tie the scores with a try from Sheldon Waetford, converted by Karl Martin, who also added a penalty. Waetford thought he'd scored a second try, only for it to be disallowed by the referee, Mr. Denham.

The semi-final draw is: Redruth v Truro and Mount's Bay v Cornish All Blacks, with the ties to be played the weekend of 10/11th March.

Tomorrow night's (Tuesday 20th February) Tamar League match at Polson against Exeter United has been cancelled due to the pitch conditions. (See the Cornish All Blacks' website.)

24th February 2007


Big match reaction with Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

Delighted Exeter Chiefs' coach Pete Drewett described his side's defensive display as "very special" after they recorded a hard-fought 11-6 victory over Westcountry rivals the Cornish Pirates.

Two penalties from fly-half Tony Yapp, plus a scintillating individual score from winger Gary Kingdom, saw the Chiefs to their eighth successive National League One victory at Sandy Park.

"Going in all week we knew it was going to be a very tough match, simply because the Pirates have been going so well", admitted Drewett afterwards. "There were going to be crucial moments in the game and, thankfully, we managed to do well in one of those moments when Gary took his try superbly."

Kingdom's second half touchdown helped the in-form Chiefs regain the lead after Pirates fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo had fired the visitors in front with penalties either side of the break.

"That's the great thing about tight games like this," added Drewett. "Somebody stands up and does something special. It was a beautiful bit of skill and one that I'm looking forward to seeing on telly. Fair play to Gary, he's showing incredible pace at the moment. Last week at Bedford he was just pulled back when he was very close to doing something similar, but we are very pleased that he took his opportunity so well."

Kingdom's try may have provided the pivotal moment of the match, but Drewett was also quick to salute his side's outstanding defensive rearguard.

"Our defence in the last ten minutes was very special," said Drewett. "The players showed their determination, they really worked hard for each other and they showed good levels of fitness, but even then it could have gone either way." Indeed, the Devon club had to withstand a heavy late battering from the Pirates, who were unable to repeat their late heroics like at Newbury and Leeds.

"We're pretty disappointed, we hate losing," said Pirates' coach Jim McKay at the final whistle. "That said, full credit to Exeter, they deserved their win and they took everything we threw at them. However, the question we have to ask ourselves when we review the game is 'was what we were throwing at them the right option?' or 'can we get better?' We will use today as motivation in that respect and try and get better."

Saturday's setback brought about the first defeat of 2007 for the Cornish club, who have slipped back to fourth in the standings, 16 points adrift of league leaders Leeds Tykes.

"We have won a lot of close games this year, but we didn't win this one," added the Australian. "That's just how it goes sometimes, but we'll have to regroup, learn from it and, hopefully, improve. We have no excuses at all. We're disappointed we could not click into gear, but you have to give credit to Exeter because they didn't allow us to click into gear. You don't have to try and reinvent the wheel, it's just a case of trying to get better at what you do and learning from experiences like this. If there is a positive to come out of today, it's that it is going to make us even more determined to win and more determined to get better."

The Chiefs and Pirates are both in action again this Saturday, this time in the EDF Energy National Trophy quarter-finals. Exeter play host to National Three South side Lydney, while the Pirates make the long trek North to league counterparts Doncaster.



National League 1. By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News.

When Exeter Chiefs upped sticks from the dilapidated County Ground to head across town to their new luxurious Sandy Park Stadium there were folk that feared the club's fearsome home factor would be left behind in the rubble. Several months on - and now safely ensconced in their stunning multi-million pound establishment - it appears those fears can be safely allayed after Saturday's hard-fought derby victory over the Cornish Pirates.

Having been humbled 37-20 by their neighbours from across the Tamar back in late October, the Chiefs gained sweet revenge in this rematch watched by a crowd of almost 6,000. Dramatic, absorbing and, at times, full-blooded, it was everything you would have expected from a derby tussle involving two of National One's most in-form outfits. Ultimately though, it was Exeter's desire and determined defence - ingredients they have whipped together in previous campaigns against the likes of Bristol and Harlequins - that saw them claim yet another notable scalp.

Withstanding a late barrage of attacking pressure from the visiting Cornishmen, the Chiefs' stubborn resistance held firm long enough to ensure their unbeaten tag for 2007 will enter a third month at least.

Unlike at Newbury and Leeds, there was to be no last-gasp heroics from the Pirates this time round. Instead, it will be back to the drawing board for Jim McKay and his fellow coaches, who know they will have to conjure up a more effective battle plan for this weekend's crunch clash with Doncaster in the National Trophy.

Whereas in recent displays forward momentum has been the order of the day for the Pirates, a similar ploy on Saturday merely played into the hands of the Chiefs, who had clearly done their homework on the threat posed by their local rivals. Too often McKay's men were guilty of adopting the same, predictable tactic of trying to drive through the heart of the Exeter rearguard. Had they tried something different - it's been quite a while since we saw the Pirates back division really cut loose - maybe a more profitable reward could have been claimed.

In truth, for all the possession and territory the Pirates boasted in the second period, their scant reward after the break was a solitary penalty from fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, made good use of the ball they created for themselves. Indeed, the game's defining moment came just past the hour mark, courtesy of a loose line-out from the Pirates. With the visitors on the attack, Vili Ma'asi's throw from the sidelines evaded his jumpers, the Chiefs recycled the ball out wide to winger Gary Kingdom who, with plenty still to do, conjured up a moment of magic worthy of winning the game on its own. Collecting the ball wide on the left touchline, Kingdom shrugged off the feeble attempt of a tackle by opposite number Jon Hylton, before chipping the ball over the top and outpacing all around him to dive over in the corner.

Kingdom's touchdown sent the home faithful wild with delight, but still there was plenty to do and the Chiefs knew as much.

In a rumbustious opening to the game, it was the Chiefs who broke the deadlock on six minutes when Tony Yapp fired them in front with a penalty. Ten minutes later and the Exeter number ten could have doubled his tally, but his right-footed effort sailed wide of the upright.

His kicking duel with Di Bernardo was certainly intense - as was the flare-up between the two playmakers midway through the half - the Pirates man was subsequently found guilty for his part by referee Nick Williams when order had been restored.

Di Bernardo, the division's leading points scorer, quickly shrugged off his indiscretion and his tactical nous soon had the visitors on the attack and in enemy territory. Although the Argentinian failed with a long-range penalty on 22 minutes, he was able to convert a second chance in first-half stoppage time, this time firing over a kick he had won himself after home flanker Gary Willis had deliberately body-checked him off the ball.

The offence saw Willis banished to the sin-bin for the remainder of the half, as well as the early exchanges after the restart. However, despite the numerical disadvantage, it was Exeter who were offered the first chance of the second period. Sadly Yapp was unable to land the 48th-minute penalty.

With the visitors looking to up the ante, their pressure finally brought reward on the hour mark when home prop Dan Parkes, himself a former Pirate, was penalised for a ruck offence and Di Bernardo stroked over the resultant kick for a slender 6-3 lead.

Worse was to follow for the Chiefs, who moments later wasted a golden attacking opportunity when Ian Brown needlessly flew into a ruck, knee first. His actions were spotted by the officials and the towering lock became the second home player sent to the cooler. Home fury, however, was to prove shortlived as Kingdom soon intervened with his sublime solo effort on 65 minutes.

Although Yapp failed with the difficult touchline conversion, the crucial factor as far as the Chiefs were concerned was that they were back in front. Their cause was aided when Pirate Duncan Bell became the third player to be shown yellow, the Samoan-born centre dispatched to the flanks following some unnecessary tap-dancing on Chiefs' hooker Sam Blythe at a ruck.

Then, sensing the opportunity might be there to increase their advantage, the Chiefs threw caution to the wind. First Barrett was held up on the line, before the same player thought he had sniped over for a second try. That, however, was ruled out for crossing and the play brought back for an earlier penalty, which Yapp duly converted. With time fast running out, the Pirates - now back to full complement - summoned themselves for one final throw of the dice. Although they pressed hard in the dying moments, as well as the ten minutes of added-on time, there was to be no way through and it was the Chiefs who were to emerge victorious.

Exeter Chiefs 11pts: Try - Kingdom; Penalties - Yapp 2

Cornish Pirates 6pts: Penalties - Di Bernardo 2

Exeter Chiefs: B Breeze; J Luff, M Fatialofa, W Kelly, G Kingdom; T Yapp, K Barrett; D Parkes, S Blythe (S Nelson 80), J Horn-Smith (R Liddington 80); J Hanks, I Brown; T Walker, G Willis, R Baxter (capt).
Replacements (not used): C Slade, A Miller, R Bolt, A Staniforth, T Bedford.
Yellow Cards: Willis, Brown.

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke (S Winn 54), D Bell, J Hylton; A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi, D Seal (S Heard 68); H Senekal (J Inglis 68-77), J Beardshaw; S McKeen , I Motusaga, T Cowley (M Evans 77).
Replacements (not used): N Makin, R Wells, L Vinnicombe.
Yellow Card: Bell.

Referee: N Williams (RFU)

Attendance: 5,944.


By all accounts it was a great day up at Exeter's Sandy Park ground, apart from the result, with the Chiefs just getting the better of the Cornish Pirates 11-6 in an absorbing National 1 encounter (see Mark Stevens' reports above). With the EDF-Trophy Quarter-Final next up at Doncaster on Saturday, a possible trip to Twickenham may well be the best shop window for the Cornish Pirates to stake their worthiness for top-flight rugby in the future, not forgetting the televising of their home match with Rotherham on SKY-Sports on Sunday 18th March.

With no National League 2 matches this weekend, as England Counties were in Dublin playing an AIB Irish Clubs' XV (a 20-17 win for the Irish; there's a report on the game in the forums) which featured Cornish All Blacks' Marc Sweeney and Wayne Reed) the other main interest away from the Cornish Pirates were Mount's Bay and St. Ives' South West 1 matches.

Bay, who also have one eye on a Twickenham date, travelled up to Weston-super-Mare and defeated the former National League 3 South side by 21-12 to edge ever closer to that coveted National League status. The Bay stormed into an 18-0 lead with tries from Lee Jarvis (which he also converted before going off injured) and Jamie Semmens, and a couple of penalties from Steve Larkins. Although Weston hit back to cut the lead to just 18-12, a third Larkins penalty ensured the result and maintains a three point cushion over second-placed Cleve.

Defeat for St. Ives at Oxford Harlequins, 22-15, looks to have dealt their play-off hopes a terminal blow for this season. Despite trailing 10-0, the Hakes fought back to take the lead at 15-10. Aaron Baigent scored the first St. Ives try, which Karl Martin converted, as well as a penalty. Winger Lee Taylor then scored an unconverted try after half-time to put the Hakes in the lead and give them hope. However, the Oxfordshire side had other ideas, scoring two tries to nick the points and leave St. Ives trailing Cleve by five points.

In South-West 2 West, just the one game was played involving a Cornish side: Camborne travelled to Hornets, losing by 10-3, Dave Mankee kicking the solitary Town penalty. Penryn's match against Taunton was postponed as they contemplate life back in Western Counties West next season.

Hayle's match in Western Counties West at Crediton was another to fall foul of the weather. Bude did manage to play but lost 8-0 at Ivybridge. Truro travelled to Minehead Barbarians and a 57-10 defeat has all but condemned them to the drop into the Cornwall & Devon League next season. Prop forward Chris Gilbert scored both Truro's tries.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels maintain their push for promotion with a 22-10 win over visitors Tavistock. Gary Keane, Dan Lumb and Brian Finnemore scored the Camels' tries, one of which was converted by Jamie Kneale in the first half. Camels withstood a fight back from Tavistock before lock Alasdair MacLennan scored a fourth Camels' try to seal the win.

Falmouth had a good win over Perranporth by 29-19, a defeat which leaves the Brewers in the drop zone back to Cornwall 1 for next season. St. Austell enjoyed a rare win, defeating Wellington 22-12. The Saints scored four tries through Robert Jeffs, Paul Winterbottom, Adam Kellow and Ben Newman, who also kicked a conversion. St. Austell are unlikely to climb any higher than third from bottom and their fate may well hang in any re-jigging of the leagues higher up for next season.

London Cornish enjoyed a fine 46-15 win over Old Caterhamians at the Richardson-Evans Memorial Ground, a win that leaves them just one win away from promotion to London 3 SW, the equivalent of Western Counties West. (See Dickon Moon's report and Tumbler's photos of the game in the London Cornish forum on this site).

Also in London the 105th match between the Royal School of Mines and Camborne School of Mines took place at Harlington Sports Ground, in the annual "Bottle Match", and for the first time in 10 years the "bottle" is on its way back to Cornwall as Camborne School of Mines won a hard fought encounter 5-3.

In the RBS 6 Nations there was a veritable feast of rugby with all three games being played on the Saturday. In Murrayfield Scotland were over generous in the extreme to their Italian guests, gifting the Italians three tries in the first 6 minutes of the game and a 21 point lead which they were never going to come back from. In all the Italians scored four tries, with Mauro Bergamasco, Andrea Scanavacca, and Kaine Robinson benefiting from the Scottish largesse, and old warhorse Alessandro Troncon wrapping up the win. An historic first away win for Italy in the 6 Nations 37 - 17, which will give them massive confidence in their remaining two fixtures, both in Rome against Wales and Ireland.

In Croke Park, Ireland remain on course to defend their Triple Crown following a record win over England by 43-13. Ireland made full use of England lock Danny Grewcock's trip to the sin-bin, scoring 14 points to lead 23-3 at the break. Cornishman and England captain Phil Vickery took defeat in good grace in the knowledge that his side had been beaten by the better team on the day. It was for England a record defeat in the 6 Nations, surpassing the 37-12 loss to France at the old Stade Colombes in 1972. Harlequins' Dave Strettle was one of the few bright spots for England and he took his debut try very well.

France, meanwhile, will travel to Twickenham in two weeks time in confident mood, hoping to notch a fourth win in a potential "Grand Chelem" for this season. Despite being outscored on the try front by three tries to two, France had too much strength all-round for a valiant Welsh side. France scored tries through Stade Français winger Christophe Dominici and Castres lock Lionel Nallet, whilst fly-half David Skrela kicked 19 points, with Lionel Beauxis kicking a late penalty for les Bleus. Wales' tries came through Alix Popham, Tom Shanklin and the impressive Jamie Robinson. Food for thought, France have a knack since 1957 of winning at Twickenham in years ending in the number 7!

3rd March 2007


By Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News

Not for the first time this season, the Cornish Pirates served up another 'Late, Late Show' to keep their dream of a first-ever appearance at Twickenham very much alive and kicking. Last month it was prop Alan Paver's converted try - eight minutes into injury time - which saw the Pirates head home to port from a snow-filled Leeds with a slender 18-17 victory in their treasure chest.

On Saturday - again in Yorkshire - but this time in glorious sunshine, it was the turn of James Moore to take centre stage, the fly-half sealing a memorable 13-10 success for the Cornish club when he struck a sublime, 30-metre, drop-goal with just a minute of normal time remaining to sink hosts Doncaster at Castle Park.

Once again it was compelling stuff from Jim McKay's side, who banished the disappointment of their defeat at Exeter the previous week to seal their spot in the last four of this season's EDF Energy National Trophy.

Waiting for them in the semi-finals will be one of the following - Exeter Chiefs, Pertemps Bees or Plymouth Albion - all of whom will pose a creditable obstacle to the Cornish club's ambitions of reaching English rugby's HQ next month.

Today's draw will certainly offer an early insight into the task awaiting McKay's men, but no matter who is thrust into their path en route towards the capital, this hearty bunch are determined not to let their endeavours of previous rounds simply go to waste.

Matchwinner Moore underlined that desire when he remarked afterwards: "This is a massive win for us. We knew it was going to be tough coming up here, Doncaster are a quality side with some very good players, but everyone dug deep and thankfully we managed to come away with the win."

Having not featured in the starting line-up since early January against former club Coventry, 24-year-old Moore was thrust firmly into the limelight when regular fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo was ruled out ahead of kick-off with a rib injury.

Taking over at No.10, Moore did not disappoint in the absence of the Argentinian playmaker, who it has been confirmed will be joining Leeds Tykes at the end of the season.

From the outset of Saturday's game, Moore together with skipper Gavin Cattle provided a vibrant new half-back link, which had not been seen for a number of weeks.

Whereas at Exeter the Pirates were determined to try and bulldoze their way through a seemingly impenetrable Chiefs' rearguard, this time round they looked wider - much wider in fact - to find a way through the Donny defence.

Early exchanges between the two clubs were, not surprisingly, intense. The battle for supremacy up front was bustling, while behind neither side were willing to give an inch to their opposite number.

In the end, it took an indiscretion from the visitors to hand Doncaster the first points of the day. A stray hand in a ruck enabled home fly-half Mark Woodrow to register a seventh-minute penalty.

Almost immediately, though, the Pirates came within a whisker of hitting back. Samoan flanker Iva Motusaga cut a superb line through the heart of the Doncaster defence, only to be felled just short of the line by Ben Jones.

It was certainly a let off for the home side, who almost added to their tally just before the break when Woodrow was snagged just short of the right-hand corner.

With defences on top and both sides disciplined in their bid to combat the opposition threat, chances in the game were always going to be few and far between.

That said, it was the Pirates who were granted the first opening of the second period. A slick move on halfway released Moore, who as he attempted to progress forward was felled by a high tackle.

Shaken, but not stirred, Moore happily shrugged off the effects of the blow to his head to fire the Pirates level with a long-range penalty on 44 minutes.

Still there was little to choose between either side, but as the half progressed it was Doncaster who slowly began to crank into gear. The arrival of Netani Talei from the bench certainly helped their cause - and the Fijian was involved in the move which allowed former Pirate Wes Davies to claim the game's opening try, which Woodrow converted with 13 minutes remaining.

Now knowing only a converted try would bring them back into contention, the Pirates - just as they did at Headingley in the last round - rallied once more.

A line-out on the right was gathered by No.8 Tim Cowley, who aided by his fellow forwards drove for the home try-line. Although their initial shove proved fruitless, the Pirates regrouped, shoved once more, from which Tongan Vili Ma'asi somehow burrowed his way over for his eighth try of the campaign.

Moore obliged with the conversion, but then saw a difficult touchline penalty fail with just three minutes remaining. With extra-time looming, the Pirates pushed one final time. Good approach play from forwards Stan McKeen and Cowley created quick ball for Cattle, who in turned shipped the ball back for Moore to weave his magic.

With little time left, it was again a dramatic conclusion for the Pirates, not that coach McKay minded too much. He said: "It's a fantastic result for the club, the players, the coaches and all the supporters. After last week at Exeter we were pretty disappointed, but today the boys showed their character - right until the end - and we moved that little bit closer to Twickenham. To get there is definitely our aim, but we know it will be tough whoever we play in the next round."

Doncaster Knights: A Carter (P Bailey 72); W Davies, B Gollings, J Cannon, D Van Vuuren; M Woodrow (C Rees 72), B Jones (D Scully 80); S Bunting (T Davies 58), S Boden (B Phillips 52), N Tau; G Kenworthy (D Cook 68), L Gross; S Grainger (N Talei 57), J Forster (capt), R Earnshaw.
Try - Davies; Conversion - Woodrow; Penalty - Woodrow

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke (S Winn 80), D Bell, L Vinnicombe (J Hylton 54); J Moore, G Cattle (capt), A Paver, V Ma'asi (N Makin 75), S Heard (D Seal 54); H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga (M Evans 32-40), T Cowley.
Replacements (not used): R Wells, J Inglis Try - Ma'asi.
Conversion - Moore; Penalty - Moore; Drop-Goal - Moore

Referee: D Newitt (RFU)


National League 2. Report by Bill Hooper.

This top-of-the-table clash went the way of the league leaders Esher, who defeated the Cornish All Blacks rather more easily than many observers had predicted.

Esher, who have seven of their squad in the England Counties team to do battle with France Amateur at Blackheath next Saturday, scored twenty points in a five minute burst around the twenty minute mark of the match to effectively kill off the visitors. Full-back and the league's top points scorer Neil Hallett kicked a penalty, before the try scoring spree commenced. In quick succession Esher scored three tries through centre Bevon Armitage (2) and winger Matt Moore, with Hallett converting Armitage's second effort for a 20-0 lead.

The Cornish All Blacks tried to bludgeon their way through Esher with their driving game. However, the home side held out even when reduced to fourteen men after fly-half Matt Leek got a yellow car for some fisticuffs.

It got worse for the visitors just after half-time as Esher scored two more tries. Armitage completed his hat-trick by collecting a delicate chip ahead, and then winger Richard Briggs got on the score sheet with another fine try, which Hallett converted for a 32-0 lead.

The Cornish All Blacks, who lost their fly-half Sam Young to the sin-bin, responded with some fine play with replacement winger Marc Sweeney cutting a fine line through the home defence to set up flanker Wayne Sprangle for a try after 59 minutes. The respite for Launceston was short-lived as Esher scored a sixth try through Hallett, who rounded off another fine three-quarter move. The full-back was injured whilst scoring so kicking duties were handed over to Leek who slotted the conversion.

The CABs were reduced to fourteen men once more as flanker Josh Lord received a yellow card. Despite this the visitors rallied strongly and produced a backs move of their own involving Ryan Westren, Sam Young and Mark Sweeney, to allow full-back Andy Birkett to score. Young's conversion made it 39-12. Westren was soon at it again, setting off on a diagonal run bamboozling the home defence to pass to Sprangle who scored his second try, Young's conversion making it 39-19. Launceston pressed hard for a fourth try to get something out of the match but to no avail as the referee's whistle brought an end to the match.

A setback for the Cornish All Blacks but not an insurmountable one. Yes, the Henley Hawks have leapfrogged back into second place; however, Launceston do have that game in hand with Bradford & Bingley and Henley have to visit Esher, so it's all to play for.

Esher: Neil Hallett (Mike Marsh 64), Matt Moore, Bevon Armitage, Toby Clouston, Richard Biggs, Matt Leek, Graham Barr, Duncan Cormack (capt), Tom Doran (Simon Goldsmith 64), Jeff Smith (Mark Lambert 43), Emmanuel Amapakabo (Simon Gaynor 52), Paul Barker, Mark Butterworth, Ladislav Vondrasek, Lee Starling

Cornish All Blacks: Andy Birkett, Marc Dibble (Marc Sweeney 43), Steve Perry, Ryan Westren, Andy Matchett, Sam Young, Richard John; Keith Brooking (capt), Dave Risdon, Wayne Reed (Jason Bolt 64), Tom Parker. Brett Luxton (Steve Pape 41), Josh Lord. Wayne Sprangle, Stuart Williams (Nick Burnett 46)


National League 2. Report by Bill Hooper.

Following the pre-match news that the Reds had secured the services of Rob Thirlby for the next two seasons, Redruth proceeded to give one of their poorer displays during the first half, before rallying in style during the second half to claim all five points on offer.

An early penalty goal after 3 minutes from fly-half Mike Hook should have set the Reds up nicely. However, it was Nuneaton who dictated and it was no surprise that they went ahead. Following a lineout the ball was eventually worked to Nuneaton's American winger Tyson Meek, who weaved his way to the line to score with aplomb. Despite further chances Nuneaton turned around with just the two-point advantage.

A few choice words at half-time appeared to have the desired effect as Redruth took the game to their visitors to score three tries during a ten minute spell early in the second half. First on the score-sheet was No 8 Mark Bright, who burst through the Nuneaton defence from a Mark Richards pass. Hook added the conversion. Moments later it was centre Paul Thirlby who scored a fine try down in Hell Fire corner, following more good work from Bright and Nathan Pascoe. It was then the turn of winger Tim McBride, who wrong footed the opposition to score a great try. The Reds were now flying at 20-5.

Nuneaton still sensed a sniff of at least a bonus point as a period of domination was rewarded with a second try on 73 minutes by winger Ryan Owens, which was converted by fly-half Gareth Cull.

Redruth had other ideas though and it was No 8 Bright who ran in from the 22, slipping a couple of tackles to score by the posts to claim the try bonus point. Hook's conversion left it at 27-12.

A good win which consolidates Redruth's fourth position in the league before the visit of Barking on the 17th March.

Redruth: Craig Bonds (Capt), Jamie Caruana, Paul Thirlby (Sam Brown 77), P J Gidlow, Tim McBride, Mike Hook, Mark Richards, Darren Jacques (Simon Lutey 59), Ben Priddey (Owen Hambly 67.), Peter Joyce, Damien Cook, Luke Collins, Nathan Pascoe, Chris Fuca (James Mann 40), Mark Bright.

Nuneaton: Jody Peacock, Tyson Meek, Simon Brocklehurst, Tristan Prosser-Shaw, Ryan Owens, Gareth Cull, Alex Wright (Huw Thomas 65), Graham Thomas (Paul Kendrick 40), Stuart Gibson, Phil Boulton, Alex Shaw, Mike Pearson (Paul Rees 74), Dan James, Jan Critchley (Wayne Lester 68), Glenn Southwell (Capt.)


What a marvellous result for the Cornish Pirates, indeed Cornwall, with their 13-10 Quarter-Final win at Doncaster in the EDF-Energy National Trophy on Saturday, a drop goal from James Moore clinching the tie with just a minute remaining in normal time. Eighty minutes (plus extra-time?) separate the Pirates from a trip to Twickenham, as it does Mount's Bay in the EDF-Energy Intermediate Cup. Two Cornish club sides at Twickenham, what a wonderful advert for Cornish rugby that would be! In the Cornish Pirates' case to show the powers that be at Twickenham just how much they mean business in their quest to bring Premiership rugby to Cornwall and why all this talk of possible ring-fencing of the Premiership is not on!

EDF-Energy National Trophy Semi-Final Draw

Cornish Pirates vs. Plymouth Albion

Exeter Chiefs vs. Pertemps Bees

Ties to be played weekend of 24/25 March

In South West 1, Mount's Bay were awarded the points as Reading Abbey were unable to field a front row. Further good news for the Bay was the news of second-placed Cleve's slip up at Bracknell, leaving Bay 5 points clear with just three games to play. A win at Oxford Harlequins will ensure promotion to National 3 South next season.

St. Ives' season took another jolt on Saturday. After their defeat at Oxford Harlequins the previous Saturday they went down at home to Maidenhead by 43-21. The visitors were 31-0 to the good before the Hakes made a comeback to score three tries through Graham Corin, Sheldon Waetford and Aaron Baigent, with Karl Martin converting all three. However, Maidenhead pulled away again to complete the scoring.

In South West 2 West, probably the performance of the day was Camborne's toppling of league pacesetters Coney Hill at the Recreation Ground by 25-12. The Cherry & Whites built up a 15-0 lead with tries from Mark Rogers and David Mankee, who also kicked a conversion and an earlier penalty. Coney Hill fought back to 15-12 before Mankee kicked a second penalty for an 18-12 half-time score. Joe Parma scored the only try of the second half for Camborne, with Mankee converting once more for a very fine win.

The match between Spartans and Penryn was not played.

In Western Counties West, Hayle in defeating Withycombe 50-10 have secured a play-off place. Withycombe deserve credit as they arrived in Hayle with just 15 players and were forced to play with just 14 men after their No 8 left the field injured early in the game. The Lions ran in eight tries with Rikki Brandham (2), Daniel Bassett, James Tresize, James Jago, Richard Spear, Neil Turner and Paul Lello. Lello also kicked the goals.

Bude lost again, their sixth defeat in seven starts, this time to Devonport Services by 17-11, whilst relegated Truro lost at home to Ivybridge 8-3.

In the Cornwall & Devon League second-placed Wadebridge Camels' match at South Molton was called off.

Falmouth defeated Okehampton by 29-12, with tries from Richard Hambly (2), Matt Dawes, Ben Short and Kevin Hughes.

Perranporth went down 10-0 at Wellington.

Congratulations to London Cornish, who have secured promotion to London 3 SW next season following their 20 - 17 win at Weybridge Vandals. (See Dickon Moon's match report on the forums.)

11th March 2007


National League 1. By Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News.

Yorkshire clubs may currently hold the monopoly at the top of National League One, but the Cornish Pirates are determined they will be among the division frontrunners come the end of the season. Yesterday's 20-8 victory over visiting Nottingham was not pretty, in fact it was more of an "arm wrestle" insisted coach Jim Mckay at the final whistle.

However, the Pirates racked up league win number 18 with a purposeful first-half display, which they really should - and could - have built on in the second period. The fact they did not was based on a number of reasons. Number One: The howling downfield wind, which ensured both sides were always going to find it tough to force their way into enemy territory. Number Two: Nottingham - buoyed by that same wind - were a much improved outfit after the interval. Number Three: Referee Gareth Copsey ruined what could have been a free-flowing encounter with some endless whistle-blowing, which would have been better suited in the Camborne showers afterwards. The fact that it took until second-half stoppage time for him to finally make his mark - he did that by issuing four yellow cards in as many minutes - ensured this encounter was never going to be one to write home about.

Not that you would have thought that would be the case early on. From the outset, the Pirates started with a real swagger to their play. Fly-half James Moore - the hero of Doncaster the week previous - netted two early penalties to set the home side on their way, before then obliging with the extras to the first of Rhodri McAtee's try-double.

McAtee's opener came on 19 minutes when he made the most of a knock-on by visiting full-back Rohan Nirmaldandran on halfway, before scooping up the loose ball and scorching to the line from halfway. The 'Welsh Whippet' added a second six minutes later, this time latching on to a pass from Moore, who had made the break following some good approach working involving the inspirational Tim Cowley and skipper Gavin Cattle.

Sadly Cattle's involvement ended just minutes later, the Pirates scrum-half forced from the field with a hyper-extended elbow. It meant an early introduction for Cattle's Welsh compatriot Rhodri Wells. For Wells it was the chance of some much-needed game time. He, like Grant Anderson, Nick Makin, James Inglis, Chris Cracknell, Matt Evans and Steve Winn, gratefully took the opportunity to press their claim for a more regular slot in the Pirates starting XV.

With crunch clashes against Rotherham and Plymouth Albion to come in the next fortnight, they all did enough to give McKay and his backroom staff plenty to ponder this coming week.

However, having swept into a 20-0 cushion, the Pirates then took their foot off the gas as half-time approached and it allowed Nottingham a slender lifeline back into the game. A line-out move in the right-hand corner finally paid dividends when on-loan Harlequins flanker Luke Sherriff was assisted over the line a minute after Cattle was forced from the field.

Unfortunately, former Pirate Tom Barlow was unable to convert, firing his effort wide of the left upright. Fly-half Barlow atoned after the break, however, this time slotting a 50th minute penalty from 20 metres out to make it 20-8.

After that, using the wind to punch them downfield, Nottingham continued to offer a genuine threat in attack.

The Pirates, though, had other ideas and with Cowley leading by example with some bone-crunching hits, the visitors were unable to add to their tally.

At the other end, the Pirates did have chances of their own - particularly in the final quarter - but had they been a touch more patient, then probably the points would have flowed. Even when the visitors lost Nic Rouse to the sin-bin late, quickly followed by team-mates Joe Duffey and Tim Stannard, plus Pirates lock Heino Senekal, there was still no way through.  

"I thought it was a real arm wrestle out there today," said McKay at the final whistle. "I thought the wind was more than a 20-point wind, so I was a little bit nervous at half-time that we perhaps didn't have enough points on the board.

"Second half, though, we controlled the ball pretty well and we didn't allow Nottingham to get too much. It was very difficult playing into that wind, but we still managed to create some chances. The fact we didn't take them was disappointing because had we done that, it may have been a bit more comfortable for us in the end."

Next on the agenda is this Sunday's televised clash with second-placed Rotherham, who themselves warmed up for their visit to the Duchy with a hard-fought victory over Plymouth Albion.

"Next week will be a big occasion for the club and for Cornish rugby," added the Australian. "But our focus has to be on Rotherham and nothing else."

Cornish Pirates: 20pts Tries - McAtee 2; Conversions - Moore 2; Penalties - Moore 2

Nottingham: 8pts Try - Sherriff; Penalty - Barlow

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke, S Winn , L Vinnicombe; J Moore, G Cattle (capt, R Wells 33); A Paver, N Makin (V Ma'asi 62), S Heard (G Anderson 53); H Senekal, J Inglis (J Beardshaw 74); T Cowley, I Motusaga, M Evans (C Cracknell 62).
Replacements (not used): D Bell, J Hylton.
Yellow Card: Senekal.

Nottingham: R Nirmalandran; J Kay (D Jackson 66), A Dodge, T Molenaar, B Thompson (A Savage 73); T Barlow, R Springall; M Parr ( N Fowkes 48), A Loney (J Duffey 80), N Hall (R Hopkins 73); S Raven (D Montagu 64), N Rouse; C Hammond (capt), L Sherriff, T Stannard.
Replacement (not used): N Stenhouse .
Yellow Cards: Rouse, Duffey, Stannard.

Referee: G Copsey (RFU)

Attendance: 2,362


Where else to start this week other than to congratulate Mount's Bay RFC on their historic win over the Cornish All Blacks by 19-18 to reach their first ever Skinners' Brewery Cornwall Cup Final.

Bay scored two first half tries through skipper and scrum-half Ricky Pellow and winger Ollie Faulkner, though the Cornish All Blacks replied during the first period with a penalty from Mark Scrivener and a converted penalty try to leave the scores tied at 10-10 as the game moved into stoppage time during the first half. However, Sam Young, on for the injured Scrivener, kicked a penalty to give the Cornish All Blacks a slender 13-10 lead at the break.

During a tense second half the wise head of Bay's fly-half Lee Jarvis kicked three penalties to put Bay 19-13 up. As expected, the Cornish All Blacks were not about to surrender their hold on the Cornwall Cup meekly. A clever box kick by scrum-half Richard John was misjudged by Bay's defence, allowing winger Nick Holt to gather and score. The missed conversion would in the end prove costly.

The Cornish All Blacks pounded away at the Bay line, earning penalty chances which they chose to kick to touch; but they could find no breech in the Bay's defence.

Only one league encounter was played, with Bude finally entertaining Hayle in a re-arranged Western Counties West match. Bude put to an end a poor run of results with a 9-7 win over the Lions. Hayle's defeat, coupled with Barnstaple's win over Devonport Services, confirmed the North Devon club as champions. Justin Uglow kicked three penalties for Bude.

A bit of a spat this week between the CRFU and the Cornish Pirates over player availability for this season's County Shield Competition -- not something that people want to see or hear. Let's all hope that common sense will prevail!

I was out of the county over the weekend and took the opportunity of taking in the England Counties vs. France Amateurs at Blackheath's Rectory Field on Saturday. Good to see Cornish All Blacks' Wayne Reed and Marc Sweeney line up for the Counties. Both players played a big part in the England Counties win by 41-10, with Reed scoring the Counties' fourth try early in the second half. Reed turns out tomorrow for the Barbarians against East Midlands in the Mobbs Memorial Match. There is a match report in the forums.

So to this weekend's RBS 6 Nations matches, which see the Championship thrown wide open after England's unexpected but well-deserved win over a disappointing France at Twickenham. Any one from France, Ireland, England or even Italy could win it.  

Brian Ashton's bold decision to go with youth, allied to a wise old head with Mike Catt, paid dividends as England scored two second half tries to win deservedly by 26-18 and deny France the Grand Slam. Toby Flood and his replacement Shane Geraghty gave the Twickenham crowd a glimpse of the future of English rugby. Allied to the skills of Dave Strettle and Matthew Tait, England have an exciting backline to take the side forward towards the 2011 World Cup. Chabal and Yachvili have paid the price and been dropped for next Saturday's clash with Scotland at the Stade de France, with Vermeulen and Elissalde returning to the squad.  

At Murrayfield Ireland completed another Triple Crown, defeating a fiesty Scotland 19-18 with Ronan O'Gara once more scoring all the Irish side's points. Scotland will once again question their inability to score a try, relying once again on the boot of Chris Paterson to score all their points.  

Italy left Wales contemplating a whitewash after their dramatic 23-20 win at the Stadio Flaminio to record their second win in this season's championship. Mauro Bergamasco scored the winning try for the Italians. However, the game ended controversially as Wales thought they had time to take a lineout from a penalty kick to touch. But referee Mr. White, on instruction from the timekeeper, then blew for time, much to the anger and annoyance of the Welsh!

17th/18th March 2007



National League 1. By Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News, at Camborne Recreation Ground.

For some time now the Cornish Pirates have talked about showcasing their brand of rugby to a much wider audience. Yesterday at Camborne, they were given the perfect stage to deliver their grand performance.

With the Sky Sports broadcast team rumbling into the Duchy for the first time ever, the Pirates - together with visitors Rotherham - did not disappoint. The opposing National One clubs not only served up a terrific tea-time treat for those watching on screen, but the dynamic display of both teams will again have reminded those who still hark on about ringfencing English rugby's top tier, that an exciting rugby life does still exist outside the confines of the Guinness Premiership.

"It was a terrific advertisement for First Division rugby," said Pirates' coach Jim McKay, following his side's 16-all draw. "The game was a great spectacle and showed just what talent there is in our division. We're disappointed we've not won the game, but you have to give some credit to Rotherham for the way they played, especially second half. They are a good side, they have some good players, and they really came at us.

"We've got some boys who are hurting there in the changing rooms. Our first-half display was pretty well right up there in terms of how we want to go, but the second half it was much tougher, simply because we didn't have a great deal of ball. Rotherham kept the ball very well and when we did get it back, we didn't really look after it all that well."

With a biting wind blowing straight into their face from the kick-off, it was the Pirates who were first out of the blocks. A superb burst down the right flank from winger Jon Hylton carved a huge hole in the Rotherham rearguard, but as the Pirates looked to press on further, a knock-on by Canadian international Stan McKeen saw the initial raid filter out. It was certainly an early indication that the Pirates meant business.

However, the Cornish club were briefly stunned when visiting fly-half Gareth Steenson fired the visitors into an early lead with a seventh-minute penalty. The response from the home side, though, was good and again they used a solid pick-and-go game and a series of quick tap penalties to punch their way into enemy territory.

The tactic appeared to be working well, that was until referee Ashley Rowden pulled Samoan flanker Iva Motusaga back for an accidental knock-on. It allowed Rotherham to clear their lines and in turn launch their own raid into the Pirates' half, their reward finally coming on 28 minutes when Steenson fired over another successful penalty.

Although down, the Pirates were still ruling the roost in terms of both possession and territory. Afterwards, Rotherham coach Andre Bester remarked: "The physicality the Pirates showed in the first half was just immense."

It was therefore no surprise that they finally made their dominance tell. With referee Rowden finally losing patience with Hendrie Fourie's continual infringing, he was banished to the sin-bin for ten minutes. It was left to James Moore to register the home side's first points of the afternoon with a penalty four minutes before the break. Moore's kick helped lift the home support to another decibel.

However, the volume was boosted yet further in first half stoppage time when Steenson's hesitancy in defence allowed a clutch of Pirates to snag him on his own line. With the man advantage in the pack, the Pirates applied the shove, No.8 Tim Cowley picked from the base, before barging his way towards the line. As those behind the posts celebrated, Rowden briefly curtailed the joy by requesting for further proof from up above. The TV match official is commonplace in a lot of sports these days. This, however, was a first for Camborne. But having studied the footage, Ed Morrison agreed with the masses and Cowley's effort was duly awarded. Moore's conversion made it 10-6 at the break.

With the wind now at their backs, the Pirates were duly expected to kick on in the second half. The visitors, though, had other ideas. Rotherham regained the initiative when they made the most of Sam Heard's sin-binning to score two tries in seven minutes. Hooker Neil Hanna was first over from a line-out move in the right-hand corner, then lock Erik Lund followed suit.

In between the two scores, Moore slotted a second penalty for the home side, given after Rotherham had come in from the side, and he grabbed a third successful kick to level things up with 64 minutes on the clock.

With the game evenly poised heading into the final quarter, it was Rotherham who offered the greater threat. The Titans hogged possession for large periods of the second half, but were still unable to find a way through. In the end the draw was probably the fairest outcome for what really was a pulsating 'Clash of the Titans' amongst two of the division's leading contenders.

Cornish Pirates 16pts: Try - Cowley; Conversion - Moore; Penalties - Moore 3

Rotherham Titans 16pts: Tries - Hanna, Lund; Penalties - Steenson 2

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; R McAtee, D Roke, D Bell, J Hylton; J Moore (A Di Bernardo 72), G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi (N Makin 69), S Heard (D Seal 72); H Senekal, J Beardshaw; S McKeen, I Motusaga (M Evans 69), T Cowley.
Replacements (not used): R Wells, S Winn, J Inglis.
Yellow Card: Heard.

Rotherham Titans: M Whitehead; B Tuohy, S Smith, J Blackwood, E Classens; G Steenson (A Turnbull 72), J Bedford (capt); S Walsh, N Hanna (N Conroy 76), A Hopcroft; E Lund (N Cochrane 71), L McGowan; H Fourie, B Hennessey, J Bornman.
Replacements (not used): J Kilbane, S Croall, G McComb, T Allen
Yellow Card: Fourie.

Referee: A Rowden (RFU)



National League 1. By Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News, at the Recreation Ground.

Maybe a rendition of "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" would have rubbed salt into their already open wounds, but visitors Barking really had little answer to the problems posed by Redruth's inspirational forward Mark Bright. The Kiwi No.8 not only helped himself to a foursome of tries in his side's superb 55-10 demolition, but at the same time wrote his name into the record books of the famous Cornish club, claiming his 20th try of the season to beat the previous best of 19 from team-mate Nathan Pedley.

It was the latest high point in what has been a scintillating opening campaign from the 28-year-old New Zealander, who only recently penned a new two-year deal with the ambitious National League Two club. With Bright heading their arsenal, Redruth are already on course to record their best-ever finish in the National Leagues. Currently fourth in the standings, the Reds underlined their desire for a top-three finish with this rousing nine-try demolition at the Recreation Ground.

As well as Bright finding his way over for four, Luke Collins, Craig Bonds, Tim McBride, PJ Gidlow and a penalty try helped seal Redruth's biggest win of the campaign, which was capped with four conversions from fly-half Mike Hook.

Afterwards, the Reds' coach Nigel Hambly remarked that it was "mission accomplished" as regards to seeing off lowly Barking, who have already resigned themselves to the drop this season. However, the Redruth chief is keen for his side to finish with a flourish over the handful of games that remain. He said:

"We scored some nice tries today and did some decent things, but at the same we still made some silly mistakes and let them in for two real soft tries, which was disappointing.

"Really, we were on a no winner today. They are already down, they're getting beaten most weeks, and people just expected us to come and run over them. We had the bonus point wrapped up in the first 30 minutes, which was pretty good, but we didn't always play with a shape or any real pattern to our game.

"We are trying to play with a bit more width because we feel we can compete with most people up front, but we need to have two edges to our game. There is no point having the likes of Rob Thirlby in your side if you're going to keep the ball in the forwards."

This latest success, however, was based around a superb mix of forwards and backs in unison. Collins set the home side on their way when he crossed with just six minutes on the clock - and he was followed over the whitewash by skipper Bonds on 18 minutes. A hanging box kick from former Plymouth Albion scrum-half Matias Albina was fielded by Bonds, who broke from the edge of his own 22 before the ball was shipped through the hands of McBride, Gidlow and Mark Richards, the latter of whom fed Bonds to score.

Hook added the extras to that try, plus the penalty try which followed midway through the first half, referee Eric Woodmason awarding the score after Hook - who was destined for the line himself - was high-tackled just yards from the line by Barking winger Mounga Kafatolu. It was no more than the Cornishmen deserved for their impressive attacking endeavours.

However, they heaped further misery on the visitors when Bright burrowed his way over for his opening score shortly before the break.

Barking, though, were refusing to throw in the towel and in an impressive spell either side of the interval, they gained some justified reward when flanker Richard Gill was first over from a line-out move, then full-back Henry Bryan made the most of some slack home defending to make it 24-10 on 42 minutes.

Any thoughts the visitors had of staging any kind of comeback, however, were quickly extinguished as Redruth hit back almost immediately with a double salvo from star man Bright. His second was a simple effort, dotting down in the left-hand corner following some good approach work from Richards and McBride. His third, meanwhile, was more down to his own doing, Bright this time latching onto a pass from Gidlow before galloping to the line. Hook's conversion made it 36-10.

As Barking wilted, the Reds rammed home their authority yet further. The lively McBride added try number seven, cutting in from the left flank following another slick move from the hosts, then Bright claimed his record-breaking score when he intercepted a pass on halfway to race in unopposed. Hook's conversion of that score, plus Gidlow's injury-time effort, merely put the icing on the cake.

Redruth 55pts: Tries - Collins, Bonds, Penalty Try, Bright (4), McBride, Gidlow; Conversions - Hook (4).

Barking 10pts: Tries - Gill, Bryan.

Redruth: C Bonds (capt, S Brown 40-41, 58); J Caruana, P Thirlby, PJ Gidlow, T McBride; M Hook, M Richards; D Jacques (P Joyce 74), O Hambly (B Priddey 69), P Joyce (A Morcom 40); D Cook L Collins; N Pascoe, J Mann (C Fuca 69), M Bright.

Barking: H Bryan; M Kafatolu, E Harvey, M O'Brien (I Rudgeley 32), F Ah-Ling; P Mahoney, M Albina; A Halsey, M McCardle (S Rate 65), E Ambrose (G Walker 74); S Rokobaro, G Livingston; R Batho (capt), R Gill (M Twydell 31-34, 67), P Everitt.

Referee: E Woodmason (RFU).


There is only one place to begin this week and that is to congratulate Mount's Bay RFC on their win on Saturday at Oxford Harlequins, which sees the Penzance-based club crowned champions of South West 1 and enter the National Leagues next season. Much has already been written of their meteoric rise from Cornwall 2 to National League 3 South. It will be a challenge though I am sure they will cope with life in the higher league. Congratulations from all at Trelawny's Army.

The win at Oxford Harlequins was secured by 30-19 with Bay's scores coming through tries from Ben Hilton, Lee Jarvis, Palepoi Nonu and Jamie Semmens, with Jarvis kicking three conversions and two penalties.

Next Saturday Bay entertain North 1 champions Caldy in the semi-final of the EDF-Energy Intermediate Cup at the Mennaye, hoping to make it to Twickenham for the final.

Also in South West 1, St. Ives slipped to a heavy defeat at second-placed Cleve by 62-0; they are now mid-table in the league.

In South West 2 West, Camborne continued their recent fine home form with an 18-15 win over visitors Brixham. Darren Pascoe and Dave Roberts scored the tries, with David Mankee kicking the other points.

Penryn suffered another heavy defeat at home, going down to Newton Abbot by 48-5, with full-back Chris Mann scoring the sole Borough try.

In Western Counties West, Hayle will be grateful that their play-off spot is already secured, as they suffered a heavy defeat at Tiverton 49-0. The Lions were handicapped, travelling with only fifteen fit players.

Bude entertained champions Barnstaple with the North Devon side winning this fiercely-contested derby match 38-15, despite having their flanker Arnold sent-off. Bude were always having to play catch up rugby as they shipped 17 points in the opening quarter of an hour. Simon Hicks scored a try with Justin Uglow kicking a penalty and converting a penalty try for the home side.

Truro put up a brave fight at Devonport Services before losing 17-8. Simon Roseveare scored a try and Ross Martin kicked a penalty goal for the visitors.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, match of the day was at the Molesworth Field where second-placed Wadebridge Camels entertained table toppers Paignton. The Camels gave Paignton the hump with a 28-22 win to draw level on points at the top of the table. Dan Briskham scored a couple of the Camels' tries.

Other results in this league saw third-placed Cullompton win at Falmouth by 23-10, St. Austell defeat bottom side South Molton by 50-8, and Perranporth lose at home to Tavistock by 30-3.

Up in Putney, London Cornish kept up their fine run with a 38-12 win over Farnham. (See Dickon Moon's report in the forums.)

Cornwall U.20's gave everything in beating Gloucestershire U.20's at Lydney on Sunday afternoon by 45-13. However, it wasn't enough as Devon U.20's took the South West Group title on points difference with a 45-0 win at Taunton over Somerset U.20's.

Next Sunday's Tamar Cup clash against Devon at Ivybridge has been postponed. No new date has thus far been agreed.

News this week of a Cornwall representative side travelling to Brittany next month to play a match in Quimper against Rugby Club Quimpérois. The Quimper club, who this season celebrate 60 years, currently play in Fédérale 3, Grand Ouest pool 1. Although this is level 5 in France it is much more likely that Quimper is of the same standard as Cornwall 1/ Cornwall & Devon League so level 8/9 in England. Quimper is the capital of the region of Cornouailles (Cornwall), so the Cornish team should feel very much at home. We will bring more news of this match as and when we receive it.

And so to the conclusion of this season's RBS 6 Nations' tournament, which with a twist of irony saw France just pip Ireland to the title on St. Patrick's Day. Ireland did their bit with a 51-24 win over Italy in Rome and then had to sit and watch the French grind out the result, 46-19 over Scotland, by the required number of points with the final play of the match, a try scored by replacement No 8 Elvis Vermeulen, a member of the France A team that played at Redruth in 2001. It's been hard not to believe that the French have not had one eye on their Rugby World Cup in September throughout this 6 Nations.

And so to events in Cardiff with Wales avoiding the wooden spoon and thus handing it to the Scots with a 27-18 win over England. English optimism from the previous weekend quickly vanished as Wales at last put in a decent performance. James Hook gave a consummate performance at fly-half for Wales. He may well be there for sometime to come! A good weekend for the Hook family all-round!

Nuneaton 15 Cornish All Blacks 27

National League 2 .

A good win for the Cornish All Blacks up in the Midlands. However, they were unable to score that important fourth try, depriving themselves of the bonus point. Although the Cornish All Blacks still have a game in hand over Henley they now trail the Hawks by four points.

The Cornish All Blacks raced to a 17-0 lead early on with tries from Andy Birkett and Marc Dibble, both of which Sam Young converted, also kicking a penalty.

Nuneaton came back before half-time with a try scored by Glen Southwell.

Sam Young kicked a second penalty just after half-time.

Nuneaton scored a second try around the hour mark through flanker Tristan Prosser-Shaw, which Gareth Cull converted. Cull then added a penalty to leave the CABs 20-15 up.

Stuart Williams scored a third try for the visitors, with Young once more converting. It's getting tight and tense for that second spot!

Cornish All Blacks: Andy Birkett, Marc Dibble, Ryan Westren (Andy Matchett 72), Steve Perry, Marc Sweeney, Sam Young, Richard John, Jason Bolt, Dave Risdon, Keith Brooking (capt) (Wayne Reed 19), Steve Pape, Tom Parker (Mike Myerscough 77), Josh Lord (Stuart Williams 66) Wayne Sprangle, Nick Burnett.

It was another great day yesterday at Camborne when the Cornish Pirates took on the Earth Titans at the Recreation Ground in front of the cameras from Sky-Sports, as second played fourth in National League 1. The Falmouth Marine Band had their moment of glory in front of the cameras, chivvied along by Pirates mascot Captain Benbow!

A titanic struggle on the pitch, though no doubt the Titans will rue not kicking for goal when they had the chance. A 16-16 draw was probably a fair result, though not one that does either side much good.

Pirates' Tim Cowley was the first player in Cornwall to benefit from the deliberations of the Television Match Official, in this case former International referee Mr. Ed Morrison. The Titans also had their second try, scored by Norwegian International Erik Lund, confirmed by the TMO.

Interesting to see Mr. Terry Burwell (Tournaments & Competitions Director) from the RFU attended the match. No doubt the RFU will be hoping that both the Cornish Pirates and Mount's Bay can book their places next Saturday at Twickenham in their respective EDF-Energy Cups. We wish them both well.

24th March 2007


What a tremendous weekend for Cornish rugby with both the Cornish Pirates and Mount's Bay reaching their respective EDF-Energy Finals at Twickenham on Sunday 15th April! Congratulations to both clubs, we know you will both do Cornwall proud on the day.

There is no doubt that a massive exodus to TW1 will be taking place that weekend, on a par with the Cornish team's trips to Twickenham for County Championship finals during the 1990's. The numbers swelled by many Cornish exiles who will also descend on Twickenham. Between now and the day of the finals the excitement and anticipation will grow and grow. Both the Cornish Pirates and Mount's Bay will no doubt be making announcements in the very near future with regards to ticket allocations and travel arrangements both on their websites and via the local media. Please listen out for the relevant information.

It must be remembered that the EDF-Energy Cup Final day comprises of four finals, with the Senior Vase kicking off at 10 a.m., the National Trophy Final, Cornish Pirates vs. Exeter Chiefs, kicking off at 12 noon, the Anglo/Welsh Cup kicking off at 3 p.m., and finally the Intermediate Cup Final, Mount's Bay vs. Dunstablians, kicking-off 5 p.m.

With Cornish clubs about to storm Twickenham it was ironic that this week it was announced that the County Shield Final and the County Plate Final will not be held at Twickenham this season. Should Cornwall win their three matches and top the Southern Group they will be obliged to travel to the winner of the Northern Group for the County Shield Final.

Cornwall took a young side up to Ivybridge yesterday to contest the Tamar Cup with Devon. Despite a brave show the Duchy lost to Devon by 26-3. Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News has kindly let us post his match report from Cross-in-Hand.

There was other important rugby played in Cornwall over the weekend, not least the Cornish All Blacks in National League 2, who played their match-in-hand against Bradford & Bingley at Polson. The Cornish All Blacks ran in eight tries to secure all five points on offer in a 54-14 win to leapfrog the Henley Hawks, back into second spot with a single point advantage over their Oxfordshire rivals. Launceston's try scorers were scrum-half Richard John, prop Wayne Reed (2), centre Marc Sweeney, winger Andy Matchett (2), flanker Wayne Sprangle and winger Marc Dibble.

Hayle played a re-arranged Western Counties West league match, hosting and defeating Minehead Barbarians 42-7. The Lions scored a penalty try, converted by Jimmy Tresize, who also added a penalty for a first half lead of 10-7. The second half was all one way traffic with Hayle adding further tries through Callum Osborne, Jamie Thomas, James Jago and Tresize again, with Tresize kicking the other points.

Penryn entertained Taunton in South West 2 West and suffered another heavy defeat by 58-17. Chris Mann, Steve Uphill and Chris Johnson scored tries for the Borough, with Justin Hocking adding a conversion.

In the Cornwall & Devon League, Wadebridge Camels won at South Molton by 39-10 to keep the pressure on table toppers Paignton. Skipper Julian Wilce had a day to remember, scoring all seven of the Camels' tries -- a club record in the leagues. James Kneale kicked two conversions for the Camels. A great weekend for Wadebridge Camels as Wilce went on to captain Cornwall in the Tamar Cup match against Devon the following day.

31st March 2007



National League 1. By Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News at Old Deer Park.

With little time to survey the damage following Saturday's 16-10 reverse at London Welsh, Cornish Pirates' coach Jim McKay will today carry out a revised check of his walking wounded before preparing to set sail once more. Having arrived in the capital with an already lengthy list of casualties, the sight of Duncan Bell departing proceedings after just four minutes, then Gavin Cattle sustaining another hefty knock late on, will hardly have helped the Australian's forward planning for what he says is a crucial fortnight for the Duchy outfit.

Saturday's trip to Old Deer Park marked the first of three successive away-days for the Cornishmen inside a week. On Wednesday they head for Bedford, before tackling Plymouth Albion at the Brickfields this Saturday. After that, the Pirates will be hitting the motorways once again, their destination on this occasion, Twickenham, and a Cup final date with the Exeter Chiefs.

However, that final date, according to McKay, remains firmly on the horizon and it is this current week that is occupying the thoughts of both himself and his players as they chase a top-three finish in the league. "Twickenham is still some way off, so we're not even thinking about that just yet," said McKay afterwards. "Our focus at the moment is on the here and now and today we are really disappointed with our performance. We didn't play very well, London Welsh did, and they deserved their victory.

"We have no excuses, but we have to move on quickly and roll our sleeves up for what will be a very tough game at Bedford on Wednesday."

The loss of Bell - to a twisted left knee - in the opening exchanges of Saturday's clash was hardly the kind of start the Westcountry visitors had anticipated to the first leg of their weekly travels. However, that setback was only the inception of what was going to be a miserable afternoon for the Pirates.

Having turned Bell over as he tried to run the ball out of defence, the Exiles shipped the ball to the left where, with the Pirates desperately coming across to counter the attack, the visitors infringed and handed home fly-half Tom Marks the opening for him to net the first of his three successful penalties.

Minutes later Marks failed with a second shot at goal, while at the other end winger Jonny Hylton provided the only spark of a dormant first-half display from the Pirates when he carved out a superb run through the middle, only to be denied by a saving tackle from home full-back Neil Taylor.

Just before the interval James Moore had the chance to level things up when home flanker George Robson was sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringing. However, Moore's effort on goal sailed wide of the sticks.

In stoppage time Marks showed him the way to do it when he fired over a second penalty, given after Joe Beardshaw - who also headed for a spell on the sidelines - was penalised for killing the ball.

Although only six points down, the Pirates - who had made nine changes to their line-up from that which defeated Albion the week previous - were still someway off the pace.

Worse followed for the visitors within two minutes of the restart; home centre Tosh Masson was on hand to net the first try after Taylor's initial burst had been halted by Adryan Winnan.

Marks sent over the conversion, then added a further penalty, to put the Exiles firmly in command at 16-0 with just ten minutes remaining.

To their credit, though, the Pirates refused to lie down and, in a valiant last throw of the dice, they ensured a twitchy final few minutes for the home faithful when first Chris Cracknell crossed for a converted try, then Moore netted a penalty. However, that was as close as the Pirates got their scant reward, a solitary bonus point.

Joe Beardshaw claims a lineout ball.

A Pirates' scrum.

Nick Makin delivers a lineout ball.

London Welsh 16pts: Try - Masson; Conversion - Marks; Penalties - Marks (3)

London Welsh: N Taylor; J Greenwood, T Masson, J Storey, A Cadwallader; T Marks, A Chilten (W Fury 74); D Williams (J Marsters 74), C Ritchie (J Campbell 80), L Ward; H Quigley (capt, R Griffith 74), K Burke; G Robson, S Etheredge (M Anayi 69, P Cox. Replacements (not used): O Williams, A Hopkins. Yellow Card: Robson

Cornish Pirates 10pts: Try - Cracknell; Conversion - Moore; Penalty - Moore

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; L Vinnicombe, S Parsons (P Jones 69), S Winn, J Hylton; D Bell (G Cattle 4, O Hambly 80), J Moore; G Anderson, N Makin (capt), S Heard (D Seal 53); J Inglis, J Beardshaw (H Senekal 50); C Cracknell, S Betty (I Motusaga 69), M Evans.
Replacement (not used): D Dawiduik.
Yellow Card: Beardshaw

Referee: J Doyle (RFU).


Another cracking weekend for Cornish rugby as the league season enters the home straight.

In National League 1 the Cornish Pirates played the first of their three consecutive away league games in the space of the next week at Old Deer Park against London Welsh losing by 16-10. Flanker Chris Cracknell scored the Pirates try with James Moore kicking the conversion and a penalty goal.

A tough week ahead for the Pirates with a trip to Bedford on Wednesday evening to play the Blues 7-30pm kick-off and then the eagerly awaited return league encounter with Plymouth Albion next Saturday at the Brickfields. Albion’s French flyer Nicolas Sestaret enjoyed a storming game for Albion at the weekend against Moseley scoring five of his side’s six tries!

In National League 2, the Cornish All Blacks took on Harrogate at Polson and completed the double over the already-relegated Yorkshiremen. In past seasons Harrogate have found Polson a happy hunting ground not so this time. The CABs recorded a 56-0 win over the visitors scoring nine tries in total. Leading the way was England Counties' player Marc Sweeney who scored three tries. Other tries came through flanker Nick Burnett, No 8 Stuart Williams, winger Andy Matchett, flanker Wayne Sprangle, full-back Andy Birkett and replacement fly-half Mark Scrivener. Fly-half Sam Young kicked three conversions and a penalty with Scrivener kicking a further conversion when he came on. With three games left for the Cornish All Blacks the excitement and anticipation is growing at Polson of a possible promotion to National league 1 next season. It looks increasingly likely that it will all boil down to the final game of the season when the CABs have to visit Henley Hawks, who are currently third, one point behind the Cornishmen.

Redruth maintained their fine form with a hard fought win at Grove Park against Manchester by 23-18 to maintain their impressive fourth place in National League 2. The Reds were never led in this gripping battle taking the lead on two minutes with a penalty from fly-half Mike Hook. Hook then kicked a second penalty ten minutes later to increase the Reds advantage. Redruth lost their lock Luke Collins to the sin-bin during which time Manchester scored an unconverted try. Redruth scored a cracking try soon after with scrum-half Mark Richards and No 8 Mark Bright making space to release centre Simon Peters who fed winger Tim McBride who finished the move off in style. Redruth scored a second try before half-time with Hook spotting a gap and darting through to score. Manchester pulled back three points before the break to leave it at 16-8 to the Reds.

Manchester reduced the deficit with a drop goal soon after the resumption of play. Redruth scored a third try following a powerful forward surge towards the home line and with the referee playing an advantage skipper Craig Bonds took a long pass from Hook at pace to score out in the corner, Hook’s conversion took Redruth to 23-11. A Redruth error gifted Manchester seven points leaving the Reds five points to the good with time running out. A storming run by Manchester almost saw them score a try only to be denied by a double tackle by Jamie Caruana and PJ Gidlow. Redruth can now turn their attention to Saturday’s Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cup Final against Mount’s Bay at Camborne, 5-30pm kick-off.

In South West 1, not a good day for either of our Cornish clubs. Mount’s Bay lost at home to Maidenhead by 19-18, thus ending Bay’s four year unbeaten record in the leagues as well as Maidenhead being able to claim a league double for this season over the South West 1 champions, although Bay did beat them in the Intermediate Cup a week later! Bay had a few regulars out for this match, Everard Reid and Ben Hilton scored the Bay’s tries with Jamie Semmens kicking both conversions and a penalty goal. Bay will now look forward to their Camborne date with Redruth on Easter Saturday in the Cornwall Cup Final the second leg of a possible treble for this season.

Having seen their chances of a play-off place slip away St. Ives’ form has taken an alarming dip in recent weeks and it was the same on Saturday. The Hakes entertained Bracknell and were thumped 40-18 with former England player Chris Sheasby scoring a couple of tries for the visitors. A win that keeps Bracknell out of the relegation zone for the moment. No 8 Ashley Lawton scored a first half try for St. Ives converted by Karl Martin who also kicked a penalty. In the second half prop Hugh Noot scored a try with Martin adding a second penalty.

In South West 2 West, Camborne travelled to Taunton and lost by 32-10. The Cherry & Whites scored a couple of tries through David Mankee and Rob Ley.

Penryn no doubt wish that the season was already over following their 100-0 defeat at Exmouth. It looks already as though life next season in Western Counties West will be no easier for the Borough!

In Western Counties West only one game was played involving Cornish clubs with Truro hosting Bude in a Cornish derby. Already relegated Truro had the satisfaction of turning over their North Cornwall opponents on their own patch with a 20-12 win. Paul Andrew, Chris Long and Jovin Harper scored Truro’s tries with Ross Martin kicking the other points. Chris Kingsford and Steve Yates scored the tries for Bude with Andy Yates converting his brother’s try.

Although not playing this weekend it looks like Hayle’s play-off opponents will be Barton Hill from Western Counties North.

In the Cornwall & Devon League after all the excitement last week of Julian Wilce’s try scoring feat for Wadebridge Camels I omitted to congratulate them on securing promotion to Western Counties West next season. Well done to the Camels especially to former County prop John May and his coaching team up there.

Camels enjoyed another fine win on Saturday winning 29-17 at Honiton. Try scorers for Wadebridge were Matt Ballard (2), Sean Hawkey, Brian Finnemore and Tom O’Donnell. Ian Boyling kicking a couple conversions.

St. Austell were well beaten at leaders Paignton 55-6, finishing the game with only 13 men following a couple of red cards. Ben Newman kicked two penalties for the visitors.

Perranporth lost to bottom side South Molton 12-6, with Justin Irons kicking the Brewers' points.

Falmouth lost at Wellington by 15-13. Richard Handley scored Falmouth’s try with Jack Brown converting and adding a couple of drop goals.

Up in London, London Cornish defeated Old Amplefordians 24-10 in their London 4 SW match (See Dickon Moon’s match report in the forums)

7th April 2007



National League 1. By Mark Stevens of the Western Morning News, at the Brickfields.

Plymouth Albion may not be heading for Twickenham this Sunday, but they at least gained some kind of compensation for missing out on their trip to the capital by condemning the Cornish Pirates to a third successive league defeat at the Brickfields. Saturday's 19-9 victory not only ensured Graham Dawe's side of a league double over their counterparts from just across the River Tamar, but crucially it lifted the Devon outfit back above the visiting Pirates and into fourth spot in National League One.

The satisfaction from the Albion camp at the final whistle was clear to see. This was not only a crucial victory in terms of the league, but for players, coaches and supporters alike, this was payback for their 17-9 defeat by the Pirates in the National Trophy semi-final just two weeks ago.

Unlike their last encounter at Camborne, Alberto Di Bernardo's right boot was unable to come to the rescue of a Pirates' side clearly showing the effects of three bruising league encounters inside a week.

Saturday's reverse capped a miserable week at the office for coach Jim McKay and his side, whose immediate thoughts must now be to refocus their minds and recharge their bodies for what will be the biggest game in the club's history. This Sunday the Pirates will run out at Twickenham, the home of English rugby, against Westcountry rivals Exeter Chiefs looking to salvage some treasure from what - until this past week - had been a promising season in the league.

With hopes of a top three finish having been dealt a huge blow following defeats against London Welsh, Bedford and now Albion, McKay clearly feels victory at Twickenham is the key objective for his troops.

That said, the Pirates will need to show a great deal more against the Chiefs than they did against Albion if they are to adhere to the wishes of their Aussie leader.

From the outset of Saturday's showdown, Albion were the dominant force. The only real surprise was that it took until second half injury time for the home side to finally put the Pirates to bed.

In a lively opening to the game from both sides, it was Albion who broke the game's deadlock on 10 minutes. Sharp work involving Ed Lewsey, Ed Barnes and Nic Sestaret created the inroads from which the latter - now aided by the home pack - was able to rumble over for his 27th try of the season.

The Frenchman's touchdown enabled him to write his name into the National League One record books, his latest effort ousting current Pirate Duncan Roke's previous best of 26 tries during Worcester's promotion winning season of 2002/03. Home centre Regardt Van Eyk slotted the resultant conversion, but then saw a penalty shot six minutes later sail wide of the posts.

At the other end, Di Bernardo showed Van Eyk the way to do it when he reduced the arrears on 22 minutes, but the Argentinian ace was unable to repeat the feat for a second time on the half-hour mark.

However, as half-time approached, the Pirates were hit with a double blow. First, full-back Adryan Winnan sustained an injury to his left knee as he tried to make a tackle, then with the Cornishman briefly off the field getting treatment, Di Bernardo's attempted chip and chase over the top fell invitingly for the home side, who at pace shipped the ball to speedster Tom Arscott and he superbly ran the ball in from halfway to land a crucial second try, which Van Eyk converted to make it 14-3.

Di Bernardo atoned for his earlier error with a second penalty in first half stoppage time, before plundering a third successful kick just three minutes into the second half as the Pirates pulled themselves to within five points.

That, however, would be as close as McKay's men got to victory. Despite some valiant attacking efforts, the Pirates struggled to find a way through the seemingly impenetrable home defence. No.8 Chris Lowrie, together with scrum-half Lewsey, were at the heart of a lot of Plymouth's best endeavours. While for the Pirates, Stan McKeen, Iva Motusaga and Chris Cracknell all battled away, but sadly to no avail.

Far too often the visitors were guilty of giving away crucial turnovers in key areas, as well as a handful of penalty chances, which Van Eyk - like a fortnight ago - was unable to punish.

Had the South African landed one of those kicks, his team-mates would have been able to breath a little easier as the game entered into the final quarter. The fact he did not offered the Pirates a glimmer of hope late on.

Unfortunately the Duchy's finest were unable to capitalise and it was Albion who finished with a flourish. With their rampaging pack now pegging the Pirates back deep inside their own 22, it seemed inevitable that they would add to their tally.

With pressure mounting and referee Ashley Rowden warning the Cornishmen on several occasions, Albion finally made the game safe when a superb catch-and-drive move allowed Keni Fisilau to burrow his way over.

Afterwards, delighted Albion chairman of rugby, Graham Dawe, said: "The team did very well, especially coming as soon as it did after the last game. We perhaps made hard work of it because the game was in doubt until the final whistle, it was only a five-point game for long periods, so you can never sit easily.

"They [the Pirates] always have the ability to break away and score. We had a lot of territory in the game and controlled large parts, but they always had the ability to score and they could have won the game at the end. Territorially we managed to control the game well and defensively we got better as the game went on. In the contact area we managed to play close to our forwards for a while, got some go-forward, and we looked after the ball long enough to get the odd penalty shout.

"We also kept them on the back foot for long periods, which would have frustrated them, but apart from that there wasn't much in it."

In some ways the victory helped Albion heal some of the wounds inflicted following their Trophy defeat to the Pirates. Dawe added: "The league is the bread and butter, but the Cup is the icing on the cake. But you can't live off bread and butter, you always need a bit of sweetness. This win cannot make up for that defeat, but it obviously drove the boys on today.

"League points are important, as they are every season, but you have to hold you head up high at the end of the season and to beat the Pirates twice in a season is a good effort."

McKay, himself, had few complaints at the final outcome. He said: "We have a no-excuse mentality and it's times like this that you find out what people are like and what your team are like when things are tough.

"We are disappointed with today and disappointed with the London Welsh result. As for Bedford that was a bit of an ambush up there. I felt the effort was there today, but it wasn't quite enough. Plymouth's effort was a bit more than ours."

He added: "In the first 20 minutes we had chances, but our ball security wasn't great. Then it was a pretty pivotal point when they scored just before the break and again when we had them in the corner at 14-9. We just couldn't turn pressure into points and that is something we need to look at.

"Good teams, good players play well every week so that is our aim, to get more consistency. Come next year we will learn from this time, but you can't use anything as an excuse. Good players and good teams will always play well, we were just a little bit off today and we paid the price."

Plymouth Albion 19 pts: Tries: Sestaret, Arscott, Fisilau; Cons Van Eyk (2)

Cornish Pirates 9 pts: Pens Di Bernardo (3)

Plymouth Albion: N. Saumi, T. Arscott, R. Van Eyk, K. Fisilau, N. Sestaret, E. Barnes, E. Lewsey; T. Mathias, J. Owen (R. Oxley 71), S. Zimmerman, M. Lewis (D. Smith 71), B. Gulliver (capt), T. Hayes, B. Stroud, C. Lowrie.
Replacements not used: M. Newman, S. Vaenuku,A. Cruickshanks, A. Williams, G. Evans.

Cornish Pirates: A. Winnan (P. Jones 51), L. Vinnicombe, S. Parsons, S. Winn, J. Hylton, A. Di Bernardo, G. Cattle (capt, J. Moore 76); A. Paver, V. Ma'asi (N. Makin 79), S. Heard (D. Seal 60), J. Inglis, J. Beardshaw, S. McKeen, I. Motusaga, C. Cracknell.
Replacements not used: O. Hambly, S. Betty, M. Evans.

Referee: Mr. A. Rowden (RFU)


Apart from the Cornish Pirates National League 1 encounter at Plymouth Albion on Saturday, which as you can read about on the main news page of the site, there were a couple of outstanding league encounters in Western Counties West.

Hayle made the trip to Crediton and won with the last kick of the match 9-6 to earn the point they needed to make sure of home advantage in their play-off match with Barton Hill Old Boys for a place in South West 2 West next season. James Trezise kicked the Lions points.

Bude also played an outstanding fixture entertaining Minehead Barbarians winning by 22-15, Simon Hicks, Don Statton, Matt Williams and Steve Yates all scored tries for Bude with Justin Uglow slotting a conversion.

Saturday also saw the finals of the Skinners Brewery Cornwall Knock-Out Cup and Clubs Cup, congratulations to Redruth and Liskeard & Looe the winners and commiserations to both losing finalists Mount’s Bay and Roseland. News in the match program and also in yesterday’s Sunday Independent, that the format Knock-Out Cup will be reviewed for next season.

With it being Easter it’s always good to welcome to Cornwall touring sides, which in years gone by was very much a feature of the season. It’s always pleasing to see that Old Dunstonians and Imperial Medics continue their Easter tours to Cornwall; long may they continue to do so.

Having wished the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay all the best for next Sunday, it must not be forgotten that the Cornish All Blacks have a very important match this Saturday at Blackheath as they strive to make the second promotion spot to National League 1 behind Esher, who have now won the National League 2 title. Their race with Henley Hawks looks set to go down to the last game of the season when Launceston visit Henley.

14th April 2007



National League 2. By Bill Hooper at the Redruth Recreation Ground.

Redruth put in a storming second half performance to comprehensively outclass an already relegated Bradford & Bingley side on Saturday at the Recreation Ground, to virtually confirm their fourth place finish in National League 2 this season, their highest ever placing in the National Leagues.

After the glorious weather it was a bit of a shock to have rain falling at kick off time. Still, Redruth made a perfect start with an early try scored by Rob Thirlby after only three minutes, after fine work from scrum-half Mark Richards and centre PJ Gidlow set up the Redruth flyer to score under the posts. Fly-half Mike Hook kicked the conversion, the first of nine successful conversions in the match.

After this early score the game became very scrappy for the remainder of the half, punctuated with numerous stoppages, which did not help the Reds' cause. The next score didn't appear until 29 minutes and it went the way of the Bees as their fly-half Stuart Dixon dropped a neat goal on a rare foray into the Reds' 22.

The Reds were lifted after this slight set-back and tore into the visitors, with Richard Carroll, starting in place of the injured Luke Collins, barging over the line near the posts to score the Reds' second try, Hook's conversion making it 14-3 after 34 minutes. Further Redruth pressure in time added on during the first half led to flanker James Mann powering over for a third try, with Hook adding the extras to leave the Reds leading comfortably at the break by 21-3.

The try bonus point was safely secured soon after the re-start with Rob Thirlby scoring his second try of the game following some fine play from the backs, notably skipper Bonds.

The visitors' cause was not helped when they lost their hooker Peter Scott to the sinbin after 47 minutes for backchat to the referee. The flood-gates were now about to open as Redruth capitalised immediately, with winger Tim McBride running in from distance, through a maze of players, without a hand being laid on him, to score a sensational try under the posts that Hook converted for 35-3. Three minutes later skipper Craig Bonds finished off a move he initiated in his own 22, which was carried on by No 8 Mark Bright and Richards before the skipper took the scoring pass. Gidlow then got in on the act to score a good try at the posts on 58 minutes, both scores converted by Hook to take the Reds up to 49-3.

From the re-start Bonds ran the ball straight back to score his side's eighth try of the afternoon. The score was out wide and Hook's conversion failed, to the amused consternation of the Redruth grandstand.

Bradford & Bingley did have a scoring opportunity as Redruth conceded a penalty from about 30 meters out, but Dave McCormack's penalty attempt was badly hooked: the Redruth crowd didn't think much of it at all!

Mark Lea, on for Rob Thirlby, was tackled very high as the visitors' frustrations grew. Redruth weren't done just yet as they delivered the coup de grace in the final ten minutes with a further four tries. Gidlow jinked his way to the line to score his second try of the afternoon, then Richard Carroll grabbed his second try. Whilst Hook converted the former try, his conversion of Carroll's try rebounded off the upright. Paul Thirlby then made sure that it was three tries for the family clan with Redruth's eleventh try, after a fine run that his brother would have been proud of, Hook kicking the conversion, Finally, in time added on, replacement flanker Chris Fuca made it a dozen tries scored and the final tally 78-3.

Redruth will travel for their final away game next Saturday at Halifax hoping to keep this rich vein of try scoring going. Surprisingly, there were no scores for Mark Bright this week! The Reds' man-of-the-match award went this week not to a player but head coach Nigel Hambly.

There was more good news for Redruth on Sunday as their Colts side reached the Final of the Colts National Cup, defeating Bishops Stortford Colts 11-6. Ben Fox scored the young Reds' try, with Brett Rule kicking two penalties. In the final Redruth will play Bedford. Well done to coach Simon Blake and his team.

Redruth 78 Pts: Tries (12), Thirlby R. (2), Bonds (2) Carroll (2), Gidlow (2), Mann, McBride, Thirlby P. Fuca. Cons Hook (9)

Bradford & Bingley 3 Pts: Drop, Dixon

Redruth: C. Bonds (capt), R. Thirlby (M. Lea 56), P. Thirlby, PJ Gidlow, T. McBride, M. Hook, M. Richards; P. Joyce (D. Jacques 40), S. Harrison (B. Priddey 66), A. Morcom (P. Joyce 67), D. Cook, R. Carroll, N. Pascoe (C. Fuca 59), J. Mann, M. Bright

Bradford & Bingley: M. Kirby, R. Hughes, S. Newton, C. Hassan, R. Scully, S. Dixon, D. McCormack; R. Raper, P. Scott, R. Wilson, S. Burns, B. Clark, I Judson, J. Baker (D. Allen 62), H. Fakatou.
Replacements not used- N. Green, C. Fisher.
Yellow Card; P. Scott 47

Referee: Mr. E. Woodmason (RFU).


It seems to be the saying at the moment, but “What a weekend for Cornish Rugby”. The afterglow of the twin success’ of both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay at Twickenham on Sunday will burn for many days yet.

Further good news on Sunday was the result of Redruth Colts winning their National Colts Cup semi-final 11-6 against the holders Bishop’s Stortford 11 – 6. Many Congratulations to the Redruth youngsters and coach Simon Blake in getting to the Final on May Bank Holiday Monday May 7th at Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens Ground against Bedford Colts with a 3pm kick-off.

The promotion race in National League 2 looks set to go down to the wire as both the Cornish All Blacks and Henley Hawks picked up four points on Saturday to leave the Cornish side with a one point advantage over the Hawks. The Cornish All Blacks travelled to the Rectory Field, Blackheath and won 20-6. The Cornish All Blacks’ tries were scored by centre Marc Sweeney and full-back Andy Birkett with fly-half Sam Young adding both conversions and a couple of penalties. Frankie Neale kicking a couple of penalties for Blackheath. Next up for the Cornish All Blacks is this Saturday’s final home game of the season against Cambridge, who defeated champions Esher at the weekend. Henley travel to Esher, so it’s all to play for!

Only one game in South West 1 this weekend: St. Ives travelled to Basingstoke to play their final league match and lost 44-9. The Hakes, one time play-off hopefuls in this league, have finished in 7th place.

Mount’s Bay were due to play at Cleve; due to their Cup Final appearance this game will now be played next Saturday.

In South West 2 West, Camborne defeated Spartans 59-3 in a game in which the referee blew up early, as the visitors had no front row cover. The Cherry & Whites scored nine tries through winger Cameron Bone (2), full-back Adam Copeland (2), skipper Dave Roberts (2), hooker Andrew Smith, flanker Kevin Penrose and centre Paul Gadsdon, Dave Mankee kicked seven conversions, Spartans only score came from a penalty kicked by Rory Teague. Camborne finished in 5th place in South West 2 West.

Penryn wrapped up their dreadful season with another loss at home to Cheltenham North by 36-12. Charlie Ross and Chris Mann scored the Borough’s two tries with Ian Morgan kicking a penalty. Penryn finished 11th and are relegated back to Western Counties West next season.

In Western Counties West, Truro lost 28-0 to champions Barnstaple who completed a perfect record played 22 won 22. Truro finished bottom of the pile and will look to re-group in the Cornwall & Devon league next season.

Bude lost their final match 19-12 at home to Sidmouth, Paul Williams scored and converted his own try whilst Rob Uglow scored the other Bude try. Bude finished in 8th place.

Hayle, with their minds already on their play-off date travelled to Ivybridge and lost by 16-10. James Jago scored the Lions’ try, which was converted by Ben Eddy, who also kicked a penalty.

In the Cornwall & Devon league, Wadebridge Camels beat Wessex 54-0 but Paignton’s big win at Perranporth assured the Devon side of the league title. Camels will look forward to Western Counties West rugby next season.

Perranporth will be heading back to Cornwall 1, as will St. Austell, despite their final day win over Honiton 27-25.

Falmouth suffered a home defeat at the hands of Tavistock by 20-17 to finish up 7th in the league.

London Cornish rounded off their league season with a good win over Sandown & Shanklin from the Isle of Wight by 40-17, they also acheiving promotion to London 3 SW next season.

Congratulations to Newquay Hornets, who won promotion from Cornwall 1 to the Cornwall and Devon league next season.

Liskeard & Looe will face a tricky play-off against Bideford in North Devon for the remaining place.

Relegated from Cornwall 1 are Camborne School of Mines and Illogan Park.

In Cornwall 2, Roseland are the champions with St. Just also being promoted.

Finally, good luck and bon voyage to the Cornwall squad as they travel to Brittany this weekend to play a Sélection du Finistère in Quimper on Saturday.

In a gripping encounter, the Cornish Pirates came from behind to beat the Exeter Chiefs 19-16 to lift the EDF-Energy National Trophy at Twickenham on Sunday afternoon. Vili Ma’asi scored the Pirates try with Alberto Di Bernardo’s trusty boot claiming the other points. Many Congratulations to the Cornish Pirates, Kernow bys Vyken.

Later in the day Mount’s Bay defeated Midlands 1 side Dunstablians 46 - 36 to win the EDF-Energy Intermediate Cup to complete a great double of league and cup. Four tries for Mika Mua as the Bay ran in seven tries, other tries from Shane Laloata, Ricky Pellow and Pale Nonu. Congratulations to the Bay.

A unique Cornish double at the home of English rugby, not to be forgotten in a hurry. They couldn’t bid us nay!

21st/22nd April 2007


By beating Cambridge 38-6 on Saturday, the Cornish All Blacks have secured the second promotion spot from National Division 2. With only one league game remaining, Henley, in third place, can no longer catch them. The CABs will join the Cornish Pirates in National Division 1 next season. Next season, the local derbies with Redruth will be replaced by local derbies with the Cornish Pirates!



By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News at Camborne Recreation Ground.

Whilst those around him embraced each other, Cornish All Blacks' joint coach Jon Hill remained glued to his mobile phone. For a moment he was unmoved, but his leap for joy suddenly ignited party time at Polson. After months of waiting, the All Blacks had finally fulfilled their dream. Saturday's 38-6 victory over Cambridge was Part One of the scenario; Part Two was hoping that promotion rivals Henley would not achieve a result against champions Esher. In the end, Esher did their bit as well, defeating the Hawks 28-13 to ensure the Cornishmen would be locking horns with Westcountry rivals Exeter Chiefs, Plymouth Albion and the Cornish Pirates next season.

As Hill was quick to stress afterwards, Hollywood screenwriters could not have come up with a better script for his side. "What an afternoon that was. The way in which we've done this is just unbelievable, you couldn't have scripted it any better.

"We struggled at the start, we made a few errors and we knew the score elsewhere. At the time you didn't think it was going to happen today, then suddenly we generated a bit of momentum in our game.

"We went into the last 20 minutes knowing we needed two scores and then we heard Esher were up by seven points. It's then you think that it might be your day. In the second half, though, there was only one side that was going to win.

"We sent on guys in a bid to make an impact, which all of them did. Then, when you need a moment of magic, we got that as well with Marc Dibble's try. It was quite fitting that he scored the fourth try today - and he scored the injury-time try that won us the game up at their place," added Hill.

"Everything, it seems, fell into place. It's an unbelievable sensation, but it's the realisation of a lot of hard work for myself, Chris Brown [joint coach], the players and the club as a whole.

"Our recruitment this season has been bang on, bringing in the best Cornish players. We've probably had to work harder than any other club to get where we have. Today, though, we have reaped our rewards."

With National One now set to have a second representative from the rugby-loving Duchy, Hill is anticipating an exciting season ahead for local rugby enthusiasts.

"We are not going into National One just to make up the numbers," he said. "We know a lot of hard work has to be done, both on and off the field, we've already started that by signing a number of players for next season. We also want to keep the majority of this squad together, but we'll be happy with tenth or 11th next season. That will be a step in the right direction."

As for the game itself, it was Cambridge who were first out of the traps, fly-half Daf Lewis stroking them in front with the first of his two penalties on five minutes. That, however, was the only time the East Anglian outfit ever held the upper hand. Kiwi Sam Young levelled matters on 11 minutes, before plundering a near identical penalty just five minutes later.

It was the signal for the All Blacks to take command and that they did. Turning a Cambridge scrum over, the home side advanced into strike range before Richard John peeled off the back of a maul just to be halted short of the line. From the resulting scrum, it was No.8 Nick Burnett who barged his way over for the first of five home tries.

At the other end, Lewis briefly reduced the deficit with a second penalty, before both sides saw players see yellow before the break. Cambridge lost hooker Kramer Ronaki, while John was also dispatched to the sidelines.

Despite starting the second period with 14 men, the All Blacks stretched their lead to 16-6, flanker Josh Lord crashing over in the left corner following a quick tap from the lively Dibble.

Further chances came and went for the All Blacks, who even then thought they would be heading for Henley needing that vital victory. Suddenly, though, things started to happen. A Young penalty edged them further ahead, before full-back Andy Birkett ghosted his way over for a converted try.

As Cambridge began to wilt, the All Blacks sensed this was their moment. Indeed it was. More battling work from the home pack saw Lord fly-hack the ball forward and as Dibble raced to the loose ball, it popped up invitingly for the winger to race over. Polson erupted momentarily, but still there was time for the Cornishmen to add a little extra. It duly arrived when replacement Neil Clark jinxed his way over for a fifth try, converted by Young, in injury time. The score signalled party time, although Hill waited just a little longer.

Cornish All Blacks 38 pts: Tries - Burnett, Lord, Birkett, Dibble, Clark; Conversions - Young (2); Penalties - Young (3)

Cambridge 6 pts: Penalties - Lewis (2)

Cornish All Blacks: A Birkett; M Dibble, M Sweeney (R Westren 68), S Perry, A Matchett; S Young, R John; J Bolt, D Risdon (capt, N Clark 66), W Reed; S Pape (T Parker 80), M Myerscough; J Lord, W Sprangle, N Burnett.
Yellow Card: John.

Cambridge: I McInroy; T Kwilimbe, C Lombard, J Shanahan, T Herbert; D Lewis, P Reed; J Ross, K Ronaki (R Swikkard 53), T Kirkman (J Clarke 17-23, 61); D Candlin, J Harlock; G Remnant (capt), J Leigh (R Swikkard 37-40, M Otter 79), J Ball.
Replacement (not used): S Hoad
Yellow Cards: Ronaki, Remnant.

Referee: R Kitt (RFU)



By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News at Camborne Recreation Ground.

It was always going to be a happy homecoming for the Cornish Pirates, but clearly the newly-crowned National Trophy winners were keen to put on a show. At Camborne's Recreation Ground yesterday, Jim McKay's side served up a Sunday treat for their army of supporters, crushing visiting Pertemps Bees 55-14 with a superb nine try-blast.

Still riding high on the emotion of that famous victory over Exeter Chiefs the week previous, the Pirates dominated proceedings from start to finish. Sure the Bees battled valiantly in the opening stages, but once the Pirates asserted their authority up front, soon the points began to flow.

The opening score arrived on 17 minutes when a scrum five metres from the visiting line was edged to within touching distance; No.8 Tim Cowley flipped the ball up to Gavin Cattle, who in turn fed full-back Adryan Winnan to power over for the try, which was converted by Leeds-bound fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo.

Further chances went begging for the Pirates, who despite losing centre Duncan Bell to the sin-bin for use of the boot, were able to add a second try just before the interval. Again with a scrum five metres out, the Cornishmen applied the shove. After several aborted attempts which had been halted by the Bees, referee Nick Williams finally lost patience with the visitors' disruption attempts and awarded a penalty try, which was again converted by Di Bernardo.

Worse was to follow for the visitors as first they lost replacement Dan Tuohy to the sin-bin for a late tackle on Di Bernardo, then skipper Mark Gabey followed him to the sidelines for punching lock James Inglis.

Emerging for the second half with a 14-0 deficit and just 13 men, it was always going to be an uphill struggle for the Bees. Just six minutes after the restart it was the Pirates who were again adding to their tally. A Bees scrum on halfway was shunted backwards at pace, the ball emerged on the Pirates' side, allowing Cattle and Cowley to combine well to send James Moore over in the corner. The former Coventry back then repeated the feat just two minutes later, this time running in from halfway after he captitalised on some poor handling from the Bees in midfield to make it 24-0.

The Pirates were now in full flow and only a push, just yards from the line by visiting winger Kyle Palm prevented Jon Hylton from adding a fifth try. The resulting penalty merely gave the home side another attacking platform from which to build. Electing for a scrum, the home shove was again applied and when the scrum buckled for the third time, Williams once again had little option but to go in under the posts for a second converted penalty try.

To their credit, the Bees refused to lie down and their efforts were rewarded just before the hour mark when some slick inter-passing resulted in winger Reece Spee finding his way over by the posts, Jon Higgins converting.

The score seemed to ignite the Pirates, who in the space of a few minutes added two more tries, the first a flowing backs move which saw Winnan over; the second an easier effort for Duncan Bell, who was able to latch onto Di Bernardo's well-placed grubber kick to the corner.

Still the Bees kept coming and from a quick tap penalty five minutes from time, flanker Akapusi Qera darted over for a second try, this time converted by scrum-half Rod Petty.

The last word, however, was left to the home side and winger Moore, who nabbed his hat-trick score on 77 minutes; then lock Joe Beardshaw claimed his maiden try of the season in injury time when he dived over following Chris Cracknell's break. Di Bernardo added the extras to the latter's score to cap what was yet another good day's work for the Pirates.

"It was a very good win for us," said McKay afterwards. "For us the main challenge this week was to switch our attention onto these last two league games following the euphoria of last week. We had to give the boys a bit of a rev up during the week, but they have really responded well and to get that win today was vitally important, especially as we had lost our last three league games.

"Scoring 50 points is always very pleasing. They have some good players and they were hard to break down. I felt they ran out of petrol a bit near the end, but we kept going and we reaped our rewards, which is the main thing.

"It was the last home game for a few of the boys, plus it's going to be a while before we're back here again, so it was important that we signed off here with a good performance and a good win."

Cornish Pirates 55 pts: Tries - Winnan (2), Penalty Tries (2), Moore (3), Bell, Beardshaw Conversions - Di Bernardo (5)

Pertemps Bees 14 pts: Tries - Spee, Qera Conversions - Higgins, Petty

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan; J Moore, D Bell (S Parsons 76), S Winn, J Hylton (L Vinnicombe 56); A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt, H Barrett 70); A Paver, V Ma'asi (D Dawidiuk 67), D Seal (G Anderson 67); J Inglis (S Betty 62) J Beardshaw, C Cracknell, I Motusaga, T Cowley (M Evans 62).
Yellow Card: Bell

Pertemps Bees: M Nuthall; R Spee, T Davies, D Knight, K Palm; J Higgins (B Harvey 64), R Petty; M Long (C Dunning 50) M Miles, T Court (E Lewis 63) M Gabey (capt), A Davidson (D Tuohy 28); R Halavatau (W Matthews 56) A Qera, M Larson (D Miller 70).
Replacement (not used): S Martin.
Yellow Cards: Tuohy, Gabey

Referee: N Williams (RFU)

Attendance: 2,873


More good news for Cornish rugby as the Cornish All Blacks, thanks to a 38-6 win over Cambridge coupled with Henley Hawks' defeat at National League 2 champions Esher, claimed the runners-up spot in National League 2, ensuring National League 1 rugby at Polson Bridge next season. Many Congratulations to coaches Chris Brown, Jon Hill and the squad on a tremendous achievement.

Redruth maintained their fine form with a 39-20 win at Halifax in National League 2 consolidating their fine fourth place. They could even finish as high as third if they win their final game of the season and Henley Hawks slip up at home to the Cornish All Blacks.

Champions Mount’s Bay completed their league program in South West 1, losing to Cleve 39-12. However, many of the Mount’s Bay squad were with the Cornwall team for their match in Quimper, Brittany, against a Selection du Finistere, which was played this afternoon.

The Cornish Pirates played their final home game of the season at Camborne’s Recreation Ground on Sunday against the Pertemps Bees and thrilled the Cornish crowd with nine tries and a festival of running rugby in a 55-14 win.

Following their open-top bus ride through the streets of Penzance on Saturday showing off their EDF-Energy National Trophy to the massed crowds that lined Market Jew street, the boys were in determined mood to bring the curtain down on their first season at Camborne in style, it also being the occasion for many to say farewell and au-revoir to the players that will be moving on during the close-season.

The game was full of flowing and running rugby with the Cornish Pirates tries scored by James Moore (3), Adryan Winnan (2), Duncan Bell, and Joe Beardshaw, with referee Nick Williams also awarding the Cornish Pirates two penalty tries.

After the final whistle the party got underway with Graham Hart playing “This one’s for the boys” on the pitch and then the end of season presentations which saw the “President’s Cup” going to Vili Ma’asi. Vili will be greatly missed as he departs to the Premiership next season, along with Alberto Di Bernardo at Leeds Tykes. Vili, as the current holder of the Bill Osborne Shield, has given great pleasure, whether wearing Pirates' colours or the Black and Gold of Cornwall. We wish him well.

28th April 2007



By Mark Stevens, of the Western Morning News at Butts Park Arena.

The start was painful, it picked up in the middle, and by the end there were enough promising performances to suggest there's more to come from the Cornish Pirates next season. After a campaign which has delivered numerous highs, plus the occasional low, Jim McKay's side finally brought the curtain down on their season-long show with a hard-fought 32-20 success away to Coventry.

Five tries and five points were certainly the highlights of this latest success. However, with a number of the club's leading showmen set for new productions next term, work has already begun on delivering a much improved script for next year's title assault. Not that much work will be needed by McKay and his trusty lieutenants over the summer months. The current plan has, for the large part, worked well. It merely needs a quick re-write and a couple of notable additions here and there.

One thing, however, that needs to remain is the underlining camaraderie which has been shown by the players this season. On numerous occasions, when the chips have been down, they have rallied to great effect - Saturday was yet another of those examples. With ten minutes remaining and the scoreline 20-15 in favour of the Midlanders, things did not look good for the Pirates, who at the time had a greater concern over one of their fallen comrades. Matt Evans' late injury - just four minutes after his introduction from the bench - was one of those seasonal low points, but the enforced break allowed the Cornishmen to regroup and finish with a flourish.

Up until then, however, Coventry - still smarting from being spanked 54-0 by Nottingham the previous week - had more than tested McKay's men. With just eight minutes on the clock, skipper Ben Russell fired them in front with a penalty, quickly followed by a try for No.8 Tom Johnson, who come September will be running out in Exeter colours, as will club-mate Kieran Geraghty.

A succession of unforced errors were the telling problem for the Pirates during the early exchanges. However, once they found some fluidity to their game, the points soon came rolling in. Fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo stroked over a penalty on 26 minutes to reduce the deficit, before flanker Iva Motusaga burrowed over from a well constructed catch-and-drive move to make it 8-8.

Coventry, though, were soon back on the attack and when Geraghty was afforded too much time and space in midfield, he drew in the Pirates' cover before offloading to winger Ben Toft to make it 13-8 at the break.

Not for the first time this season, McKay had work to do during the interval. Whatever was said by the Aussie during the brief respite, it clearly had the desired effect. Good early pressure not only brought about a yellow card for Johnson, but also a converted penalty try after referee Richard Draper finally lost patience with Cov's desire to disrupt a succession of scrums.

Even then the home side refused to lie down and they regained the initiative on 55 minutes when Exeter-born winger George Dixon crossed for their third try, which Russell converted.

With time fast running out, it was all hands on deck for the Cornish club, who even though they had a man advantage following Louie Tonkin's yellow card, were still unable to find a way through the Coventry rearguard.

McKay sent on fresh muscle in a bid to inject some new energy into his battle-weary troops, but when Evans departed shortly after his arrival, things did not look good for the Pirates. That was until Welshman Rhodri McAtee provided the finish to a slick move from the visitors with just four minutes remaining. Di Bernardo banged over the touchline conversion to make it 22-20.

From there on the visitors were in control as injury-time tries from replacements Sam Parsons - converted by Di Bernardo - and Henry Barratt merely rubber-stamped the triumph.

Afterwards McKay remarked: "If I'm honest, that was probably one of our best wins this season. The boys, who are literally in bits after that, showed tremendous character to get the win and we're very happy to crawl over the finish line with those five points.

"Coventry were obviously fired up after their defeat the previous week and they really came at us, but the way we stuck at it kind of epitomised the character of this team.

"All season our attitude has been spot on, it's our performances - and the consistency of those performances - that we need to look at and work on for next season. If you want to be a top side, then you have to be consistent."

Coventry 20pts: Tries - T Johnson, Toft, Dixon; Conversion - Russell; Penalty - Russell

Coventry: B Russell (capt, S Montague 77); G Dixon, K Geraghty (E Binham 50), D Sanders, B Toft; M Dorrian, M Walls; N Treston, S Friswell (R Protherough 40-63), C Rimmer (R Brits 63); D Campton, I Nimmo (L Tonkin 63); H Venter, J O'Connor, T Johnson.
Replacements (not used): K Johnson, D James.
Yellow Cards: T Johnson, Tonkin

Cornish Pirates 32pts: Tries - Motusaga, Penalty Try, McAtee, Parsons, Barratt; Conversions - Di Bernardo (2); Penalty - Di Bernardo

Cornish Pirates: A Winnan (S Parsons 77); R McAtee, D Bell, S Winn, L Vinnicombe (H Barratt 53); A Di Bernardo, G Cattle (capt); A Paver, V Ma'asi (N Makin 67), D Seal; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; C Cracknell (S McKeen 53), I Motusaga, T Cowley (M Evans 67, J Inglis 71).
Replacement (not used): G Anderson.

Referee: R Draper (RFU) Attendance: 2,000.



By Bill Hooper, at the Recreation Ground, Redruth.

Both teams served up a superb finale to the league season, sharing eight tries between them. On a bone dry pitch running rugby was always on the cards, especially with the quality players that both sides possessed.

Redruth played up the slope first half with a strong breeze at their backs. The opening score came after 9 minutes: following a period of sustained Redruth pressure on the visitors' line, fly-half Mike Hook took the penalty chance for a 3-0 lead.

Both sides played with ambition and pace as both sets of wingers saw plenty of the ball. Stourbridge were reduced to fourteen men after 26 minutes, as their hooker Alan Keylock was sin-binned after a brawl in front of the Redruth posts. The Reds looked to increase their meagre advantage with the extra man, only to be thwarted by stout Stourbridge defence, Bressington's timely interception on 34 minutes foiling a promising Redruth move in the Strawberry Lane corner. Redruth did manage to score a try just before half-time, even though they found themselves down to fourteen men -- scrum half Mark Richards was cooling his heels for some over enthusiastic rucking. It was a tremendous break from his own half by centre Paul Thirlby, who passed to his skipper Craig Bonds before receiving Bond's scoring pass to score under the posts. It was a simple conversion for Hook, to make the half-time score 10-0 to Redruth.

Soon after the break Redruth increased their lead, with winger Tim McBride breaking down the blindside to touch down in Piggy Lane corner, Hook's conversion attempt re-bounding off the far post. Redruth continued to search for tries and were soon once again camped in the visitors' 22. As Redruth spun the ball out once more the ever-vigilant Bressington snatched the ball out of the air to run the length of the field to score, despite Mark Bright's valiant attempt to catch the England Counties flyer. Bressington added the conversion to make it 15-7.

Hook kicked a penalty to stretch the Reds' lead to 18-7 as the game entered the final quarter. Bressington scored his second try in the scoreboard corner, kicking the difficult touchline conversion to add to his points tally for the season as National 2's second most prolific points scorer behind Esher's Neil Hallett.

Redruth needed a quick response and it came thanks to Rob Thirlby, who sped in to dot down in the Piggy Lane corner, Hook matching Bressington's fine touchline conversion with his own splendid effort. The Reds desperately sought the fourth try to secure the bonus point and it soon arrived on 72 minutes when flanker Nathan Pascoe was driven over, Hook's conversion taking the score to 32-14.

Stourbridge were not done; they scored two tries before the end of the game through skipper Jim Jenner and then lock Ally Muldowney, both of which Bressington converted to make the final score 32-28 and secure two bonus points of their own.

With the news that Lewis Vinnicombe was to re-join the Reds for next season and that the U.19's had won their final at Launceston, and fourth place secured in National League 2, it was all in all a perfect day in Redruth.

Redruth 32 pts: Tries- Thirlby P, McBride, Thirlby R, Pascoe. Pens (2), Cons (3) Hook

Stourbridge 28 pts: Tries- Bressington (2), Jenner, Muldowney. Cons (4) Bressington

Redruth: C. Bonds, capt (S. Peters 74), R. Thirlby, PJ Gidlow, P. Thirlby, T. McBride. M. Hook, M. Richards; D. Jacques (A. Morcom 58), S. Harrison (M. Gidlow 58), P. Joyce, D. Cook, R. Carroll, N. Pascoe, C. Fuca (R. Spargo 74), M. Bright.
Yellow Card- Richards 37

Stourbridge: J. Hall, A. Bressington, L. Porteous, M. Eastwood (C. Mitchell 63), M. Freeman (N. Baxter 73), C. Buck, C. Rowley; A. Sturdey (V. Hartland 55), A. Keylock, J. Tideswell, R. Dean (S. Homer 49), A. Muldowney, B. Gerry, T. Jordan, J. Jenner (capt).
Yellow Card - Keylock 26

Referee Mr. T. Fisher (RFU)


It was the final round of matches in National Leagues 1 & 2 involving our Cornish clubs. Up in Coventry the Cornish Pirates put in a fine performance to defeat their hosts 32-20 at Butts Park Arena. Pirates’ tries came through Iva Motusaga, Rhodri McAtee, Sam Parsons, Henry Barratt and a Penalty Try, with Alberto Di Bernardo kicking a couple of conversions and a penalty in his final apperance in a Pirate shirt. Although the Pirates ended up on 101 points, the same as Exeter Chiefs, it’s the Devonians who finish in fourth place, with the Cornish side fifth and Plymouth Albion 6th on 97 points.

After the final round of matches in the Guinness Premiership it’s now confirmed that former European Champions and this season’s Heineken Cup semi-finalists Northampton Saints will be relegated to National League 1 for next season.

The Cornish All Blacks travelled to Dry Leas, no doubt still suffering a hangover form their celebrations last weekend and lost by 31-7. A game with nothing riding on it except pride saw the Hawks seal a third place finish, running in five tries. The Cornish All Blacks' try was scored by Josh Lord, with Mark Scrivener adding the conversion. It’s going to be a busy summer on the banks of the Tamar in preparation for next season’s debut in National League 1.

Redruth rounded off their fine season with a splendid 32-28 win at home over Stourbridge to finish in 4th place in National League 2, their highest ever finish in the league structure. Paul Thirlby, Tim McBride, Rob Thirlby and Nathan Pascoe all scored tries for the Reds, with Mike Hook kicking 12 points to add to his Record Points scored in the league this season for Redruth.

In the two promotion play-offs involving Cornish clubs there was disappointment. Hayle, playing at home to Barton Hill Old Boys from Bristol for a place in South West 2 West next season, lost 27-11. Dave Seager scored a late try for the Lions with Ben Eddy kicking a couple of penalties.

Liskeard & Looe travelled to Bideford, losing a close game 23-18 in their play-off for a spot in the Cornwall & Devon League next season. Lewis Elliott and Craig Oxenham scored tries for the East Cornwall Lions, whilst Marcus Hill kicked two penalties and a conversion.