This is what we’ve been waiting for, with due respect to the other sides in the Championship, the play-offs for promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
After the thrills of last season and Exeter Chiefs dramatic winning of the Play-offs at the expense of favourites Bristol, many wonder if it could happen again? Well it could, but I suspect that Worcester Warriors have enough fire-power to prevail, but I am sure they will be given a torrid time and that it will not be plain sailing.
The opening round of fixtures sees our Cornish Pirates at home against Doncaster Knights on Sunday with a 3pm kick-off. Real progress for the Pirates will be to top Pool B and meet the runner-up of Pool A in the semi-final, probably London Welsh but who knows if Nottingham or even Bristol can pull out a surprise.
Getting to the final will send out a big statement of intent of the Pirates’ vision to get to the Aviva Premiership and will further boost their plans for the new, much needed, stadium in Cornwall.
With no British & Irish cup to distract, their focus is on the play-offs and they really do mean buisness this time around. It promises to be an enthralling few weeks as the Cornish Pirates’ supporters ride on a wave of optimisim going forward on all fronts.
Pretty much the same can be said for our National League 1 clubs the Cornish All Blacks and Redruth, while the former look already set for relegation, Redruth are still battling away with the next three Saturday’s set to be “season defining” in the words of their Director of Rugby Dave Penberthy. With two away trips to Sedgley Park and Blaydon before receiving Cinderford on March 26th Redruth know that they really need maximum points from all these games, it’s going to be a tall order but not an impossible one.
Further down the league structure Penryn are battling hard to win promotion out of Tribute Western Counties West, whilst St. Austell and Hayle are fighting out the second promotion spot out of Tribute Cornwall & Devon League behind leaders Bideford.
Veor and Pirates Amateurs are disputing the automatic promotion place out of the Tribute Cornwall league with the unlucky team going into the play-off with the runner up from Tribute Devon 1 currently Wessex.
Commiserations to the Cornwall U.20’s squad who lost last Sunday at Ivybridge against a strong Devon side. Cornwall’s final match in their pool will be at Lydney against Gloucestershire who thrashed Somerset 78-7 at Yatton.
Finally lets hope that our own Cornish lad Olly Barkley makes a swift recovery from his broken leg suffered playing for Bath at Gloucester last week end. I am sure all Cornish rugby supporters will wish to send him good luck on his road to recovery and we shall look forward to seeing him back in action next season.