Twickenham fever grips County

There is no doubt that this week will see feverish excitement grow as Cornwall prepares for a double assault on Twickenham with both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay playing their respective EDF-Energy Cup Finals next Sunday at the home of the RFU. The M5/M4 and the A 303 /M3 will be conveying the invasion forces to the capital in the early hours on Sunday morning outnumbering the opposition en-route, last man/woman will have turned the lights out as the late Bill Bishop faithfully requested all those years ago. Cornwall is on the march once more.
It’s been eight long years since “Trelawnys Army” has invaded the mighty fortress in TW1, I haven’t counted the Challenge Match at Twickenham in 2001 that Cornwall played against Yorkshire, and that memorable win against old foes Gloucestershire in the 1999 County Championship Final when Dean Shipton became only the third Cornish captain to lead the Duchy to Championship victory.
Since that triumph much has changed in rugby circles not least here in Cornwall with the demise of the County Championship even in this hotbed of county rugby, Cornwall’s relegation from the County Championship last season to the County Shield whose final will not be at Twickenham this season illustrates more than ever that the club game is now king and the Cornish Pirates have become the symbol of Cornish rugby excellence to a new generation of rugby supporter who have grown up hearing the tales of Twickenham and how Cornwall have taken the mighty stadium by force in years gone by. With the game now very much professional at the top end, the Cornish Pirates with their Premiership aspirations will travel not only to try and win the National Trophy but, and perhaps more importantly, to make a statement to those who hold power at HQ that the potential exists for a Cornish Club to compete and flourish at the very highest level of the game in England that opportunity must not be denied them or any other aspiring club for the good of the game.   
Some things of course have not changed, the singing of the Cornish fans no doubt joining up with the Welsh Ospreys fans to create a melodic experience that the English can only dream about. The camaraderie, win or lose, we shall have a good time and make the most of it (though winning is preferable). Hawker’s “Song of the Western Men” Trelawny will be sung with great fervour and passion, was there ever an anthem that better illustrated a Cornish invasion “We’ll cross the Tamar land to land, the Severn is no stay, With One and All and hand in hand, And who shall bid us nay!  And when we come to London’s Wall a pleasant sight to view, Come forth! Come forth, ye cowards all, Here’s men as good as you! Sam Heard will need little other inspiration. It adds spice too when the opposition is from our neighbours Devon, Exeter Chiefs, though I have yet to see any Big Chiefs to match the Biarritz mascot, now that’s a real Chief! Beating any Devonian team is always guaranteed to cheer a Cornishman, it makes the beer so much more enjoyable and the pasties and saffron cake slips down a treat we also know what real cream tastes like too!! It makes that enforced drive through the Devonian countryside on the way home a real pleasure!!  (Well almost).
Could it be a memorable Cornish winning double? I wouldn’t bet against it, both the Cornish Pirates and Mount’s Bay have quality players to win their respective finals, who will bid us nay?

Posted in Bill's Blog

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