By Bill Hooper
Unwelcome news in Sunday’s papers that the County Championship is once again facing an uncertain future. Both the Rugby Paper and the Sunday Independent carry an article by Neale Harvey that certain powerbrokers in the RFU are again considering scrapping the competition, along with the various England Counties sides, senior, under 20 and under 18 as part of a cost-cutting exercise!
It seems strange that the RFU, the richest rugby union in the world, should deem it necessary to make cuts to grassroots rugby, it’s very lifeline. Quite rightly people will demand to know why this should even be up for discussion and to what projects they envisage putting extra resources from these savings to?
Developments at Twickenham will be followed closely, should they propose to go ahead with this ill-advised plan.
On the playing front it was a very successful afternoon in the Greene-King Championship for the Cornish Pirates as they won in some style 42-27 at Yorkshire Carnegie.
Coach Gavin Cattle described the win as “One of the highlights of the season.”
Hitherto, Yorkshire Carnegie had only lost one game this season but they were rocked by tries from Kyle Moyle, Tom Duncan (2), Alex Day, Brett Beukeboom and Jack Andrew, with Laurence May converting all six. The win leaves the Cornish Pirates in fifth place just two points behind Ealing with a game-in-hand.
In National League 2 South, Redruth slipped to defeat as a late penalty gave visitors Old Elthamians the spoils 20-17.
A result that puts paid to the Reds outside hopes of promotion for this season. Despite missing key players Kyle Marriott and Alex Ducker, Redruth gave a good account of themselves against the well-organised London outfit.
Pale Nonu and Jack Oulton scored tries for Redruth both converted by Brett Rule who also kicked a penalty. BJ Chapman had a big game for the Reds as did Shaun Buzza when he came on.
In National 3 SW, Camborne made it back-to-back wins for the first time in 2017 as they won 35-16 at Newton Abbot. Murray Westren opened the try scoring with further scores coming from Damien Cook, Josh Semmens and Taron Peacock. Rhys Brownfield kicked three conversions and three penalties. The win puts Town back into a play-off place ahead of their game in a fortnight’s time at home to leaders Old Redcliffians.
Launceston gave a good account of themselves against Old Reds in Bristol only going down 21-17. Jordan Duke and Andy Knight scored tries with Martin Kneebone converting a penalty-try.
The result sees the Cornish All Blacks slip back to second from bottom as sides around them won.
In Western Counties West, Truro took the spoils in the Cornish derby at Bude 24-7. Truro’s tries cane from Josh Symons, Ben Teasdale (2) and Luke Trescothick with Ashley Hosking kicking a couple of conversions. For Bude Matt Williams scored a try converted by Dan Pearce. Sadly the game was marred with a red card to Truro prop Ethan Pattison.
St. Ives had a good win at home against Burnham-on-Sea 39-5. The Hakes scored seven tries through Pete Mabbot (2), Liam Jolly, Jacob Ninnes, Joe Parma, Ben Taylor and Martyn Lawrence. Grant Thirlby kicked a couple of conversions.
Wadebridge Camels had a good win up at Wellington winning 25-12. Camels scored twenty-two first half points through tries from Will Pengelly, Rhys Bright and Matt Ballard with Callum Wilson kicking two conversions and a penalty. In the second half Wilson added a further penalty.
St. Austell lost a promotion chasing Cullompton 19-11. Max Duggan scored the Saints only try with Liam Freeman and Cav Boyer kicking penalties.
In London 2 SW, London Cornish maintain their lead at the top of the table following a 41-14 win at Andover. Miles Rushworth scored three tries for the exiles with other scores coming from Matt Hakes, Tom Patton and Chris Kolapo-Ajala. George Kimmins added four conversions and a penalty.
In the Cornwall & Devon League, leaders Falmouth gained revenge against the only side to have defeated them this season, Plymstock. The Eagles scored nine tries in a 57-6 win with wing Dan Hubble notching five! Other scores came from Seb Firth, Tom Spiller, Matt Brewer and John Baglow with Justyn Irons adding six conversions.
Saltash remain in second place after winning 43-25 at Tavistock
Penryn lost at struggling Honiton 25-12. Grant Randlesome and Kirky Oldfield with their tries, Matt Horton kicked a conversion.
Pirates Amateurs were defeated 36-28 at Topsham, while Bodmin lost at home to Plymouth Argaum 38-12.
Lanner narrowly lost at St. Day to promotion chasing Paignton 20-17.
In Cornwall 1, Newquay Hornets and Hayle had big wins against a depleted School of Mines 89-7 and Veor 69-3. Liskeard-Looe defeated Helston 41-10 and St. Agnes ran riot against Roseland 50-0.
In Cornwall 2, Lankelly-Fowey beat leaders Illogan Park 34-16 to close the gap at the top to just three points. Perranporth won at home to Redruth Albany 57-12. Stithians had a walkover against Camelford.
Finally in this season’s Bottle Match, Camborne School of Mines relinquished the trophy they won back last season to Royal School of Mines 33-19.