Pirates Mini-Junior Section - A Brief History
Mini-rugby - first developed in Wales - is a scaled down version of the senior game, allowing children to run with the ball and enjoy themselves.
In 1973 the former Cornwall RFU President Harvey Richards brought back the idea of initiating the new 9-a-side version of the game for primary schools, after watching a demonstration game played before an international at Cardiff.
There were at this time insufficient clubs operating mini-rugby to provide more than the occasional fixture, but a demonstration match was held before a county game at Camborne, and in 1975 the Pirates were the first club in the county to hold an open mini-rugby festival.
A mini-rugby committee was set up in 1978, senior officers including Chairman Stan Richards and Secretary Phil Harvey - centre and hooker respectively of the late 50s and early 60s sides.
There was now a need to cope with boys seeking Under 13 and Under 14 fifteen-a-side fixtures in clubs, and expansion into the Junior area, as it became known, was soon provided.
In 1979 the Pirates entertained the first ever mini-rugby tour from abroad, playing Boitsforth RFC (Brussels) at Under 10, 12 and 13 levels, including players such as Simon Stone, Joff Collins, Steve Berryman, Patrick Harvey, Scott and Gary Randall, and Nicky Williams in our sides.
The now mini-junior section prided itself in raising its own funds, organising numerous successful events such as the Penzance Fun Run, Race Nights, and Past Players Re-unions. Leading officials included Jack Hick, Capt., Bart Parkhouse (Jacks brother-in-law), Owen Barnes, and Dave Bez Berryman.
Many tours have been undertaken over the years to places such Concarneau (France) and LAquila (Italy), whilst in 1997 our Under 13s spent three fantastic weeks in Kenya, where they were hosted by our club President, Dicky Evans.
The last major tour was in 2002, a fantastic trip to Australia for our Under 15s.
It is impractical to list the many names who have contributed stalwart service to our mini-junior section over the years, but there will always be respect and thanks for all that Phil Harvey did up until 1995.
Many players have also progressed through the various age levels, played for the Colts and then the 1st. team, with a good number being honoured to play for Cornwall and other representative sides.
With hard work and devotion this will surely continue, for there always to be a strong mini-junior section at the Pirates.
Westholme, Alexandra Road, Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY
Tel: 01736 351568