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After a long pre-season this meaningful rugby action was welcomed by the Cornish Pirates. They won convincingly, as was naturally expected, however there was also much credit due a spirited Redruth side, their performance admirably competitive throughout.
The visit to the Recreation Ground was to have formed part of a triangular set of fixtures, also involving Camborne, however the ‘Cherry & Whites’ were unfortunately unable to participate.
On a hot and sunny day, the match provided an opportunity for supporters from both teams to see most of their new signings in action. Those making their debuts for the Pirates were scrum halves Rhodri Davies and Ruaridh Dawson, wing Harry Davey, centre Shae Tucker, lock Fa’atiga Lemalu, props Sam Rodman, Hayden King and Will Norton, and hooker Suva Ma’asi.
Just ahead of kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of Pauline Peters, widow of Denzil. A member of Redruth for over 50 years, Pauline had also been a stalwart of the club’s Ladies Committee.
Match underway, the Reds showed early on that they wouldn’t be a pushover, with the boot from hand of fly-half Fraser Honey also serving them well. However, after initially applying pressure in the famous Hellfire Corner, and then taking play near to the posts, it was Pirates’ fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez who, in the 23rd minute, both scored and converted the game’s opening try.
The Pirates now looked a little more in the groove, as certainly appeared the case when, from a scrum on halfway, centre Rory Parata took full advantage of created space to score an unconverted try. With 13 minutes still to half-time there were hopes of a further score or two, but it was not to be. The hosts were resolute in defence and 0-12 it stayed come the break.
Both sides made changes for the second period, and the Pirates particularly so. It was also two fresh off the bench faces involved in an early score, with wing Alex O’Meara touching down wide out on the right following fly-half Will Cargill’s well executed cross-field kick.
Former Redruth wing Robin Wedlake, along with flanker Matt Bolwell were next to register tries, both of which were converted by Cargill, and to complete an enjoyable and useful afternoon of rugby – it one which provided an example of two famous Cornish clubs working well together – it was Wedlake who scored his second try in the left hand corner.
Speaking after the game, Cornish Pirates’ Director of Rugby Chris Stirling said:
It was just as we expected it to be. We were inevitably a little match rusty, and such games always highlight things to work on. There were also, as we saw, positives, and we did well to nil a good National leagues team.
Ultimately it proved usefully worthy – for both teams, with due credit to Redruth for their effort. We have good relations and I advised Nigel (Redruth’s head coach Nigel Hambly) that this would be on-going this coming season.
Players seeing game time for the respective teams were as follows:
Redruth: Matt Shepherd, Dean Bonds, Jack Simmons, Connor Gilbert, Aaron Simmonds, Fraser Honey, Jack Oulton, Brad Howe, Mark Grubb, Sam Stevens, Jack Heazleton, Todd Prisk, Craig Williams, Richard Brown, Jess Tompsett, Luke Cummins, Ashley Taylor, James Tucker, Richie Kevern, Ali Stacey, Ben Fox, Jamie Prisk, Luke Barnes, Tommy Phillips, Jack Hodge, Peter Joyce, Jamie Murray, Ben Fenton.
Cornish Pirates: AJ Cant, Maliq Holden, Harry Davey, Robin Wedlake, Matt Evans, Alex O’Meara, Rory Parata, Shae Tucker, Nicolas De Battista, Callum Patterson, Javier Rojas Alvarez, Will Cargill, Ruaridh Dawson, Rhodri Davies, Alex Schwarz, Tom Duncan, John Stevens, Jake Clemson, Matt Bolwell, Danny Cutmore, Fa’atiga Lemalu, Brett Beukeboom, Jay Tyack, Sam Rodman, Tom Channon, Dan Frost, Suva Ma’asi, Jack Andrew, Marlen Walker, Will Norton, Hayden King.
As part of their sponsorship with the Cornish Pirates, at the end of the match Glengoyne Distillery’s representative Rachel Branwell presented the ‘Glengoyne Trophy’ to Redruth’s back-rower Mark Grubb for being the adjudged ‘Player of the Match’.