With Cornwall For Cornwall

Gans Kernow Rag Kernow

Westholme, Alexandra Road,

Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY

Tel: 01736 331961 Email: [email protected]

Cornish Pirates 14

Hartpury 7

23 December, 2023

News & Fixtures

All the Latest News & Fixtures...

League / Cup

Championship Rugby Round 8


Mennaye Field, Penzance




Cornish Pirates 14


Hartpury 7

Phil Westren

For their final game in 2023, the Cornish Pirates expected a bumper Christmas crowd when they welcomed Hartpury to the Mennaye Field on Saturday, and that is just what they got. Also, as it worked out, they conjured up a hard fought, close, but nonetheless deserved win to thus send their supporters home happy.

With Kyle Moyle and Ioan Evans having both picked up injuries, their places at full-back and centre weretaken by a fit again Will Trewin and Tom Georgiou (partnering Joe Elderkin) respectively. Matt McNab and Robin Wedlake were selected to form the wing combination, with Bruce Houston and Alex Schwarz once again the chosen starting half-backs.

In the forwards, Lefty Zigiriadis, who was unavailable the previous week, returned at loose-head prop, in what was an otherwise unchanged eight from the pack selected against the Trailfinders.

Ahead of kick-off, flanker Will Gibson was proudly the first ‘Pirate’ to emerge from the tunnel, for what was officially his 50th appearance for the club. Then, when the match action began, it soon appeared that the big home crowd had something further to celebrate with a try seemingly scored at the Penzance posts by skipper John Stevens. Referee Mr. James, however, signalled ‘crossing’, for the game’s first points to be put on hold.

Play was bright and pacey, with centres Georgiou and Elderkin looking sharp and wing Wedlake hungry with ball in hand. Prop Matt Johnson also carried strongly but for the present it was all without reward.

Further promising play would follow when lock Hugh Bokenham made a telling burst. Play was taken close to the posts and, after Hartpury lost the services of number 8 Mitch Eadie to the sin bin, a try from Johnson, converted by fly-half Bruce Houston, provided a starter.

Playing with positivity, man of the match Will Trewin was dangerous with ball in hand, whilst the Pirates scrum also impressed. Indeed, from pressure created the visitors buckled and in the 31st minute the Pirates were deservedly awarded a penalty try.

Approaching halftime, Hartpury had an opportunity to hit back, which they did, with two former Pirates, hooker Will Crane and fly-half Harry Bazalgette, securing points. After the Pirates had gone down to 14 men when centre Georgiou was yellow-carded, it was skipper Crane who was identified as a try-scorer to the left of the Newlyn posts, with ‘Baz’ then adding the conversion.

It could be argued that the Pirates should have arrived more comfortably ahead come the break, but as it worked out a 14-7 scoreline made it all to play for in the second half – the team’s final 40 minutes of rugby action in 2023.

What soon became evident is that Hartpury’s late first half score had given them extra confidence. Their scrum, with the introduction of stocky twin props Toti and Jonny Benz-Salomon, also appeared to function better.

A Wedlake counter, with good support from scrum-half Alex Schwarz, boosted home morale, and following a catch and drive at the old Western National corner the Pirates went agonisingly close to scoring. ‘Close’ was the word, as it was for a penalty attempt from Houston, although a tricky wind was not one to help the kickers. Even the follow up to the kick by an energetic Bokenham saw the near scoring of a try.

The Pirates and their supporters were desperate for a score that would surely cement their general dominance. But one never came. In fact, they did well to repel their opponents on more than one occasion late in the game, to ultimately hold out for a welcome Christmas win, despite it one without a little extra glitter.

Speaking at the end of the match, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle commented:

Having felt we needed the win, and although lacking some of our normal spark, we did manage to create a lot of opportunities in the first half. But, when you don’t take them, you become aware these things come back to bite you, and it’ll likely be a bit of an arm wrestle which is exactly as it ended up.

“The pitch, despite looking good for this time of the year, was quite heavy, but we ground it out. There were times when, I think, we should have taken the opportunity for points in the first half, though I love the ambition, and the confidence in the set piece and,I guess ultimately, we could perhaps have managed the scoreline a bit better.

Looking to the New Year, Gavin added:

“Overall, at this stage of the season, I think this present squad has shown that they can live physically with the top contenders, and it is up for us to now push on and be a bit more accurate.

There are certain players who should soon return to fitness, when there will be healthy competition for places, and developing nicely our aim will also be totogether fulfil our obvious potential.

Cornish Pirates:   15 Will Trewin 14 Matt McNab 13 Tom Georgiou 12 Joe Elderkin 11 Robin Wedlake 10 Bruce Houston (22 Iwan Jenkins, 71) 9 Alex Schwarz (21 Ruaridh Dawson, 66); 1 Lefty Zigiriadis (17 Jacob Morris, 57) 2 Morgan Nelson (16 Rhys Williams, 64) 3 Matt Johnson (18 Marlen Walker, 57) 4 Hugh Bokenham (19 Josh Williams, 68) 5 Steele Barker 6 Alex Everett 7 Will Gibson (20 Harry Dugmore, 68) 8 John Stevens (captain).

Replacement (not used):   23 Frankie Nowell.

Yellow card:   13 Tom Georgiou (38).

Hartpury:  15 Jake Morris 14 Jack Johnson 13 Robbie Smith 12 Morgan Adderly-Jones (22 Tommy Mathews, 38) 11 Jack Reeves (23 Brad Denty, 79) 10 Harry Bazalgette 9 Mike Austin (21 Matty Jones, 22; 9 Mike Austin 27; 9 Matty Jones, 79); 1 Mikey Summerfield (17 Toti Benz-Salomon, 42) Will Crane (captain) 3 Joe Rees (18 Jonny Benz-Salomon, 42) 4 Dale Lemon (19 Joe Owen, 57) 5 Jack Davies 6 Sam Lewis 7 Harry Short (20 Josh Gray, 57) 8 Mitch Eadie.                                                                               Replacement (not used):   16 (Will Goffey).                                                                          Yellow cards:  8 Mitch Eadie (15), 1 Mikey Summerfield (31), 5 Jack Davies (79).


Cornish Pirates – tries:  Matt Johnson (16) Penalty Try (31); con: Bruce Houston (17).                    

Hartpury – try: Will Crane (39); con: Harry Bazalgette (39).

Referee:   Joe James

Assistants:   Kevin Williams & James Milliner-Woodcock

Official 4:   Steve Leyshon

Attendance:   2474

‘Tribute’ Man of the Match:   Will Trewin

Match Officials


Joe James


Kevin Williams


James Miliner-Woodcock