With Cornwall For Cornwall

Gans Kernow Rag Kernow

Westholme, Alexandra Road,

Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY

Tel: 01736 331961 Email: [email protected]

Cornish Pirates 33

Royal Navy 00

23 February, 2024

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League / Cup



Mennaye Field, Penzance




Cornish Pirates 33


Royal Navy 00

Phil Westren

This ‘Friday night under lights’ game versus the Royal Navy drew an excellent bumper crowd of 1,725 at the Mennaye Field, the contest replacing the originally arranged Jersey Reds league fixture, which had to be cancelled following the demise of the Jersey club.


For what was amazingly only the second home game thus far for the Cornish Pirates in 2024, in a team skippered by John Stevens there were debuts for squad members Billy Young (prop) and Harry Hocking (hooker). Billy is a former Saracens Academy member who has played for Canterbury and for Kent, and Harry, who has made appearances for Redruth this season, is dual registered with Exeter Chiefs.


Frankie Nowell was named at full-back, and Tom Pittman partnered Tom Georgiou in the centre. Bruce Houston and Ruaridh Dawson formed the halfback pairing and, for this game, Jack Andrew packed down in the second-row engine room alongside Josh King.

There were also five young guest players listed in the Pirates squad, one of whom, Harry Andrewartha, who has featured for Redruth this season, being named on the wing. The other four, each keen for their opportunities off the bench were Pirates Amateurs players James Lambourn (prop), Toby Osborne (lock), and Archie Pilcher (back-row), along with Camborne’s Will Tanswell (scrum-half).

Scene set under the glow of the ground’s floodlights, the Pirates also got off to a sparkling start when, in the very first minute, Georgiou ran into space to score the game’s opening try to the left of the Newlyn posts. Houston also nailed his opening conversion attempt.

Following recent rain, conditions were inevitably a little muddy, and slippery, as the Pirates looked to create further scoring opportunities. However, they were denied by the visiting team’s resolute defensive effort, until midway through the half a jinking run by Pittman saw him link with Houston who scored and then converted his own try.

The Royal Navy side, skippered by prop Kye Beasley, who has played for Camborne and for Plymouth Albion, also featured two Cornish Pirates squad members in fly-half Jordan Gott and hooker Rhys Williams. They and their colleagues battled valiantly, but without joy, before the Pirates scored one more try converted try before the break credited to skipper Stevens.

There were several good performances to highlight in the home team. The centre pairing of Pittman and Georgiou was slick, whilst in the forwards man of the match flanker Harry Dugmore and lock Josh King stood out, along with the efforts of stalwarts Jack Andrew and Marlen Walker.

Into the second period the Pirates conjured up two more fine tries, both scored at the clubhouse corner. Georgiou made it a brace on the night, with Houston landing a fine conversion from out wide, and an excellent cross field kick from Pittman saw wing Robin Wedlake score what would prove to be the last points of the match.

Both teams emptied their bench during the second half where in general the Royal Navy team enjoyed more of the play than they had in the first forty. Handling let them down on a couple of occasions when scores looked ‘on’, and the Pirates did well to hold them up, in a match that proved a very worthy workout for both sides. A special word too for the appointed experienced referee, Tom Foley, who was warmly welcomed not for the first time to the Mennaye Field, and who was, of course, a leading official at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

Speaking at the end of Friday evening’s game, Cornish Pirates’ coach Louie Tonkin said:

“I think for both teams it was a great fixture. For us we welcomed seeing several guys out on the field who haven’t played for a long time and a number coming back from injury.

“It was good to see Tom Georgiou score two tries because he brought a lot of energy to the game, and the forwards also performed well in the line-out and in scrums, plus our defence was solid.

“Conditions were difficult and the pitch heavy following incessant rain over many weeks, and even though there were a lot of changes in the second half they all dug in and showed a lot of character, which was pleasing.

“We must also mention credit to the Navy team who on an evening when it was difficult to play with width, managed to in the last quarter and tested us. They have good coaches and have some of our boys in there. Their structure is sound and when at full strength I am sure they will be a very strong outfit.”

Louie added:

“Our relationship with the Navy team is a good one, with the coaches knowing each other and their guys who we have brought into our squad showing their worth, so it’s a benefit to us both.

“We were very grateful that they were able to fill the gap left when Jersey Reds folded, as it is hugely important to our club, and a big thank you was also due to a great crowd for their support on the evening.”

Cornish Pirates:   15 Frankie Nowell 14 Robin Wedlake 13 Tom Georgiou 12 Tom Pittman 11 Harry Andrewartha (guest)10 Bruce Houston 9 Ruaridh Dawson; 1 Billy Young (debut) 2 Harry Hocking (debut) 3 Marlen Walker 4 Jack Andrew 5 Josh King 6 Harry Dugmore 7 Will Gibson 8 John Stevens (captain).

Replacements (all used):  16 James Lambourn (guest) 17 Jacob Morris 18 Toby Osborne (guest) 19 Archie Pilcher (guest) 20 Hugh Bokenham 21 Alex Schwarz 22 Matt McNab 23 Will Tanswell (guest).


Royal Navy:   15 MNE Craig Duncan 14 MNE Kane Teear-Bourge 13 MNE Kristan Dobson 12 AB Jesse Lowe 11 POAET Ben Chambers (vice-captain)10 AET Jordan Gott 9 ETME Will Rigelsford; 1 POAET Kye Beasley (captain) 2 MNE Rhys Williams 3 LETME Dom Cleverley 4 LETWE Dan Mccadams 5 LETWE (CIS) Matt Scott 6 LCpl George Wagstaff 7 ETWE Lewis Roxby 8 LAET Chris Mills.                                                                                                                            

Replacements (all used):  16 LS Harry Wright 17 AET Jack Wright 18 LS Tam Lindsay 19 LPT AJ Hussell 20 SLt Lewis Sutton 21 MNE Ben Mallet 22 LCpl Tom Mullen 23 AET Jay Toogood 24 MNE Rickus Brink 25 MNE Jamin Hoffman 26 LAET Adam King 27 AET Matt Hall 28 MNE Freddie Elliot 29 MNE Jack Ryder.


Cornish Pirates – tries: Georgiou (2), Houston, Stevens, Wedlake; cons: Houston (4).

Referee:   Tom Foley

Assistants:   James Milliner-Woodcock & Kevin Williams

Attendance:   1,725

‘Tribute’ Man of the Match:   Harry Dugmore

Match Officials


Tom Foley


Kevin Williams


James Miliner-Woodcock