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After a forced one-year break because of Covid, the previously always popular annual Cornish Pirates ‘Meet the Players’ event took place at the Mennaye Field on Thursday evening.
Following the opportunity to firstly watch a training session, PA announcer Phil Westren officially welcomed supporters and sponsors present. He said it was great to meet up again, but with it also important to remember those who have passed away in the past 18 months.
The available players, as usual, then lined up in front of the main Truro & Penwith College stand, in readiness for certain new signings to be introduced. These comprised Harry Bazalgette, Ruaridh Dawson, Joe Elderkin, Tom Kessell, Carwyn Penny, Arwel Robson, Ed Scragg, and Callum Sirker. Three other recently announced squad members, Syd Blackmore, Will Gibson, and Bear Williams, were unable to attend the event.
A further announcement confirmed the names of six players who will be dual registered with Exeter Chiefs. They are two new fresh faces in James Kenny and Alfie Petch, plus four who were dual registered with the Pirates last season, namely Lewis Pearson, Patrick Schickerling, Cory Teague, and Tommy Wyatt.
The event also provided an opportunity to verbally announce certain other club personnel to supporters. These included Esme Clothier (Performance Analyst intern), Ross Hancock (Marketing & Media Manager), Andrew Highton (Physiotherapist), James Owen (Strength & Conditioning Coach), and Adam Watts (Technical Performance Analyst).
Cornish Pirates’ chairman Paul Durkin next addressed the gathering, providing a general update reference the RFU and the Championship, with his comment that the Stadium for Cornwall will definitely happen drawing enthusiastic and appreciated applause. Also expressing praise to
the efforts of various personnel, he in particular highlighted the role played by CEO Rebecca Thomas.
Finally, joint head coach Alan Paver spoke of expectations and hopes for the season ahead for what he feels is a gifted and balanced squad who should bed in quite quickly. To conclude, he also pleasingly announced that Nicolas De Battista would captain the club with John Stevens proudly confirmed as Vice-Captain.
Introductions and speeches over, the tone had been set to together look forward to a no doubt interesting and exciting season ahead.