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To end a rugby year that has been completely different to any previously experienced, the Cornish Pirates gathered at the Mennaye Field on Sunday afternoon for their end of season Annual Awards.
Because of Covid restrictions the format was also different, the gathering limited in number, but the event still worthy nonetheless, with accolades given once again justly due.
MC Phil Westren welcomed all present at the occasion, and besides expressing praise to each of the award winners he also commended the coaches, players, backroom staff, Dicky Evans and the Board, volunteers and others who have provided tremendous input, especially through Covid, to enable the team to have least got some rugby played. Due thanks were also expressed to the club’s various sponsors, for their terrific and much appreciated support.
Presentations/Awards made were as follows:
John Stirling Memorial Cup for Commitment – Because it was expected that the winner would be unable to attend on Sunday, it is firstly confirmed that the recipient was taken by surprise when presented the award on Thursday. The Mennaye Field has demanded a great deal of extra attention in the past year or so, and someone showing ‘commitment’ beyond expectation has been a former Redruth and Pirates player, and nowadays groundsman, who is always helpful and who appreciates too the support given by others. The fully deserved winner was……Peter Joyce.
Community Player of The Year – As previously well documented, the Cornish Pirates take their community role seriously. Over the years there have been many examples of truly considerable input, thus the Community Player of the Year award is an important one, and especially so during ‘Covid’. Peter Cook was the first winner in 2008 and Tom Channon won it last year. As for 2021, the recipient community-wise has always been helpful and willing to do more than his bit, and in a variety of ways. The winner was……Maliq Holden.
Edwin Bryant Trophy – Presented annually in memory of respected rugby man Edwin, who passed away in 2007, aged 64, this trophy goes to a player – perhaps an unsung hero – who has been with the Cornish Pirates for at least three seasons. Each winner receives the wonderful award of a fine hand-crafted mounted rugby ball in cedar. This year’s recipient, now aged 30, was fully deserving as one of the Pirates more experienced players, who has made 134 appearances since his arrival in 2012. A former Redruth and Cornwall player, he has had to overcome two frustrating knee injuries during his career, but battling back just got stronger and better, as a No. 8 with true try-scoring credentials. Also called upon to skipper the team on many occasions, the winner was, of course……Tom Duncan.
The Roger Pascoe Cup – This trophy is presented annually to the Supporters ‘Player of the Season’ in memory of Roger ‘Paco’ Pascoe, who made over 1,000 appearances for the club but sadly passed away in 2002 at the age of just 58. Well, most votes from supporters went to someone who was also their choice in 2020, namely……Dan Frost.
The Dave Berryman Cup – This trophy is presented to the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ in memory of former player Dave Berryman. ‘Bezzie’, who passed away in 2012, aged 71, was proudly a Life Member and Vice President of Penzance & Newlyn RFC, who gave tremendous voluntary input to the club over many years. The award was shared in 2020, as it has been again this year between certain outstanding volunteers. Indeed, the work they have undertaken weekly about the grounds and clubhouse have been truly considerable, doing all they could and can to keep the place spruce during ‘Covid’. The fully deserved winners – with back up from Geoff Read, were…… John Gendall, Bobby Jacka, Gerald Hewett and Robert Trezise.
Monckton Cup for Achievement – This trophy is presented in memory of Bill and Brian Monckton, a father-son combination who were both former players. They served on the committee and both became respected officers of the club – Bill, a former captain, becoming Chairman and then President, and Brian in later years also becoming Chairman. Jamie Dean was the first winner in 1992, and Brett Beukeboom won it last year. As for 2021, the winner was someone who during his time with the Pirates fully converted from back row to hooker and has, as all are now aware, earned himself a Premiership contract with Wasps. He has been a truly terrific performer during his time with the Pirates and although sorry to see him go is wished all the deserved very best. Stepping forward to accept his second award of the afternoon was…… Dan Frost.
Sportsman of the Year – It is of great credit for someone to be recognised as the Sportsman of the Year, and annually the Pirates are fortunate that there has been no shortage of candidates, as was the case this time around. Three seasons with the Pirates, during which he has made 57 appearances, the recipient has been a consistent performer both on and off the field and is described as being the ‘glue of the team’……Rory Parata.
Most Improved Player – Like other awards, to be considered the most improved player is a true honour for deserved recipients. It acknowledges the efforts they have made to improve and develop their game for the benefit of themselves and the team. Again, there have been several very good candidates in the squad, with this year’s winner someone very worthy. Coming on leaps and bounds, which in part describes his play well, making a real impact this season the winner was……Danny Cutmore.
Try of The Season – Even in a shortened season everyone has been fortunate to have witnessed some great tries scored, albeit via live streaming of the matches. This year’s winner was for the second of his two excellent tries scored in the 33-22 win at Nottingham in April by……Harry Davey.
Players’ Player of The Year – This trophy was kindly sponsored by Kernow Model Rail Centre. The recipient can, of course, consider it the ultimate accolade to be voted for by your fellow players. Dave Ward was the first winner is 2010 and Brett Beukeboom last year. As for 2021, already a recipient of two awards this year, it was once again……Dan Frost.
Clubman of the Year – This trophy is traditionally awarded to a person who is considered to have made the most significant contribution to the club during the year. There are always many good candidates, and it is inevitably never an easy choice. For 2021, the award went to someone who led the way early in Covid, and beyond the call of duty put in a huge effort to help and co-ordinate the player and personnel volunteers who helped steward social distancing etcetera at places including the St. Clare Medical Centre and the Costa Penzance Drive-Thru at Eastern Green. All organised so well in a quiet non fuss manner reflected well on the club – and the deserved winner, Head Physiotherapist……Simon Edwards.
The President’s Cup – This trophy usually goes to the player who, in the opinion of the club’s President, presently Terry Drew, has been the most outstanding contributor on the field during the season. Among worthy candidates, Terry’s choice was a player who had already stepped forward once in the afternoon. Aged 23, the award went to a young lock forward who has improved his game season by season and was a real contributor in all 10 starts made this year……Danny Cutmore.
Player of The Year – The final main award was for another special award, which of no surprise went to a special player. So, making something of scoop this year, it came as no surprise that the winner was, of course……Dan Frost.
Extra Awards – To conclude the awards, following spoken words from Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver, engraved tankards were presented on the afternoon to certain players who have been confirmed to be leaving, with thanks also expressed to each for their contributions made as Pirates. The list of such leavers comprised Jean-Baptist Bruzulier, Will Cargill, Harry Davey, Rhodri Davies, Dan Frost, and Fa’atiga Lemalu.
Finally, before a Roseworthy Farms ‘hog roast’ meal was much enjoyed, presentation of a framed Cornish Pirates shirt was made firstly to Will Cargill, and then to Team Manager Matt Evans who retired from playing at the end of last season. Both have been outstanding contributors – Will in making 118 appearances during his six years in Cornwall, and former Canadian international Matt amassing 130 since his arrival back in 2011. A shirt was also presented to Sports Therapist Zak Chenoweth.
Rugby grounds demand all-year-round attention, and in that respect the Mennaye Fields are no different
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The opportunity was taken on Thursday to take a team photograph for the 2020/21 season