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End of Season Dinner 2024

Posted: May 18, 2024
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Trophies, Thank-Yous, Tries – And More!


Nearing the end of what has rightly been deemed a successful season, one in which they are presently guaranteed a third place in the RFU Championship, but with a chance of finishing a best ever second place should they beat London Scottish away in their final game next Saturday, the Cornish Pirates held what proved an extremely enjoyable Dinner & Awards Evening, and with scenic waterfront views, at the Greenbank Hotel, Falmouth, on Friday evening.


After the MC for the evening, Phil Westren, initially welcomed ‘One & All’ present, there was also a much appreciated and well received video message from Sir Richard ‘Dicky’ Evans, who wished to congratulate and thank everyone for their efforts during the season. Then, at the meal’s end, Phil bestowed deserved words of praise to various personnel and to award winners. He commended the coaches and the players, retiring CEO Rebecca Thomas and backroom staff, plus Dicky Evans, chairman Paul Durkin and the Board, the numerous cherished volunteers, supporters, and all others who provide input, including club sponsors.


Next on the evening’s agenda was the presentation of various club trophies, which followed a number having been presented at the Mennaye Field after the team’s last home game against Coventry. Awards made at the Dinner were as follows:


Community Player of the Year – The club’s Community Engagement Manager, Neil Smith, was invited to present this award which went to

someone who, during his relatively short time with the Cornish Pirates, has responded admirably to speak to community group youngsters who attend on match days, sign autographs, and help positively on school visits. The winner was – Bruce Houston.


The next four trophy awards were presented by joint head coaches Alan Paver and Gavin Cattle.


Most Improved Player – Of several candidates, this year’s chosen winner’s development has been clear to see. A young forward who has literally come on leaps and bounds, and in the process earned himself the exciting opportunity to join Bristol Bears, the young second row winner was – Steele Barker.


Sportsman of the Year – To be considered a good sportsman is something to be very much proud of. In his first season with the Cornish Pirates, during which he has also impressed in his 25 appearances to date, besides scoring 13 tries, the winner was – Matt McNab.


Monckton Cup for Achievement – This trophy is presented annually in memory of late stalwarts Bill and Brian Monckton, a father/son combination who both played for the Pirates and became senior officers. Jamie Dean was the first winner back in 1992, whilst last year it was shared between Tom Kessell and Marlen Walker. As for 2024, Phil said the trophy was to be presented not just to one, or even two individuals, but to a special group of players, who have secured an at least equalising best ever 3rd place in the Championship, but with a chance to go one better if a win is achieved at London Scottish next Saturday. In recognition of their achievement, for which all should feel immensely proud, regardless of next week’s result, skipper John Stevens stepped forward to receive the trophy on behalf of – The Cornish Pirates squad.



Try of the Season – Firstly, thanks were expressed to analyst Ed Hounsell for setting up the try footage and to Ross Hancock for organising the voting system for supporters to cast their votes in advance of the night (Ed and Ross were also responsible for displaying certain other entertaining footage from the season on the night). Out of 10 terrific choices to view, the ultimate chosen winner was an outstanding effort scored against Ampthill at the Mennaye Field in March when, with Lefty Zigiriadis playing his part, the try was scored by – Matt McNab.

                                                                                                                    Players’ ‘Player of the Year’ – This was the final main annual trophy to be presented, for which John Stevens was asked to present on behalf of all the players. It is clearly a very special award, because to receive such a trophy confirms a mark of respect and the admiration felt by the recipient’s fellow players. And the winner? Well, it was someone who, in making 21 appearances for the Cornish Pirates, has been a major contributor in the pack. Immensely popular, and always with a smile on his face, the winner was – Lefty Zigiriadis.


Joint head coaches Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver next expressed their thoughts on the season and thanked various individuals, plus there was further video footage to view, along with some instigated singing entertainment provided by the players. It went down a treat.


Back to ‘thank yous’ and further presentations, included were scrum halves Ruaridh Dawson, who received an engraved tankard for passing the 50 games mark this season (he is now on 65), and Alex Schwarz who received a framed Pirates shirt, having proudly reached the 100 games milestone (he has to date made 106 appearances).


Highly respected coach Louie Tonkin, who has accepted a coaching role at Ealing Trailfinders for next season, was presented with a framed shirt, as were three confirmed player leavers, namely stalwarts Kyle Moyle, Marlen Walker, and Jack Andrew.


Finally, before dancing commenced, another framed shirt was presented to the club’s CEO/Finance Director, Rebecca Thomas, who first joined the Cornish Pirates in 2010. Hardworking, dedicated, and knowledgeable are just a few of her incredible traits, and although she will be very much missed, the good news is that ‘Becki’ will remain on the Board as Director in an advisory capacity going forward.


And so, ahead of next season, and whatever that may bring, the immediate                                   focus now is fully on next Saturday, when the Cornish Pirates play London Scottish away. All will wish the team well in their endeavour to create what could be an historic occasion.