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As was to be expected, on a gloriously sunny afternoon at the Mennaye Field, Penzance, on Saturday, a big crowd thoroughly enjoyed supporting the eagerly awaited ‘Jack Andrew Testimonial Match’.
Contested between Jack Andrew’s XV and a Cornish Pirates XV, both line-ups were strong, with numerous star performers past and present providing the entertainment. The list was truly impressive, which was a credit to the players responding to be involved and to Jack himself in relation to the sincerely genuine respect felt for him.
Names of former Pirates rolling off the tongue included such as Dave Ward, Chris Morgan, Sam Betty, and Darren Dawidiuk, whilst Cornish Pirates’ joint head coaches Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver also rewound back the years.
After youth teams from St. Agnes and from St. Austell, along with the Falmouth Marine Band, formed the Guard of Honour, the selected line-ups saw Jack skipper his team, whilst his brother Paul captained the Cornish Pirates XV. Both sides had also asked to emerge from the tunnel to the familiar sound of Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ – and they duly did.
A first try in the match saw Alex Schwarz score an unconverted effort for Jack’s XV at the Newlyn Gate corner, which was followed quickly by one registered for the Pirates by full-back Robin Wedlake. Fly-half Callum Patterson also landed a fine conversion to give their team an early two points advantage.
Two well-known and experienced players in Jack’s XV who have played for Cornwall, but not for the Cornish Pirates, were centre Pale Nonu and Fijian international Josh Matavesi, with the latter displaying accustomed trickery to entertain. However, tries scored by wing Maliq Holden, Patterson, and replacement backrower Joe Atkinson opened a healthy lead for the Pirates before replies by Jack’s XV replacement Callum Ferris and wing Alex O’Meara saw made it a 17-22 points scoreline at the break.
Jack swapped teams for the second forty, and a second try for speedy wingman O’Meara soon levelled matters. But, in opposition, Wedlake scored again, with flanker Sam Betty also getting in on the action try-scoring action too.
O’Meara had time to notch up a personal hat-trick, but the Pirates then put the result beyond doubt thanks to tries scored by replacement scrum-half Rhodri Davies, Holden, and wing Kieran Goss. Davies also slotted two conversions.
Come the final whistle, that the final scoreline read 51-29 in favour of the Cornish Pirates XV mattered not, for this was a special occasion for rugby people, responding to a special man, at a special place.
Jack Andrew commented:
“To end my testimonial season on such a beautiful day was wonderful. It was humbling that so many turned out, especially all the ex-players from the past decade who made the effort to come back, and to witness such a reunion was brilliant.
“For what was the perfect end to my testimonial, to me it showed what a great bond it is to be a Pirate, and the friendships you make are life lasting. Also, my thanks are expressed to everyone who helped me, including my wife and family, our coaches, office staff, the fantastic sponsors, and all who donated prizes for the auction.
“As for a highlight, I would just say there have been a combination of things, however what I was in particular taken back by was the reaction of people, which was emotional and quite overwhelming.”
Jack Andrew’s XV: 15 Rory Parata (96) 14 Alex Schwarz (80) 13 Tom Riley (105) 12 Pale Nonu 11 Alex O’Meara (109) 10 Josh Matavesi 9 Tom Kessell (151) 8 Tom Duncan (156) 7 John Stevens (121) 6 Matt Bolwell (129) 5 Jake Parker (80) 4 Dan Lee (66) 3 Jack Andrew (captain; 221) 2 Tom Channon (155) 1 Marlen Walker (171).
Replacements (all used): Ed Llewellyn, Mark Martin, Nathan Chapman, Mike Rawlings (2), Callum Ferris, Will Cargill (118), Kyle Moyle (136), Sam Newman, Sam Rodman (42).
Cornish Pirates XV: 15 Robin Wedlake (90) 14 Maliq Holden (29) 13 Tom Luke (60) 12 Nicolas De Battista (71) 11 Kieran Goss (48) 10 Callum Patterson (49) 9 Gavin Cattle (211) 8 Kyle Marriott (82) 7 Dave Ward (111) 6 Sam Betty (136) 5 Chris Morgan (227) 4 Ian Nimmo (61) 3 Alan Paver (360) 2 Darren Dawidiuk (50) 1 Paul Andrew (captain; 141).
Replacements (all used): Tom Cowan-Dickie (66), Richard Brown (3), Craig Williams, Peter Joyce (30), Chris Fuca (3), Jordan Rose, Joe Atkinson (67), Rhodri Davies (23), Shae Tucker (55), Craig Holland (69).
Coaches (covering both teams): Josh Caulfield (105), Alex Cheesman (122), Danny Cutmore (78), Rob Elloway (229), Dan Frost (55), Sam Matavesi (40).
Jack Andrew’s XV – tries: O’Meara (3), Schwarz, Ferris; cons: O’Meara (2).
Cornish Pirates XV – tries: Wedlake (2), Holden (2), Patterson, Atkinson, Betty, Davies, Goss; cons: Davies (2), Patterson.
Referee: James Milliner-Woodcock
Assistants: Ian Pengelly & Will Williams
Official 4: Luca Bernasconi