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News 2013-14

Pirates Preview (A – Cup) 07.12.13

05/12/2013

Ben, Bodes and the
B&I

Jersey may have a squad stuffed with former Pirates players, but
one Cornishman will be conspicuous by his absence from this
Saturday's British & Irish Cup game.

Redruth-born Ben Harvey resigned from his role on Wednesday
evening (full story HERE for those
who've not been paying attention), with the Island of Jersey still
coming to terms with the departure of a figure who was pivotal in
taking Jersey from the fifth tier of English rugby, when he was
appointed in April 2008, to the second.

Bodes 2a

The timing of Harvey's departure, after a short break to the
mainland during which said he had reflected on his future and made
the decision to step down, left a new man in temporary charge.
Steve Boden (pictured above), the former Doncaster hooker who
joined Jersey in summer 2012 and took on a coaching role 12 months
ago, will be Interim Coach for the immediate future, and his first
job is to select and motivate a side for the trip to
Cornwall.

The Cup is a competition that Pirates take seriously - they won it
in 2009/10 - and both sides will know that a double over the next
eight days (the return fixture is at St Peter on December 14th)
could leave one of them very well-placed to qualify for the
knock-out stages on this competition. Especially the Pirates, who
have a maximum 10-point haul from two games this far, but also
Jersey who have claimed six points from the games with Ayr and
Ulster Ravens.

Saturday's match kicks off at the unusual time of 7pm, with the
home side hoping to attract the Cornish rugby fraternity with a £5
offer for anyone who is a member of a Cornish rugby club or has a
ticket or programme from a match in the county that day.

Events of the week, and the challenge of composing three
pre-writes for games against the same side in less than a month,
may rob this preview of a little of its joie-de-vivre, and
necessitate a certian amount of recycling, but hopefully there's
something for readers to sink their gnashers into.

News from the Jersey
camp

Rather than rotation, injury concerns may be the prime reason that
Jersey field a number of changes, particularly in the pack, when
their squad is announced at 12noon on Friday (details now available
HERE )

Any
previous?

Jersey 6 Pirates 20, Sept 2012
-
match report HERE

Pirates 28 Jersey 24, Apr 2013
-
match report HERE

Pirates Jersey

Jersey 27 Pirates 25, Nov
2013, pictured above -
for the second time this season,
Jersey conceded three tries at St Peter within approximately 20
minutes. As against Bristol, the Islanders fought back, this time
to greater effect. Trailing 10-19 at the break, Jersey scored a try
on the hour through Mark McCrea and then another by Tom Brown with
four minutes to go making it 22-25. Niall O'Connor added a superb
conversion, and then a penalty with the last kick to win it. Match
report is HERE

Pirates in
2013/14

A superb start for the Cornishmen in the double-header at 'Shandy
Park', defying the odds with a 23-21 triumph over a side tipped for
the top, Bristol. The gloss came off with a home defeat by Leeds,
17-20, but was then re-applied with four straight wins, over Ealing
and Moseley in the league and over Ulster and Ayr in the
B&I.

Pirates came a distant second to all-conquering London Welsh at
the Kassam (41-6) but then won two tough encounters at home,
scoring 16 points against London Scottish (who got 8) and Bedford
(13).

After returning from Jersey, Pirates hosted Bristol, who hadn't
won at the Mennaye since 2004 (a play-off win at Camborne was their
only success). And they still hadn't after heroic defence in the
closing minutes by the Pirates repelled the invaders to the tune of
21-15 (tries by Kessell and a Goss brace).

Last weekend Pirates went to Meadow Lane. It was 10-all at the
break and the scoreline remained tight, the visitors, thanks to two
Evans' tries and one by Elloway, edged ahead 24-27 in the dying
minutes. In early October Nottingham trailed Jersey by a similar
margin, won a penalty and went for an attacking lineout, but failed
to score. This time Matt Jarvis went for the sticks and the hosts
tied the game as the FT whistle blew.

History of the
Pirates

The early days of rugby in West Cornwall saw Penzance and Newlyn
as rival clubs who waged some feisty battles on the pitch to
determine local bragging rights. Penzance, formed in 1876 and
Newlyn, who started in 1894, actually stopped playing each other
from 1929-32 because of public order concerns.

However the entente became rather more cordiale towards the end of
the 1930s and in 1945 the clubs merged, playing their first game
against Guy's Hospital on September 22nd of that year.

The 1950s was a golden era, with crowds of 5,000 or more not
uncommon, and two P&N players, John Kendall Carpenter and John
'Ginger' Williams being capped for England in the 1951 Calcutta
Cup.

In 1969 the legendary prop Brian 'Stack' Stevens made his England
debut, going on to earn 25 caps including a try in the incredible
away win in New Zealand in 1973 - worth seeking out on Youtube. Stack's
youngest son John, 18, a back row player, was selected in the
Pirates' squad to face Jersey last month, although he didn't make
it onto the field (his league debut came against Bristol the
following week).

Pirates -Logo -250

The Pirates (the nickname was upgraded to a proper name in 2005)
have continued to have a sprinkling of internationals, although in
recent years it's been a more cosmopolitan affair, including Victor
Olonga (Zimbabwe), Villi Ma'asi (Tonga), Heino Senekal (Namibia)
and Stan McKeen (Canada). Hooker Rob Elloway, was twice capped for
Germany, the land of his birth, in 2009-10.

When league rugby began in 1987/88 the Pirates (P&N) were in
the Cornwall and Devon League, but the club had a steady run of
success culminating in their arrival at level two in 2003. So far,
that's as high as they have reached, although there remain great
ambitions to emulate Devon neighbours Exeter and establish a
Cornish presence at the top level of the English game.

Building a stadium is a key factor in the Pirates top-level
ambitions, and after a long campaign the Stadium for Cornwall in
Truro was granted planning permission last April. There's still a
long way to go, but it is hoped that the green light from planning
authorities may help the club clear the major financial and other
hurdles which remain.

Following the
game

Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v
Pirates through the following channels:

The British & Irish Cup
this weekend

B&I

Something has to give in Pool 1 as pool leaders and defending
champions Leinster 'A' go up against their nearest rivals Cross
Keys. Keys are one of only two Welsh sides (Ponty are the other) to
reach the semi-final stages of the cross-border competition.
Both sides have nine points after recording wins in their first two
games. Moseley play Ealing Trailfinders at Billesley Common, the
visitors looking to build on success on the road, or should I say
across the water, last weekend.

Pool 2 pacesetters and defending Welsh Premiership champions,
Ponty welcome in-form Championship side London Scottish to Sardis
Road. A 3,400-strong crowd turned out to see the Valley Commandos'
last B&I Cup fixture: a commendable 29-22 win over London Welsh
that gave Cardiff Blues-bound coach Dale McIntosh a fitting
send-off. Scottish are second in the pool, which will also see
London Welsh and Edinburgh Academicals play each other at Old Deer
Park.

Pool 3 is shaping up to be the tightest of pools with just two
points separating all four sides. Bedford's narrow win over
Llanelli in round two - their first victory of the season - puts
them level on points with the Scarlets. The improving Blues will go
into the game in buoyant mood after becoming the first side to beat
London Welsh in the Championship this season. A first-ever meeting
with Rotherham Titans awaits Llanelli in round 3, while Bedford
head to Ireland to play Connacht Eagles.

For the second year running, Plymouth Albion and past winners
Munster A are paired together in Devon. This Pool 4 tie is sure to
be a keenly-awaited affair as both sides are unbeaten and top the
pool with nine points apiece. Munster won 26-22 at Brickfields in
the pool stages of last year's competition. Nottingham are away to
Stirling County.

Aberavon face three B&I Cup games in quick
succession after their original tie against Bristol was
abandoned (the one where the crater opened up on the pitch) and
rescheduled between the Wizards' two games against Pool 5 leaders
Leeds Carnegie. Bristol are at home to Gala prior to their trip to
the Talbot Athletic Ground on Tuesday December 10th.

Friday December
6

Moseley v Ealing Trailfinders, KO 19.30
Plymouth Albion v Munster 'A', KO 19.45

Saturday December
7

London Welsh v Edinburgh Academicals, 14:00
Leinster A v Cross Keys, 14:30
Pontypridd v London Scottish, 14:30
Connacht Eagles v Bedford Blues, 14:30
Aberavon v Leeds Carnegie, KO 15:00
Stirling County v Nottingham, KO 15:00
Ayr v Ulster Ravens, KO 14.30
Llanelli v RotherhamTitans, KO 15:30
Cornish Pirates v Jersey, KO 19:00

Sunday December 8
Bristol Rugby v Gala, KO 14:00

And
finally

In local rugby this weekend, LQ Lydian Lions travel to Guernsey to
take on St Jacques on Saturday. On Sunday the Banks Ladies host
Aylesford at Grainville at 1pm, while Jersey Colts are away at
Winchester.

It's been a week for heart-warming stories involving kids. Maybe
it's the time of year. There was the touching tale of five-year-old
Faith in Cambridge, after her one-child wrecking mission on a trip
to John Lewis, while right here on the door-step, Jersey players
joined children from Robin Ward at the General Hospital on a
special Father Christmas charter flight organised by Flybe. Story
and pics available HERE

Enjoy your weekend's
rugby!

Tom Innes

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