RRRRs, exes and t'battle in
No fewer than five ex-Pirates 'RRRRR' in contention to play against
their former club for Jersey (KO 3pm on Saturday at St Peter). Joe
Buckle and Nicky Griffiths were in last season's Jersey squad, but
at the end of 2012/13 three more Pirates headed across the Channel
- Grant Pointer, Ben Maidment and Aaron Penberthy. Two of the
transfers were confirmed on the pitch straight after Pirates had
played Jersey on the final day of the league season by Head Coach
Ian Davies. [Amendment - actually a sixth ex-Pirate, Drew
Locke, will also line up. They are hard to keep track of!]
Sadly another former Pirate, Tom Cooper, will be missing this
weekend as he struggles to come to terms with another very serious
knee injury, although Tom will be at St Peter and is expected to
join the BBC Jersey commentary team for the match.
It is hoped the going at St Peter will be reasonably firm,
something that looked unlikely at the start of the week. Jersey Met
announced on Monday that the equivalent of an average November's
worth of rain had fallen on the Island in the first 10 days of the
month, and for 24 hours after that it never stopped either. But
happily it has been largely dry since and this, and the improved
drainage on pitch 1, should leave a good surface.
Pirates supporters reckon their backs will have the measure of
Jersey's , but are worried about the home pack, especially with
Cornish ranks up front depleted. Possible injury absentees are lock
Laurie Sandford, prop Alan Paver, and an extraordinary number of
back row players: Tom Duncan, Kyle Marriott, Joe Atkinson and Matt
Bolwell. Oh, and Aaron Carpenter, a new signing this summer, is
with his Canadian national colleagues in Romania - the two nations
meet again, with boxing fans wondering if the encounter will be as
feisty as Georgia v Canada in
Tbilisi last weekend.
Jersey may not aspire to the pugilistic excesses of the Georgians,
but they would like one thing that the 'Lelos' have got, namely a
home fortress. Georgia haven't lost at their National Stadium home
since 2003, whereas the Islanders were turned over by Plymouth
Albion on home soil at the last time of asking.
News from the Jersey Camp
The home side will be desperate to get a win under their belts,
having lost four straight matches, albeit that only one, against
Plymouth, was on home soil. But last Sunday's 29-3 defeat at London
Scottish was reckoned by most to be on the wrong side of the line
marked 'acceptable', so look out for a reaction at St Peter this
The Jersey squad will be named on Friday at 12noon.
Head-to-head in 2012/13
Jersey 6 Pirates 20, Sept 2012 - match report HERE
Pirates 28 Jersey 24, Apr 2013 - picture above, with
Jersey's Dave McCormack, in his last league appearance for the 1st
XV prior to retiring, tackling Pirates' Peter Joyce in tandem with
his colleague Sean McCarthy; match report 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
Pirates came a distant second to all-conquering London Welsh at the
Kassam (41-6) but have since won two tough encounters at home,
scoring 16 points against London Scottish (who got 8) and Bedford
Next month, Pirates and Jersey will play back-to-back encounters
in the B&I Cup on 7th and 14th December before the return
league match at the Mennaye Field on 2nd March.
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 match
was kicked off by former England International Barrie Bennetts,
then President of the Cornwall RFU.
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
In 1969 the legendary prop Brian 'Stack' Stevens (above) 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. [Stop Press -
Stack's youngest son John, 18, a back row player, has been selected
in the Pirates' squad to face Jersey, full details HERE]
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:
• Preview on BBC Radio Jersey on Friday from 5.30pm, and live
commentary on Saturday afternoon (available online and on your
• Preview in Friday's JEP, more coverage in the 'Inside Centre'
pull-out in Saturday's paper (on sale from 7am) and full match
coverage on Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
• Match preview on Channel 103 on Saturday afternoon
• Reports and match action on Channel TV online and on Monday
evening at 6.15pm; and on BBC Channel Islands on Monday evening at
The Greene King IPA Championship this
At the bottom end of the table, Ealing have what seems like Mission
Impossible, away at London Welsh on Sunday. Assuming the match at
the Kassam goes to form, the other three sides in the bottom four
will be looking to pull clear with home wins: Jersey against
Pirates, Nottingham against Plymouth on Sunday, and Bedford vs
Moseley on Friday evening. Blues head honch Mikey Rayer may need to
study the table more closely, as he was quoted this week saying
that Moseley would be tough as they would be "looking to move out
of the bottom four" when Mose are in fact eighth.
Well away from the drop zone, Bristol face Rotherham at the
Memorial Stadium on Sunday. At the start of the week the hosts were
second, a point ahead of the Titans, but the RFU's point deduction
has been officially imposed this week, so the visitors from
Yorkshire will start the match ahead on points difference. The
final match is Saturday lunchtime affair between London
Scottish (6th) and Leeds (4th).
Having trailed my participation in Strictly Jersey, I will
place on the record that I survived two nights earlier this week
without falling over, dancing Argentine Tango and a Bollywood
routine. The audience were lively, the judges were kind (or drunk,
how else to explain a brace of 10s?!) and it was great fun. Sadly
the podium spots remained out of reach for the Jersey RFC
representative, but well done to Tim Pryor, BBC Jersey's Sports
Editor and regular commentator on JRFC games, who triumphed on the
first night. Just don't call him Twinkletoes...
Other local rugby this weekend involves an away match for Jersey
Athletic at Chinnor on Saturday, the same day as Banks host St
Jacques from Guernsey at Grainville at 11.30am. On Sunday LQ Lydian
Lions host HMP Panthers in a west-of-Island derby at LQ at 12.30pm,
while Banks Ladies are away at Bracknell.
Enjoy your weekend's rugby!
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.