Wednesday, 4 June 2014

In praise of Cornwall at the final

Just wanted to write a few words about Cornwall's trip to the home of English rugby at the weekend for the final of the Bill Beaumont Cup. Lay some praise on the squad and the coaching staff for a really great game and indeed run of games in the championship.



This was the second year that I traveled up to Twickenham with friends including Stephen Richardson pictured above. It certainly was a great occasion, thousands of 'Trelawny's army' marching on (or should that be driving to) London. I don't know the exact number of Cornwall fans dotted around the colossal stadium but it certainly seemed like more people than at your average rugby game in Cornwall itself. To all intents and purposes this fixture has always been more like a home game for the Cornish side whoever their opponents. As an example we just got there in time to see the Cornish squad arrive by coach, to a boisterous Black and Gold crowd:
As a sharp contradiction a few minutes later the Lancashire side arrived:
Perhaps the Northerners preferred the calm and not being mobbed for signatures by a crowd yelling Oggy Oggy Oggy, or perhaps not...

I really enjoyed the game, the atmosphere and the Cornish fans in good spirit and song was superb. I'm no sports pundit, why we didn't win (or why we lost) is a subject you can already read a great deal on, I don't really have anything to add to the debate of ifs, buts and maybes. For me the final was absolutely fantastic it was a great game of rugby and I would suggest one of the finer examples of the game. Despite the nerves that must have gripped the players on both sides, playing in such a huge and iconic stadium and the prize at stake for the winners, the game was played in the best of spirits. If memory serves, only one player was issued a yellow card, ignoring the squirrel for a moment. Tempers and discipline were kept in check. Better still there was a great mix of playing styles by Cornwall, one of the most impressive rolling mauls I've seen in a while, some excellent scrummaging. But also some great incisive running from the backs (and of course Jamal!). A welcome break from the 'kick tennis' that marks the modern game and a lot of running rugby. In a sharp contradiction to the following England XV v Barbarians game, punctuated by gaps in play, there was barely a minute to take a breath throughout the whole final. Set pieces were taken relatively quickly and the game was played at a ferocious pace, unusual these days!

To sum I really enjoyed the day, it was a great game of rugby and I think the Cornish boys did themselves proud and certainly had the heart and determination to have won the coveted cup. I have nothing but praise for them. This championship comes at the end of long bruising seasons for all the players at their clubs. To come together in such a short time frame with a new coach and come this far is a great achievement in itself. It's a similar situation for the fans, organising in the space of a week to make that huge journey and get tickets is a task in itself.  Credit to one and all, the fans made for a really great atmosphere and our boys played some really good rugby, one of my more enjoyable sundays in a long time, thanks everyone.