Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A stadium for Cornwall and how Cornish rugby should take a step forward

On thursday the 4th of April, Cornwall Council's strategic planning committee, will discuss and rule upon the stadium. Watch the webcast here, this will be a turning point whatever happens...

I wrote before that we should grab this opportunity on the eve of that fateful day when the Mebyon Kernow motion at full council to investigate funding was so cruelly lost. A majority of councilors didn't even dare investigate further and voted down MK's motion (who voted which way here on the Stadium campaign website.) The saddest thing about the whole affair is that, despite the scaremongering the money wouldn't have come from front line services but from the capital budget, this money went unspent.

Many people that know me, will know I am fully in support of a stadium, I think Cornwall needs top tier sport. Our sports clubs want it, the fans want it and our sporting youngsters need it. In the past few weeks Cornish Pirates stalwart prop Paul Andrew has signed a deal with Worcester Warriors, joining other Cornish players like Sam Betty and Josh Matavesi at the club. This trio are certainly not the only  rugby players to move away there just a few on a very long list that starts with legends of the game like Brian 'Stack' Stevens, Phil Vickery, Hugh Vyvyan and the current generation like Matt Jess, Tom Voyce and Jack Nowell.  Like many youngsters from Cornwall, who are ambitious they have moved away to places that offer opportunities Cornwall currently doesn't. The stadium would provide the opportunity to play against the best in the game here in Cornwall. Others have made great arguments about how it would improve the economy of Cornwall but for me it should be about opportunity, we should be thinking how we can create opportunities here.

For me the stadium is -or the lack of one is- only part of the feeder system we currently have. Cornish rugby players travel far and wide to play. This starts a the junior level and specifically at Truro college, all credit to them they have a fantastic set up there and coach some of the best young talent. But they are tied to the Exeter Chief's run scheme called The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence. Cornish players like Josh Matavesi and Luke Cowan- Dickie are cited as successes of the system and have great sporting careers ahead of them. Obviously there is a lot of work to do yet with getting planning for a stadium and building one in Cornwall. But in the future we should look to nurturing Cornish rugby talent in Cornwall, not just that sport but others too, rather than exporting it and perpetuating a system where a sporting future like so much else has to be achieved outside of Cornwall.

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