Dick Straughan's view on the Cornish Pirates: January 30
AFTER a week like the one which has just passed for the Cornish Pirates, I'm not quite sure where to begin, but I will start by getting the worst bit out of the way first – the London Scottish shocker.
This was as bad as I have seen the team play in a very long time and I had a slight feeling of trepidation before the game when I watched them preparing on the pitch. There was something missing from the squad as a whole and they seemed subdued, tense and not exactly ready to come out firing.
They started okay, but then the wheels came off and in truth London Scottish didn't have to play that well to win so easily. I'm not saying that the Pirates didn't try, but they certainly were not at the races and they now face two games that, prior to this display, you might have expected them to win, Ealing (home) and Moseley (away). The reality now is that they must win both of these. No pressure then.
The storm which engulfed this part of London late in the game forced an early finish just down the road at the Stoop, where Harlequins were playing Leicester Tigers. I'm not sure why we played on at the Athletic Ground, but I have never seen a game played in weather like that (surpassing even the legendary Mounts Bay v Coventry fixture) and had I been the ref, we would have been off like a shot.
Before I move on to Stadium matters, because yes folks, it's back in the news again, I'll just take a moment to congratulate Ian Davies on getting a new deal at the Pirates and a promotion from head coach to Director of Rugby. I'm sure he will move on to bigger things in due course, but he's done a fine job in Cornwall and is clearly relishing this season's rollercoaster ride.
The Stadium is back in the headlines because the developers, INOX, have secured further land at Langarth and want to put a major retail unit on it to help fund the cost of the Stadium build. This makes perfect sense to me, but not to everyone and I fear that we are destined for many more months of wrangling with Cornwall's ultra-conservative planners.
The amount of houses due to be built on that side of Truro need facilities, infrastructure and shops. Do you really want to drive into the city centre or head down the A30 to Camborne or Redruth to pick up a few groceries? I would guess not but to others the situation is not clear.
BBC Radio Cornwall's Laurence Reed hosted a live phone-in debate last week in which key players were invited to air their views on the development, with Rob Saltmarsh from INOX explaining the plans.
Truro City boss Pete Masters and Cllr Fiona Ferguson both stated that they support the Stadium, but question the location. That is their prerogative and I respect that, but with planning consent already given for that site it's a bit late to muddy the waters now.
The Pirates could have had a voice to clarify this. They were invited to take part in the discussion but declined providing a written statement instead. A decision I find baffling and an opportunity gone to waste.
Yes, I accept that club owner Dicky Evans was quoted in the INOX press release last week, but at such a crucial time for this project you surely have to bang the drum for your cause at every twist and turn. Not pick and choose.
I really want to see the Stadium built quickly and at the site for which it has permission, Langarth. But with every passing week I become less optimistic that I will see it delivered in my lifetime. Can somebody please prove me wrong?