Rugby: Clubs will take plenty from triangular tournament
IN THE end the three hours spent criss-crossing the A30 avoiding a plague of Saturday holiday traffic and subsequently emerging at Polson Bridge via a cheeky detour around Bodmin Moor proved worth it, writes Dick Straughan.
Even the steady drizzle for much of the afternoon and frequent strafing from mischievous wasps did little to detract from an enjoyable tournament, as the winter sport season emerged from hibernation and three of our rugby union teams got back to business.
All three, the Pirates, St Austell and the Cornish All Blacks, will have taken plenty from the day and in terms of bringing Cornish clubs together, I think the whole event was a success. I think if we all accept that, right here and now the Pirates are top of the Cornish rugby food chain, and get on with things, then Cornish rugby is immediately in a better place.
Much work has been done since hostilities ceased back in April by Josh Lewsey and his team to promote the Pirates brand, while Ian Davies and Harvey Biljon have worked tirelessly to rebuild their playing squad.
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Chatting to Davies recently, he likened himself to Billy Beane, the former Oakland Athletic's baseball general manager, in terms of his summer recruitment process, juggling financial constraints with player availability. If you have seen the film Moneyball you will get the picture. If you have not, it is worth a watch.
That said, on the basis of the first competitive outing for his new charges, he has done a good job melding talented and hungry youngsters with existing experience. I liked the look of Craig Holland, who played at full-back against the All Blacks, and wing Luke Jones, who has just signed from Guernsey.
Hollan's elusive running through the midfield channels unlocked the opposing defence time after time and if he can do that against the better teams in the Championship, will turn heads for sure. Jones is another well-balanced, hard running try-scorer who looks to be no slouch in defence either judging by the ferocity of some of his tackles.
James Tincknell, not officially a Pirate yet as they seek a way to sign him, is another big strong wing who looks as if, with a contract sorted and another ounce of confidence, he could be a real handful while Canada captain Aaron Carpenter could well turn out to be the Championship signing of the summer. It's a shame the club have lost him for several weeks now due to international duty.
As for the Saints and Blacks, well their clash at Polson was interesting. The new-look All Blacks have some work to do before their squad settles, but St Austell look focused and ready for battle in South West One.
With my appetite for the new season now firmly whetted, I wish all our teams well.