CORNWALL NAME SIDE FOR COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP OPENER
By Bill Hooper
The selectors have announced the Cornwall side to face Somerset on Saturday May 6th at Redruth, kick-off 3 pm.
The side shows 13 players from last year’s Cup winning squad, amongst them new captain Fraser Honey.
As expected Redruth players make up the bulk of the side, with healthy contributions from both Camborne and St. Austell.
Chairman of Selectors Kevin Thomas said. “Training sessions have gone well, players have looked sharp and have all given the selectors and coaches a range of choice with most positions.
“It’s a big ask for players to commit to almost another full month of competitive rugby off the back of a long hard season.
“Cornish rugby is special, that’s why our players are so keen to commit, they can add to the Cornish legacy and help write their own bit of history.
He went on to add. “It’s a bit of a challenge bringing together players from all over the Country. We have filmed the sessions and sent videos to some players that couldn’t get to all sessions.
“Representative rugby is very different to club rugby, a bunch of players selected from different clubs thrust together to play competition rugby. It’s about if you are willing to fit in as much as your raw talent.”
Scrum-half Mike Austin, a product of Falmouth RFC, who scored the clinching try in last year’s final, makes the starting line up, whilst young Freddie Stevenson (Bude) comes in to partner Camborne’s Jack Heazelton in the second row.
Trelawny’s Army Player of the Year last season St. Austell’s Matt Shepherd, who has been in stellar form this season with the promotion winning Saints, starts at full-back.
The bench has experience; none more so than former captain Ben Hilton and prop Craig Williams. Sam Walker, another who began his playing with Falmouth and was pivotal in Cornwall Under 20’s Jason Leonard Cup win last season has a very good kicking game if required. Speed also from St. Austell wing Konnor Ewudzi, whilst Josh Semmens had a good outing in the Tamar Cup in March.
Ahead of Saturday’s game skipper Honey had this to say. “Training has gone very well over the past couple of weeks and the boys are chomping to get out on the pitch and put into practice the moves we have been learning. Hopefully, that will put us in a great place going into the game.
“We don’t know too much about the Somerset side, that allows us to concentrate on our own game, if we implement that then we will be in a good place.
“The squad are buzzing to be playing at Redruth in front of our supporters; we hope there is a good crowd to give us that extra 16th man to drive the boys on.”
Cornwall travel to Havant next week to play Hampshire before rounding off their group games at Camborne against Kent on May 20th.
Entry on the gate is £10 with Under 16s free.
Cornwall: Matt Shepherd (St. Austell), Jack Kessell (Camborne), Jack Simmons (Redruth), Duncan Tout (Tonbridge Juddians), Sam Parsons (St. Austell), Fraser Honey (Redruth, Capt), Mike Austin (Cinderford); Luke Barnes, Richard Brown, Jess Tompsett (all Redruth), Jack Heazelton (Camborne), Freddie Stevenson (Bude), Edd Pascoe, Sam Stevens, Ben Fox (all Redruth).
Replacements: Tommy-Lee Southworth (Camborne), Craig Williams (Redruth), Ben Hilton (Barnstaple), Jordan Nicholls (Camborne), Sam Walker (Exeter Uni), Konnor Ewudzi (St. Austell), Josh Semmens (Pirates Ams).