Penzance RFC

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Penzance RFC
Full name Penzance Rugby Football Club
Founded 1876
Location Penzance, Cornwall, England
Ground(s) St Clare
Official website
www.cornish-pirates.com

Penzance RFC formed in 1876, was a rugby union club based in Penzance, Cornwall, England. They amalgamated with Newlyn RFC in 1944 to form Penzance and Newlyn RFC (The Pirates), currently known as the Cornish Pirates.

History[edit]

1870–1914[edit]

The first recorded rugby match in Penzance is from 1870, played in the grounds of Poltair House, Heamoor and organised by W Borlase of Marlborough School. The Penzance team was mostly public schoolboys, home on holiday, and the opponents the Eastern Telegraph Company based in Porthcurno.[1] The club, formed in 1876, played for a few seasons, did not flourish and was restarted in 1883, by J B Cornish who acted as secretary, treasurer and captain.[2] The club initially played in claret and blue but soon changed to black and white in varying styles. Fixtures in their first season (1877–78) included Redruth (possibly the first opponents), Hayle and Lelant and the club won all their matches with only one try was scored against them. At the 1878 AGM it was stated that it would be desirable if all the players should wear the same colour jerseys![3]

Arthur Trounson (full back) was the first player to win a Cornwall cap when picked to play in the first (recorded) match against Devon, at Plymouth on 12 January 1894, which was lost by two goals and three tries. Club captain Cornish was to win the first of his six caps, a year later, in 1885 and captained Cornwall on two occasions in 1886–87 and 1889–90. Success finally came to the club, fourteen years after they were founded, when the Cornwall Rugby Cup was won in two consecutive seasons (1896–97 and 1897–98); the second one unbeaten against Cornish clubs. By now the Cornwall selectors were increasingly picking Penzance players for Cornwall; on one occasion five players playing in the same match. By the Great War, thirty-eight different Penzance RFC players had represented Cornwall winning over two hundred caps between them.

1920–1945[edit]

Fixtures between Penzance and Newlyn were hotly contested and sometimes suspended. Between 1929 and 1932 matches between the clubs were cancelled, a big loss of income to both clubs and one they could not afford. In 1930 the club had a deficit of £58 for the season, in 1933 a balance of 1/3d and by 1936 there was a vote on whether Penzance RFC should continue. The club did continue and so did the poor finances and at the 1939 AGM the club had only 17 shillings. Suggestions of an amalgamation with Newlyn were considered premature by that club and the start of the Second World War put an end to club rugby for a few years. In November 1944, after a public meeting, Newlyn RFC agreed to hold talks with Penzance RFC with a view to amalgamation. A subsequent Penzance RFU committee meeting on 21 November agreed to wind up the rugby club; and at a public meeting at the Guildhall on 12 December 1944 it was agreed to start a new club. Penzance-Nelwyn RFC was born.[2]

Honours[edit]

Playing record[edit]

Season P W D L F A Ref
1879–80 6 2 1 3 [4]
1892–93 17 10 1 6 105 53
1893–94 16 9 2 5 121 60 [5]
1906–07 18 2 2 14

Grounds[edit]

A number of playing fields were used around Penzance including the Alexandra Grounds, Coombe Lane, Heamoor, St Clare, St Just Road (Alverton), and finally in January 1934 a sub-committee was formed to negotiate with the Borough Council the use of the Mennaye Fields as a rugby ground.[1][2]

Internationals[edit]

Barrie Bennetts[edit]

It is considered a great honour to be invited to play for the Barbarians and in 1908 Barrie Bennetts was invited to join the annual tour to South Wales playing against Penarth and Cardiff. [6] A year later he was capped twice by England and in 1909 selected to join John Raphael's, 1910 Combined British team's tour of Argentina, playing in Argentina's first international test. An injury robbed him of the chance to play in the 1908 Olympics when Cornwall, as County Champions, represented Great Britain in the games.

Combined British Team to Argentina[edit]

  • Barrie B Bennetts[7]
Date Opponents Venue Result Score Notes
1 1910 June 12 Argentina Flores W 28 – 3 Argentina's first International match

England[edit]

  • Barrie B Bennetts[2]
Date Opponents Venue Result Score Notes
1 1909 Jan 9 Australia Rectory Field, Blackheath L 3 – 9 First England v Australia International
2 1909 Jan 16 Wales Cardiff Arms Park L 0 – 8 Home International Championship, with four Cornish players in the England team

Cornwall[edit]

Fifty-two players from Penzance RFC were picked to represent Cornwall with six of them going on to be captain. [2][8]

First year Last year Name Caps Notes
1 1883 1884 Arthur H Trounson 2 Fullback
2 1885 1889 J B Cornish 6
3 1885 1893 George Kistler 15 known as “The Giant”
4 1885 1893 Tom J Peake 10 one of three brothers to play for Cornwall
5 1888 K Stewart 1
6 1888 1895 A H Thorne 11
7 1888 H Trenerry 1
8 1889 1890 Rose 2
9 1889 1897 W Dennis Lawry 9 brother of R C Lawry
10 1889 A Robinson 1
11 1890 Craze 1
12 1891 Saunders 1
13 1891 Yates 1
14 1891 1895 H Olivey 4
15 1892 1893 G Stephens 3
16 1892 F Peak 2 one of three brothers to play for Cornwall
17 1893 1895 W G Peak 4 one of three brothers to play for Cornwall
18 1893 Down 2
19 1894 1900 Oliver Triggs 19
20 1894 J W Nunn 1
21 1894 H Lovell 2
22 1895 1897 E Jasper 8
23 1895 1897 B Beckerleg 2
24 1895 J Sampson 1
25 1895 J H Gartell 2
26 1896 1902 Dr R C Lawry 19 brother of W D Lawry
27 1896 - J T Triggs 1
28 1896 W R Trembath 3
29 1896 B Collings 2
30 1897 1903 T Martin 12
31 1897 C Graves 2
32 1897 1898 G E Gallaher 4
33 1902 1912 Barrie B Bennetts 42 Also represented Cornwall at cricket, golf and hockey
34 1902 T King 3
35 1902 1907 D Brown 12
36 1903 1907 F Carter 8
37 1909 1919 T Floyd 2
38 1909 1910 W J Vicary 4
39 1922 1923 H Beckerleg 3 Three-quarters
40 1924 1928 H E F Maddrell 9 Forward
41 1927 1932 W ‘Bill’ Rowe 13
42 1929 1932 C H G Penny 9 Forward
43 1931 Roger Simpson 1
44 1932 1933 Ronnie W Sturgess 3
45 1932 1933 I Uren 8
46 1932 1936 H E Thomas 8
47 1932 1935 R Matthews 9
48 1935 B Edmonds 1
49 1935 1936 J S Griffiths 4
50 1936 B Moffitt 2
51 1937 F Blewett 1
52 1938 1945 P C Gartrell 3

Key: Name in gold indicates the player captained Cornwall on at least one occasion

Other Penzance teams[edit]

  • Abbey School Football Club – played in 1879[9]
  • Causewayhead United – played in the Town rugby cup[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Batten, B G (1978) Newlyn, Penzance and the Pirates. Penzance: Penzance & Newlyn Rugby Football Club.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Westren, P, Thomas, J and Matthews, H (1995) 50 Golden Years. Penzance: Penzance & Newlyn RFC.
  3. ^ "Penzance Football Club". The Cornishman (12). 3 October 1878. p. 7. 
  4. ^ "Penzance". The Cornishman (117). 7 October 1880. p. 4. 
  5. ^ The Cornishman 12 April 1894
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ "Rugby Union - ESPN Scrum - Argentina v Great Britain XV at Flores". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  8. ^ Salmon, T. 1983. The First Hundred Years. Illogan: Cornwall Rugby Football Union.
  9. ^ "Penzance". The Cornishman (75). 18 December 1879. p. 4. 

External links[edit]