1) As a general introduction could you give us a brief summary of how you got involved in rugby and your club/county career?
I started playing when I was about 9 or 10. I went along to Penryn minis with my best mate from school. His dad was one of the coaches and a big influence on my rugby life. As a team we all stayed together right through to colts and then from there into senior rugby at Penryn. Other than a brief stint off the bench in 2012,I never had any involvement with county rugby until I 2015 when I was invited to a development session at Bodmin RFC. From there I was picked for the Tamar Cup that year and was lucky enough to be involved in the winning Championship campaign too.
2) You have been part of the Cornwall side over a number of years now - what are the stand out moments for you in the Black and Gold?
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with a few campaigns, not all successful but I’ve loved all of it.
But I think running out onto the pitch at Twickenham for the first time in 2015 and going on to be part of the winning team that day is probably the best memory for me.
3) Cornwall regularly beat sides stocked with players from National One and National Two. As someone who has played Level Seven and Eight rugby in recent years, how have you found that step up, and what are the secret(s) to Cornwall's success?
The games themselves are definitely a notch up in speed and intensity. But I think the change in levels is made easier because of the whole squad buying in to the process. And I think that’s probably one of the reasons Cornwall regularly outperforms teams with higher league players. County rugby has always been really respected amongst players and supporters alike in Cornwall, and that heritage along with the incredible support from Trelawny’s Army gives the boys a real edge.
4) You are a legend at Penryn RFC - tell us about what makes the club so special?
Penryn RFC will always be a very important place for me personally. I’ve played there for 20+ years and many of the people at the club are like family.
I think what makes it special are the same things that make up any good club.
It has a loyal volunteer base taking care of the pitches, changing rooms and maintaining buildings. It’s got a thriving mini and junior section which is vital for any club to succeed. There’s a welcoming atmosphere and while there is a core of older players we’ve had a good injection of youth in recent years.
I think that these things all together, including a decent pitch and some league ambition, create somewhere that people want to be.
5) Penryn seem to be in a good place on and off the pitch at the moment. You're having a good first season back in the Western Counties League after several years away - how far could the club go, do you think?
We are. We’re performing well at home and picked up a couple of important away wins recently.
I would say we’re ambitious as a club but also realistic. Penryn’s an amateur club, and the higher you climb the leagues the harder it is to convince players to give up a lot of time for free. That being said, I believe it’s the only sustainable way to build a strong, lasting team and, as a club we want to go as far as our ability will take us.
6) What are your fondest moments/matches at Penryn?
Far too many to mention, but getting to run out over the years with some of my best mates every Saturday will always make it worthwhile for me.
7) Who are the best players you have played either with or against at both club and county level?
Im rubbish at remembering matches and names of players. But at Penryn I’ll almost remember playing with Chris and Jamie Mann. Two very different players, but both made the game seem easy. For the county, when I first started I really enjoyed playing in the backrow with Kyle Marriott and Chris Fuca - their experience at that level made things a lot easier for me.
8) Penryn have managed to successfully resurrect their 2nd XV, 'The Saracens', but clubs in Cornwall are finding it increasingly difficult to field one side never mind two or Colts sides. What do you believe needs to be done to improve the situation?
I don’t think there’s one easy answer. Obviously retaining young players at colt level is key to feeding the senior sides. I think making sure that those lads are involved with the senior players early is important, and having a second team gives them a chance to experience the men’s game. To do that you need passionate and patient people running your second team, and make it a feeder team for the first XV. Luckily we’ve got this at Penryn, but it’s taken a few years to get it back up and running.
9) What are you most looking forward to on and off the pitch in 2020?
Getting as far up the league as we can with Penryn, and spending some time with my son Jesse who was born in November
10) Cornwall's rugby supporters are an incredibly loyal and loud group - what message do you have for the readers of Black and Gold?
I would just like to thank them for all of their support so far, and to keep it up!
It really does make a difference to the boys on the pitch to see and hear their passion for the game. Thank you Trelawny’s Army!