An address made by the club’s President, Terry Drew, opened Penzance & Newlyn RFC’s 71st Annual General Meeting, which was held at the ‘Westholme’ clubhouse.
Terry welcomed members to the meeting and then asked all present to stand in memory of those associated with the club who had passed away during the year.
Various reports followed, and in his role also as Club Administrator Terry said that the senior XV, the Cornish Pirates, finished safely ninth in the league. Early results were disappointing but the team responded to record number of excellent wins. Also, despite losing at Bristol, the side put up a terrific display and with luck could have achieved a memorable victory. As for the British & Irish Cup, hopes of ultimate success came to a halt away at London Welsh in the semi-final.
A number of personnel have moved on, and were all wished well, including Director of Rugby Ian Davies. Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver are now co-Coaches
The Pirates Amateurs had a satisfactory season playing again in the Cornwall & Devon league. Unfortunately three home games had to be cancelled because of the weather, and there was particular disappointment that one team failed to honour their fixture at the Mennaye Field. These fixtures cost the Pirates Amateurs club financially, as it did Penzance & Newlyn RFC who lost out on bar sales. As he has stated previously, Terry mentioned that the Pirates Amateurs deserves support.
The Pirates Colts reached the county semi-final, with assistance and training given during the season by Adrian Bick, Scott Dugdale, Les Hall, and Keith Terry.
Darren Curry has been engaged by the club to provide meals for various teams, whilst he also provides catering for private bookings. Thanks were also expressed to Sally and her bar staff.
The number of people using the Squash courts has shown a 25% increase, and the clubhouse continues to be used by a varied number of local organisations, all of which helps the club to stay afloat.
Thanks were expressed to the always dependable ‘Groundforce’ volunteers, the Supporters Club, including those who run the tea hut, organise the 50/50 Draws, plus manage the Car Boot sales. To conclude his report as Administrator, Terry said that Dicky Evans continues to support the club and the Cornish Pirates and his assistance is always greatly valued.
Despite the Treasurer, Mike Adams, being unable to attend the meeting, his annual statement once again showed that Penzance & Newlyn RFC has operated successfully within budget and even made a small profit.
Mark Gilmour, who is the Youth Section's representative on the club's Management Committee, reported on another busy and good year for their various teams. They have 11 age groups, involving nearly 280 young players plus 45 coaches, managers and first-aiders. A new Ladies and Girls section also has 25 members.
With costs always a concern, Mark highlighted, among other expenses incurred, that because training and playing at the Mennaye Fields is for much of the season not possible, outside facilities have to be used, which come at a considerable cost. To conclude his report, he congratulated teams who had achieved success, plus those players who had gained county honours. Luke Flack and Mawgan Osborne had also been members of Exeter Chiefs Academy.
On behalf of the Cornish Pirates, Coach Alan Paver was present, saying that it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak to members at the meeting. He and Gavin look forward to “show willing and do the right thing” by building a close working relationship with all in the club, appreciating also what so many do. On the playing side the squad is much smaller, however a pleasing aspect is to see more gifted young Cornish players making their mark. Responding to support our community also holds importance.
Next on the agenda was the approval of appointments to the Management Committee, which were confirmed as follows: Treasurer – Mike Adams, Youth Section Representative – Mark Gilmour, Committee Members – Mike Hanson, Martin Murrish and Wendy Nicholas.
Following the appointments, approval was also given for the fully deserved nomination of Paul Greaves as a Life Member. John Gendall made the proposal, which was seconded by Scott Dugdale. Paul, who has been a fully committed Pirate since the age of 15, felt humbled. He said that the club had had its highs and lows but it was “a great club to be proud of”, adding to be nominated a Life Member was for him “the greatest honour.”
To conclude what had been such a positive meeting, Chairman Scott Dugdale in his closing remarks thanked Terry Drew for all that he continues to do, along with so many others. Scott also said it was important that the committee looks to the future. There is one club, but there are two businesses – the Cornish Pirates and Penzance & Newlyn RFC. The point was also made that it is seemingly impossible for Penzance & Newlyn RFC as the parent club to obtain certain grants, or whatever, whilst it is associated with a professional team.
It is clearly important that Penzance & Newlyn RFC seriously considers its long-term future now, with reference to what will need to happen both before and after the Cornish Pirates hoped for move to Truro. Following discussion all present at the meeting instructed the committee to proceed with their backing, always understanding that any major decision could in the future likely only take place at a Special General Meeting.