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Cornwall RFU chief Denis Preece at County Cup situation

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 21, 2013

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CORNWALL RFU chairman Denis Preece described the events that saw neither Tribute Cornwall Cup semi-final taking place last weekend as a "sad state of affairs".

Last Sunday was the deadline for the semi-finals to be played, with finals day looming at Penryn on Easter Saturday, March 30.

But Bude cried off their last-four clash at Camborne because they said they could not raise a team, giving the Cherry and Whites a walkover into the final.

It was the second round running Camborne had seen opponents pull out of a match, with Truro failing to fulfil their quarter-final tie for similar reasons, and it means Camborne have reached the final without playing a single game.

On Saturday, St Ives turned up for their semi-final at two-leagues-higher Wadebridge Camels, but despite the Camels' players and match referee Zerren Bell reportedly happy for the game to go ahead, St Ives objected to the waterlogged state of the Molesworth Field pitch.

Preece immediately ordered the match to be restaged 24 hours later, but St Ives said they could not raise a team as they had three players representing Cornwall Under-20s in their match against Devon the same afternoon.

Preece told The Cornishman: "We have tried hard, and we have moved dates around so clubs do not have to play back-to-back matches over a weekend.

"But we now have a situation where Camborne are in the final without having even played a game.

"Then last Saturday, there are conflicting stories all round, but apparently the referee was happy for the game to be played, and St Ives refused.

"I was contacted, and stated the game had to be played on Sunday, because this was the final weekend for ties, but St Ives said they would have difficulty raising a side because they had people playing for Cornwall.

"We have now gone back to the clubs and suggested they play midweek, which would have to be at a neutral venue because Wadebridge do not have floodlights, or it is back-to-back matches next weekend, because both clubs have got league fixtures on the Saturday.

"We feel we can't move the date of the final. We have sponsors and everything else all arranged, and the next date that would be available after that to play it on would be play-off day, and two of our finalists are quite likely to be in play-offs.

"We are in a no-win situation at the moment."

St Ives head coach Joff Rowe refuses to totally write off his side's chances of still lifting the Cornwall and Devon League title.

The Hakes trail leaders Teignmouth by six points with only four matches remaining, and it is hard to see where the south Devon side are going to slip up.

St Ives have beaten their rivals twice in the league this season, but are suffering from the effects of a five-point deduction imposed on them after they were forced to pull out of a Western Counties West game in the final weeks of last season when they could not raise a team.

St Ives entertain Falmouth (7th) on Saturday, before completing their season in April with games away to Hayle (5th), home to Liskeard-Looe (12th) and away to Newquay Hornets (10th).

Rowe said: "We are obviously going to try and win every game we can. We must go for the title, but at the moment I don't think we can overhaul Teignmouth, as I don't think there is a side out there in their remaining games who can beat them."

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