NEW St Ives player-backs coach Ceiron Thomas said his desire to stay in Cornwall had seen him take up a new challenge with the Cornwall and Devon League club, writes Nigel Walrond.
The 28-year-old fly half admitted that some of his friends had raised a few eyebrows when he had told them he was dropping six divisions to play his rugby next season.
It is only just over a year ago that Thomas was plying his trade with Leeds Carnegie in the Premiership, and last month he started the first leg of the Championship final for Cornish Pirates, his 24th appearance for the Duchy club since joining them last summer, before being released by the Pirates at the end of the campaign.
However, he began a new job with a recruitment business earlier this week, and is looking forward to remaining in the county.
"I have loved living in Cornwall since moving down here last summer, and myself and my partner are quite settled," said Thomas.
"She works at a school in Camborne and she loves her job, so we have made the decision to stay down here and try and make things work."
Thomas admitted he did not know much about St Ives, but he had spoken to his former Pirates team-mate, Rob Elloway, about the Hakes, where Elloway was forwards coach last season.
"Hopefully we can have a good go at it next season and try and take the club up a couple of leagues in the next couple of years," he said.
The hardest aspect for Thomas could be adapting to suddenly playing at a much lower level.
On May 23, he was walking out against London Welsh at the Mennaye Field; on September 1 he will take to the field at Alexandra Road against Newquay Hornets.
"I know it is six levels below the Pirates, but I am not expecting it to be too easy," said Thomas.
"A lot of my mates play lower-league rugby in Wales, I've watched them there, and I'm not expecting it to be a walk in the park.
"It will not be the standard of player I am used to playing with, but that is what I have chosen to do, and if I can better the team I will be happy.
"We start training in mid-July and I can't wait to get going and see what players we have got at the club."
Thomas said it had been a "funny old year" with the Pirates, where he had been in and out of the side.
"We started well, and then we hit a bit of a rough patch just before Christmas, and things fell apart a bit, but we managed to pull it back together just before the play-offs, and we had a decent run then.
"Personally, it was a frustrating season for me. I was just trying to pick up game time here and there."
ST IVES duo Tom Nicholas (Penzance Fire Station) and Mark Sherris (Truro Fire Station) won their first caps for the UK Fire Service team when they went down 22-10 to the Italian Fire Service at Calvisano last weekend.
They were joined from the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service team by former Redruth, Truro and Hayle prop David Moyle, from Camborne Fire Station.
"We were out in Italy for two days and it was a really good experience and I hope to get picked again in the future," said 22-year-old winger Nicholas, who started against the Italians before being replaced by Sherris just after half-time.
Moyle also came on as a replacement in the second half for the UK, whose points came from a converted try and a penalty.
"It was great hearing the national anthems being played before the game," added Nicholas.
"We were also presented with ties and it was nice to meet people from other fire services around the UK, with a large contingent of Welshmen on the trip.
"The match was played about an hour away from Milan, and in temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees. It was absolutely roasting.
"The Italians were good. There were big tackles going in all the time and they were quick in the ruck area and some decisions didn't go our way."
Nicholas and Sherris did well to play for the UK team as they are yet to represent the English Fire Service team, but they are hopeful of being selected for that sometime in the future.
The trip was particularly sweet for them at the end of a tough club season, in which St Ives were relegated from Western Counties West.
"I only played half the season due to work commitments, but I am looking to do the whole of next season," explained Nicholas.