Team Cornwall Youth AFT Ranked No. 1 in the Nation
After Winning First Tournament of Year in Newquay
Team Cornwall Youth American Football Team u17 welcomed teams from Cobham and Farnham in Surrey this weekend to compete in their first tournament of the 2015 season. They beat newcomers to the league Cobham Cobras in the first round 44-6 and old rivals Farnham Knights 34-0. Sussex Thunder didn’t travel so forfeited.
It was going to be a hard act to follow for Team Cornwall this year after their success last year, coming third in the nation at the National Finals. A number of the players from the team last year have moved up to play senior ball so half the team were rookies playing their first season. They had the opportunity to watch as Cobham Cobras and Farnham Knights played in the first game of the tournament with Cobham coming out on top winning 27-20. Cobham are new to the league and comprised of mainly American boys from an International School in Surrey. They were quick and Team Cornwall knew they would need to play well to stop them. When it came time for Team Cornwall to take to the field, Cobham had possession and managed to score on their first play, running the length of the field for a rushing touchdown. The fans held their breath in shock wondering if this was going to be the shape of things to come, but in fact that was to be one and only score conceded by Team Cornwall in the two games where they dominated.
The Team Cornwall defense, lead by Penzance Buccaneer and Team Cornwall veteran Sidney Cavell (17, Botallack), playing in his third season for the team, shut down the Cougars offense, whilst also managing to score a defensive touchdown. Tom Weightman (15, Truro) playing centre and nose tackle, made his presence felt in his first game with Team Cornwall and after only a few sessions of training, managed a sack in just the 2nd down as well as some impressive tackles.
The Team Cornwall offense with Ryan Batt (17, St Austell) as Quarterback throwing some brilliant balls to receiver Ben Jenkin (17 from Camborne) soon racked up the score and the team had their first win of the season. Jenkin actually achieved 5 touchdowns in total and an interception with Batt managing a full pitch pass to Jenkin for a spectacular TD.
The second game of the day was against familiar foes Farnham Knights and promised to be a hard-hitting encounter. Farnham started strong and even had a TD disallowed for "holding" but more fine passing and catching between Ryan Batt and Ben Jenkin with a very strong defense that Farnham just couldn’t control, saw the score rising fast again. Richard Scorse (16, Helston), in his second season with Team Cornwall, scored a fine first touchdown with an excellent catch over more than 40 yards. Sidney Cavell managed to score another defensive TD whilst rookie Stan O’Connell (14, Wadebridge) in his debut with Team Cornwall carried out a fine tackle on Farnham’s centre. Cadan Brown (17, St Austell) proved to be a complete menace to both the Cobham and Farnham offense achieving 5 sacks, 1 touchdown, a 2 point after TD and a safety. Jamie Jones (15, Truro) who joined Team Cornwall towards the end of last season, looked confident with good solid play and there was some brilliant play too from new rookies Philip Mitchell-Bawden (16, Whitstone), Matt O’Connnell (16, Wadebridge) and Harrison Ellul (15, Truro).
Head Coach Nigel Hoyte said: “What a fantastic start to the season for Team Cornwall. I am so proud of all the players, who despite it being the first match for some managed such a great result in both games. It was clear to see how players who played last year have grown in stature and confidence whilst the new rookies played with incredible maturity. I am delighted to be coaching this enthusiastic and talented group of players and I think Cornwall should ‘what this space’ to see their progress.”
Coach Brian Smallworth, Head Coach of the Cornish Sharks Academy of American Football, of which Team Cornwall is a part said: “They played brilliantly and it is a good solid start to a tough season. It was good to see so many ex Team Cornwall players come and support the new line up and especially good is to see ex players turning to coaching like Matthew Chapman, who was part of the successful squad last year but now coaches at Penzance Buccaneers alongside HC Perran Andrews and with Coach Hoyte at Team Cornwall.
“Matt also played his first game this week for the senior squad, Cornish Sharks. Keiran Salais, an original Team Cornwall player, who plays at his University in Worcester as well as for the Cornish Sharks senior team also came to support although commitments this year mean he is unable to commit to coaching full time. Another special fan attending on Saturday was Elliot Hoyte, another original Academy player who is studying and playing American Football at Boise State in the USA. He is an active supporter of these youngsters, always sending encouragement and advice on social media when in the US but during this short break back to the UK this month, he took the time to come and offer his support to the team. This practice of “paying forward” by academy players, is why I believe the youth programme is so successful in Cornwall.
”Things are looking very good for the team with this start this season, but the team can’t afford to get complacent, as there are three more tournaments to play in Cobham, Farnham and Marlow before looking forward to the playoffs. The hope is that Team Cornwall will perform so well that they can secure home field advantage for the play-offs, but they need to maintain their high standards and get even stronger. Team Cornwall would obviously like to go even further than their excellent performance last year when they finished third best ranked in the UK.”
The team is always looking for new talent so any youngsters who would like to try out for Team Cornwall should contact their local Academy Team: Penzance Buccaneers, St Austell Spartans, JV Sharks Newquay.