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New signings for new campaign

Newly-promoted South West One West side St Ives have had to make a change to their coaching team.

The Hakes had appointed Steve Kenward as their new backs coach, taking over from Paul Thirlby, who stood down as head coach at the end of last season. But former Camborne centre Kenward has now quit his role due to work commitments and family reasons.

St Ives director of rugby Joff Rowe commented: “This was obviously a shock for the club and the squad, but it took very little time to establish a suitable replacement and, having met with the club, Joe Parma agreed to take up the position of backs coach.”

The Hakes have bolstered the squad that won the Tribute Cornwall Cup and the Western Counties West title last season with six new signings - three forwards and three backs.

In the pack, they have brought in 23-year-old lock Ben Watson, who is based at RNAS Culdrose; 21-year-old hooker/flanker Connor Bick, who is the son of former Cornish Pirates stalwart Adrian Bick; and as previously reported in this column, 30-year-old hooker Sam Bartle from South West Premier side Camborne.

L to R, new St Ives forwards Ben Watson and Sam Bartle with new forwards coach Chris Fuca.

In the backs, 24-year-old former Redruth full-back/fly-half Jack Kessell has returned to the Hakes; and they have also snapped up 28-year-old former Helston winger James Wilson, another who is based at Culdrose, and fly-half Dan Rutter, who has also returned to Alexandra Road after a period of leave whilst training as a naval officer.

L to R: new backs James Wilson, Jack Kessell and Dan Rutter with new backs coach Joe Parma.

Rowe said: “During pre-season we took on Camborne and Penryn and have trained against the Redruth pack in controlled conditions. “The enthusiasm from last season’s cup victory and league campaign seems to have been carried forward and the squad is looking forward to the new season.”

The Hakes also have a new first-team captain in Tom Nicholas, who is entering his 10th season at St Ives, having joined them from Hayle in 2008/09.

Rowe commented: “The decision was a difficult choice based on so many worthwhile contenders. It was Tom’s personal qualities that gave him the edge and the way that he is respected on and off the field. He is a quiet, unassuming person, but once he speaks you notice everyone else goes quiet. Tom has been a consistent performer over the decade and will play a vital part in the campaign alongside senior players such as club captain Ben Taylor, Rhys Brownfield, Jamie Prisk and the coaching team.”

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