Penryn Rugby Club has been left counting the cost after a lightning strike hit one of the rugby posts, leaving scorch marks across the pitch, before racing around the perimeter fence blowing wooden posts to “smithereens”.
The strike last Thursday afternoon also hit equipment at nearby Penryn College, with the phone system damaged and staff and pupils hearing an “almighty explosion”.
The lightning also affected travellers, with damaged signalling equipment on the Falmouth to Truro railway line stopping all trains.
The huge discharge of energy at Penryn Rugby club around 1pm caused damage all around the pitch, with the force of the lightning even blowing a chunk out of one the dugouts, as well as lumps of earth out of the ground and even telephone sockets off the walls in the main club building.
The bolt from the blue also damaged the heating system panels and the floodlights on the club’s second pitch.
Luckily the pitch was not being used at the time, or it could have been “much worse”, with a burn mark at the top of one the metal rugby posts and clear scorch marks forking across the ground a testament to the lightning’s power.
Ronnie Rundle, one of the grounds men at the club was first on the scene and noticed the damage caused.
He said: “It blew four by four posts around the ground to smithereens. It must have hit the rugby posts, come down and across the pitch, leaving scorch marks as it went. It blew chunks of turf out of the ground where it jumped onto the perimeter railing around the pitch blowing up wooden posts and leaving scorch marks as it went.
“It even blew a chunk out of one of the concrete block dug outs.”
He said that if it had happened on Saturday afternoon he dreaded to think what would have happened, with people standing next to the metal railing and leaning on it.
He added: “ I would not have liked to be around when it happened.”
Robert Stephens, chairman of Penryn Rugby Club said that they were still totting up the cost of the lightning strike.
“The lightning strike blew out the telephone sockets, damaged the heating system panels and also the floodlights,” he said.
“It’ll be a few quid to repair, I won’t really know until we find out the cause, what’s gone and what needs replacing. Hopefully we’ll know by the end of the week. With the floodlights, it could be a small job or major, we don’t know.
“People got excited because it hit the rugby posts but it wasn’t bad, it could have been worse.”
Dan Mather, assistant head at Penryn College said the thunder after the lightning strike was like an “almighty explosion”, with lights flickering and damage to the school’s phone system.
Mr Mather said: "It was quite amazing really. I was in my office, everything was normal. The electricity blinked for a few seconds and went off.
“There was an almighty explosion and I ran out of my office to see what was going on. I’d never heard anything like it.”
“Luckily other than the electricity and phones which were affected, everything was ok, there was no structural damage.”
Each lightning strike typically lasts only last 0.000050 seconds with the air around a strike typically superheated to about 20,000 degrees Celsius, three times hotter than the surface of the sun.