Having in the past couple of weeks announced the names of nine players who have been contracted beyond the end of this season, the Cornish Pirates can now pleasingly take this tally to 14 with the welcome news that a further five players have put pen to paper and signed new contracts.
The nine previously announced were hookers Rob Elloway and Tom Channon (both two year contracts), centre Alex Dancer (one year), utility backs Matt Evans (one year), Kieran Goss, Mike Pope and Craig Holland (each two years), plus back-rowers Joe Atkinson and Chris Morgan (both two years).
The latest handful who have all signed two year contracts are prop Jack Andrew, locks Darren Barry and Will Graulich, back-rower Alex Cheesman, and scrum-half Tom Kessell.
It was announced last year that Jack had signed for the Cornish Pirates, shortly after his brother Paul had departed for Worcester. Aged 23, the young Cornishman had arrived from Plymouth Albion, having also previously played for Exeter Chiefs and the Cornish All Blacks. In 19 appearances for the Pirates he has scored eight tries.
Bristolian Darren joined the Cornish Pirates in July, 2012, having departed the Memorial Stadium at Bristol for the Mennaye Field, Penzance. A former England under 19s player, now aged 24 he has impressed in his two seasons in Cornwall as an athletic second-row forward who to date has made 53 appearances for the club.
Worcester-born Will, who is in his first season with the Pirates, is still just 21 years old. He joined the club from Gloucester, where he had played for the 'Cherry & Whites' in the LV= Cup, plus in their game played at Kingsholm against Fiji. He has made 18 appearances for the Pirates.
A three times Oxford 'Blue' and former England Students player, 25 years old Alex joined the Cornish Pirates in 2012 as a centre. In his first season with the club he played in 24 games and converted to playing as a hard-working flanker whose game tally for the Pirates now stands on 44.
The fifth player announced this week, and the only back, Tom is proudly a 'Cornish boy' who signed for the Cornish Pirates from Plymouth Albion in 2011. Now aged 24, he has made 78 appearances for the club, mostly at scrum-half but occasionally on the wing. 'Kess' has scored 12 tries in all games this season, including eight in the Championship.
Commenting with reference to this latest group of players who have put pen to paper, Director of Rugby, Ian Davies, said:
"It is great to keep hold of these players especially Darren and Tom who have attracted Premiership interest this season.”
"Since Alex converted back to open side flanker he has been a consistent performer and I'm sure is on the radar of many clubs.”
"Will came highly recommended by Alex Brown at Gloucester and has not disappointed at all. A player who wants to constantly improve he is well in his way to establishing himself here at the Pirates.”
"Jack had quite a prospect when he joined us....replacing his brother! He has worked hard on the field and in the gym and is developing into a very good prop forward. Also Jack is not shy of a try or two which must be a family trait."