Cornwall RLFC

Club History

Neil Kelly
Neil Kelly became Cornwall’s first ever coach – Patrick Tod

In The Beginning

Cornwall RLFC were formed on November 2, 2021 and were accepted into the Rugby Football League’s professional structure.

For the 2022 season, the club would play in Betfred League 1 with home matches taking place at the Memorial Ground, home of Penryn RU.

Within the club’s first six week’s of existence, it had secured the services of Neil Kelly, the Super League Coach of the Year in 2002 with Widnes Vikings, as its head coach.

The first signing was former Super League winner Anthony Mullally with Cornish duo Henry Symons and Sam Gilder following shortly after.

In January 2022, an open player trial was held with the bulk of the first ever Cornwall squad progressing from that trial.

And as preparations built up to the club’s first game, away to North Wales Crusaders on April 2, Cornishman Jamie Prisk was named as the club’s first ever captain.

The club also signed prolific winger Harry Aaronson and former Leeds Rhinos academy star Liam Whitton from Halifax Panthers.

Liam Whitton scores in Cornwall’s first ever win against West Wales Raiders – Patrick Tod

Season 2022

A new era for rugby league began in Colwyn Bay, Wales as Cornwall RLFC took to the pitch for the first time.

Although at one stage the side were trailing 34-0 after as many minutes, Matty Turton made history by scoring the club’s first ever try. Kyle Johns kicked the first Cornwall goal.

In the second half, tries from Harry Aaronson, Liam Whitton and Sam Snell gave Cornwall a chance of victory. But North Wales found another gear to win 62-22.

The following week a crowd of close to 1500 saw Cornwall play a professional rugby league match in the Duchy for the first time.

Again, the scoreline got away from the side with Midlands winning 60-14, with Aaronson scoring Cornwall’s first try on home soil.

Harry Aaronson
Harry Aaronson becomes the first Cornwall player to score on home soil – Patrick Tod

The club continued to show signs of improvement whilst still chasing that elusive first win with the side narrowly losing 24-20 at home to London Skolars in early June.

And after a spirited showing with a depleted side against champions-elect Keighley Cougars, that history-making maiden win finally arrived on Saturday, June 25 at Stebonheath Park, Llanelli.

A brace each from Aaronson and Whitton, along with a single Joe Purcell score helped Cornwall to a 24-4 win over West Wales Raiders.

The side gave both Hunslet and Oldham a scare at the Memorial Ground to lead 12-0 in subsequent matches before falling away meaning that an elusive win at the Mem escaped the side.

However, they wouldn’t have to wait long for that to change in the early months of 2023.

Rob Butland (left), Jake Lloyd (centre) and Gareth Davies (right) at Wembley for the Challenge Cup round three draw – SWPix


The club would enter its second season with a new coach in charge after Mike Abbott stepped up from assistant to replace Neil Kelly.

Abbott’s first task as Mem chief was in the Betfred Challenge Cup as Cornwall were paired with National Conference League side Rochdale Mayfield at home.

The game attracted significant media interest with the club invited to Wembley Stadium to take part in the draw which saw Cornwall handed their first ever Challenge Cup opposition.

The game was also chosen for live coverage on BBC Sport, the first time a club rugby match involving a Cornish side – of either code – had been telvised on a free-to-air platform.

Cornwall came up just short in the match, going down 20-14 but Harry Aaronson scored one of the Challenge Cup’s great tries to firmly put the Choughs on the map in knock-out rugby league football.

Harry Aaronson’s stunning effort for Cornwall in the Challenge Cup against Rochdale Mayfield – Matt Friday/Cornwall Sports Media

After coming close to a home win against Mayfield, in the club’s very next game at the Mem, they broke their duck with a 35-10 win over London Skolars.

Once more, just like in year one, Cornwall pushed side’s close for spells in subsequent games, but remained without a win until the magical month of July when three came along at once.

Firstly, a historic league double was completed when London Skolars were defeated 30-14 at the New River Stadium.

And Cornwall made it consecutive wins eight days later when Midlands Hurricanes’ colours were lowered 28-8 at the Mem.

A spirited showing against Workington that ended in a 32-16 loss meant the chances of winning hat-trick were over.

But in the side’s very next game, they defeated North Wales Crusaders in a remarkable game. Cornwall blew the Crusaders away in the first half to lead 40-4, scoring seven tries in the process.

After the turnaround, North Wales turned the tide, almost, scoring 34 unanswered points. Crucially, though, Cornwall kicked one more conversion than the home side and they were winners, 40-38.

Liam Whitton scores the winning try against Rochdale – Colin Bradbury

Cornwall ultimately left the best to last in 2023 by defeating a heartlands rugby league side in the shape of Rochdale Hornets for the very first time, with the last play of the last match.

And it was at home too.

With the scores locked at 12-12, Cornwall won the ball back in midfield and after two further tackles, spread the ball wide for Tom Ashton to draw the cover defence to send Liam Whitton over the whitewash.

Cue absolute bedlam as Cornwall had achieved another notable first in the most dramatic of circumstances. A Cameron Brown conversion after the siren further stretched Cornwall’s lead as the side ran out 18-12 winners.