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Neil Kelly Reflects on Cornwall’s Maiden Campaign

September 9, 2022

Cornwall RLFC head coach Neil Kelly – Patrick Tod

Head coach Neil Kelly says that he is ‘proud’ of Cornwall RLFC’s first ever season as a professional entity.

Despite the Choughs’ playing record consisting of just one win from twenty games, the performances of Kelly’s troops improved as the campaign progressed as they pushed both Hunslet and Oldham at home, whilst doing likewise on the road at Rochdale and Midlands Hurricanes.

The side’s one win game at West Wales Raiders on June 25 when history was made after a 24-4 victory. 

With average attendances at the Memorial Ground in year one topping the 1,000 mark and squad building for 2023 already, hopes are high for further progress in year two for English rugby league’s newest entity.

“I’m really proud of everything we have done this year,” Kelly told cornwallrlfc.co.uk. “I think one victory in 20 games is scant reward for the commitment, endeavour and the effort that everybody has put in. When I talk about those things, I mean everyone involved with the club.

“We have done the game of rugby league proud by laying a good foundation for the sport in Cornwall.

“Where we are now, in terms of performance, we never really got mullered in a game. Yes we went to Keighley and lost, but we lost in the same way that many others have at Keighley. In this second half of the season we have had competitive scorelines and good games of rugby meaning we have certainly moved on. 

“We have certainly moved on from our first game against North Wales back in April and now it’s about where we go from here. We will look to make improvements to personal, environment and keep hold of the players that have made us strong, while looking at others that would make us stronger. 

“In time, hopefully next year, we will show that we have learned a lot from this first year but not making some of the same mistakes in 2023.”

Neil Kelly says that the 2022 season has been a success for Cornwall – Patrick Tod

Personally, Kelly reflected on his first year in charge of the Choughs in typically humorous fashion  whilst reiterating his feelings that despite the results on the pitch, the 2022 season has been a ‘success’ for the club. 

“I sometimes think that if a transport company needed a logistics manager then I would be their man. I have lots of experience of organising buses and trains alongside our general manager John Beach but just getting 17 players on the park, week in, week out, is a real achievement in itself.

“This season isn’t really one that we will ever be able to shout about because we have only have one victory to our name.

“But anybody who has been through the journey with us will know how much effort has been put in. With that in mind, it would be wrong of me to say that this season has been anything other than a success for Cornwall rugby league club.”