Cornwall chief explains withdrawal from 1895 Cup, admits ‘preference would have been to take part’

Ben Olawumi
Cornwall RLFC

Cornwall RLFC in action in 2023 - Alamy

Cornwall CEO Rob Butland has revealed that the club wanted to take part in the re-formatted 1895 Cup, but were asked not to with clubs struggling to afford the travel down there.

Since their formation – ahead of the 2022 campaign – the South West outfit have not taken place in the competition, opting not to in their inaugural year and then missing out due to the formation of it in the season just gone.

Due to the way the competition has revolved around what happens in the Challenge Cup, there have been just seven games in it over the last two years – four in 2022 as Leigh, then Centurions, won it and then just three last year as Halifax Panthers saw off Batley Bulldogs at Wembley.

It was announced earlier this week that the 1895 Cup will branch out come 2024, with group stages added to the mix involving the 13 England-based Championship clubs as well as all League 1 clubs excluding Cornwall.

In the RFL’s release, they said Cornwall had ‘graciously’ withdrawn, and it’s evident for all to see now that was because they’d been asked to by other clubs due to their geographic location.

Cornwall chief explains club’s withdrawal from 1895 Cup

The statement released on their website last night (November 9) read: “During recent discussions among League 1 clubs about the proposed competition structure for 2024, Cornwall RLFC was asked by the collective if it would consider sitting out of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup competition, for 2024 only, to ease the logistical burden for other League 1 clubs.

“The club felt that this decision would allow for a swifter resolution to be reached for the 2024 season structure and, after careful and considered deliberation, Cornwall RLFC has graciously agreed to the collectives request to not participate in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup in 2024.”

Chief Butland added: “Cornwall RLFC is a club which has the expansion and development of rugby league at its core.

“Whilst our preference would have been to take part in the 1895 Cup in 2024, after discussions with our fellow clubs, it was ultimately decided that with the interest of the wider game at heart we would agree to the request.”

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