Cornwall have confirmed new one-year deals for ex-Featherstone Rovers half-back Morgan Punchard and Welshman Harry Boots, keeping them at the club in 2024.
Both players debuted for the Choughs in 2023, with Boots making the move from West Wales Raiders ahead of the campaign and Punchard joining mid-season, firstly on loan from fellow League 1 outfit Hunslet before making the move a permanent one.
With a combined appearance tally of 24, the pair helped Mike Abbott’s side to a 9th place finish in the third tier, winning five of their 18 league games.
League 1 club tie down duo including ex-Featherstone Rovers playmaker Morgan Punchard: ‘An offer I could not refuse’
Playmaker Punchard – whose previous clubs include South Wales Scorpions, Featherstone, Midlands Hurricanes (then Coventry Bears) and Dewsbury Rams – is set to turn 25 at the end of next month.
He featured just twice for Hunslet this term before being allowed to head out on loan to Cornwall, and despite being recalled by his parent club, soon returned back to the South West.
Speaking to the Choughs’ club website, he said: “I was kicking my heels a bit after I went back to Hunslet once my loan spell had ended. After playing just one game on loan, I could see what Cornwall were all about and I liked what I saw.
“The coach and back-room staff are doing a really good job, and when I had the opportunity to come back for 2024, it was an offer I could not refuse.”
Forward Boots meanwhile turned 28 earlier this month, and scored two tries for Cornwall this year, including one in a win against North Wales Crusaders, the eventual beaten play-off finalists.
The Cardiff-born prop’s impressive performances were rewarded – unofficially – with international honours at the end of the season, playing for the Wales Chairman’s Select Side against Cumbria as part of Kyle Amor‘s testimonial.
Boots said: “Last season was quite successful for both myself and the team, but we both have more to prove in 2024. We will be aiming high for 2024 as we have proved that we can compete against all teams at this level.
“The next step is to improve our consistency and with the backing of our fans, I know we can do it. The fans were brilliant to me last year and they helped breed such a positive culture for rugby league in Cornwall.
“They are genuinely interested in how each individual player is developing and even when results didn’t go our way, they could still appreciate effort and performances. This club has been successful so far and I am delighted to be a part of it moving forward.”