Following consultation with supporters the Cornish Pirates Interim Board have announced that staging several home fixtures on Saturdays will be an option for the club in next season's Greene King Championship, writes Dick Straughan.
Further details of which matches will be affected will be released once the fixture list for the new season is released during June and the qualifying pools for the British & Irish Cup are drawn.
The Pirates Board have stated their desire to protect the welfare of a smaller playing squad next season by varying fixture dates and kick-off times, and have also stressed the importance that the club remains competitive on the field and preserves its Championship status whilst remaining within the budget set by the Board.
There is also the opportunity for the club to test new marketing concepts in an attempt to drive up match day attendances.
In summary, the Board has reached the following decisions:
• Play the majority of our games next season on a Sunday with a 3pm kick-off.
• We will play some games on a Saturday (we believe that it will probably be 3 games within the Championship fixtures). The games will be decided when the fixtures for both the Championship and B&I are released, which is likely to be during the 2nd half of June. Once there is visibility of the fixtures, the coaching staff will be able to identify those games that will be played on a Saturday and indicate appropriate kick off times. The Board recognise that 3pm kick off and early evening kick offs would be a possibility.
• Discuss with RFU/Sky TV at the earliest opportunity the practicalities of televised games from the Mennaye to be played on our stated days, but recognising that changes to kick off times may be outside of our control.
• Continue discussions with CRFU, RFU and NCA officials to avoid fixture duplication with local Clubs and every effort will be made to avoid this eventuality.
• Undertake further discussions about double header games with Pirates Amateurs, but believe that this will only be possible in September and March/April to preserve the condition of the Mennaye pitch.