Kernow ‘oozes with quality’ says Gilbert
Kernow Football Alliance put through their paces at Bodmin Town’s Priory Park ground. Picture: Steve Winters.
12th May 2021
By Tom Howe
Bodmin’s Priory Park will host some of the best Cornwall has to offer this evening as Kernow Football Alliance kick-off preparations for a busy summer.
The Alliance, formed in 2018 to provide Cornish footballers with an opportunity to play on the international stage, return to action for the first time since August 2019 with a behind-closed-doors friendly against Camelford of the South West Peninsula League.
Kernow, managed by Bodmin’s Darren Gilbert and made up of an all-star cast plucked from the local scene, remain unbeaten after victories over a Foxhole Stars XI (3-2) and St Dennis (5-0), which preceded triumphs over CONIFA counterparts Barawa (5-0) and the Chagos Islands (10-3).
The outbreak of covid-19 has meant CONIFA, otherwise known as the Confederation of Independent Football Associations, have been forced to cancel their last two international competitions, with Kernow’s men having qualified for both.
Undeterred, the Alliance will meet Camelford prior to their first-ever away game, against Cascadia at Northwood FC on May 22, with Gilbert telling the Voice: “I am really pleased - our squad just oozes with quality.
“We stood there watching them the other week and when they are on it is lovely to watch.
“It should be really because you have got the pick of Cornwall there, like your Hayden Turners and Tallan Mitchells from Mousehole who are really good players.
“Then you have got the mix of Plymouth Parkway, Bodmin Town and some from St Blazey. You have got Andrew Bragg’s boy, Josh, who hasn’t been involved yet and Shane White from Truro City.
“It is fantastic to sit back and watch them and a great thing to be involved in. We have three goalkeepers smashing it out for the number one spot and so many options up top with Andy Watkins, Hayden and Mark Goldsworthy, who is looking sharp.
“The midfield is looking good and it is going to be a headache for us when we pick the team but that is what we are there to do. From what we have seen in the training sessions, I think we have stepped up a gear in terms of quality. Honest to God, I think we will be frightening going forward and I am really looking forward to it.
“Camelford were flying last year and will be a tough test for us. They are a handful and Reg [Hambly - manager] always sets them up to be strong. They are physical and can play a bit. We want a few tests, not just to turn up and beat teams eight or nine nil. I want to win but I want to know where we are at. We want to go up to Cascadia prepared.”
Cascadia is a team made up of players from the US states of Oregon and Washington, as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia.
They made their CONIFA World Football Cup debut in 2018, finishing sixth at the competition held in and around London with a squad that included Major League Soccer star James Riley, former Canada youth international Calum Ferguson and ex-Chelsea forward Joel Nouble.
Tickets for the tie, priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions, with under-16s admitted free, can be pre-purchased by visiting https://bit.ly/3vUrqur