Balls one and all
Sport in Cornwall includes two sports not found elsewhere in the world, except in areas influenced by Cornish culture which are the Cornish forms of wrestling and hurling. The sports otherwise most closely associated with Cornwall are rugby, football and surfing.
Cornwall has its own unique form of wrestling related to Breton wrestling. This has encouraged tournaments between the two nations. Cornish wrestling (also known as Wrasslin') is a regional, folk style of grappling or martial arts. The Cornish Wrestling Association was formed in 1923, to standardise the rules of the sport and to promote Cornish wrestling throughout Cornwall and the world. Together with Cornish hurling Wrasslin' has been promoted as a distinctly Celtic game, tied closely with Cornish identity. Helston born boxer Bob Fitzsimmons, who moved to New Zealand as a child, was the first ever boxer to become Heavyweight, Light-Heavyweight and Middleweight World Champion. Len Harvey was another notable boxer from Cornwall.
Cornwall's other national sport is hurling, a kind of medieval football played with a silver ball. Hurling is distinct from Irish Hurling. The sport now takes place in St. Columb Major, St. Ives and Bodmin only.
Rugby union has a large following in Cornwall. The followers of the county side are dubbed Trelawny's Army. In 1999 Cornwall made the County Championships finals, played at Twickenham Stadium, with Cornwall beating Gloucestershire to win the cup. Also, the Cornish rugby team can boast an Olympic silver medal. In 1908, they won the County Championship for the first time, and the prize was to represent Great Britain at rugby in the 1908 Olympic Games. They lost to Australia 32–3 in the final, and to this day remain the only county side to represent Great Britain at rugby in the Olympics.
Association football and cricket are played in most villages and towns. While rugby is widely held to be the most popular sport in Cornwall, association football has increased in popularity. Truro have the largest following; and currently play in the Calor League Premier Division. Truro City became the first ever Cornish football club to win a national competition when in 2007 they won the FA Vase, defeating AFC Totton 3–1 in the final. There are no professional clubs in the county, so most of Cornwall's football fans follow Plymouth Argyle, who play just over the Devon border.
The Cornish Football Association was founded in 1889. John Gilbert "Jack" Cock DCM MM born in Hayle was a Cornish footballer who played for various English club sides as a striker. He also had the distinction of being the first Cornishman to play, and score, for the England national team. He was a decorated World War One soldier, and an actor. Chris Morris represented the Republic of Ireland at the 1990 World Cup & the 1988 European Championships. In 1901 Cornish miners founded the first football team in Mexico, Club de Futbol Pachuca. Originally, they practised only as a pastime during their free time they had while working at the mines. From 1917 to 1920, Pachuca was champion of the league under Cornish born coach Alfred C. Crowle. In 1966, Cornishman Mike Trebilcock scored two goals for Everton in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
One of the earliest references to cricket in Cornwall is 1816 and Sir William Pratt Call of Whiteford House in Stoke Climsland near Callington, organised a match against the Plymouth Garrison, and noted:- tea and a meal in a marquee at 6pm. Cornwall County Cricket Club competes in the Minor Counties Championship, the second tier National County structure. There is also a Cornwall Cricket League.
Due to its long coastline, various maritime sports are popular in Cornwall, notably sailing, surfing and gig rowing. International events are frequently held in Cornwall. International events in both are held in Cornwall. Cornwall hosted the Inter-Celtic Water-sports Festival in 2006.
Surfing was popularised in Cornwall during the late 20th century, and has since become readily associated with Cornishness. The waves around the Cornish coastline are created by low pressure systems from the Atlantic Ocean which unleash powerful swells eastwards creating multiple, excellent surfing conditions around Cornwall. Newquay, one of Britain's "premier surfing towns", regularly hosts world championship surfing events. surfing in particular is very popular, as locations such as Bude and Newquay offer some of the best surf in the UK. On 2nd September 2007, 300 surfers arrived at Polzeath beach to set a new world record for the highest number of surfers riding the same wave (as part of the Global Surf Challenge and part of a project called Earthwave to raise awareness about global warming).
Pilot gig rowing has been popular for many years. The Isles of Scilly hosts the World Pilot Gig Championships every year in April. There are sailing clubs at some of the ports, amongst them Fowey. The Royal Fowey Yacht Club is located in a waterfront setting and was founded in 1880. Its third Honorary Secretary, from 1893, was Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. The Lerryn Regatta was a popular annual event and at one time it was called The Henley of the West. It was mentioned in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 1870. There was a break for the first World War and the regatta restarted with a Peace Regatta in 1919. There was a second break for the second World War and the regatta restarted in 1953 and ran until 1968 when four thousand people attended.
Rock climbing on the sea cliffs and inland cliffs has been popular since the pioneering work of A. W. Andrews and others in the early 1900's, and is now highly developed, mostly around Land's End.
Davidstow Circuit was established in 1952 on the former military airfield and later modified. The track was 2.6 miles long and used the main runways of RAF Davidstow Moor. Three Formula 1 races were held here between 1954–1955. The circuit hosted its last race in 1955.
From 2001 until 2003, the only fully professional sports team in Cornwall were the Trelawny Tigers speedway team, who raced at the Clay Country Moto Parc in the clay pits near St. Austell. The team took over from the St. Austell Gulls who were an amateur speedway team which operated from 1997 to 2000. The Gulls also operated at Par Moor in the 1950's. During the Trelawny Tigers years, a local young speedway rider emerged called Chris Harris. He has twice won the local BBC television sports personality of the year, and was British champion in 2007. Chris, nicknamed 'Bomber', came through the ranks of Grasstrack racing, another popular sport in Cornwall. He currently competes in the Speedway Grand Prix, the elite speedway tournament.
Cycling in Cornwall Walks and Walking in Cornwall Horse Riding in Cornwall
Golf in Cornwall Surfing in Cornwall Cornwall's Sports Centres