Sticking with it

Sticking with it

Richard Cornish’s illustrious Smithton Saints career includes over 300 games and zero premierships.

Playing ever since he could hold a stick, Cornish began his career playing on grass in school minkey. Eight years later, he made the switch to turf and graduated to junior hockey, clocking up games all along the coast with best mate Nick Stokes at his side.

There’s been a lot of wins, goals and losses since then, but one honour has always eluded the crafty forward: grand final glory.

“I remember we made the big dance in 2003 or 2004 and we had a strong side, we were in with a good chance.”

Unfortunately for the Sainters, the opposition was similarly talented. 

“They gave us a proper hiding. I think we lost nine to one,” he says.

“I remember we were down five to one and defending a short corner, one of my mates was on the sidelines having a few drinks and giving me a bit of stick. 

“As I ran by I pinched the beer from his hand and had a bit of a swig on the way back to my mark,” he laughs.

Cornish is conscious he couldn’t have notched up this many matches without the support of his mum, Arlene.

“She used to drive me in from Togari to Smithton to train and to play every week while I was playing minkey,” he says.

“She even drove Nick and I to all the away games, she was very involved with the club.

“That’s what drove me to keep playing initially, running out with a good bunch of blokes with the support of my family behind me through it all.”

Now in his 30s, hockey is a prominent part of life for the talented playmaker, driving both himself and daughters Krystal and Eliza to training each week, as well as at least a game each on the weekend.

“My partner Kahla plays too, we’re a pretty competitive household,” he laughs.

“We’ve even got a goal scoring tally for the year going on, we take it pretty seriously.”

Cornish laments being unable to capitalise over the weekend after Kahla went goalless against West Devonport.

“She’s up by two goals. She’s even printed out a spreadsheet for the clubrooms now.”

Excited by the talent in the region, he highlights the arrival of new young guns at training as one of the best parts.

Cornish was grateful to have made the milestone, after a hamstring injury took him out of circulation for the better part of two seasons.

This week, the Saints travel to McKenna Park for a second time in a row to take on South Burnie.

Tall Timbers Smithton Saints forward Richard Cornish has been a handful for defenders throughout his career. Picture: Ashleigh Force.