Sunday 27th November 2016
Greene King IPA Championship Rd 10
Phil Westren's Report
Played in front of Sky Television cameras, this was a most welcome result for the Cornish Pirates, their deserved victory both toppling the Knights and helping put aside the frustration of having narrowly lost their previous five matches in the league.
With conditions at Castle Park just about perfect for playing rugby, the Pirates were clearly in a mood to perform – despite conceding an early try scored by home winger Tyson Lewis.
A formality of a penalty attempt, slotted all but from the restart by fly-half Laurence May, kick-started the Pirates effort, and they were soon back in Donny’s half to apply pressure once more. Scrum-half Stuart Townsend directed matters as backs and forwards surged forward. Wing Jack Arnott and No. 8 Tom Duncan went close, and Townsend then fired the ball off to full-back Toby May who dived over out wide. There was, however, one set-back, as Alex Dancer sustained an injury in the build-up, which forced him to depart proceedings.
Further forays into enemy territory offered promise. Arnott and flanker Sam Simmonds made the running yards, whilst prop Jack Andrew and lock Jake Parker added the bustle, to together maintain forward momentum. The reward from pressure created led to May kicking his second penalty of the match
The Knights looked a little frustrated, and understandably so. Having managed to derive benefit from a penalty at scrum time which had led to their early score, they were unable to repeat the exercise when a similar opportunity arose. Yes, the ball would once again reach Lewis, but this time he was suitably blanketed. Also, from a further penalty award and subsequent catch and drive, the Pirates defended admirably, forcing a knock-on from home prop Richard List as his arm stretched to the line.
Easing the pressure through Duncan and Townsend, more good inter-play from Pirates personnel then followed, up field and into Doncaster’s half. Prop Marlen Walker and then Duncan looked to take the ball to the line. A converted try just before half-time would do nicely, thank-you, and after referee Mr Makepeace checked with his TMO a try was awarded – man-of-the-match Duncan not for the first time this season showing an uncanny knack of working his magic. May converted and a 5-18 scoreline provided a worthy reflection of the game, thus far. .
The second half started with it obvious that Doncaster were focused on reacting to words no doubt expressed during the interval, as they looked to put extra squeeze in their forward effort. Indeed, it would lead to them opening the scoring in the second forty. No. 8 Jarad Williams was first to make his mark, and when the ball eventually moved right it was wing Paul Jarvis who had room to score. Fly-half Declan Cusack added the conversion and the Knights were, seemingly, back in contention.
It was important that the Pirates didn’t falter. They wouldn’t. All played their part, including with the passing and running of replacement hooker Tom Channon and Walker, but it was Townsend, Duncan and Simmonds who especially caught the eye. The Pirates were in all but complete control, and when penalties were awarded up stepped May to not only slot three but also open up a 15 points cushion.
Fresh legs for the Knights gave a little hope to the hosts, as replacement prop Robin Hislop bundled over the whitewash and another man off the bench, Dougie Flockhart, added the conversion,
Now 19-27, with eight minutes to go it wasn’t quite game over, however the home Yorkshire side had made too many errors overall in this match, and a couple of more in time remaining put this result beyond doubt.
Opting to post the ball to touch from a penalty award, it was appropriately inspirational skipper Chris Morgan who suddenly burst clear from the resulting line-out, his run on the hoof ending with a try in what was his 201st appearance for the Pirates.
A second converted try for Jarvis provided some consolation for the Knights, and with it a four-try bonus point, but the Pirates would have the last say – May’s sixth successful penalty strike signalling the end of what had proved an impressive performance in front of the cameras.
Speaking after a game that saw the Pirates move up to sixth in the league table, ‘MotM’ Duncan said:
“Closing this game off and learning from not quite getting over the line in previous matches, the boys imposed themselves and put in a really good shift.”
“Suffering a run of results that were lost by small margins had really hurt, so it was awesome to get this win.”
15 Sean Scanlon (Doug Flockhart 66), 14 Paul Jarvis, 13 Ratu Bulumakau
12 Richard Hayes, 11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Dec Cusack (Simon Humberstone 62)
9 Michael Heaney (Ben White 62)
1 Richard List (Robin Hislop 55), 2 Harry Allen (Ben Hunter 31), 3 WillGriff John
4 Matt Challinor, 5 David Nolan (Harrison Orr 55), 6 Glen Young
7 Will Owen (Colin Quigley 65), 8 Jarad Williams.
Yellow card: Orr.
15 Toby May (Will Cargill 70), 14 Kyle Moyle, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Alex Dancer (Nicolas De Battista 16), 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Laurence May, 9 Stuart Townsend
1 Marlen Walker, 2 Rob Elloway (Tom Channon 51)
3 Jack Andrew (Tyler Gendall h/t), 4 Chris Morgan (capt), 5 Jake Parker
6 Dan Lee (Alex Cheesman 62), 7 Sam Simmonds, 8 Tom Duncan.
Replacements (not used): Edd Pascoe, Alex Day.
Doncaster Knights - tries: Lewis, Jarvis (2), Hislop; cons: Cusack, Flockhart (2).
Cornish Pirates – tries: T. May, Duncan, Morgan; con: L. May; pens: L. May (6).
Referee: Jack Makepeace (RFU)