Sunday September 25th 2016
Greene King IPA Championship Rd 4
Mennaye Field Penzance
A new era in Cornish Pirates history began – as the old one had ended - with a win and the satisfaction of completing the first month of Greene King IPA Championship action, with their unbeaten status in tact.
With it came consolidation of their 3rd place in the early league standings – a factor clearly not lost on members of the new administration in attendance – judging by the smiling faces in the marquee post match. On another day – and with familiarities more at ease – Dallas's cow man bag will surely be tossed into the middle of the floor, to be danced around with abandon.
Back in the here and now (or then technically) - the game itself proved to be a tight affair – with both sides effectively cancelling out the others' gains. Such as they were.
But for Will Cargill's trusty boot and skipper, Tom Duncan's 'lead by example' approach – the final outcome could have been oh so different.
Conditions – although bright and dry – were to be fair, partially responsible for this effective stalemate for the first hour. The strong and gusty breeze from the direction of Newlyn, not only had any long white clouds scuttling across the skyline – but almost certainly played it's part, in a predominantly error strewn first period, for both sides.
Cargill's solitary pot in the 5th minute therefore proved to be the only points of the opening forty – and despite the home side enjoying plenty of the important stats - that usually end up deciding rugby matches. A misfiring attacking lineout wouldn't have helped. And the loss of hooker Tom Channon to a bash on the bonce with only fifteen minutes chalked off, only hindered any game plans further.
The Exiles meanwhile were only living off scraps and failing to pose much of an attacking threat when so doing. So much so – that when Pirates wing Kyle Moyle was (perhaps harshly) binned for a deliberate knock on, 28' in – the scorekeeper's slumbers looked as safe as – until his return just before the break.
This status quo was shattered immediately after however, as Cargill doubled his – and the Pirates' tally, early in the second period.
A six point lead was though always going to be vulnerable if the hosts couldn't add to this advantage and soon. Encouragingly, centre Tom Hendrickson began to stamp his class on proceedings and began to make significant gains with ball in hand. Duncan too matched this breakthrough and made some bullocking runs of his own, to promise more success.
The momentum wasn't quite with the Pirates just yet however. Welsh wing – Kristian Philips – gave notice of the Exiles own attacking threat and required a try saving tackle from Matt Evans, to prevent a score of their own. Only temporarily as it turned out.
Twelve minutes later – and replacement wing, Mantella, at last got his side back into contention. A pity then - that the otherwise dependable Carlisle – murdered the attempt from the tee for the extras.
As if to emphasise this miss further – Cargill's 3rd successful penalty moments later ll but turned the game in favour of the Pirates.
Pressure built – and ultimately told - when Duncan crashed over with only eight minutes remaining. Laurence May – making his 50th appearance with his introduction from the bench – coolly slotted the conversion to all but take the game beyond doubt.
McNally's try at the death proved only to be a consolation – but at least earned the Exiles their 5th bonus point to date. Small solace for sure and maybe some payback for denying the Pirates the opportunity for unveiling their new kit – a by-product for forgetting to bring their 'away strip'.
Regardless - where there had been a detectable 'buzz' within Pirate ranks in the opening exchanges of this new season – there is now tangible 'Mana'. Ignore this at your peril.
15 Toby May, 14 Kyle Moyle, 13 Tom Hendrickson,12 Nicolas De Battista
11 Matt Evans, 10 Will Cargill (50 Laurence May 67), 9 Alex Day
1 Paul Andrew (17 Marlen Walker 60), 2 Tom Channon (16 Rob Elloway 15), 3 Jack Andrew (18 Tyler Gendall 58), 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Jake Parker
7 Alex Cheesman, 8 Tom Duncan (captain)
Replacements: un-used 19 Edd Pascoe, 20 John Stevens, 21 Mike Pope
Tries: Duncan (73)
Cons: May (74)
Pens: Cargill (5,43,62)
Yellow: Moyle (28-38)
15 Chris Elder (22 Miles Mantella 49), 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Heath Stevens
12 Seb Jewell, 11 Martyn Thomas, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Ryan Glynn (21 Rob Lewis 60), 1 Darryl Marfo (17 James Hallam 49), 2 Adam Kwasnicki (16 Nathan Morris 73)
3 Lovejoy Chawatama (18 Ben Cooper 63), 4 Josh McNally, 5 Alex Woolford
6 Barney Maddison, 7 Ryan Hodson (C), 8 Aaron Carpenter (19 Ben Pienaar 60).
Replacements: un-used 20 Jesse Liston
Tries: Mantella (59), McNally (80+)
Referee: Mike Hudson (RFU)
Assistants: Roger Baileff & Andrew Pearce
Official 4: Anthony Woodthorpe
Performance Reviewer: Lloyd Jackson
Man of Match: Paul Andrew