Saturday 14th January 2017
British & Irish Cup Rd 5
At Maesteg RFC
Phil Westren's Report
Playing their penultimate Pool 3 game in this season’s British & Irish Cup competition, and what was their first match in 2017, the Cornish Pirates commendably secured second-place in the Pool, plus the chance to still ultimately qualify for the quarter-final stage as one of the best three runners-up.
For this inaugural visit to The Old Parish ground at Maesteg, which was the Welsh team’s chosen venue for this contest, No. 8 Dan Lee led the Pirates out, prop Luke Chapman looked forward to his first senior competitive match appearance for the club, and lock Josh Caulfield was making a welcome return from injury.
The Pirates started well, dominating territory in the opening minutes and unlucky not to take the lead as fly-half Laurence May’s penalty attempt went just wide of the posts. However, when a second chance soon came his way he made no mistake.
Sound kicking out of hand was a worthy feature in the Pirates game plan, as efforts consistently kept the home side pinned back in their half.
After their nine-try victory over Connacht in their last game, the Ospreys likely had ideas of imposing themselves, but were thus far joyless. Indeed, to underline the dominance displayed by the Cornish Pirates they extended their lead midway through the first half. Setting up an impressive driving maul, momentum of accumulated body mass made it all the way to the line for lock Brett Beukeboom to apply the required downward pressure. May, also pleasingly, slotted the conversion.
Travelling supporters were likely very happy with what they had witnessed thus far, but it would get better before the break when the Pirates scored their second try of the match through prop Tyler Gendall – again from a driving maul . The conversion missed but a 0-15 scoreline, which is as it stayed to half-time, was surely as much as the Pirates could have wished for.
When the second half got underway the home side needed to up their effort and seek to make an impact in this match. They certainly appeared to emerge from the changing rooms looking a little extra pumped up, and it wasn’t long before their first points materialised, a try at the posts scored by centre Keiran Williams also converted by fly-half Luke Price.
From a Pirates perspective they needed to keep their focus, hopefully score next and ideally kick-on to not only record a victory but also one, ideally, with an acquired four-try bonus point. There was still plenty of time.
Keeping to the dreamt for script, the Pirates proceeded to score their third try – a second in the match for Beukeboom - however, a penalty from Price then pulled three points back to make it 10-20 with just over a quarter of the game to go.
The match was now destined to end in deteriorating muddy pitch conditions, with the pressure now back on the Pirates to at the very least hopefully hold on to their lead.
They would, including scoring what could prove to be a vitally important fourth five-pointer, a penalty try awarded by Irish referee Mr. Erskine. It came from yet another impressive driving maul, and May duly landed the conversion.
In time remaining there would actually be a fifth and final try scored by the Pirates, and it once again from a forward, on this occasion in the shape of replacement prop Marlen Walker. Replacement fly-half Will Cargill’s conversion then made it 10-34, to end for the Pirates what was a satisfying afternoon’s work.
Proud young skipper for the day Dan Lee was delighted with his charges and with the result, commenting:
“On a visit to the Welsh valleys, the result achieved was all we wanted. We stuck to our game plan, the set piece was sound – with credit due Luke on his senior competitive match debut - and the backs kicked well to put pressure on our opponents. ‘Paves’ (coach Alan Paver) will also be especially pleased that all of our tries were scored through the forwards!”
Looking forward to next week Dan added:
“It is great our Cup hopes are still alive and that we can now look forward to our final Pool game at home against Connacht Eagles next week, when hopefully a big crowd will be present to get behind us.”
Ospreys Premiership Select:
15 Phil Jones (Ed Howley 75), 14 Jay Baker, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Keiran Williams
11 Tom O’Flaherty (Andrew Claypole 75), 10 Luke Price, 9 Matt Aubrey
1 Rowan Jenkins (Ollie Evans 76), 2 Hugh Gustafson (captain, Ifan Phillips 72),
3 Dan Suter (Alex Jeffries 76), 4 Jack Pope (Matthew Dodd 56), 5 James Ratti
6 Joe Tomalin-Reeves (Lee Purnell 66), 7 Will Jones, 8 Charlie Davies.
15 Kyle Moyle (Jack Arnott 75), 14 Mike Pope, 13 Max Bodilly
12 Bar Bartlett (Tom Hendrickson 63), 11 Alex O’Meara
10 Laurence May (Will Cargill 67), 9 Alex Day; 1 Luke Chapman,
2 Jack Innard (Tom Channon 56), 3 Tyler Gendall (Marlen Walker 56)
4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Brett Beukeboom (Matt Bolwell 60), 6 Jake Parker
7 John Stevens, 8 Dan Lee (captain, Tom Duncan 67).
Ospreys Premiership Select
Tries: Beukeboom (2), Gendall, penalty try, Walker
Conversiobs: May (2), Cargill
Referee: Jonny Erskine (Ireland)
Assistants: Simon Mills & Jonathan Evans (Wales)