Saturday 18th February 2017
Greene King IPA Championship Rd 16
Headingley Carnegie Stadium
Phil Westren's Report
It is 10 years to the month since the Cornish Pirates recorded a memorable EDF Energy National Trophy cup tie win away to Yorkshire Carnegie – then called Leeds Tykes. Played on a freezing Friday night, that particular victory, 18-17, remains forever in the memory, whilst a decade later here was another result to place in that particular bank.
For this 2nd versus 5th contest in the Greene King IPA Championship, the Cornish Pirates expected a tough challenge. Indeed, to underline the task ahead a last win against their Yorkshire opponents had been a 21-8 result at the Mennaye Field in October, 2012.
There were just two changes in the Cornish Pirates starting XV from the one that featured against London Scottish last time out, and both were in the backs. Alex O’Meara slotted in on the wing and Tom Hendrickson was selected at outside centre.
In springlike conditions at Headingley Carnegie it was the Cornish Pirates who had the first chance of points, but fly-half Laurence May was frustratingly luckless with his first kick at goal.
The Pirates would soon score, however, thankful to a speculative Yorkshire Carnegie pass and also to wing Kyle Moyle who was immediately alert to make an interception. It was a repeat of what has been similarly seen from the speedy Cornishman in the past, and after running 50 metres to the posts his try was converted by May.
The home side’s pack provided physically bigger and experienced opposition, and it was a build of forward power that created a position from where a kickable penalty was taken. Scrum-half Alex Davies duly obliged.
From the restart the home side soon threatened again, but the Pirates weathered the threat and would actually score next. It was also a case of another telegraphed pass being intercepted, this time by No. 8 Tom Duncan who trundled in for converted try.
A forward drive, with a number of backs also adding their weight, led to the home team’s first try of the match, touched down by stalwart hooker Phil Nilsen and converted by Davies.
There was no lack of enterprise from both teams, and it was therefore perhaps of no surprise that further points would be accumulated before the break. Given a sniff of the line, Duncan dived over from close range for his second try of the afternoon, whilst for the home side Nilsen also responded with a score that mirrored his first. Both efforts were converted for the half-time score to read 17-21.
Fly-half Joe Ford was successful with a drop goal attempt at the start of the second forty, thus bringing the hosts to within one point of their visitors. However, in a lively and entertaining contest scrum-half Alex Day’s converted try, the Pirates fourth of the afternoon, meant a bonus point was soon in the bag.
Not resting on their laurels, the Pirates went in search of a fifth try, and with backs and forwards combining efforts were ultimately rewarded, with space created for lock Brett Beukeboom to score. May’s conversion opened up a healthy looking 15 points gap.
But, it would get even better, as after props Marlen Walker and Jack Andrew ran in tandem, the latter’s try took the Pirates to an incredible 40 points. For good measure the metronomic May added the conversion, it his sixth of the afternoon.
Into the last 10 minutes and the Pirates emptied their bench, whilst for the home side former Pirates Matt Smith and Mike Myerscough also made appearances.
In a game where the Pirates took a lead in just the second minute, they were clearly in a mood never to give it up. Their set piece was again sound and energy levels high throughout.
There was scant consolation for Yorkshire Carnegie when flanker Ollie Stedman’s late try was converted by replacement Steve McColl, but overall this was simply a superbly impressive performance by the Pirates, and one to make others near the top of the league table sit up and take notice. And yes, it was also one for the memory bank. Cornish
Yorkshire Carnegie: 15 Chris Elder (Stevie McColl 58), 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Pete Lucock, 12 Warren Seals, 11 Taylor Prell, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Alex Davies (Max Green 58); 1 Charlie Beech (Lewis Boyce 58), 2 Phil Nilsen (Mike Mayhew 58), 3 Sione Faletau (James Thraves 54), 4 Dean Schofield (Matt Smith 54), 5 Ben West (Mike Myerscough 71), 6 Richard Mayhew, 7 Ollie Stedman, 8 Ryan Burrows (capt).
Cornish Pirates: 15 Toby May, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Nicolas De Battista (Max Bodilly 43), 11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Laurence May Will Cargill 71), 9 Alex Day (Mike Pope 62); 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Tom Channon (Jack Innard 54), 3 Paul Andrew (Jack Andrew 43), 4 Chris Morgan (capt), 5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Dan Lee (Josh Caulfield 64), 7 Alex Cheesman (Jake Parker 31), 8 Tom Duncan.
Yorkshire Carnegie – tries: Nilsen (2), Stedman; cons: Davies (2), McColl; pen: Davies; drop goal: Ford.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Duncan (2), Moyle, Day, Beukeboom, Jack Andrew; cons: Laurence May (6).
Referee: Matthew O’Grady (RFU)