|Five Points Bagged At Park Lane|
Park 27 - 35 Cornish Pirates
|Action Gallery | Slide Show|
In their final away game of the season the Cornish Pirates bagged the five league points sought, but had it far from all their own way against an already relegated home side.
Sedgley Park went into this match having lost 12 games on the trot, including a sequence of shipping 50 points plus in their previous four outings, so they must have been extremely grateful that the Pirates gifted them an opening try scored in just the second minute by fly-half Mark Atkinson.
It was a sudden and welcome piece of acquired good fortune, added to when even the conversion, kicked by their skipper Phil Jones, only made it through the posts after bouncing up from and over the cross bar.
Senekal and hooker Rob Elloway, who was returning to the club where he played his youth rugby, were to the fore, but too many mistakes were made as too often the team appeared to shy away from the basics.
It looked as if Sedgley Park's good luck would continue when Atkinson was given a clear run to the line, but it then cruelly deserted them, and Atkinson in particular, when the ball dropped from his hands. However, Jones followed up with a penalty shortly after, and at 10-8 with a quarter of the game gone the Tigers must have felt pretty pleased with themselves.
On the half-hour mark Jones had an opportunity to extend his team's lead, but after his penalty attempt missed it was the Pirates who edged ahead once more when Whatling was on target with his second succesful penalty
Having retaken the lead, the Pirates soon extended it, as following a fine run by Havili, full-back Adryan Winnan and Senekal lent support which culminated in a first try of the season for the latter.
To score again before half-time would surely break the Tigers, but their response was one whereby you had to admire not only their resolve, but also the skills displayed as it was they who hit back right on half-time.
A clever cross field kick was taken by wing Peter Swatkins who offloaded to Riley whose unconverted try made the scoreline 15-16 at the break.
Following the sin-binning of opposing hookers Johnny Roddam and Elloway, both sides were reduced to playing 14-a-side for a spell, whilst the Pirates also notched up their try fifth try - awarded to skipper for the day Mike Burak who stretched every inch of his 6' 7" frame to score. Whatling added the conversion.
Leading by 20 points, the Pirates would surely finish the game off in style against likely tiring opponents, but it was not to be. Player/coach Tim Fourie came off the bench for the Tigers and it was likely he who galvanised the Park's effort as they narrowed the deficit with late tries scored by lock Glen Townson and wing Phil Largen (converted by Jones), that gave them a fully deserved bonus point.
Although the five league points for the Pirates were most welcome, it was a pity that they lost their composure in the last quarter, which is something that cannot afford to do in their eagerly awaited last three matches of the season, at home against Plymouth Albion (12th April), Doncaster (19th April) and London Welsh (25th April).
Yellow card: J. Roddam.
Replacement (not used): E. Fairhurst.
Yellow card: R. Elloway
Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU).