TimCowley

Reports 07/08

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Esher 14 Cornish Pirates 24

Sunday October 7th 2007
Report Phil Westren

Match Pictures

Full-back Ollie Thomas, who showed an audacious piece of skill to score a fine individualist try in the first half, wrapped up this victory late in the match with a well-struck penalty to make it six wins out of seven for the Pirates to date in National Division One, their only defeat a loss at home to Northampton Saints on the second Saturday of the season.

As Gareth Steenson was unavailable due to family commitments, Jimmy Moore, a replacement winger and last minute try-scoring hero against Exeter Chiefs the previous weekend, was selected at fly-half for the game at Esher's Molesey Road ground, which is now known as the Pillar Data Arena, it a the Pirates first visit since their opening National Two away game played there in September, 2002.

Centre Nick Buckley and young lock Scott Hobson, both able replacements against Exeter, held on to their places as Steve Winn and Chris Cracknell had not recovered from injuries sustained in the match. Bruce Cumming, who moved back into the back-row when Cracknell was injured, kept the number six berth, and there was a recall on the wing for Rhodri McAtee in place of the injured Ali Koko.

Esher entered the game 13th in ND1, their first at this level after being crowned Champions of National Two last April. Their challenge, quite wisely, was one the Pirates knew they could not take lightly, the 'EEEs' a team that has already acquired 5 bonus points & will likely climb the table. Included in their line-up was James Inglis who played for the Pirates whilst on-loan from Harlequins last season.

Playing with purpose right from the kick-off, the Pirates forced Esher to retreat, & it came as no surprise that the pressure ultimately told when the home team gave away a penalty which Moore comfortably slotted to put the Pirates 3-0 up.

The Pirates continued to dominate, but Esher proved difficult to breakdown and were awarded a kickable penalty of their own when the Pirates were adjudged to have strayed offside. Full-back Neil Hallett, their top points scorer both last season and this, stepped forward to successfully drill the ball between the posts.

Canadian scrum-half Ed Fairhurst, playing his second match for the Cornish Pirates, once again showed the class expected of him, providing a sound link between forwards and backs.

Ed Fairhurst

Ed Fairhurst once again showed the class expected of him (Pic Big Brian)

It was time for the Pirates to impose themselves further, the scrummage looking solid, and young Hobson, making his starting league debut, playing soundly once more.

On a perfect day for playing rugby football, the tries would surely come, the opener from Thomas instigated by a flick pass from centre Paul Devlin which sent the former Moseley man dummying cleverly to then skirt the touchline and score in the corner. Moore missed the difficult conversion attempt, but made no mistake when another penalty chance came his way.

A second penalty for Hallett made the scoreline 6-11, the Pirates proceeding to finish the half strongly with hope of extending their lead. In the dying seconds of the half the visitors scrummaged close to Esher's line, the mounting pressure making it look likely that a penalty try could easily be awarded.

travelling supporters

Hopes for travelling supporters were high (Pic DC)

Hopes for travelling supporters were high, but then dashed when referee Alan McPherson now penalised the Pirates, enabling Esher to clear their line and return to the changing room feeling fairly satisfied. As for the Pirates, they would have felt a little frustrated, hooker Nathan Kemp, who appeared to be struggling with a foot injury, also replaced by Rob Elloway during the interval.

Moore and Hallet again swapped penalties early in the second period, whilst the Pirates were weary of the threat posed by Esher's useful centre partnership of Bevon Armitage and the strong running Rob Henderson. Former Irish international and British 'Lion' Henderson took a bit of controlling, there therefore due relief for the Pirates when they scored next, Moore pouncing onto a loose ball and then adding the conversion for good measure.

Jimy Moore Try

Jimmy Moore pounced on a loose ball and added the conversion (Pic Simon Bryant)

To their credit, Esher never let their heads drop, skipper Duncan Cormack, a prolific try-scoring prop, planting the ball over the line from a well controlled catch and drive. The conversion went wide, but at 14-21 they would at least finish with a bonus point if the score remained the same, their hopes ultimately dashed when the late penalty from Thomas opened up a 10 points gap to seal a hard-fought but nonetheless deserved win.

Crowlas interviews Cowley

Crowlas Talks To Tim Cowley For The Cornish Press (Pic DC)

Cornish Pirates
15 Ollie Thomas, 14 Rhodri McAtee, 13 Paul Devlin, 12 Nick Buckley, 11 Brian Tuohy, 10 Jimmy Moore,
9 Ed Fairhurst, 8 Tim Cowley (capt), 7 Iva Motusaga, 6 Bruce Cumming, 5 Scott Hobson (Betty 72)
4 Joe Beardshaw, 3 Dan Seal (Heard 53), 2 Nathan Kemp (Elloway 40min), 1 Alan Paver (Cook 72).

Replacements not used:
19 Matt Evans, 21 Richard Bolt, 22 Sam Parsons.

Esher 14
15 Neil Hallett (Bauberge 50), 14 Matt Moore, 13 Bevon Armitage, 12 Rob Henderson, 11 Dougie Flockhart
10 Dave Hewitt, 9 Graham Barr (Clouston 74), 8 Mike Blakeburn, 7 Lee Starling (Goldsmith 74)
6 George Robson, 5 Paul Barker, 4 James Inglis,
3 Jeff Smith (Alexander 3), 2 James Cambell, 1 Duncan Cormack (capt).

Replacements not used:
18 Mark Butterworth, 19 Don Barrell, 22 Llyr Lane.

Scorers:-

Cornish Pirates
Tries: Thomas, Moore
Cons: Thomas
Pens: Moore 3 Thomas

Esher
Try: Cormack
Pens: Hallett 3

Referee: Andy Mcpherson (SRFU)

Touch Judges: Paul Kimber, Alan Biggs

Assessor: Roger Quittenton

Attendance: 680