Pirates went mighty close

Reports 07/08

Cornish Pirates Archives


Cornish Pirates 26 Northampton Saints 35

Sunday September 9th 2007
Report By Phil Westren

A bumper crowd of 6487, the biggest ever recorded for a Pirates league game of rugby in Cornwall, saw the Saints march away with the spoils after an absorbing contest played out at the Recreation Ground, Camborne, on Sunday.

The Cornish Pirates were deservedly 19-10 up at the break, then left to reflect at the end that they had let slip a chance of victory that was in their grasp.

re-match there was literally a special buzz in the air, a Sea King helicopter from RNAS Culdrose making fly pasts to welcome the start of of the Cornish Pirates first home league match of the season.

The Pirates needed a good start, and they got just that when fly-half Gareth Steenson opened their account with a penalty kicked in just the fourth minute.

It was a lead, however, that was short-lived, as after wing Tim Visser and former 'All Black' Carlos Spencer linked on the left, a position was set from where No. 8 Mark Hopley carried the ball strongly before hooker Dave Ward burrowed over for a try.

It was an effort converted by former London Irish fly-half Barry Everitt, who quickly followed this up with a penalty to give the visitors a 10-3 lead.

A second penalty from Steenson kept the Pirates in touch, with them soon going into control mode with the offensive efforts of flanker Chris Cracknell and lock Bruce Cumming leading the way.

Chris Cracknell and lock Bruce Cumming

The offensive efforts of Chris Cracknell and Bruce Cumming leading the way

Steenson added the conversionApplying pressure at the clubhouse corner, when the ball was swiftly moved left to right it was an unlikely pass from prop Sam Heard that found the hands of fellow Cornishman Adryan Winnan who was just held at the flag.

Disappointment? Yes, but there was consolation when referee Mr. Dale Newitt signalled a penalty to the Pirates which enabled Steenson to slot penalty number three.

Half an hour had gone and the Cornish team were playing very well indeed, a try about to be scored providing no better example of the spirit and determination on display.

Counter attacking on the stand side, full-back Winnan chipped and chased into Northampton's '22', with support arriving in the shape of hooker Rob Elloway who bust a gut to score. Steenson added the conversion, and just before half-time kicked yet another penalty to give the Cornish Pirates 19-10 lead.

During the half-time period a collection was made for Children's Hospice South West, with co-founder and CEO Eddie Farwell announcing the lauch of their 'Precious Lives' appeal to open a new hospice to service the families of Cornwall and Plymouth.

A good start to the second half was just what the Pirates wanted, but it was not to be, as before many supporters had returned to their seats in the stands, Everitt was over for a try at the scoreboard corner which he also converted.

The Pirates response was to build up pressure to the left, penalty chances at goal spurned in the confidence that could take the Saints on and punish them from catch and drives. Such choices have often brought due reward, and although the Pirates went mighty close, the streetwise visitors held the threat and replied with vengeance - breaking out from the stranglehold to eventually send wing Paul Diggin in for a try on the right which Everitt again converted.

There was a certain level of frustration in the Pirates ranks, increased still further when Dutch international Visser powered his way over on the left. The conversion this time missed, but a penalty soon after gave the Saints a commanding 32-19 lead.

A try scored by replacement wing James Moore, who had supported a midfield dash from skipper Tim Cowley, restored hope for the Pirates. Steenson, who in his fourth match has remarkably not missed a kick, perhaps not so surprisingly slotted the simple conversion.

If the Pirates could hold on, then at least a bonus point would be theirs, or more if they could create one more seven pointer, but it was not to be. A penalty by Everitt right at the end gave the Saints what was for them a relief-providing win, the Cornish Pirates left with feelings of what might have been.

Cornish Pirates:
A. Winnan, R. McAtee (J. Moore 59), P. Devlin, S. Whatling (S. Winn 80), B. Tuohy, G. Steenson
R. Bolt, T. Cowley (capt, E. Gisende 74), I. Motusaga, C. Cracknell, J. Beardshaw (S. Hobson 68)
B. Cumming, S. Heard (D. Seal h/t), R. Elloway (N. Kemp 68), P. Cook.
Replacement (not used): A. Paver.

Northampton Saints:
C. Spencer, P. Diggin, B. Reihana (capt), J. Downey, T. Visser, B. Everitt, J. Howard, M. Hopley
D. Fox, K. Rudzki (P. Tupai 52), A. Rae, D. Browne (C. Short 71), B. Stewart (T. Sigley 71)
D. Ward, S. Emms.
Replacements (not used): J. Gray, M. Robinson, S. Myler, C. Ashton.


Cornish Pirates
Ttries: Elloway, Moore
Ccons: Steenson 2
Ppens: Steenson 4

Northampton Saints
ries: Ward, Everitt, Diggin, Visser
Cons: Everitt 3
Ppens: Everitt 3

Referee: Dale Newitt (RFU)

Man of the Match: Gareth Steenson

Attendance: 6,487

bumper crowd of 6487

A bumper crowd of 6487 - the largest recorded for a Pirates league game