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Having impressively won their opening block of three Championship Cup games played in November, on a return to Cup action the Cornish Pirates maintained their winning ways at home to Richmond in Round 4 of the competition.
The teams had already met twice this season, the Pirates winning 21-14 at home in the league last September and then 62-7 away to Richmond at the start of November.
So, the scene was set for a game that seemingly promised much to entertain but, in that respect it delivered little. Yes, the Pirates always looked likely to achieve a bonus point win, however they had to wait until a try scored by wing Arthur Relton in the 78th minute to secure the sought after result.
In perfect conditions, after Pirates’ fly-half Harry Bazalgette kicked the game off playing towards Newlyn, he also shortly after opened the scoring when landing a successful penalty attempt.
The Pirates were dominant early on, with hooker Morgan Nelson and Royal Marine man of the match lock Josh Williams, who were both making their first competitive match starts for the Pirates, impressing.
William’s’ second-row partner Will Britton also got inon the act, and following a potent catch and drive at the Newlyn gate corner he scored the first try of the match.
The game generally lacked much flow, with too many errors being made, although Richmond’s half-backs James Lennon and Alex Burrage looked to use acquired possession to benefit, and flanker Miles Wakeling was always busy about the field.
Forward dominance led to the Pirates increasing their lead before the break, when from another catch and drive on the right it was prop Harvey Beaton who powered over the line for a converted try that made it 15-0.
Hopes for the Pirates at the start of the second forty was that they could ‘kick on’ in positive fashion, but it was not to be. Indeed, with just two minutes on the clock Richmond winger Zuriel Makele gathered a cross field kick to score an unconverted try at the old Western National corner.
Disturbing the scoreboard operator rejuvenated Richmond, who also showed their defensive qualities before the Pirates at last moved the ball successfully wide for replacement Carwyn Penny to score.
The visitors hit back thanks to a try from replacement hooker Joe Vajner, but with the home crowd urging them on the Pirates conjured up their all-important late score. Replacement debutant scrum-half Ali Stacey and Penny were involved in a move down the left, but it was Relton who made it to line to register his sixth five-pointer scored in the competition this season. In the process, it confirmed that the Pirates are still very much on target for a semi-final place.
Speaking at the end of Saturday’s contest, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle commented:
“This was one of those occasions where our continuity was poor, despite our set piece having a massive foothold, especially early in the game.
“Both sides made mistakes, which slowed the game down, and we just looked lethargic between transitions. The skill error was also high, we were unable to string phases together, and we just didn’t get what we should out of our maul. However, saying that, getting over the whitewash four times and getting the bonus point at least provided welcome positives.”