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Never before has a prop seemed to appear so long – as when replacement Jack Owlett stretched out to claim the Pirates’ bonus point try in the last play of the game – to send a bumper crowd home buzzing. And rightly so – as this latest success not only ended 2018 on a high – but secured 3rd spot in the Championship table to take into the New Year.
The Cornish side’s 6th league win of the campaign not unsurprisingly came – initially – off the back of some excellent rearguard action. Most notably in the first quarter, when the (Scottish) Exiles had their hosts surrounded in their own half and unable to mount any form of incursion into London’s half. Time and again they thrust deep into the Cornish 22 – lead as ever by Brighty – but to no avail as the Cornishmen held firm.
A factor that had joint Head Coach, Gavin Cattle, purring into the microphones post match – extolling his young charges’ “character” and “focus” in the face of such an onslaught. The sometimes misfiring lineout excepted.
The scrum however was unflappable – and the pressure from the Cornish ‘8’ when packing down began to tell as the game moved into it’s second quarter. So much so that when another Scottish probe was forced back from as close as 5m – and was eventually turned over by Patterson to set the Pirates forwards for the first time – Moyle’s opening score of the game had inevitable written all over it.
Chances however was still in short supply, despite the Exiles still enjoying lots of possession and territory. Their progress however was becoming more lateral at best and when the Pirates took charge with half time approaching – a second score looked for the home side looked likeliest. Patient build up across the pitch eventually had the Scots blinking – and O’Meara’s dart over in the Clubhouse Corner increased the lead to 12.
A more sustained approach from the Pirates after the break saw the hosts threaten – but not quite deliver. Sam Matevesi’s burst down the wing in front of the main stand – and Beukeboom’s close call off the back of a neat break by AJ – proved to be the closest towards troubling the scorers again.
Consequently the eventual outcome remained in the balance – until Will Cargill’s 68th minute penalty at last gave the Pirates some breathing space. But could they nail the bonus point?
Some laxity from Scots wing, Mantella – in his own 22 – opened the door with less than ten minutes remaining. The Pirates again remained composed and forced a scrum 5 in the Newlyn Gate Corner.
Twice the Pirates pack asserted themselves which gifted No 8, Tom Duncan, with a try that was converted with Cargill’s last contribution to the game. Enter Alvarez…
The Exiles however were determined to end on a positive and deny the Cornishmen the honour of keeping a clean sheet – earning themselves a lineout 5m out in the Clubhouse Corner.
They came close – but not close enough as the Pirates ferocity firstly forced the Exiles back – and then to lose possession. The Pirates went in search of glory – earned a penalty on halfway – and tossed the ball to Alvarez to weave something special….
Javier didn’t disappoint – as his touch finder was a peach – landing perfectly only 5m out from the Scottish line in the Old Western National Corner. The elasticated dual reg’ prop duly obliged to send nigh on 3000 punters heading into the bars to partake!