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Well – the first objective of the Cornish Pirates maintaining their unbeaten home record in the league was ticked off. But certainly not in the manner we’d have hoped for, as Ampthill duly turned up as party poopers. And then some…
Three points apiece it was then – a flurry of cards – including a late red, for John Stevens – that consequently set up a nervy finish, when a final flourish looked possible. It was that sort of game – bizarre.
And yet it had begun brightly enough. Two tries in the opening twelve minutes – from a quick thinking Kiri Kiri and a classy try from Wyatt – suggested great things from the hosts. Particularly given Ampthill’s selection headaches. But wait…
With the sun shining and the level of pressure lessened, after the disappointments of seven days previously – the visitors responded before anyone had noticed they’d restarted. Left wing, Cambriani catching the home defence cold in the Scoreboard corner. Fly half Bragman converting well from out wide.
The ripping up of the script continued, as the contest subsequently lost any flow and descended into what can normally be defined as an ‘end of season’ affair. Channon’s 16th try of the season in the 24th minute did steady things some to restore a fourteen point lead – but half time felt like a welcome moment. A chance to regroup with both sides now down to fourteen as the match became somewhat niggly.
Which Ampthill promptly did…
Two tries in the opening ten minutes of the second period from Cambriani & replacement hooker, Harding – combined to level things and ratchet up home nerves. More so given Pirates’ Pearson now finding himself in the bin to boot.
This did at least spark more urgency from the hosts as the home side’s hooker contingent yo-yo’d on and off the pitch. Syd did at least manage to drive over for his side’s fourth try bonus point, with a quarter of an hour remaining. But the feeling that a fifth try was required lurked ominously.
The Pirates pressed but – in keeping with this crazy contest – managed to undo their effort. Stevens’ attempt to clear out a ruck close to the Ampthill line went horribly wrong. Off he went after a lengthy conflab by the officials – as did Ampthill forward, Arthur, for his reaction.
Not that this affected the visitors’ intent – who promptly marched up the Newlyn End to deservedly level things. A second try for Harding and an excellent touchline conversion from Bennett, earning them a share of the spoils.
And so we await the commencement of the hastily thrown together cup competition – which kicks off next week at Castle Park for the Pirates, against league runners-up, Doncaster Knights.
The Ams in the meantime kicked off their final home game against North Tawton in some style – racing into a swift 31-0 lead as the rains arrived….