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Five points on offer. Five points taken – and without the Cornish Pirates having to get into their full stride in this Championship opener. Which will be noted, worked on, but not fretted upon unduly – judging by Paves’ immediate post match reaction.
It would be unwise however, to dismiss Richmond’s part in this highly entertaining encounter as inconsequential. Their early competitiveness & unwillingness for the whole eighty to rollover, amply proved their credentials – if producing nothing in terms of points.
For half an hour they traded blows with the hosts, that suggested plenty. And yet the Pirates to be fair, looked the sharper – as their pace and physicality up front hinted at great things.
Great things indeed came – if in relatively short bursts.
Matt Bolwell’s opening try for example – had inevitability writ large – as Pirate pressure had ‘mond on the back foot from the moment Arwel began proceedings. But this early threat was dampened immediately by Will Homer’s gather & dot down in the Newlyn Gate Corner, before the back patting had been completed.
Ample warning against Cornish complacency for sure – but still time for the visitors to snatch the lead lead moments later, from the first of Kane’s penalty brace. Not that one. But James.
The warning was noted and the Pirates gradually plugged the gaps defensively. Their effectiveness at the breakdown highlighted by ‘Mond’s flanker, Cardew – emerging from one such – sans boots.
That elusive extra gear needed to reward their attacking mindset also crept out from the shadows.. Tries from Brighty’s ‘apprentice’ – skipper for the day, Tom Duncan – and a very lively AJ Cant, settled things down in time for tea.
But a ten point margin come the break still seemed insufficient – maybe even short of what their efforts deserved. More so considering they now had a man advantage, as Richmond’s infringement count, finally prompted Mr James to brandish yellow at skipper McLean just before half time. Wyatt’s near miss just short of the line, emphasising the Pirates’ need to exploit.
Any concerns were quickly extinguished at resumption of play. Speedster, Callum Sirker, marked his Championship debut for the Pirates, with a brace of tries in five minutes – either side of McLean’s return from the bin. The sun also deigned to make an appearance.
With the four try bonus point in the bag – and a healthy four score buffer – the contest now seemed settled. Any icing on the cake however – was undone by some slackness at lineout time in particular. Some bad luck too also denied a more handsome scoreline – Cant in particular ruing being stopped just short of the line – and with no-one on his shoulder.
Consolation for the visitors came in the dying minutes as Homer’s break gifted Rouse with a late score. A bit of salt in the wound perhaps?
A clash of heads between Teague & Schwarz more or less rounded off the match – with both leaving the pitch to lick blooded beans. Any enthusiasm for one final flourish, not unsurprisingly evapourated – and Stevens decided that would do with a nifty kick into touch.