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Heads up to a spirited Cornish Pirates side who – after a run of 7 straight losses – completed their home programme with a win that mirrored the glorious Easter weather. Beforehand however, there was a timely reminder of where rugby stands in the grander scheme of things – with a minutes’ silence to pay tribute to the victims of the Sri Lankan atrocities – and the murder of Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee.
The visitors Yorkshire Carnegie in contrast had seen their season resurrected under the guidance of former Pirates’ Performance Manager, Chris Stirling. This reversal of fortunes since the turn of the year, had seen them stride up the standings having been rooted to the bottom for way too long. Coming into this clash then – the Yorkshiremen should have been basking in a recent run of five straight successes and fancying their chances of a top 5 finish. But off the field news would certainly have taken the edge off any satisfaction.
Their falling behind to a try within 45 seconds of Alvarez’s kick off – may have suggested a long afternoon ahead – it being beautifully taken by Cant – whose gathering of his own kick through was immaculate. Javier added the extras with equal aplomb – and a healthy sized crowd anticipated some fun.
They were to get a full on contest as it transpired as Carnegie made it clear from their response – they weren’t here to provide any kind of sacrificial lambs role. A rash of soft penalties from the Pirates handed Stirling’s men an Elder penalty & Donnellan try in the next ten minutes or so – which at least was countered by a 3 pointer from Alvarez.
Carnegie though sensed there was more on offer for their travels. Full back Elder dismissed any concerns from a couple of missed kicks from the tee – and gleefully ran in from halfway after some dithering Cornish hands fumbled the egg. A third try by Thoroughgood just before the break cemented a sound first forty for the Yorkists and – despite a second penalty from Alvarez between times – the hosts looked under the cosh. More so with Bolwell in the bin taking one for the team and plenty of his ‘ten’ to serve after the break.
Today though, any concern about a reduction in personnel for the Cornishmen were to be unfounded. Contrary to the usual outlook in such circumstance – the Pirates were to positively flourish. Two converted tries in a quickfire four minutes – from Wedlake and Man of the Match, Frost – stunned the Tykes and handed the Pirates a lead that had seemed a distant hope shortly before. Robin’s came from an interception from Tom Duncan around halfway which had the Number 8 nervously looking at the distance still to cover – before the winger arrived to provide assistance. Frosty’s sidestep did the rest soon after – and with Matt now back in the fray. What could possibly go wrong?
Dunks’ binning seemed to answer that little query – more so when Niko snuck through in the Old Western to secure Yorkshire’s four try bonus point – and with it a two point lead.
But the Pirates had other ideas and with a one man deficit again – sought to deny their opposition any further foothold. Defence turned to counter pressure and with it a chance for Cargill to add a penalty to his earlier two conversions, on the hour.
The replacement fly half delivered and did so again in the dying minutes – this time with Cant now putting his feet up for ten and Carnegie’s discipline creaking. So much so – former Pirate, Buckle saw red from Mr Turvey – the hooker landing a tasty punch as tempers flared at scrum time in front of Carnegie’s posts.
Carg’s no doubt felt happier than a few weeks ago at this point – more so when his penalty to touch ended the contest and signalled time for the annual cups and prizegiving post match. A much needed win for sure and in the knowledge a similar outcome next week at Castle Park will secure 5th place for the Pirates.
Recognition for Jack Andrew, Beuks, the Penzance & Newlyn Supporters Club, Kyle Moyle & Hog rounded off proceedings just nicely.