All the Latest News & Fixtures...
Without a fixture for three weeks, the Cornish Pirates looked forward to welcoming Caldy to the MennayeField on Saturday, and it showed in what was ultimately a convincing and thoroughly deserved victory.
The Cornish Pirates starting XV showed severalchanges from the one that ran out against Bedford Blues last time out. In the backs Will Trewin movedfrom wing to full-back with Matt McNab taking the number 14 shirt, whilst a fresh halfback pairing combined Alex Schwarz and Bruce Houston, the latter making his fly-half debut for the Pirates. As for the forwards, Lefty Zigiriadis and Matt Johnson formed the propping duo, Hugh Bokenham partneredSteele Barker in the second row, and there were starting places for number 8 Ben Grubb and blindside flanker Alex Everett, who also skipperedthe side. Pleasingly back to fitness to take a place on the bench was club captain John Stevens.
Getting off to an encouraging start, with just six minutes on the clock the Cornish Pirates soon opened up a 14-0 lead. Aussie lock Hugh Bokenham was first to score at the Penzance posts, followed soon after by an interception and run in by wing Matt McNab. Both tries were converted by their debutant ‘10’, Bruce Houston.
The ’Ravers’, as Caldy are nicknamed, looked to make a prompt response, and awarded a series of penalties went close to scoring with ball in hand. Eventually, however, they opted for a kick at goal from in front of the Newlyn posts, that was duly slotted by full-back Sam Rogers.
Keen to hit back, the Pirates did so with real purpose and intent. Houston slotted a penalty kick down the right-hand touchline and, after pressure was applied from the resultant catch and drive, referee Mr. Sellwood was quick to award a penalty try.
Maintaining pressure on the throttle to secure a bonus point providing fourth try was not long coming, with number 8 Ben Grubb and centre Joe Elderkin to the fore before man of the match scrum half Alex Schwarz suddenly burst clear to score another converted effort.
To lead 28-3 midway through the first half naturally delighted home supporters, but there was credit to the visitors for getting back into contention before the break. They had a useful ‘combo’ in skipper and number 8 JJ Dickinson and the experienced Chris Pilgrim at scrum half, and through applying pressure on the Pirates would gain reward when hooker Matt Gallagher scored two tries, the second of which was converted by Rogers for the score to read 28-15 at the interval.
So, overall, it had been an entertaining and competitive first forty, but what would the second half bring? Well, the Pirates were clearly keen to continue in positive mode and their mindset was quick to show. Centre Ioan Evans scored a converted try at the Newlyn gate corner, before Houston, who had been faultless off the tee, scored an intercept try to which he just inevitably added the extras.
There was also a second converted try from Evans in what proved a drawn out second period because of injuries, and at the very end Caldy scored a consolation try – and what a try! From deep inside his own half, wing Will Robinson chipped ahead,gathered, and overall ran some eighty metres to the Penzance posts. It was the final such scoring effort on an entertaining afternoon, which was converted by replacement Lewis Barker.
Yes, it had been a damp and dull mid-November’s day, but with a surprisingly large home crowd who turned up for this contest, the team had rewardedtheir presence with what in certain ways proved a very encouraging performance, albeit one agonisingly short of the 50 mark.
Speaking at the end of of Saturday’s encounter, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle said:
“There were some really pleasing aspects to our game that we can’t fault. Looking dangerous with possession was a positive, but one thing that did let us down was getting on the wrong side of the penalty count. It is something we talked about during thebreak and much improved I think we only gave away three penalties in the second half.
“We had a lot of good outcomes from our maul defence and Alex Schwarz kicked really well from hand. Also, on his debut, Bruce Houston put in a seamless performance and pushed the ball around impressively.
“As for the forwards, there were also good performances, with skipper Alex Everett, who is a physical brute and strong mentally, an outstanding character. We have a young developing squad who are keen to test themselves and see where they are at, and it is attributes such as Alex’s that we’ll need in tough fixtures ahead.”
Cornish Pirates: 15 Will Trewin 14 Matt McNab (21 Ruaridh Dawson, 61) 13 Ioan Evans (23 Tom Georgiou, 66) 12 Joe Elderkin 11 Arthur Relton 10 Bruce Houston 9 Alex Schwarz; 1 Lefty Zigiriadis(17 Jacob Morris, 51) 2 Morgan Nelson (16 Rhys Williams, 55) 3 Matt Johnson (18 Fin Richardson, 50) 4 Hugh Bokenham 5 Steele Barker (20 Harry Dugmore, 60) 6 Alex Everett (captain) 7 Will Gibson (19 John Stevens, 40) 8 Ben Grubb.
Replacement (not used): 22 Iwan Jenkins.
Caldy: 15 Sam Rogers (22 Lewis Barker, 60) 14 Will Robinson 13 Connor Wilkinson 12 Michael Barlow (23 Rhys Williams, 49; 12 Michael Barlow, 53) 11 Mike Cartmill 10 Rhys Hayes 9 Chris Pilgrim(21 Joe Murray, 60); 1 Adam Aigbokhae (18 Nathan Rushton, 50; 1 Adam Aigbokhae, 79) 2 Matt Gallagher (16 Ollie Hearn, 46) 3 Joe Sproston (17 Ryan Higginson, 46) 4 Martin Gerrard (19 Callum Atkinson, 52; 4 Martin Gerrard, 75) 5 Tom Sanders 6 Ewan Murphy (20 Harrison Crowe, 52) 7 Ciaran Booth 8 JJ Dickinson (captain; 6 Ewan Murphy, 79).
Yellow card: Martin Gerrard (17).
Cornish Pirates – tries: Hugh Bokenham (02) Matt McNab (06) Alex Schwarz (22) Ioan Evans (45, 65) Bruce Houston (55) Penalty Try (17); cons: Bruce Houston (03, 06, 23, 46, 55, 65).
Caldy – tries: Matt Gallagher (24, 38) Will Robinson (80); cons: Sam Rogers (39) Lewis Barker (80); pen: Sam Rogers (14)