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Make no mistake – the Cornish Pirates’ end of season run-in is suddenly looking rather tasty on a number of levels – including off the pitch as interest there reaches another decisive point.
This fifth Championship win on the bounce – courtesy of another flurry of tries, including a hat-trick for skipper, Nico De Battista – has moved the Cornishmen up to 4th in the standings. Something many would have discounted as fantasy (and still do in certain circles no doubt) only weeks ago – which only goes to prove the adage “that it ain’t over etc etc”.
All this – and on a glorious afternoon in Penwith when Spring at last decided it was time to make an appearance!
Form suggested another entertaining eighty minutes beckoned and this was confirmed with only 90 seconds elapsed, as Pirates’ centre – Dan Koster – pounced on a loose ball on halfway. His gallop to the Penzance End posts was a formality – as was Will Cargill’s first of seven successful pots for his shift.
Richmond though, were clearly not here to make up the numbers, as their early ambition clearly displayed. The Londoner’s willingness to spread things wide caused the home defence sufficient problems- so much so that the host’s penalty count began to show cause for concern.
A brace of penalties for ‘Mond’s full back – Rob Kirby – deservedly reduced the Pirates early lead to only the point. And with half an hour completed this deficit remained so – as firstly Alex O’Meara celebrated his 50th appearance with a try. Whilst Richmond’s Jesse Liston was bundled over in the Newlyn Gate Corner at the 3rd time of asking.
Sadly for the visitors – this was as good as it was going to be – as the Pirates took charge from hereon.
Discipline restored and half time in sight – Cargill’s delicate chip into the opposition’s 22 bounced kindly for Nico De B – who’s fist in the air said everything – and his first try set his team on a path they were not to stray from.
Cargill’s penalty just after half time maintained the momentum, which set up a third quarter that was to kill off the contest.
Moyler’s 100th run-out turned sweeter only four minutes later. The full back’s initial burst set the platform for that crucial bonus point try. Tom Lawday then took matters into his own capable hands as the ball went wide left and – with at least two defenders nursing his hand-offs – Canadian wing Matt Evans nailed the first of his pair.
Three further tries in less than twenty minutes affirmed the Pirates’ superiority – De Battista 2, and Evans – whilst Cargill’s 65th minute penalty continued to turn the screw.
There was no way back now for the visitors as the Pirates basked in another 50 point showing – but their tenacity in the game’s dying embers highlighted commendable spirit. Phipp’s consolation try in the Scoreboard Corner and Kirby’s accuracy from the tee – at least gave their contribution to proceedings the respectability it warranted.