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Who could have guessed that the Pirates had been six weeks without any Championship action? Certainly not a visiting Nottingham side, keen no doubt, to go one step further than their impressive showing last week – where they narrowly lost to title favourites, Ealing. And to be candid – for the thick end of an hour of this intriguing & entertaining clash – they looked perfectly capable of so doing. Particularly when this proceedings became loose and unstructured.
That said – a lively home side eventually run out comfy winners with an emphatic seven try display. A showing that arguably demonstrated their own credentials for a shot at finishing at the top of the pile.
It began well too which immediately gained a healthy sized crowds’ attention from the moment Bazalgette’s kick off was knocked on by the visitors. The young fly half incidently, making his first full start for the hosts.
The resulting scrum was dominated by the home pack – whose power gifted Harry a kick to the corner. Seven minutes later and the Pirates were 14 points to the good – courtesy of tries by eventual Man of the Match, Kiri Kiri & Andrew. Bazalgette’s boot reliably did the rest.
Nottingham clearly absorbed this early shock & awe, better than many onlookers no doubt perceived. Rather than going into any tailspin – it was the Archers who then picked up the gauntlet with some aplomb. Their response belied their current position in the contest as they audaciously took the game back to the Pirates – with no shortage of style and effectiveness.
Before the first quarter had ended therefore – they were back in it and only down by Hollingsworth’s missed first conversion attempt. Tries from Tweedy & Graham in the Old Western National Corner – off a combination of slick lineout execution and backs play – signalled that we had a great contest still to come.
No surprise then, to see the next twenty minute block produce a 3rd Pirates dot-down for Cutmore – a yellow card for Pirates’ Caulfield and plenty of further incident. Encouragingly it would be the hosts that finished the half creating chances – despite being one man down. A missed 35m penalty for an otherwise impeccable kicking display from Bazalgette – and Wedlake being stripped of the ball just 10m out from underlining another impressive Pirate move – being the notable highlights.
After taking our chance to gather breath at the break- Nottingham’s own ambition became clear from Hollingsworth’s restart. It didn’t however produce any points, which would prove ultimately decisive- and with the Pirates back to full strength – their fate looked increasingly precarious.
Boom! Wingman Wedlake cut an excellent line to nab the 4 try bonus point – and despite Notts’ own quick riposte with Stapley punishing some slack Cornish defence – it was the Pirates who now looked to have matters in hand.
Sirker’s 60m gain in territory from deep provider the marker. His impact ultimately lead to the binning of Nottingham’s Hall – and a decisive penalty goal for Bazalgette which stretched the lead back out to fourteen.
This advantage registered within Cornish ranks – who responded by cutting loose in some style. Patterson’s return from nigh on two years of injury woe coincided with this stamping of authority on proceedings. His first involvement created a second try for Kiri Kiri and from this point it was all one way. Cant & Duncan rounded off the afternoon’s entertainment – the former’s try a joy with some smart interplay with the always impressive Elderkin.
Tricky away days to Butts Arena & The RAG beckon. Come back from them with the spoils and who knows….?