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Disappointed to have lost at home to Nottingham seven days earlier, the Cornish Pirates revived their Championship Cup aspirations with this convincing Round 5 victory.
For this penultimate Pool 3 game in the competition, the Cornish Pirates starting XV again showed several changes. Maliq Holden moved from wing to full-back, with Alex O’Meara and Matt Evans the named wing pairing, Callum Patterson partnered Robin Wedlake in the centre and Rhodri Davies was selected at scrum half. In the pack there was just the one change, the loose-head prop berth taken by Will Norton.
On the bench, back-row man Paddy Ryan, a new arrival during week who has previously played for Northampton Saints, was keen for a chance of match action.
With conditions bright and breezy, the Pirates got off to a flyer when wing Alex O’Meara was quick to score to the left of the Newlyn posts. Fly-half and skipper Will Cargill added the extra two points.
Yorkshire Carnegie are still in the process of finding their feet this season, however going through the phases their efforts were rewarded in the eleventh minute when fly-half Dan Lancaster crossed at the scoreboard corner. Full-back Ryan Shaw was luckless with his conversion attempt, as it rebounded off a post.
A second score for the Pirates was soon created, it a try of the match registered by Robin Wedlake. Handed the number 13 shirt for a second week running, a combination of sheer determination, strength and pace saw him dive in for a converted try at the Newlyn gate corner.
Play was quite evenly contested for a spell, before approaching half-time it was Wedlake in the action again, this time setting up O’Meara to score his second try of the afternoon. It also took the wingman’s tally to eight in the Championship Cup alone this season.
Play became a little feisty just before the half-time whistle, but it was ably dealt with by referee Nick Wood. A former Gloucester prop, he would have witnessed more than a few such skirmishes during his time at Kingsholm, and 19-5 is as it remained at the break.
Speaking ahead of this game, coach Alan Paver said he was looking for an ‘emotional reaction’ following the result against Nottingham. There had been glimpses, and hopes were high for the second forty. Either way, a positive address given the crowd by Dicky Evans during the interval reference the Stadium for Cornwall gave stalwart supporters a real lift.
It was also good news as the second half got underway, hooker Dan Frost getting on the scoresheet for a second week running with a converted try that at the same time delivered a bonus point.
With the Pirates forwards in the ascendancy, it was fit again replacement prop Marlen Walker who scored next. With the conversion to follow, Cargill also now had the chance to reach a personal 500 points milestone for the club, which he commendably did.
Further tries followed for man of the match James McRae – the flanker making yards aplenty during the afternoon – replacement fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez and wing Matt Evans. Rojas Alvarez converted all three.
News had also filtered through that Nottingham were winning well against previously unbeaten London Scottish (41-5 was the final result), so the scene is now set for what promises to be a fascinating and tense afternoon of action next Saturday, when the final Pool 3 games are played. London Scottish, with 19 league points to their name travel to play the Pirates (16 points), whilst Nottingham (16 points) will journey to Yorkshire (0 points). Before then, and of no surprise, the clubs and supporters will take time to consider and study the various permutations!