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After the thrills and spills against the Chiefs last Friday evening – what better antidote than a visit to Brickfields to bring everyone back to earth again.
A tough test was expected and that was exactly what our chums at Albion served up – at least for the first hour.
By that point – the National One outfit had hauled back the Pirates 12 point advantage from the first period – and were most definitely sniffing greater things. Tries from Cornishman, Matt Shepherd – following the break – and ‘A Penalty’ on said hour was just reward for their efforts.
Efforts that had been on show from the moment Stupple introduced himself to my Pirates’ man of the Match, Harvey Skinner as early as the third minute. As if things couldn’t get any better – the Pirates had also been reduced to 14 – as flanker, John Stevens, accepted his fate from Mr Russell – for his part in Albion’s second score.
Things looked perilous for Cornishmen. In fact it would have surprised no-one had the Jaws theme been repeated over the ground PA system.
To be fair – the opening quarter hadn’t suggested a great deal from the visitors as – despite dominating possession & territory – they’d been unable to unlock some stubborn Plymouth rear-guard action.
Indeed when Pirates’ full back, Maliq Holden, gathered just outside his own 22 – and legged it to the opposing end to open the scoring- it had been Albion who’d been making the more threatening moves. They even botched an excellent opportunity immediately after the restart – when Josh Skelcey opted to turn inside on his wing – as the outside beckoned.
The winger’s choice then came back to haunt him as – the Pirates ended the half as they’d hoped to have started – with purpose. Some quick thinking by scrum half, Jake Ashby, gifted Alex O’Meara with time, space and options to end the first forty on a high.
So there we were. Pegged back and a man down. What could possibly go wrong?
Nothing much as it transpired. Dan Koster’s try in their first meaningful attack after the yellow card – not only restored the Pirates lead – but set them on their way to concluding their pre season with a 100% record.
Skinner’s penalty with ten minutes remaining spoke volumes about the visitors’ desire to win – but it succeeded in easing any nervousness. Hence Harvey’s ‘piece de résistance’ – a pin point cross-field kick to the right – which was cleanly gathered by Robin Wedlake. The winger’s fleet of foot, then finishing off the best try of the game in style.
Now it all gets a bit serious next week as the league campaign kicks off against Doncaster at the Mennaye. All rather exciting no?