With Cornwall For Cornwall

Gans Kernow Rag Kernow

Westholme, Alexandra Road,

Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY

Tel: 01736 331961 Email: [email protected]

Cornish Pirates 22

Coventry 12

11 May, 2024

News & Fixtures

All the Latest News & Fixtures...

League / Cup

Championship Rugby Round 21


Mennaye Field, Penzance




Cornish Pirates 22


Coventry 12

Phil Westren

Well, billed as a game not to me missed, on a wonderfully sunny afternoon this contest was one that fully lived up to expectation and was much enjoyed by the big crowd. Importantly, from a Cornish Pirates perspective, they also achieved a sought-after result after impressively securing foothold in the match as the game wore on.


As the Cornish Pirates arrived at their penultimate league game of the season, and their last one at home in the 2023/24 campaign, it was a third versus second encounter against the famous Coventry club who arrived at the Mennaye Field in determined mode. They were not only fully keen to avenge the 21-19 defeat that the Pirates inflicted upon them at the Butts Park Arena in January, but to also win away to the Pirates for the first time since emerging 27-13 victors from a pre-season friendly played in August 1998.


After Kyle Moyle proudly emerged first from the tunnel to celebrate reaching his 150 games milestone for the Pirates, it was he who first brought the expectant crowd to its feet, only to be halted by Coventry’s Tongan international fly-half Pat Pellegrini. Then, in the sixth minute it was the visitors who went on the attack, and this time successfully. Former England backrower Matt Kvesic and prop Toby Trinder were well involved before the ball reached the hands of wing James Martin who dived spectacularly to score the game’s opening try in the old Western National corner. Pellegrini also added the conversion from out wide.


‘Cov’ continued to apply pressure to test the Pirates defence, which held admirably sound, and from penalty awards that then came the home team’s way it was the boot of fly-half Bruce Houston who in the space of just seven minutes nudged the Pirates in front. Three successfully struck long range kicks, the second of which was from over 50 metres out, made it 9-7 in what was already proving an enthralling contest.


Approaching the half hour mark the Pirates had to defend a series of catch and drives at the Newlyn gate corner, with their tackling thankfully superb and there then ultimate relief provided by a clearance kick from scrum half Alex Schwarz.


Coventry would, however, regain the lead before halftime, when, following good approach work from Kvesic and flanker Obinna Nkwocha (go on, pronounce that if you can!), efforts led to their second try of the match, scored again on the left. Prop Trinder was identified as the player who applied the necessary downward pressure, but the conversion attempt from Pellegrini on this occasion missed. In the general process, though, Pirates’ winger Will Trewin was yellow carded for ‘a technical offence’.


So, the visitors, who were cheered on by a large group of their loyal supporters, held a narrow 12-9 advantage at the break, with there clearly the prospect of an enthralling second forty for all to witness. We would see.


When play resumed the well organised Coventry outfit continued to apply pressure, only to be thwarted by the defensive qualities shown by such as home flanker Alex Everett. Then, it was another excellent penalty kick from Houston that drew the scores level, as the Pirates also cemented a positive foothold in the game, their forwards again dominant and there a feeling that if they continued to play in the same vein then a winning result was surely in their grasp.


Into the last quarter, after Coventry’s replacement Chester Owen was directed to the sin bin, it was a try scored by young man of the match hooker Harry Hocking, his third in just four league appearances, that put the Pirates back in front. The conversion, however, missed, and with only five points separating the sides all was still to play for.


The tension, quite understandably, was immense, until in the 79th minute a try scored by replacement Pirates’ prop Matt Johnson put the result beyond doubt. An Aurora Borealis might have lit up the sky above Penzance in the early hours, but this was suddenly now a time when the good old ‘Mennaye’ had seldom seemed brighter.

This was also naturally an emotional afternoon, considering that certain stalwart players were playing their last game at the Mennaye Field in a Pirates shirt. The hope, of course, is that the team can now win their final game away to London Scottish on Saturday week, as victory would mean a first ever second place in the Championship, which would be quite some achievement.

Speaking at the end of the game, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle commented:

“There was a lot of hard work that went into securing the victory. The breakdown weas fiercely contested by both sides and there was a lot of turn over, but we got that foothold in the second half against a strong Coventry team.

“They split us a couple of times up the middle, but we spoke during the interval about putting in a little bit more width and being a bit faster on our feet to get into position, and the physicality was then there to see. I think we did that well and it enabled us to get the upper hand and ultimately secure the sought after win.”

Gavin added:

“This was a game where there was inevitably lot of emotion, remembering that several squad members who have put in great shifts for the club were playing their final home game in a Pirates shirt. All have worked hard and possess integrity and they deserve enormous credit. Also, there was credit due to a new boy like Harry Hocking, who has taken his chance well, and to Bruce Houston whose four less than easy penalty strikes proved very important.”

Cornish Pirates:  15 Kyle Moyle (23 Robin Wedlake, 68) 14 Will Trewin 13 Matt McNab 12 Joe Elderkin11 Arthur Relton 10 Bruce Houston 9 Alex Schwarz (21 Ruaridh Dawson, 63); 1 Lefty Zigiriadis (17 Jack Andrew, 68) 2 Harry Hocking (16 Marlen Walker, 68) 3 Fin Richardson (18 Matt Johnson, 55) 4 Will Britton (19 Josh King, 68) 5 Steele Barker (20 Will Gibson, 55) 6 Alex Everett 7 John Stevens (captain) 8 Hugh Bokenham.

Replacement (not used):   22 Harry Dugmore


Yellow card:   Will Trewin (31)


Coventry:   15 Tobi Wilson 14 Ryan Hutler (23 Louis James, 40) 13 Will Wand 12 Ollie Betteridge 11 James Martin 10 Pat Pellegrini 9 Will Chudley (21 Will Lane, 70); 1 Toby Trinder (17 Vilikesa Nairau, 60) 2 Jordon Poole (captain; 16 Suva Ma’asi, 58) 3 Adam Nicol (18 Eliot Salt, 60) 4 James Tyas (22 Theo Mannion, 64) 5 Rhys Anstey (19 Chester Owen, 58) 6 Obinna Nkwocha7 Tom Ball (20 Paddy Ryan, 60) 8 Matt Kvesic.


Yellow card:  Chester Owen (67)



Cornish Pirates – tries: Harry Hocking (68) Matt Johnson (79);

pens: Bruce Houston (15, 17, 22, 51).

Coventry – tries: James Martin (06) Toby Trinder (32); con: Pat Pellegrini (06).


Referee:   Harry Walbaum

Assistants:   Ian Bibey & Kevin Williams


Tribute ‘Man of the match’:   Harry Hocking


Attendance:   2308

(Ealing Trailfinders, who are already champions and have one game remaining, top the table on 77 points, Coventry are second on 73, but have completed their league programme, whilst the Cornish Pirates have acquired 70 league points with the one game away to London Scottish to play)

Match Officials


Harry Walbaum


Kevin Williams


Ian Bibey