With Cornwall For Cornwall

Gans Kernow Rag Kernow

Westholme, Alexandra Road,

Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY

Tel: 01736 331961 Email: [email protected]

Cornish Pirates 28

Doncaster Knights 39

3 December, 2023

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League / Cup

Championship Rugby Round 6


Mennaye Field, Penzance




Cornish Pirates 28


Doncaster Knights 39

Phil Westren

To open their December account, the Cornish Pirates welcomed Doncaster Knights to the Mennaye Field for this Sunday afternoon Round 6 game in the RFU Championship.

Following two impressive wins at home to Caldy and away to Ampthill, the Pirates felt that this fixture, against a team the quality of the Yorkshire side, would provide a benchmark to assess the development level presently reached in this campaign, and it did.

The Cornish Pirates team showed minimal changes in their starting XV to the one that faced Ampthill last time out. A fit again Kyle Moyle pleasingly made a return at full-back, and in the centre Tom Georgiou was named to make his first league start for the Pirates. As for the bench, the name of lock Charlie Rice, who arrived in Cornwall during the week on loan from Bristol Bears, was also listed. He was keen for action, as was fellow replacement Ruardidh Dawson who would proudly make his 50th appearance for the club.

This was a game when the Pirates got off to a freaky disappointing start, that made their task an inevitably difficult one. The rampant Knights crossed the Pirates line for two converted tries in the first five minutes, with the opener scored all but from the start at the Penzance posts by lock Fyn Brown. Slick early play and handling then led to a second try, run in by flanker Harry Wilson. Fly-half Russell Bennett converted both.

With heavy rain forecast late in the game, on an already wet pitch it was felt that the task for the Pirates to recover would be a difficult one. However, with the floodlights already helping light up the good old Mennaye, a dominant scrum by the Pirates thankfully both brightened matters further and lifted morale. The Knights were forced to buckle, and following penalties awarded it was Tom Georgiou who ultimately scored a try to the right of the Newlyn posts. Fly-half Bruce Houston added the extra two points.

The visitors responded when Bennett was successful with a penalty attempt, but the Pirates came back strongly with an intense period of controlled forward pressure, ending with a converted try scored at the Newlyn posts by hooker Morgan Nelson. This was clearly a day when to stay patient and stick the ball up an armpit and advance was a recipe for success.

Unfortunately, the Pirates once again faltered at the restart, gifting the to date faultless Bennett with another penalty kick at goal opportunity, which he duly landed. Matt McNab was also sin-binned when penalised for a late charge down, and to make matters worse it was Doncaster’s long striding lock Ehize Ehizode who ran well and stretched his athletic frame to score an unconverted try that made it 14-25 at the break.

Play in the second half was initially totally frustrating, as the Pirates were unable to get any foothold in the game and the penalty count against them rose. Taking advantage the Knights scored two fine converted tries through their wingmen, with the first seeing popular former ‘Pirate’ Maliq Holden squeeze over at the Newlyn gate corner, and then George Simpson then dotting the ball down wide on the left.

Although play had been stop-go at times because of injuries, efforts from the Pirates were though pleasingly rewarded in the last quarter. Kyle Moyle crossed left of the Penzance posts for a try, and at the very end a determined effort finished off by scrum-half Alex Schwarz registered a four try bonus point. Both tries were converted by replacement fly-half Iwan Jenkins.

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

“This was a game when you had to hand it to Doncaster. I felt in terms of the kick game today, which was obviously going to be a big part in the conditions, they absolutely dominated us. That’s whether it was kick execution, aerial skills, or composure, and we just gifted them time to build pressure.

“There were aspects, especially in the first half when recovering from a poor start, that we looked good, but then we had a spell of penalties against us, including for a late charge down – though not cynical – and a yellow card. It all combined to be a determining factor.

“Kick offs are causing us mayhem at the present, and it is something we have focused on, so more work needs to be done there. It is disappointing and frustrating when we just need to carry the ball up and be composed.

“At halftime we spoke about how we needed to improve, but through their well-executed game plan they kept putting the ball behind us and we just couldn’t exit, and they also won the pressure moments.

“Positives were that we had a young pack with a front row playing against some experienced performers. I thought we had the upper hand there at times. There was also credit for eventually securing a bonus point, and it was good to see Kyle back in action, although as a quality player, but for a couple of flurries at the back, he didn’t have much opportunity.”

Cornish Pirates:   15 Kyle Moyle 14 Matt McNab 13 Joe Elderkin 12 Tom Georgiou (23, Tom Pittman) 11 Frankie Nowell (21 Ruaridh Dawson, 60) 10 Bruce Houston (22 Iwan Jenkins, 63) 9 Alex Schwarz; 1 Lefty Zigiriadis (17 Marlen Walker, 55) 2 Morgan Nelson (16 Rhys Williams, 63) 3 Matt Johnson (18 Fin Richardson 55) 4 Hugh Bokenham 5 Steele Barker (19 Charlie Rice, 64) 6 Alex Everett 7 John Stevens (captain) 8 Ben Grubb (20 Will Gibson, 40).

Yellow card:   14 Matt McNab (39)

Doncaster Knights: 15 Billy McBryde 14 George Simpson (23 Jack Metcalf, 63) 13 Joe Margetts 12 Joe Bedlow 11 Maliq Holden 10 Russell Bennett 9 Alex Dolly (22 Ollie Fox, 60); 1 Conor Davidson (17 Harrison Courtney, 64) 2 George Roberts (16 Ollie Fletcher, 64) 3 Lewis Thiede (18 Corrie Barrett, 25) 4 Fyn Brown (21 Evan Mintern, 60) 5 Ehize Ehizode 6 Harry Wilson 7 Archie Smeaton (20 Rhys Tait, 59) 8 Jack Digby (captain; 19 Adam Hopkinson, 74).


Cornish Pirates – tries: Tom Georgiou (12) Morgan Nelson (31) Kyle Moyle (69) Alex Schwarz (80); cons: Bruce Houston (19, 32) Iwan Jenkins (70, 80).

Doncaster Knights – tries: Fyn Brown (1) Harry Wilson (5) Ehize Ehizode (40) Maliq Holden (56) George Simpson (60)

cons: Russell Bennett (02, 06, 57, 61) pens: Russell Bennett (23, 38).

Match Officials


Joe James


Veryan Boscowan


Mike Woods