17 August, 2018
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League / Cup
The Pirates’ pre-season progress continued in fine fettle, with a well deserved win over a strong Exeter Chiefs side – that certainly had no intentions of returning back to Devon without the spoils.
The Premiership outfit’s intent however – fell short of most peoples pre match punditry – as the hosts’ lit up a bumper crowd brighter than the Friday Night Lights.
It was no fluke either.
Will Cargill’s kick off towards the Penzance End set in motion an opening, that was to provide a platform that the Cornishmen were never to relinquish.
Kyle Moyle’s receipt of the Chiefs’ kick off return on halfway was sublime and set the home side in forward motion nicely. Six minutes later and the Cornish Pirates were 12 points to the good – with tries from Man of the Match, Callum Patterson and Sam Matevesi – the latter being converted by Cargill.
Clearly stunned – the visitors finally made themselves known – with Joe Simmonds getting his paws on the ball and attempting to orchestrate some action for his colleagues.
The Chiefs threatened – but flustered in the face of some solid defence – highlighted by Wedlake’s thunderous tackle on Campagnaro. The latter only gingerly returning to an upright status after treatment.
Their woes then only increased, when Cargill added three more on the quarter of an hour to raise the deficit to three scores.
Exeter’s quality and pace wasn’t to be totally snuffed out though. As the second quarter ticked over-their impact began to tell.
Last season’s dual registered sensation for the Pirates – Tom Lawday – inevitably emerged from a pile of white shirts in the Newlyn Gate Corner, for the first of his three dot downs – to open his side’s account.
Any thoughts of the Chiefs steamrollering their way into any dominance were quickly knocked down – when some patient approach play from the Pirates gifted Matevesi with a second score of his own. Handy it transpired – as Tom’s 2nd & 3rd tries in the remaining ten minutes of the half – made it a one point game at the break. The Pirates too were reduced in number with full back Moyle now in the bin for a deliberate knock on.
A bit harsh in some eyes – but such is the way of the world when Sir says ‘No!’.
Their management of this reduction in personnel – proved to be a key factor in the home side’s ultimate success – now resplendent in the new, change, ‘Tribute’ kit.
Kyle’s return came with no further troubling of the scorekeepers – indeed it signalled the catalyst for what proved to be the only points of the second period.
With half an hour remaining the Pirates’ tempo going forwards upped a notch. When play came back over to the left – Cargill cutely delayed his pass – which prop, Christian Judge ran onto at pace. He wasn’t to be stopped – and crossed the line with a couple of Chiefs gamely hanging on.
Predictably perhaps, a battalion of changes from both sides – if not deflecting the endeavour – affected each sides’ flow. There was no let up in physicality however – as Chief’s replacement Sm Morley will testify. His clash with AJ Cant for a high ball ended awkwardly – and after a long stoppage – his departure on a stretcher rightfully drew supportive applause.
The final minutes ticked by – and with it went Exeter’s chance of even a final consolation score – as the Championship side forced them backwards at a rate of knots. JP poised with whistle raising to pursed lips – added little or no time allowing celebrations to begin.
Afterwards and sporting his trademark grin – Joint Head Coach Alan Paver was full of praise for the entire squad. With feet firmly on the ground he swiftly thanked the Chiefs for their contribution to what proved to be not only a competitive encounter – but a far more useful exercise for both clubs than recent encounters – as they continue to prepare for their respective challenges ahead.
AJ Cant (blood))
Brett Beukeboom (c)
James Freeman (c)
Rus Tuima (blood)
Wilhelm Van Der Sluys