2 September, 2018
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League / Cup
“We are better than that.” was Joint Head Coach, Alan Paver’s immediate thought, at the end of a keenly contested Championship season opener against the Knights.
A pretty fair assessment – given some of the holes that opened up in the Pirates defence – during a first period that swayed to and fro with breathless regularity. That said – despite the apparent ‘flatness’ which seemingly plagued the Cornishmen in the opening forty – each time the Knights nosed ahead, they were immediately pegged back by the Pirates.
Not unsurprisingly – we can look at the irrepressible Sam Matevesi – who’s two tries, inspired his colleagues to pick themselves up from Donny’s regular strikes.
A brace from scrum half, Tom James and another from Callum Cowell punished the hosts sufficiently enough for their slackness. Charlie Foley’s accuracy from the tee did the rest to press home their clear ruthlessness when gifted a sniff of a gap.
It was the new and exciting young partnership in the Pirates midfield – Man of the Match (again) Callum Patterson and Rory Parata – that suggested a turn in the tide just before the break. The former’s creation of space inside the Knight’s ’22’ – did the damage which the latter pounced on.
Will Cargill’s conversions at least registering a 100% – meant that we had tied game at tea & oranges.
The third quarter more or less mirrored the first two – with play going from one end to another. The Knights were though edging things – and a barnstorming back row Morgan Eames – threatened more joy for the visitors was only a matter of time.
But now the Pirates had plugged the gaps – fingers in dykes-like – and their line remained in tact. Not only that – and despite a Foley penalty edging the Knights back into a slender lead – the game’s complexion was a changing.
With the hour mark reached the Pirates themselves enjoyed some pressure of their own. Patterson went close as a Cornish maul spat the ball out – No 8 Tom Duncan did the rest – to give his side the advantage for the first time all afternoon. More importantly it gave them the four try bonus point – the first – and only of this weekend’s, Round 1 fixtures.
John Steven’s huge hit not long after his introduction – added volume to an increasingly vocal crowd – and epitomised the Pirates resurgence into the contest. A factor that hopefully went someway to helping Cargill finally nailing a penalty at the third time of asking.
Needing a converted try at least to salvage something more from their travels – Donny had little option but to dig out their proverbial kitchen sink. It threatened for sure – but when Robin Wedlake produced a try saving tackle in his own ’22’ the game looked up.
Endeavour turned to desperation – and the Pirates run down the clock – using up some luck in the process and almost bagging a 5th try at the death.
Top spot it is then – albeit after only the one game. But there will be a lot of work during the week to consider as newly promoted Coventry arrive in the Duchy a week hence – buoyed by their own positive start to the 2018/19 campaign.
Brett Beukeboom (c)
Michael Hills (c)