With Cornwall For Cornwall

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Westholme, Alexandra Road,

Penzance, Cornwall, TR18 4LY

Tel: 01736 331961 Email: [email protected]

London Scottish 27

Cornish Pirates 38

25 May, 2024

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League / Cup

Championship Rugby Round 22






London Scottish 27


Cornish Pirates 38

Phil Westren

Yes, matches make memories, and memories will be made of this!


In the past near 20 years or so the Cornish Pirates have played many matches, with a number inevitably sticking in the memory, as will undoubtedly be the case reference this latest sublime victory.


So, for the Cornish Pirates, Saturday saw them play their final league game of the season, a 9th versus 3rd contest in the Championship away to an invariably dangerous London Scottish side, who were expected to pose a real threat to Pirates’ ambition of securing a win that would see them finish second in the table, which would be their highest ever in the Championship.


Changes in the starting XV for this game saw Jacob Morris replace Lefty Zigiriadis at loose head prop and Will Gibson selected in the back row in place of club skipper John Stevens, who took a seat on the bench. For his 50th appearance for the Cornish Pirates – a real achievement in just two seasons – flanker Alex Everett captained the side.


After Cornish Pirates’ fly-half Bruce Houston kicked the game off at a gloriously sunny Richmond Athletic Ground, the visitors made an encouraging start. In accustomed determined fashion skipper Everett was immediately to the fore, and following good approach work by hooker Harry Hocking and prop Morris it was wing Arthur Relton who scored the game’s opening try. Houston was unable to add the extras.


It was not long before the already dangerous home outfit levelled matters, with wing Will Brown linking with his skipper, and try-scorer, Bailey Ransom. Fly-half Alec Lloyd-Seed also missed his first conversion attempt.


This was a game that always had a likelihood to be relatively high-scoring, with the early script going to plan as the Pirates were soon back on the scoresheet after Hocking burrowed his way to the line for another unconverted try.


London Scottish were proving sound at the line-out, with one of their several numbers who have played for Harlequins, lock Matas Jurevicius, providing clean possession. Also, when they moved the ball wide, space was worryingly acquired, and they looked very sharp.


A converted try by lock Matt Wilkinson saw the exiles side take the lead, and they were then quick to extend it when dangerman wing Brown, a top try-scorer in the Championship with Jersey Reds last season, crossed for their second converted try. Lloyd-Seed had found his kicking boots, and he shortly after landed a penalty goal to open up a 12 points gap.


Approaching half-time the Pirates needed to score next, and in the context of the game they importantly would. A kick out of hand by Houston had forced a goal-line drop out by London Scottish, which was then ran back by always impressive Pirates’ number 8 Hugh Bokenham. The ball found its way through the hands of such as full-back Kyle Moyle, centre Matt McNab, scrum-half Alex Schwarz, and then Hocking who notched up his fifth league match try in as many games. Houston also kicked the extra two points for the score to read 22-17 at the break.


And what about the second half? Well, London Scottish got off to a dream start when scrum-half Dan Nutton linked on the right with prop Will Hobson who joyously made it to the line for a converted score. That, however, would prove the home team’s last points of the game as the Pirates, despite play being a little frenzied from both teams at times, steadily took control.


A Houston pass found the hands of Moyle who scored the Pirates bonus point providing and converted fourth try, and a next gem came in the form of slick and alert replacement scrum-half Ruaridh Dawson breaking down the left and feeding Bokenham who, just past the hour mark, galloped in from 20 plus metres to nudge the Pirates in front. Replacement fly-half Tom Pittman added the conversion.


The runners-up spot in the Championship was in touching distance, but as Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Alan Paver had expressed pre-match, achieving the sought after win was “Easy to say” but “Not easy to do it”, and he was right.


However, although at 27-31 there was just the four points separating the sides, there was a feeling that London Scottish had lost a bit of cohesion when they made changes off the bench, and that the Pirates would prevail, which proved to be the case. Replacement prop Billy Young featured for his first league game, joining stalwart prop Marlen Walker (playing at hooker) in the last quarter, who was playing his last game for the Pirates. Then, to provide a suitably dream ending, it was ‘Magic’ Marlen who at the very end scored the game’s final converted try, following which celebrations for players, officials, and many loyal supporters present, duly began!


It was all very special and recalling other great occasions from the past couple of decades, for varied reasons this achievement was up there with the best. Also, it was worth noting that with 10 teams presently in the Premiership, by coming second in the Championship the Cornish Pirates could feel justifiably satisfied with their 12th placing overall in the country. Not bad, hey?


Speaking after the match, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle said:


“It was the outcome we naturally wanted, and we did well to find our way against a very good side.”


“London Scottish are well coached with their speed of ball and, putting good spells of rugby together and throwing it around a bit, you could see the Quins influence. We were also aware that they had beaten Ealing Trailfinders in one encounter this season and pushed them close in another, so we knew it was going to be a tough challenge.


“We also knew pre-match that we needed to get up for the game mentally, strive to stick to process, and keep an eye on the prize of creating a little bit of history. They had spells when they punished us in the first half, which we discussed during the interval, so we emerged in the second forty with an aim to slow their game and control the ball at maul time. The hope was that it would help us create space, which it did, plus it earned us penalty opportunities to enable us gain good field position.”


Gavin added:


“To ultimately achieve the win, I am just so incredibly proud of our team,

who have been a joy to coach. They have been infectious and their efforts, which are underpinned by their attitude and hearts on sleeves approach, is something the lads have in bucketloads.


“We didn’t panic, and at the start of the second half you could see the set piece was turning and squeezing them we ultimately got what we deserved. 


Ending the campaign second in the league for the first time is quite some achievement, and it makes us all so incredibly proud of what such a relatively new group of players have achieved.”


London Scottish:   15 Charlie Ingall 14 Will Brown 13 Hayden Hyde (23 Robbie McCallum, 60) 12 Will Simonds 11 Luke Mehson 19 Alec Lloyd-Seed (21 Jonny Law, 55) 9 Dan Nutton (Stephen Kerins, 69); 1 Tom Osborne (17 Will Prior, 64) 2 Jack Musk (16 Austin Wallis, 69) 3 Will Hobson (18 Ashley Challenger, 69) 4 Matt Wilkinson (20 Ioan Rhys Davies, 69) Matt Jurevicius (Marijn Huis, 58) 6 Bailey Ransom 7 Jack Ingall 8 Tom Marshall


Cornish Pirates:  15 Kyle Moyle (23 Robin Wedlake, 65) 14 Will Trewin 13 Matt McNab 12 Joe Elderkin 11 Arthur Relton 10 Bruce Houston (22 Tom Pittman, 58) 9 Alex Schwarz (21 Ruaridh Dawson, 50); 1 Jacob Morris (17 Billy Young, 64) 2 Harry Hocking (16 Marlen Walker, 64) 3 Fin Richardson (18 Matt Johnson, 50) 4 Will Britton (20 Josh King, 69) 5 Steele Barker 6 Alex Everett (captain) 7 Will Gibson (20 John Stevens, 50) 8 Hugh Bokenham.



London Scottish – tries:  Bailey Ransom (11) Matt Wilkinson (27) Will Brown (30) Will Hobson (41) cons: Alec Lloyd-Seed (28, 31) pen: Alec Lloyd-Seed (36).

Cornish Pirates – tries: Arthur Relton (05) Harry Hocking (15, 40) Kyle Moyle (45) Hugh Bokenham (62) Marlen Walker (78) cons: Bruce Houston (40, 46) Tom Pittman (63, 78).


Referee:   Simon Harding

Assistants:   Peter Brunt & Gareth Holsgrove


Attendance:   924

Match Officials


Simon Harding


Gareth Holsgrove


Peter Brunt