26 August, 2023
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League / Cup
Completing a scheduled two pre-season ‘friendlies’, the Cornish Pirates followed up their 45-5 points home win against Plymouth Albion the previous weekend with this relatively comfortable 31-7 reverse fixture victory at the Devon side’s Brickfields Recreation Ground, Plymouth, on Saturday.
The Cornish Pirates named 10 x fresh starters for this second encounter, with only full-back Kyle Moyle and centre Tom Pittman, who played at fly-half the previous Saturday, named to see action from the off, whilst forwards to once again start were lock Will Britton, wing forward Will Gibson and number 8 John Stevens. One player set to make his debut for the Cornish Pirates off the bench was former England under 18s wing/centre Eparama Rokodrava. Just turned 19, he is on a season’s loan from Ealing Trailfinders.
Match action underway, and with the Pirates defending the clubroom end of the ground, it wasn’t long before they worked their way up field and into the home team’s ‘22’ from where Royal Navy hooker Rhys Williams scored the game’s opening try. He, along with squad member Jordan Gott, have been training with the Pirates this summer, and fly-half Iwan Jenkins added the extra two points.
For the second week running centre Matt McNab was already proving a potent ball carrier, whilst the home side also responded to show they were very much up for the challenge. Full-back Craig Duncan impressed on the counter, and after the Pirates faltered at the back it was centre Pita Radukadru who took advantage to score a try to the right on the posts which was converted by fly-half Tom Putt.
Play was then relatively closely contested for a good spell before the Pirates went ahead once more with a second try for Williams, this time unconverted. The scoreboard read 7-12, which is as it stayed to halftime.
Before the second half could start, there was a little delay, because Plymouth Albion were unlucky to lose the services of wing Kyle Speare with a broken leg. Both sides would make changes, but with the Pirates managing to maintain an edge over their gritty opponents.
A third try for the Pirates, following immense pressure being applied close to the line, was scored by pleasingly fit again lock Alex Everett. Suddenly acquiring possession in space, his run saw him power speed to the posts for Jenkins to then slot the conversion.
Another try, scored out wide on the left by wing Dan Putt, was a maiden effort by the young Welshman in Pirates’ colours. It resulted from some fine interplay between replacements Joe Elderkin, Ioan Evans, and Will Trewin, whilst at the very end – after a spell during which the Pirates had six front rowers in action – Morgan Nelson, playing on the flank, showed a good turn of speed to score, with the conversion this time slotted by fellow replacement Gott.
Speaking at the end of Saturday’s contest, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Gavin Cattle said:
“There were obviously quite a few changes made and new combinations out there, but it was good to see how certain players performed. Matt McNab was once again one to put his hand up, and some of the boys on the development track such as Frankie Nowell also showed up well.
“The second half was a period when we took little risk and didn’t pick up any injuries, and at the end I think we had four props on the pitch. It was also good to introduce young wing Eparama Rokodrava off the bench.
“Overall, I feel the two matches against Albion have given us two good workouts, as we now look forward to preparing for two big and competitive challenges – firstly for five games in the Premiership Cup and then the start of the Championship league campaign that will follow.”
Plymouth Albion: 15 Craig Duncan 14 Shea Cornish 13 Pita Ratukadru 12 Archie Hill 11 Kyle Speare 10 Tom Putt 9 Jack Oulton (captain); 1 Dan Pullinger 2 Gabe Mead 3 Jenson Boughton 4 Dan Collier 5 Brad Hose 6 Angus Hodges 7 Jack Wickham 8 Sam Daly.
Replacements (all used): Tom Cowan-Dickie, Ramaz Rukhadze, Callum Davies, Torin Clarke, Morgan Stone, Phil Jones, Sonny Hirini, Seta Raumakita, Billy Orchard, Charlie Groves.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle 14 Frankie Nowell 13 Matt McNab 12 Tom Pittman 11 Dan John 10 Iwan Jenkins 9 Alex Schwarz; 1 Leftheri Zigiriadis 2 Rhys Williams 3 Fin Richardson 4 Alex Everett 5 Will Britton 6 Harry Dugmore 7 Will Gibson 8 John Stevens (captain).
Replacements (all used): Morgan Nelson, Jacob Morris, Matt Johnson, Jack Andrew, Marlen Walker, Ruaridh Dawson, Jordan Gott, Joe Elderkin, Ioan Evans, Will Trewin, Eparama Rokodrava.
Plymouth Albion – try: Radukadru; con: Putt
Cornish Pirates – tries: Williams (2), Everett, John, Nelson; cons: Jenkins (2), Gott.
Referee: Callum Watson