Cornish Pirates 22 Yorkshire Carnegie 12
After weeks of incessant rain in West Cornwall, with two fixtures postponed and not having played a match at home since New Year’s Eve, the Cornish Pirates celebrated their return to Mennaye action with this welcome win, reports Phil Westren from the Mennaye Field.
Changes in the Cornish Pirates starting line-up from the one that faced Nottingham Rugby the previous week saw Alex O’Meara and Harry Strong named as the wing pairing for this ninth versus third clash in the Greene King IPA Championship. Chris Morgan was selected alongside Brett Beukeboom in the second-row, and John Stevens at open-side flanker. Included among the replacements were player/coach Alan Paver and Toby May.
After a minute’s silence, firstly in respect of Doncaster Knights player Ian Williams who so sadly died during the week, and to the memory John Uren who featured for the Pirates in the club’s historic first ever match played in 1945, the match kicked off in bitterly cold but also sunny conditions.
With an easterly wind to contend with, and on a pitch that had recovered well, the Pirates opened the scoring in the thirteenth minute. They had to initially show mettle defensively, however following a counter attack from full-back Kyle Moyle, and then a possession steal and run from No. 8 Tom Duncan, it was centre Nicolas De Battista who crossed at the scoreboard corner. Kicking on such a breezy day was always going to be something of a lottery, and it was of no surprise to see fly-half Will Cargill’s conversion attempt held up short by the elements.
Yorkshire Carnegie responded by creating an impressive driving maul, and one which ended with replacement scrum-half Will Homer scoring a try near the Newlyn posts. He too, was also unable to add an extra two points.
If the afternoon was cold, the on-field exchanges were anything but, as matters heated up and at times became somewhat feisty. Perhaps it was because the Pirates were now applying immense pressure on their opponents, particularly at scrum time. Indeed, following a series of penalty awards, after visiting loose-head prop Marc Thomas was yellow-carded a penalty try was signalled.
Two minutes later, having created a sudden attack close to the left touchline the Pirates managed to extend their lead. Man-of-the-match hooker Sam Matavesi made the telling yardage, with a then clever pass snapped up by the try-scoring Harry Strong. Glancing to the scoreboard,17-5 made pleasant reading for faithful Pirates supporters, and that is how it stayed until the break.
During the third quarter of the game both teams lost a player to the sin bin. Hooker Joe Buckle from Yorkshire Carnegie was the first to walk, and then it was the turn of Chris Morgan from the Pirates, who were suddenly giving too many penalties away.
There was a little concern when the Yorkshire side came back into the game through a converted try scored by their skipper Richard Mayhew, but there was no need to worry as the Pirates proceeded to have the last meaningful say. Attacking towards the old Western National corner flanker Tom Lawday provided the go forward, and after the ball was worked right it was a case of well executed passing creating the space for wing Alex O’Meara to score. It was also, extra pleasingly, a bonus-point-providing effort.
Speaking after the game, Cornish Pirates’ co-coach Gavin Cattle commented:
“The physicality displayed by our boys was commendable, and on a day when the wind was difficult for both teams our game management was also pretty pleasing.
“Yorkshire Carnegie pride themselves on their set piece, so our obvious dominance in the scrum gave us a massive foothold in the game, although they did manage a bit of parity in the second half.
“It was difficult to pick a man-of-the-match but Sam Matavesi has been a godsend to us around the pitch and in the set piece he has got up to speed quickly. Nicolas De Battista had another fine game, as did John Stevens who has been chomping at the bit for match action following his lengthy spell out.”
“Overall, we are very happy with the result – it a good win for us against a strong Yorkshire side.”
Victory for the Pirates also saw them move two places up the league table to seventh.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Dan Koster, 12 Nicolas De Battista (c), 11 Harry Strong, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker (Billy Keast 71), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Christian Judge (Alan Paver 72), 4 Chris Morgan (Toby Freeman 69), 5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Tom Lawday, 7 John Stevens, 8 Tom Duncan (Dan Lee 16-25,79).
Replacements (not used): Mike Pope, Laurence May, Toby May.
Yellow Card: Morgan.
Yorkshire Carnegie: 15 Stevie McColl, 14 George Watkins, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Tom Casson (Callum Irvine 33), 11 Louis Brown (Charlie Capps 25-35, Mike Mayhew 53, Joe Buckle 79), 10 Pete Lucock, 9 Alex Davies (Will Homer 6); 1 Marc Thomas, 2 Joe Buckle (Louis Brown 61), 3 Kevin Bryce (James Thraves 22-31, h/t), 4 Jack Whetton (Matt Smith 72), 5 Mike Myerscough, 6 Ben West (Trystan Lloyd 72), 7 Richard Mayhew (c), 8. Richard Beck.
Yellow cards: Thomas, Buckle, Mike Mayhew.
Scorers: Cornish Pirates – tries: De Battista, Strong, Penalty Try, O’Meara.
Yorkshire Carnegie – tries: Homer, Richard Mayhew; con: Homer.
Referee: Simon Harding (RFU) Attendance: 1,112
St. Austell Brewery’s Cornish Pirates Man-of-the-Match: Sam Matavesi