Guernsey 12 Cornish Pirates 71
By Phil Westren
For a second year running the Cornish Pirates faced Guernsey in a pre-season friendly match played at the Footes Lane Stadium in St. Peter Port.
The visiting Pirates won 62-8 last August and as expected they also won convincingly this time around, 71-12. However, the islanders also deserved due credit, not only for scoring two second half tries but also for being competitive throughout.
Guernsey tested the Cornish Pirates early on, but following two unconverted tries notched by wing Craig Holland and flanker Joe Atkinson the visitors went 10 points up.
By half-time the score was extended to read 0-24 thanks first to a try scored by centre Toby May and then the award of a penalty try. Fly-half Will Cargill slotted both conversions.
On a fine and balmy evening at Footes Lane the crowd had very much enjoyed the rugby on offer, enticed also with the smell of burgers cooking on the barbecue, and in a contest that the Pirates were always going to win with more than a bit to spare, they were quick to add to their tally in the second half when replacement centre Tom Hendrickson crossed for a converted score.
Photo – Simon Bryant: Pirates’ scrum-half Alex Day
A converted try for replacement prop Jack Andrew and a try for No. 8 Matt Bolwell made it 0-43, and a second try for Holland, converted this time by replacement Kieran Hallett, brought up the 50 mark.
There was, however, considerable credit to the home side, who play their competitive rugby in National League 3 London & SE, and for whom ‘Pirate’ scrum doctor Alan Paver guested on the night, as they admirably responded to display a purple patch in a contest that certainly provided a flowing display of rugby.
An interception led to a converted try for Guernsey scored by speedy replacement Anthony Armstrong, and although replacements Kyle Moyle and Adam Jamieson hit back with converted scores for the Cornish side, to the delight of the home support fly-half Glen Walters dotted the ball down to register Guernsey’s second five-pointer.
To complete the night’s scoring, Hallett had the last say with a try to which he also added the extras.
With support kindly given the Cornish Pirates by the Guernsey Sports Commission, after the best part of a week spent training on the island, and also cementing excellent community relations once more, this match had again proved a worthy occasion, for both teams.
Guernsey RFC head coach Jordan Reynolds has welcomed the Cornish Pirates visiting the island, as besides pluses acquired from game time he and his side had also during the week learnt much from training sessions taken by Pirates’ Director of Rugby Ian Davies, Ian’s coaching colleagues Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver, and squad members in general.
At the end of the game Ian felt that Guernsey had stepped up a mark from last year and he wished them a successful season. Commenting with reference to his own team’s performance, he said:
“Our aim was to bring energy to the game and to play at a high tempo, which we did.
“There are still areas to work on, as is always the case, and especially so in pre-season, which is what such games are about.”
Guernsey: 15 Matt Armstrong, 14 Ben Challinor, 13 Ned Brown, 12 Blair Campbell (capt), 11 Dave Davison, 10 Glen Walters, 9 Malcolm Barnes; 1. Alan Paver, 2 Tom Ceillam, 3 Layton Batiste, 4 Lewis Hillier, 5 Dale Martin, 6 Dom Rice, 7 Robin Le Cocq, 8 Matt Thomas.
Replacements (all used): Alex Mills, Gus Brayah, Bradley Choules, Chris Ahne, Adam Nixon, Jim Elliot, Anthony Armstrong.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Bertie Hopkin, 14 Kyle Moyle, 13 Toby May, 12 Alex Dancer, 11 Craig Holland, 11 Will Cargill, 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Tom Channon, 3 Francisco Deformes, 4 Marcus Garratt, 5 Will Graulich, 6 Joe Atkinson, 7 Alex Cheesman (capt), 8 Matt Bolwell.
Replacements (all used): Rob Elloway, Jack Andrew, Adam Jamieson, Chris Morgan, Laurie McGlone, Jack Oulton, Mike Pope, Kieran Hallett, Rheon James, Tom Hendrickson.
Guernsey – tries: Armstrong, Walters; con: Walters.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Holland (2), Atkinson, May, penalty try, Hendrickson, Andrew, Bolwell, Moyle, Jamieson, Hallett; cons: Cargill (4), Hallett (4).
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (RFU)
Cornish Pirates v Camborne Tuesday 25 August
Continuing the build up to their important home game opener in the Greene King IPA Championship – against Nottingham on Sunday 6 September (ko 3pm) – the Cornish Pirates will play the ‘Cherry & Whites’ of Camborne at the Mennaye Field on Tuesday evening, 25 August, kick-off 7:45pm.
The gates at the Mennaye Field will be open at 6.30pm on the night, and admission – sit or stand where you like – is just £5 for adults and £1 for children aged 5-16 (for under 5s it is free). For Cornish Pirates’ 2015-16 season ticket holders entry is free.