Coventry 18 Cornish Pirates 17
the road for a second week running, there was always a feeling that another
real challenge lay in wait at the Butts Park Arena, and so it proved. Leading
14-6 at half-time, the Pirates sadly succumbed to pressure applied by their
hosts in the second period, a high penalty count and two yellow cards not
helping their cause.
who have made a welcome return to the Championship following their relegation
at the end of the competition’s inaugural 2009-10 season, arrived at this Round
12 stage seventh in the league – the Pirates were fifth.
a side keen to bounce back from their defeat at Yorkshire Carnegie six days
earlier, the Pirates welcomed back wing Robin Wedlake from injury, whilst at
fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez was named after being used early as a replacement
the previous week following an unfortunate injury to Will Cargill. On the
bench, a fit again Dan Frost was selected as the replacement hooker, with
Harvey Skinner taking the seat vacated by Rojas Alvarez.
the Pirates emerged from the changing rooms it was ever-present lock Toby
Freeman, set to make his 50th appearance for the club, who had the
honour of leading the team onto the field. Then, when play was underway, after
an early opportunity to pose a threat from a line-out was lost, the Cornish
visitors shortly after opted for a penalty kick at the posts which was
successfully struck by Rojas Alvarez.
penalty from Coventry’s fly-half Will Maisey levelled matters, and they shortly
after went close to scoring the game’s opening try after charging down a kick.
That threat, thankfully, was foiled, however midway through the first half a
second Maisey penalty made it 6-3.
the restart ‘Cov’ were immediately penalised, giving Rojas Alvarez the
opportunity to again draw the scores level, and he did.
good spell of play from the Pirates followed, with wing Alex O’Meara displaying
football skills to apply pressure on the home side. Strong running from centre
Callum Patterson and No. 8 Tom Duncan also forced Coventry on the back foot.
Pleasingly, at this stage, the Pirates line-out was working better than the
previous week, as was the scrum. Set piece is so important, in any game, and
when another chance to take three points was given, a third penalty from Rojas
Confirming a dominance heading to half-time, Freeman caught cleanly at a line-out and the Pirates drove forward. Scrum-half Alex Day made a dash, the advance continued through Patterson and a fine run from hooker Sam Matavesi, and then it was full-back Kyle Moyle who in a flash lent support to dive over for his eighth Championship try of the season. Rojas Alvarez was unable to add the extra two points, but the Pirates nonetheless arrived at half-time with a thus far deserved 14-6 lead.
no surprise, the home team looked to up their game at the start of the second
period, and, under the floodlights and in less than ideal pitch conditions, in the
process fully test their opponents. Initially the Pirates were not only up to
the challenge but also went further ahead when Rojas Alvarez landed his fourth
penalty of the afternoon.
of course, have a gifted squad of players, including Tongan international wing
David Halaifonua and former Pirates and Gloucester hooker Darren Dawidiuk, For
the latter it was time soon to depart as Coventry introduced a couple of
front-row replacements. Also, during this period, after the Pirates scrum was
put under extra pressure it was not long before referee Mr. Chivers spoke to
Pirates’ skipper Brett Beukeboom and a yellow card was shown to flanker Josh
Pirates did well to keep Coventry at bay, before in the 56th minute
replacement hooker Scott Tolmie scored an unconverted try from a well-executed
the scoreline reading 11-17, the home side were very much back in the match,
and there another former ‘Pirate’, in Tom Kessell, now on the field as
Coventry’s replacement scrum-half.
Pirates strived to hold out in the last quarter, it a test for their resolve,
as it was for Coventry who have only lost at home twice in the Championship
this season. Sadly, however, the Cornish side’s penalty count continued to
game was slipping away from the Cornish outfit, who near the end also lost
their leader, Beukeboom, to the sin bin. He had been spoken to on a couple of
occasions and from the resulting line-out it was a second try from Tolmie that
gave Coventry their chance of victory. His effort was scored from quite wide
out, so the conversion to ultimately win the game was, considering the extra
pressure involved, anything but a formality. Taking the responsibility was
centre Tony Fenner, whose effort was struck in complete silence – that’s until
it sailed through the posts to roars of jubilation.
was still the slimmest of a chance for the Pirates to perhaps score again, but
the restart went out on the full and the game was soon over. It also ended a
day when to leave with losing a bonus point was of absolutely no consolation.
at the end of the match, Cornish Pirates’ co-coach Gavin Cattle said. “For us it was one of those gut wrenchers of
a game and one also played in conditions that were difficult for both sides.
Compared to last week there were though positives, such as our collision and
sound defensive sets, plus in the first forty we had some good ball off the
“I thought we did
well to disrupt their set piece but our penalty count in the second half was too
high, which tells a story in itself, and the yellow cards didn’t of course
occasions are a collective responsibility, there no excuses and we have to
learn from the experience.”
Coventry: 15 James Stokes (22 Heath Stevens,
40), 14 Junior Bulumakau, 13 Rob Knox, 12 Tony Fenner, 11 David Halaifonua, 10
Will Maisey, 9 Pete White (21 Tom Kessell, 59); 1 James Gibbons (17 Charlie
Beech, 46), 2 Darren Dawidiuk (16 Scott Tolmie, 46), 3 Phil Boulton (c – 18
Josh McNulty, 65), 4 Tom Jubb, 5 George Oram, 6 Dan Faleafa (20 Latu Makaafi,
59), 7 Ben Nutley (19 Ben Adams, 59), 8 Adam Peters.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13
Rory Parata, 12 Callum Patterson (21 Harvey Skinner, 59), 11 Robin Wedlake (22
Matt Evans, 75), 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker (17 Jack
Andrew, 75), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Tyler Gendall, 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Brett Beukeboom
(c), 6 Josh Caulfield (19 Dan Lee, 73), 7 John Stevens (18 Matt Bolwell, 59), 8
Tom Duncan (16 Dan Frost, 75).
Replacement (not used): 20 Jake
Yellow card: 6 Josh Caulfield (46),
5 Brett Beukeboom (79)
Scorers: Coventry – tries: 16 Scott
Tolmie (58, 80); con: 12 Tony Fenner (80); pens: 10 Will Maisey (9, 23) Cornish
Pirates – try: 15 Kyle Moyle (40); pens: 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (3, 25, 35,
Referee: Neil Chivers (RFU)
Report by Phil Westren, photo, Brian Tempset