Photo: Liam Chapple returns for another stint at Town
With the Cornish Pirates’ British & Irish Cup final pool game against Hartpury College called off at 11 am on Saturday morning, it seems likely the new date will over the weekend of 3rd/ 4th February, the main focus switched to Redruth game against Taunton.
It turned out to be a gripping south west derby with the Reds running out winners by 38-22, having found themselves 22-10 down early in the second half.
Kyle Marriott marked his 100th appearance for the Reds with two tries, other tries came from skipper Richard Brown, Rob Coote, AJ Cant and Mark Grubb, with Richie Kevern slotting four conversions.
It was a welcome win following two defeats on the road at the start of 2018.
Not such good news for Camborne in the South West Premier, they lost 26-12 at Bracknell and have slipped into the relegation places.
Dave Mankee kicked four penalties for the cherry and whites. Following this result the Camborne committee have re-appointed former head coach Liam Chapple as Director of Senior Rugby.
In a club communiqué Club Chairman Andy Gill stated; “Camborne RFC is pleased to announce, that with immediate effect, Mr Liam Chapple has been appointed to the position of Director of Senior Rugby. Liam’s appointment will enhance and strengthen the current coaching team by adding his wider coaching experience, player management skills and acknowledged administration skills. His appointment is confirmed until the end of the 2018-19 season.”
Chapple will take training this week alongside coaches Damien Cook and Rhodri McAtee and his charges will be looking for the support of a big home crowd against Weston-super-Mare on Saturday (2.30 pm KO).
Launceston maintained their third place in Tribute South West 1West after a 29-5 win at North Petherton.
In London 1 South, defeat for London Cornish at Thurrock 24-15. Claude Springer and Rich Stephens scored tries for the exiles with George Kimmins kicking the other points.
In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Ives march on at the top after another win this time over Paignton 29-7. Tom Nicholas, Sam Carter, Harry Parton and Lewis Thomas were among the tries.
Wadebridge Camels edged a tight affair at Truro 12-10. Will Pengelly and Jack Scott scored tries for the Camels with Joe Pretty crucially getting a conversion. Ollie Seagrove and Jack Hazelton scored unconverted tries for Truro.
Falmouth did their survival chances a power of good with a 38-12 win at Burnham.
AJ Geach, Tom Simmonds, Matt Poole, Dan Goodwin, Tom Edmonds and Seb Firth scored the Eagles’ tries with Edmonds kicked four conversions.
St. Austell’s game at Torquay Athletic was abandoned six minutes from time following an injury to a Torquay player. Tics led 21-15 at that point.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Penryn battled to a 6-0 win at Bude thanks to a couple of Tom Townsend penalties.
Lanner beat Hayle 8-3. James Carpenter scored the only try of the game with Nick Prout kicking a penalty for the Falcons. Dan Lello’s penalty gave Hayle a losing bonus point.
Saltash’s game at Tavistock and Pirates Amateurs game at Wessex were both postponed.
Sunday coming Cornwall U.20s play a warm up game against Devon at the Brickfields.
Devon defeated Gloucestershire at North Tawton on Sunday 21-7 in another warm up game.
Cornwall open their Jason Leonard Cup campaign against Gloucestershire at Cinderford on 11th February 1 pm.
Cornwall Senior Ladies held trials last weekend at both Launceston RC and Truro College looking to pick a squad for the Gill Burns Cup competition.
Finally sad news with the death announced last week of Gerald Luke. Gerald was a fine player for Penzance & Newlyn playing in the centre, also for Cornwall for whom he gained 40 caps. He played in four county semi-finals and the 1958 county final for Cornwall against Warwickshire lost 16-8 at Coundon Road Coventry.
Whilst at St. Luke’s College, Exeter, he was part of the side that won the final of the Middlesex 7’s in 1957 against London Welsh.
He also played for the combined Cornwall & Devon side, in a centre partnership with Harold Stevens, that drew 3-3 with the Wallabies at Home Park Plymouth in 1963.
In 1959 he was involved in an England Trial Match at Banbury, sadly an injury curtailed his involvement, and there was never a subsequent call up.
Photo: Sam Matavesi made his first start for the Cornish Pirates in Ulster
Cornish Pirates hopes of progression in this the final season of the British Irish Cup hang by a thread ahead of their final pool match against Hartpury College on Saturday, kick-off 2 pm.
It follows their loss at Ulster A on Friday evening 25-14; they will hope that other results go their way in their bid to secure one of the best three runners-up berths.
Pirates’ try was scored by Alex O’Meara with the trusty boot of Laurence May landing three penalties.
On Saturday, the foul weather accounted for many games in Cornwall.
Redruth travelled to Worthing in National League 2 South ending up on the wrong side of a 46-43 score-line!
For the second week running the Reds picked up a couple of bonus points on the road, but wins are proving hard to bring home this season.
The Reds tries were scored by AJ Cant, Shaun Buzza, Brad Howe, Pale Nonu, Mark Grubb and Richie Kevern, who also landed five conversions and a penalty.
Redruth play their first game of 2018 at the Rec this Saturday when they entertain Taunton (2 pm).
In the South West Premier, Camborne managed to stage their game against promotion chasing Bournemouth at a soaked Recreation Ground.
It boiled down in the conditions to the side that held it’s discipline and took it’s chances, Bournemouth did, and won, Camborne didn’t, and lost!
The visitors, playing down the slope first half ground out a 13-0 advantage at the break, with conditions worsening by the minute during the second half, the only score of the half came right at the end when skipper Jon Drew was driven over and Dave Mankee kicked the conversion for a losing bonus point in a 7-13 score-line.
The result leaves Town hovering just above the relegation places, with their next game at Bracknell likely to be a pivotal one.
In Tribute South West 1 West, Launceston defeated Newent 29-7 at Polson Bridge to move above their visitors into third place in the table.
The game was very bad tempered with each side having a player red carded and numerous stoppages for fights breaking out!
When rugby was played the Cornish All Blacks scored tries through Lloyd Duke (2), Torin Clarke, and Ben Hawke with Dan Pearce kicking the other points.
In London 1 South, London Cornish had a very good win against Gravesend. Matt Chambers (2), Matt Hakes and Tom Homan scored the tries with skipper George Kimmins kicking three conversions and a penalty.
In the Tribute Western Counties West, leaders St. Ives maintained their top spot with a bonus point win at rejuvenated Sidmouth 29-25.
Leigh Hocking (2), Chris Quick, Rob Elloway and Jamie Prisk scored the tries with Rhys Brownfield kicking a couple of penalties.
St. Austell clearly hadn’t digest defeat the previous week at St. Ives as they went down to second defeat in a row at home to struggling Tiverton 18-15.
Despite tries from Ben Chenoweth and Andy Inch and points from the boot of Liam Freeman, a late Tivvy penalty sealed the shock win.
Wadebridge Camels had a fine win at home against Torquay Athletic 43-5. Will Pengelly and Dom Hawkey each scored two tries with Cody Armstrong, Joe Pretty and Gary Gynn also touching down. Danny Thomas added four conversions.
The game between Falmouth and Truro was postponed.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, only one game involving Cornish sides survived, Hayle travelled to Honiton only to lose 33-3, Lello with their sole points.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, leaders Liskeard-Looe won 44-0 at Roseland to maintain top spot.
In Tribute Cornwall 2, Lankelly-Fowey defeated Stithians in a close game 29-22 to stay at the top.
With the RFU Championship having a week off it was Redruth who had to billing this week, however the script didn’t quite go to plan for Redruth in their first game of the New Year as they came up short 33-28 against bottom of the table Wimbledon, in National League 2 South, a side that had previously won only once this season.
Illness (flu) struck the squad on the morning of the game resulting in some unable to travel resulting with just four players available on the bench, including head coach Pale Nonu.
Wimbledon got off to a fine start with an early try scored by Nial McSweeney with James Doe adding the first for his four conversions.
Redruth levelled the scores soon after when prop Loma Kivalu crashed over with Richie Kevern kicking the extras.
The London side were keen to move the ball wide and were rewarded when Matt Gilbert rounded off a good move.
Wimbledon continued to press scoring a third try from a catch-and-drive through Dylan Flashman, Doe converted both scores leaving the Reds up against it.
To their credit Redruth raised their game to score before half-time through lock Shaun Buzza with Kevern again on the money with the conversion, leaving the visitors 21-14 in arrears.
Wimbledon proceeded to make the game seemingly safe early in the second half with two quick scores through Rhys Morgan and Charlie Esam with Doe adding a fourth conversion to stretch their advantage to nineteen points.
Redruth brought on prop Craig Williams for a welcome return following injury and with the home pack tiring in the final quarter the Reds began to take the initiative.
Nonu crashed over for Redruth’s third try with Kivalu getting his second try of the game soon after following good play from scrum half Jack Oulton. Kevern added the extras to both scores to gives the Reds a couple on bonus points. Despite pressing until the final whistle Redruth couldn’t manufacture a winning score.
After the game Nonu said there were no excuses. “We have to be more clinical when we travel, we have a good group of players who are good enough to step up when required.”
Redruth are on the road again this Saturday coming when they travel to Worthing.
Camborne made the trip to Rackerhayes to face Newton Abbot in the South West Premier, despite leading 16-5 at half-time Town lost their way during the second half as the home side scored three converted tries without reply.
Jake Champion kicked three penalties and converted Declan Matthews’ try for the Cherry and Whites but when the fly-half failed to appear for the second half, and with no backs on the bench, Town were up against it having to re-jig the side.
In Tribute South West 1 West, Launceston got their New Year off to a flying start with a 47-14 win against Matson at Polson Bridge. Dan Pearce bagged four tries and kicked two conversions and a penalty. Shaun Crawford, Brandon Rowley and Fred Bulut scored the other tries.
The Cornish All Blacks stay in fourth place and with third place Newent next up again at Polson next week will be aiming to move up to third.
In London 1 South, London Cornish slipped to a 13-10 defeat at Cobham, a disappointing defeat to start the New Year. Matt Chambers scored their only try converted by George Kimmins who also landed a penalty.
In Tribute Western Counties West, match of the day was unquestionably the clash at Alexandra Road when first placed St. Ives took on their nearest challengers St. Austell.
In the end, after an epic battle, the Hakes edged the Saints 23-17 to remain firmly in charge at the top.
Lewis Thomas, Rhys Brownfield and Jamie Prisk scored first half tries for St. Ives who led 15-14 at half-time. George Knowles with a try and three penalties from the boot of Liam Freeman accounted for the visitors’ half-time tally.
Freeman and Brownfield traded second half penalties before Rob Elloway’s bonus point try settled it.
Truro lost at home to Devonport Services 17-47, a result that puts the Services above St. Austell in the table.
Eggy Williams scored 12 points with a try, 2 conversions and a penalty, with Darren Jacques scoring the other try.
Wadebridge Camels drew 19-all at Tiverton, with Ben Humber and Jamie Grubb scoring tries and Dan Thomas kicking three penalties.
Falmouth had another good win this time at Torquay Athletic 33-29. Tom Edmonds (2), Tom Simmons, Seb Firth and Justyn Irons scored the tries with Irons kicking four conversions. The win sees the Eagles move away from the relegation places.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Saltash continue to forge ahead at the top following their 39-10 win at Moorlands against Plymstock.
Will Morton bagged a hat-trick of tries with Lewis Wells, Kieran Down, James Moriarty and Ryan Cruickshanks also dotting down. Down and Harrison Reburn each kicked a conversion.
Penryn lost ground as they went down to second placed Wellington 24-10. Andrew Seviour kicked a penalty with Chris Hellier scoring a try converted by Nathan Strick.
Bude lost at home 17-20, despite leading visiting Honiton 17-3 after 60 minutes!
Angus Hodges, Simon Jeffrey and Matt Williams scored tries for the North Cornwall side with Ollie Denford kicking a conversion.
Flu-stricken Pirates Amateurs put up a brave fight at Torrington but went down 17-10, a welcome win for the North Devon side. Mike Roach and Sam Coogan with the Amateurs tries gave them a losing bonus point.
Hayle went down at Withycombe 20-9. Dan Lelo kicked their points.
The match between Wessex and Lanner was postponed.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, Liskeard-Looe as expected are the early pace-setters after their 50-8 win at home to Veor.
In Tribute Cornwall 2, Lankelly-Fowey head the table after seeing off Redruth Albany 44-7.
Redruth returned home from their trip to Coventry with a valuable four points following their 21-11 win at Broadstreet in National League 2 South.
They will probably feel a little disappointed that they couldn’t manage to score a fourth try and bag the bonus point.
Tries were scored by Shaun Buzza, Jack Simmons and Dean Bonds, with Richie Kevern kicking all three conversions.
The win sees the Reds back up to sixth place ahead of Saturday’s Christmas derby with Barnstaple at the Recreation Ground 2 pm.
Camborne beat Brixham 33-13 in South West Premier, see the previous blog entry of my chat with Damien Cook for more on the game.
In Tribute South West 1 West, a fine win for Launceston at Polson Bridge as they defeated Thornbury 47-0. The Cornish All Blacks scored seven tries with Dan Pearce getting a hat-trick of tries and kicking six conversions. Other tries came from Torin Clarke, Marc Williams, Jon Dawe and skipper Lloyd Duke.
In London 1 South, London Cornish couldn’t quite overcome high-flyers CS Rugby 1863 despite their visitors playing most of the game with just 14 men following a red card. Cornish trailed 0-20 at one stage before rallying to snatch a losing bonus point with tries from Tom Jeffery and Elliot Cave both converted by skipper George Kimmins. It ended 14-20 to CS Rugby 1863.
In Tribute Western Counties West, St. Ives had a fine win at Wadebridge Camels 24-15 to maintain their top spot going into the New Year.
Hakes scored tries through Tom Chandler, Liam Jolly and Martyn Lawrence with Rhys Brownfield kicking a conversion. Paul Thirlby added a two further conversions and also a penalty
For the Camels, Adam Collings and Jack Scott scored tries with Danny Thomas kicking a conversion and a penalty.
St. Austell kept the pressure on the Hakes with a 21-12 win at Tregorrick against Paignton. Ben Chenoweth, Shane Johns and Mark Martin scored their tries all three bettered by Liam Freeman.
Falmouth had a very welcome win against fellow strugglers Tiverton 19-17 at the Rec. Tom Spiller, Tom Job and AJ Geach scored the Eagles’ tries with Justyn Irons kicking two conversions.
Truro lost at Crediton 27-18, props Darren Jacques and Ollie Seagrove scored their tries with “Eggy” Williams kicking the other points.
In Tribute Cornwall & Devon league, Saltash maintained their top spot with a 52-0 win at Plymouth Argaum. Ryan Cruickshanks and Will Morton both scored a brace of tries.
Penryn stay third after their 74-0 demolition of Torrington. James Salisbury, Josh Chambers and Ben Birkett all bagged two tries.
Bude won the Cornish derby at Hayle 52-26. Angus Hodges and Hammond scored a couple of tries each for the North Cornwall side as did Rob Goodman for Hayle, who got a try bonus point of their own.
Lanner went down at St. Day to Wellington 36-21 Jack Kessell and Adam Harris (2) scored their tries all three converted by Nick Prout who has rejoined the club after a brief spell at Truro.
Pirates Amateurs saw off Tavistock 34-29 at the Mennaye. Sam Heath (2), Mike Roach, Morgan Hillman and Sam Coogan scored the Ams’ tries, with Steve Evans’ boot accounting for the other points.
Saltash will once again represent Cornwall in this season’s RFU Senior Vase, they will play Withycombe on Saturday 10th February.
St. Austell will host Devonport Services on the same day in the RFU Intermediate Cup.
Congratulations to Cornwall U.18s who defeated Somerset up at Weston Hornets to complete another unbeaten season. Good luck to all those who get selected for the Divisional games.
Well done to Jack Nowell for being elected BBC South West Sports Personality of the Year for a second time.
This is my last entry before Christmas so I wish “One & All” a very Merry Christmas, Nadelik Lowen.
Photo: Alan Paver enjoyed a good trundle round the park in his 357th game for the Pirates
Cornish Pirates 38 Scarlets Premiership Select 10
Keen for a positive response following their 18-10 British & Irish Cup defeat away to Scarlets Premiership Select just six days earlier, the Cornish Pirates conjured up just that, to record this emphatic home tie victory. Importantly, the win also keeps them still top of Pool 5, albeit on points difference, reports Pirates’ Media Officer Phil Westren.
The Cornish Pirates showed a number personnel changes from the team that succumbed in Wales, including returns to action for full-back Toby May, centre Nicolas De Battista, and flanker Rupert Cooper. Player-coach Alan Paver started at loose-head prop, whilst named on the bench was former Scotland under 20s prop Jack Owlett. Dual-registered with Exeter Chiefs, he would make his debut appearance for the Pirates.
Home supporters also welcomed the opportunity to applaud Canadian international Matt Evans, who, on his second match since returning to fitness, was first out of the changing rooms, ready to make his 100th appearance for the club. Sadly, though, in a less than ideal start the Pirates, they not only lost his services because of injury but also in just the fourth minute leaked seven points, through a try scored by Scarlets centre Ioan Nicholas and a conversion kicked by fly-half Jacob Botica.
The Welsh visitors continued to menace at the Mennaye, with a Botica penalty extending their lead before a more evenly contested affair then ensued.
It was felt that first points before the break would help the Pirates cause, and they managed just that on 35 minutes, No. 8 Tom Duncan identified as a try-scorer and fly-half Laurence May adding the extras. A 7-10 scoreline left it still all to play for.
During the interval former Wales coach and ex Scarlets favourite Gareth Jenkins kindly made the 50/50 Draw, lucky winner Nick appreciating a worthy financial bonus, just before Christmas!
The Pirates started the second period full of purpose, with their clinically refined focus also given an assist when visiting skipper Shaun Evans was shown ‘yellow’. In the process, including time sat in his soggy sin bin seat, his side leaked a second try registered by Duncan, and then a converted score for centre Nicolas De Battista. A bonus-point-providing fourth try was surely now in sight, and it delivered on the hour mark by replacement Pete Laverick. Mr Paver, at the age of 40, who was making appearance ‘357’ in a Pirates shirt, was also now happy to end his cameo performance – with a bow.
The mood of this match had well and truly changed, backs and forwards making light of the difficult conditions and the Pirates displaying fire in their bellies. Replacement lock Toby Freeman was clearly relishing his gallop around the paddock, whilst Alex Day also had an extra spark in his step.
A 72nd minute converted try by Day appeared to put the result beyond doubt, with victory then sealed when his half-back partner Cargill crossed at the scoreboard corner. May’s extra two points made it 38-10, a result few would have dreamed of at half-time, but it one richly deserved. It might have been the end of a dull and damp afternoon, however under the floodlights at the Mennaye there were beaming smiles aplenty.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Toby May (Will Cargill 67), 14 Matt Evans (Pete Laverick 4), 13 Dan Koster, 12 Nicolas De Battista, 11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Laurence May, 9 Mike Pope (Alex Day 49); 1 Alan Paver (Jack Owlett 60), 2 Dan Frost (James Fish 60), 3 Christian Judge, 4 Chris Morgan (c), 5 Brett Beukeboom (Toby Freeman h/t), 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 Rupert Cooper, 8 Tom Duncan (Tom Lawday 67).
Scarlets Premiership Select: 15 Tom Prydie (Jack Maynard 61), 14 Tom Rogers (Billy McBryde 67), 13 Ioan Nicholas, 12 Tom Hughes, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Jacob Botica, 9 Alex Schwarz (Gareth George 71); 1 Rhys Fawcett (Steffan Thomas 67), 2 Taylor Davies, 3 Javan Sebastian (Scott Jenkins 67), 4 Chris Long, 5 Joe Powell, 6 Lewis Ellis-Jones (Thomas Ellis 71), 7 Dan Davis (Dafydd Hughes 61), 8 Shaun Evans (c).
Yellow card: Shaun Evans.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Duncan (2), De Battista, Laverick, Day, Cargill; cons: Laurence May (4).
Camborne served up a festive treat for their supporters in their final South West Premier League game of 2017 as they completed a league double against Brixham with a 33-13 win.
It was the Cherry and Whites best performance of the season at home and backed up their win last week at Hornets.
The quality of the tries was top draw. Jordan Rose finishing off a fine move after a fine burst from scrum-half Rhodri McAtee and centre Josh Semmens for try number 1.
Centre Jake Champion took his chance as the Brixham defence parted like a shoal of startled fish for try number 2.
Matt Blee dived in the corner soon after half-time following good work from replacement scrum-half Taron Peacock for try number 3, before the pick of the scores came from try number 4 as full back Harvey Bell rounded off some delightful play from Peacock.
The final try was scored by No.8 Kieran Westlake, who had an excellent game throughout, with Brixham feeling frustrated having had a player sent off, Westlake took the line out ball and drove over in the scoreboard corner to put the icing on the Christmas cake.
Jake Champion’s four conversions completed the Cherry and Whites’ haul.
Speaking after the game coach Damien Cook (pictured above) was satisfied with his side’s recent form. He said. “I am pretty pleased with that, Brixham have picked up a bit form since we met earlier in the season. I was wary of them before the game they are a big side physically whilst we are lacking in height at the moment but we played a lot bigger than them today.
Cook was pleased with the way his side defended early on and then were clinical when their chances came. “We talk about playing a simple brand of rugby and when we execute it we look good, we don’t want to be playing rugby in our own half we want to be camped in their twenty-two and if you make mistakes there then unless they are a very good side you hopefully won’t be punished from there. We are starting to see the fruits of our training now, we are on the astro-turf down at Penzance training and that is helping us fine tune our game plan.
Cook was full of praise for full back Harvey Bell. “He’s very good in any position that you play him, he’s lively at scrum-half when he plays there, he reads the game well, sometimes he gives me kittens with his quick tap penalties. Rhodri (McAtee) has been doing a good job for us at 9, as Taron is away working at the moment and can’t make training, he’s still got it at this level and brings a wealth of experience, Taron is ideal to come off the bench and maintain the momentum during the final quarter as sides tire as you saw today.
Cook also spoke warmly about the form of Kieran Westlake. “His work rate is phenomenal, he’s not the flashiest of players but he does the hard work hits the rucks puts in the tackles wins the ball and carries, there’s no question that he’s ready to play at a higher level and he’s proved that in recent weeks whilst with the Pirates.
Cook is also looking forward to hopefully getting back playing himself as some stage and also the return of lock Ben Kemp who has been a huge absence for Camborne this season. “Kempy will have a scan in early January and if that’s OK he’ll be good to go, as for myself age is counting against me, the body takes longer to heal, if the boys keep playing well I’ll remain on the sidelines.
Despite no more league rugby until the New Year there is still the small matter of the Boxing Day derby against Redruth. “It’s always a good occasion and one the crowd in both camps look forward to. I’ve played in a few of these over the years; it’ll be a good tussle.
“I think both sides are likely to come into the game with a few players unavailable for various reasons, come what may both sides will put out a committed side to maintain that fine tradition between the two clubs with hopefully a good sized crowd.
Reminder that Camborne v Redruth for the Rodda’s Milk Cup kicks off at Camborne on Boxing Day at 2:30 pm.
With the Cornish Pirates already based in their hotel, prepared and ready to face Scarlets Premiership Select at Carmarthen Park on Sunday, severe weather conditions dictated that this Round 3 match in the British & Irish Cup would have to be postponed. It was frustrating, but ultimately just one of those things.
The Pirates were sportingly ‘sangfroid’ in reaction, and following a flurry of phone calls the fixture was quickly rescheduled, it decided that the match would be played at the Talbot Athletic Ground, home of Aberavon RFC, on Monday evening.
Competing this year in Pool 5 of the Cup, the Pirates were keen to seek a third consecutive victory, having already won their opening two games in the competition away to Hartpury RFC (35-19) and home to Ulster A (23-14), but after settling for a second night’s accommodation in Wales victory eluded them.
Club captain Chris Morgan made his return from injury to lead a side that also saw a welcome return, following a 12 month lay-off, of wing Matt Evans. Dual-registered with Exeter Chiefs, centre Harry Strong was selected to make his first competitive match start for the Pirates, whilst similarly dual-registered colleague Harrison Cully was named on a bench that included player coach Alan Paver. Kieran Westlake, on loan from Camborne and having made two previous appearances as a replacement, was also making his first start in a Pirates shirt.
In the build up to the game, and without knowing too much about the Scarlets, the Pirates felt it welcome not to have all the mental pressure of having to check and plan to the ‘nth’ degree. Their focus, against a young Scarlets team littered with players who have represented their country at under 20s level, was simply to perform well and show the best of themselves.
Jacob Botica, son of former ‘All Blacks’ and Llanelli Scarlets player Frano, was certainly one opposition name that demanded attention, and it was he who opened the scoring with a penalty slotted for the Scarlets in in the twelfth minute.
Soon after the restart, a scrum penalty award on halfway enabled the ‘home’ side to threaten a second score from a line-out inside their opponents ‘22’. Thankfully, however, the Pirates the foiled the danger and responded to happily play a little rugby, with wing Nicolas Coronel displaying raw power and pace when making a break. Unfortunately, he also departed the field injured shortly after.
Midway through the first half the hosts did though score again, it a fine individual effort by centre Tom Hughes which seemingly boosted his team’s confidence.
The weather was inevitably very cold, with there very few supporters present, but on an otherwise calm evening the Pirates kept their focus and at last earned a kick at goal chance just before the break. Fly-half Laurence May duly stepped forward to not only make it 8-3, but to also provide hope for the second half.
On the resumption of play it was sadly not a start the Pirates were looking for, as they firstly conceded three more points through the boot of Botica, and then leaked another seven when Scarlets skipper Tom Phillips scored a converted try.
Now a real test for the visitors, there was a commendable response. Centre Dan Koster made a terrific break, with good support from his midfield partner Strong. The push for the line was initially held up, but then, on this frosty Port Talbot night, it was appropriately named hooker, Dan Frost, who scored – his second try in just two appearances since joining the Pirates on loan from Taunton. May’s conversion made it 18-10.
The game was opening up, with both sides threatening with ball in hand. Full-back Tom Rogers was always a menace for the Scarlets, whilst his opposite number in a Pirates shirt, Kyle Moyle, also showed his credentials.
As it worked out, on this uniquely memorable trip away, in minutes remaining there would be no more scores, meaning the Pirates were denied even a bonus point, which was somehow surely the least they deserved. It was one of those nights when there were, of course, some positives, but also ultimately disappointment.
Pre-match the Pirates, who still top their Pool on points difference, did not know what to expect of the Scarlets, but they will when the two teams meet again this Sunday, in the home leg at the Mennaye Field. It promises to be pre-Christmas cracker of a contest when the Pirates will look to return to winning ways.
Speaking after Monday’s game, and at the end of their elongated trip to Wales, Cornish Pirates coach Gavin Cattle said:
“After the disruption of the weekend the game was played in all but perfect conditions, and against a young and talented side. They had a decent pair of half-backs, a pack that held the upper hand at scrum time and it also one that foiled our driving line-out.
“For us, despite the result there were pluses, including getting 80 minutes from Matt (Evans) and Morgs (Chris Morgan) also playing his part, which bodes well and will be great for the team going forward.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, Gavin added:
“There are inevitably a number of areas that we will focus on in training this week, as we now look forward to welcoming the Scarlets to the Mennaye on Sunday.”
Scarlets Premiership Select: 15 Tom Rogers, 14 Ioan Nicholas, 13 Tom Hughes, 12 Billy McBryde (22 Rhodri Jones, 65), 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Jacob Botica (21 Jack Maynard, 65), 9 Alex Schwarz (20 Gareth George, 76); 1 Rhys Fawcett (17 Steffan Thomas, 69), 2 Dafydd Hughes (16 Matthew Moore, 77), 3 Javan Sebastian (18 Nicky Thomas, 60), 4 Josh Helps, 5 Chris Long (19 Joe Powell, 72), 6 Shaun Evans, 7 Dan Davis, 8 Tom Phillips (c).
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Matt Evans, 13 Dan Koster, 12 Harry Strong, 11 Nicolas Coronel (22 Harrison Cully, 19), 10 Laurence May, 9 Mike Pope (20 Alex Day, 70); 1 Billy Keast (16 Alan Paver, 78), 2 Dan Frost, 3 Jack Andrew (17 Christian Judge, 50), 4 Chris Morgan (c, 18 Toby Freeman, 50), 5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Kieran Westlake (19 Josh Caulfield, 50), 7 Alex Cheesman, 8 Tom Duncan.
With the Cornish Pirates B & I Cup match against Scarlets postponed until this evening due to heavy snow in South Wales, the spotlight fell on Redruth’s National League 2 encounter with newly promoted Tonbridge Juddian.
The Reds came into this game following three defeats against sides in the top four, happily for them a much better performance saw them get a much needed win as they defeated their opponents 45-11.
Nielson Webber (pictured) led the side out on his 101st appearance for the club to earn his red blazer.
Redruth were in total command as they scored seven tries through AJ Cant (2), Shaun Buzza, Rob Coote, Kyle Marriott, Matt Bowden and a penalty-try award. Angus Taylor landed four conversions to boot.
A morale boosting result ahead of their trip to Broadstreet this Saturday before the visit of Barnstaple on the 23rd December.
A good result for Camborne as they won at basement side Hornets 28-22 in the South West Premier.
The Cherry & Whites scored three tries through Jake Champion, Ben Tyler-Guy and Bradley Bawden with Champion kicking two conversions and three penalties.
Just the result Camborne needed after their recent losses. This Saturday they begin their return fixtures with a tasty game at home to Brixham.
In the Tribute South West 1 West, Launceston came close to upsetting leaders Exeter University at Polson Bridge who came back from 19-10 down to win 20-19.
Tom Sandercock, Ryan Westren and Jon Dawe scored tries for the Cornish All Blacks with Dan Pearce adding a couple of conversions.
In London 1 South, London Cornish drew with Tottonians 34-all. The tries were scored by Skip George Kimmins, Claude Springer, James La Broy, Rich Stephens and a late effort from stand in centre Nick Goss, Kimmins adding three conversions and a penalty.
In Tribute Western Counties West, leaders St. Ives stat top following their 34-19 win at Alexandra Road against Devonport Services. The Hakes scored six tries through Grant Thirlby (2), Paul Thirlby, Pete Mabbott, Jamie Prisk and Martyn Lawrance, Rhys Brownfield added two conversions.
St. Austell kept up the pressure on the Hakes after their 24-12 win against Kingsbridge. Chris Ashwin, George Knowles, Miles Davey and Cav Boyer scored the tries with Liam Freeman adding tow conversions.
Wadebridge Camels went down to a big defeat at much-improved Sidmouth 49-7. Ben Humber with their only try converted by Danny Thomas.
Truro had a good win against Burnham 20-8 at St. Clements Hill. Josh Symons bagged a brace of tries with a penalty-try awarded as Truro dominated at a scrum near the Burnham line. Eggy Williams kicked a penalty.
Another disappointing result for Falmouth as they lost at Paignton 27-8. The result leaves the Eagles in the relegation places. Seb Firth scored a try and Justyn Irons kicked a penalty.
In the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, the game at Moorlands between the top two went the way of Saltash as they defeated Penryn 30-14.
It was a tight affair until the hour mark after which the Ashes pulled away.
Saltash scores came through Phil Eatwell, Will Morton (2), Ollie Mulberry with the tries while Kieran Down kicked 10 points.
For the Borough Sam Hitchens scored a try converted by Mitch Vague near the end to go along with their first half penalty-try.
There was a good win for Bude at Wessex 19-10. Otherwise it was a string of disappointing results, Lanner lost at Tavistock 36-0 in a game that was halted in the final quarter following an injury to a Lanner player.
Hayle conceded their game at Wellington, whilst Pirates Amateurs lost at Plymstock 27-15.
With just a couple of outstanding fixtures to be played this Saturday, the Tribute Cornwall League will be split for the New Year fixtures.
Liskeard-Looe, Bodmin, Newquay Hornets, Veor, St. Agnes, Camborne School of Mines, Illogan Park and Roseland will contest Tribute Cornwall 1.
Stithians, Lankelly-Fowey, Helston, St. Just, Camelford, Perranporth and Redruth Albany will play in Tribute Cornwall 2.