Cornish Pirates 38 Doncaster Knights 19
By Phil Westren Cornish Pirates Media Officer
This win for the Cornish Pirates in the quarter-final of the British & Irish Cup was one to please – on two fronts.
Firstly, emerging winners after having lost their last five encounters against the Knights provided satisfaction, whilst more importantly the result has set up what will be a tough but tasty semi-final tie away to London Welsh next weekend.
The Cornish Pirates made a number of changes to their starting line-up from the one that ran out against Bristol Rugby the previous Sunday. Three were in the backs, where full-back Toby May, centre Tom Hendrickson, and wing Matt Evans returned to action. Marlen Walker, Rob Elloway and Alan Paver formed the front-row unit, Sam Simmonds and skipper Alex Cheesman the flanker pairing, and Jake Parker moved up a rank to partner Brett Beukeboom in the second-row.
With the Mennaye Field bathed in welcome sunshine, the Pirates also got off to a bright beginning, when centre Tom Riley, who was making his 101st appearance for the club, duly celebrated with the game’s opening try.
Confirming an excellent start to the game, the Pirates quickly doubled their tally. Space was created on the left, and in a flash wing Evans touched the ball down at the scoreboard corner.
As if finding their feet, the visiting side, with Cornishman Ollie Bryant selected at full-back, soon responded with a try of their own, scored by centre George Catchpole. Fly-half Declan Cusack added the extras.
The Pirates scrum was serving them well through the first period, and awarded penalties they were able to relieve any mounting pressure. Defensively they were also sound, and there would be no more scores the break.
Starting the second half well, 10-7 soon became 17-7, thanks to a converted try scored by No. 8 Tom Duncan.
Doncaster had their chances, but didn’t take them, and the Pirates were happy to make them pay thanks to their fourth try of the match. Hooker Rob Elloway was identified as the scorer and May, now finding his target, slotted the extras.
Clive Griffiths’ Doncaster pulled seven points back when their skipper Alex Shaw drove over the line for a converted try, but the Pirates were quick to reopen a 17 points gap. Lively scrum-half Stuart Townsend provided the initial impetus, and a fellow Devonian, flanker Sam Simmonds, ended a try-scorer. May kicked the conversion.
Shaw made it to the line once again for what was but a consolation score, but the Pirates determinedly had the last say when replacement centre Rheon James crossed for a converted try.
So, all eyes will now look towards Old Deer Park next weekend, for a match that should indeed have extra spice about it. Yes, the Pirates have beaten the Welsh three times already this season – twice in Cup pool games and once in the league – however the exiles side is in a rich vein of form of recent, and have won their last four games, including a surprise 45-39 points win away to Leinster on Saturday.
For the Pirates, to ultimately make it through to their second final, remembering that they were proudly the first ever winners of the British & Irish Cup in 2010, would be a considerable achievement, if it can be attained.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Toby May (Will Cargill 72), 14 Kyle Moyle, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Tom Hendrickson (Rheon James 71), 11 Matt Evans, 10 Laurence May, 9 Stuart Townsend (Alex Day 72); 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Rob Elloway (Tom Channon 62), 3 Alan Paver (Tyler Gendall 55), 4 Jake Parker (Marcus Garratt 77), 5 Brett Beukeboom, 6 Alex Cheesman (capt), 7 Sam Simmonds, 8 Tom Duncan (Joe Atkinson 62). Yellow card: Beukeboom.
Doncaster Knights: 15 Ollie Bryant, 14 Andy Bulumakau, 13 George Catchpole, 12 Bevon Armitage (Dave McIlwaine 61), 11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Dec Cusack, 9 Brad Field (Michael Heaney 61); 1 WillGriff John (Richard List 55), 2 Ted Stagg (Vili Veikoso 53), 3 Joe Sproston (Tiziano Pasquali h/t), 4 Joe Maksymiw (Matt Challinor 64), 5 Tyler Hotson, 6 Glen Young, 7 Will Owen (Michael Hills 55), 8 Alex Shaw (capt).
Scorers:- Cornish Pirates – tries: Riley, Evans, Duncan, Elloway, Simmonds, James; cons: Laurence May (4). Doncaster Knights – tries: Shaw (2), Catchpole; cons: Cusack (2).
In other quarter-final matches played, Jersey emerged 19-15 victors at Bedford and Yorkshire Carnegie won convincingly, 50-3, at home to Moseley. Yorkshire Carnegie will now play Jersey at home next weekend, to compete for a home tie against either London Welsh or the Cornish Pirates in the final.
Referee: Fergus Kirby (RFU).
St. Austell Brewery’s ‘Cornish Pirates’ Man-of-the-Match: Stuart Townsend.
Director of Rugby Ian Davies to leave Cornish Pirates at end of season
Ian Davies will leave Cornish Pirates at the end of the current season to take up a new post as Director of Rugby at Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham, Sussex.
Ian, who has been at Cornish Pirates for seven seasons, joined as Forwards Coach in 2009 under the leadership of Chris Stirling.
Under Chris’s stewardship the Pirates won the inaugural British & Irish Cup competition in 2010 (versus Munster), and also reached the Championship Play-Off Final in 2011.
After Chris returned to New Zealand in April, 2012, Ian assumed the role of Director of Rugby and led the Pirates to the Championship Play-Off Final at the end of that season. Also, during the last two seasons, he has developed both Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver as they transition from players to coaches
The delays to the Stadium 4 Cornwall project have created budget pressures for the Cornish Pirates, and as a consequence playing budgets have had to be reduced for next season. Priority to signing players has been the key focus and the budget restrictions have imposed some challenging options, which the Board and the coaches have been discussing. A consequence of these budget limitations is that Ian¹s time at the Pirates cannot continue beyond his current contract.
Ian Connell, Chairman of the Cornish Pirates commented: “The Cornish Pirates are hugely indebted to Ian Davies for his major contribution during the Chris Stirling years and for his even greater contribution as Director of Rugby.
“Developing and mentoring Gavin Cattle and Alan Paver as coaches will prove to be an enduring legacy, and although sad to see Ian leave we are happy that in Gavin and Alan we have two coaches who are able to assume the leadership of Cornish Pirates rugby.”
Mr. Connell added: “Everyone connected with the Cornish Pirates will wish Ian and his family every good wish as they relocate along the south coast to Sussex.”
Ian Davies has said that he is “Absolutely devastated to be leaving not only the Pirates but also Cornwall.”
He further commented: “I would like to thank Dicky Evans for firstly giving me the opportunity to be a professional rugby coach, and secondly for him then to entrust me be to be the Director of Rugby at the Pirates. Hopefully, during my time at the club I have, in some small way, repaid the faith he showed in my appointment.
“I am certain Gavin and Alan will continue to do the fantastic job they are currently doing for us, and I have assured them I am at the end of a telephone if they need a sounding board.”
Ian concluded: “It is very fortunate that I am able to move back into education, and it is a wonderful opportunity at Christ’s Hospital School which will also provide me with a new challenge.”