A good sized crowd for the Cornish Pirates one and only pre-season game at Camborne, just under 2,500 saw the new look side crush Welsh Premiership side Cardiff by 60-13 as they let rip during the second half.
A tighter first period saw the visitors take the lead with a try scored by winger Ryan Howells with Gareth Davies adding the extras.The Pirates hit back with a couple of tries before the break from prop Paul Andrew and centre Mark Ireland with fly-half Jonny Bentley adding a conversion and a penalty in reply to Davies’ penalty for a 15-10 lead.
With scrum-half James Doherty forced to leave the field at half-time, Rhodri McAtee slotted in at 9 and once again showed his versitility. Aisea Havili showed great pace as he set up Andrew for his second try. The tries came at regular intervals as Laurie McGlone, Wes Davies (2) and Jimmy Moore (3) all got in on the act with Rhys Jones kicking five conversions. All Cardiff could muster in reply was a second Davies penalty.
Forwards coach Ian Davies was pleased with his side’s first outing “I think we saw the boys express themselves after a really hard pre-season. We looked to play some football, we scored some really good tries from phase playas well as some fron unstructured play. The cohesiveness was certainly there as well, we’ve brought in 14 new guys and 3 new coaches, but it looked like the guys had really, really gelled.”
Next up for the Pirates a trip to the Twickenham Stoop and Guiness Premiership side Harlequins!
Redruth travelled up to the Brickfields for the re-match with Plymouth Albion, who fielded a much changed line up from a week ago. In the end Albion ran out winners 21-7 thanks two late tries from forwards Sean-Michael Stephen and Wayne Sprangle. Kieran Hallett added the other points with the boot. For Redruth former Albion player No.8 Gareth Evans scored a fine first half try, converted by Redruth’s latest recruit Wihan Neethling. Reds head coach Nigel Hambly there was satisfaction and acknowlegment that there is still work to do. “I think the big thing we can take is that our defence was excellent, we were a little bit disappointed with the way we attacked, but when you are trying to put togeather a side for a new season the attack side of things will come later. It’s defence you need to get right first.”
At Polson Bridge a whole day of various entertainment was capped by the Cornish All Blacks first run out with a 48-0 win over Barnstaple. Coach Jon Hill was pleased with his side’s first effort. “We played some really good rugbyin the first-half , but missed quite a few opportunities. The forward confronation was there for all to see, but we ran away with it in the second half as our fitness and skill levels told, our ability to raise the intensity of the game meant we created we created a lot of opportunities.”
I took the opportunity on Sunday to watch Camborne play London Cornish over 4 x 20 minutes. The match was the annual Arthur Hunt Memorial Plate, which the exiles play each season against Cornish opposition. Camborne won the encounter by 24-17. town got off to a fine start in the opening quarter with tries from Dave Mankee and Sam Matavesi both of which Mankee converted. London Cornish gradually fought their way back into the game, scoring a fine try through prop Gibbs with O’Dawes adding the conversion and then a penalty to leave Camborne 14-10 after two quarters. The exiles scored a second try through Rickhall again O’Dawes adding the extras, before Camborne hit back scoring two fine tries through winger Rob Floyd and centre Tom Hinds, to cap a fine display. An entertaining game, no doubt both sides will take plenty of positives as they build for their respective league seasons.
In another pre-season match at St. Ives, the Hakes defeated Liskeard & Looe 68-0.
Having been unable to make Camborne on Saturday evening I had to watch the Pirates game via the web on Pirates TV. This season fans will be able to watch home games live on Pirates TV, if they have paid their £20 / month sub to get this service as part of the overall package as part of the Pirates Crew. For moment it’s on “freeview” as they trial the product, then there will be a 4 week notice period before it becomes “subscription only”. With rugby reporter and BBC radio Cornwall comentator Dick Straughan behind the mic it was an intertesting opening day performance. A few niggles during the first half and some sound quality problems during the game, gives the technos a few problems to iron out before the next performance. Injured winger Paul Devlin played the role of pundit and did a fine job. So overall a very interesting innovation, which is most welcome. Hopefully it will go from strength to strength.