Settled down to watch the Greene King IPA Championship Double Header from Sandy Park on Sunday.
What a cracking couple of game. First a great contest between Jersey and Plymouth Albion with the Devon boys pulling away in the end to win 41-27.
Good to see former Pirates Grant Pointer, Ben Maidment, Drew Locke and Aaron Penberthy all in the Jersey side, whilst for Albion Sam Matavesi came on during the second half, also former Cornish All Black and Mount’s Bay star Pale Nonu started in the centre for Albion.
Then to the main event from a Cornish perspective with Sky’s Miles Harrison and Bristol Old Boy Stuart Barnes delivering the commentary.
Everyone expected a comfortable win for Bristol, but it didn’t turn out that way. Not at all!
Instead the Cornish Pirates upset the applecart to grind out a 23-21 win, despite Bristol scoring a try at the death and having a conversion to tie the scores, but sadly for them Adrian Jarvis’ conversion flew to the left of the Sandy Park uprights in the swirling wind.
The Pirates fought like tigers, Alan Paver, Laurie McGlone, Rob Elloway and Gavin Cattle led by example, whilst newcomers like Rheon James, Joel Conlon and James Sandford all stood out. Darn it they all stood out!
Bristol certainly had the possession and good territory, but the Pirates tackled their hearts out.
Lock Sandford scored the Pirates’ first try from a tremendous drive by the forwards to put his side 5-3. Kieran Hallett kicked the conversion and then a penalty for 10-3.
Both Hallett and Jarvis then kicked a couple of penalties to leave the Cornish side 16-9 up at the break, which was good as they were down to fourteen men with hooker Elloway in the bin.
Bristol struck early in the second half as flanker James Merriman scored a try and Jarvis tied the scores with the conversion.
The breakthrough for the Cornish Pirates came with their second try scored by winger James Tincknell, who had only put pen to paper for the Pirates this week. It was a great moment for the young man who has battled his way back from the injuries suffered in a dreadful road accident last year that almost cost him his life. The try was a beauty, straight off the training paddock.
Hallett kicked the conversion and the Pirates led 23-16.
Bristol threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Pirates eventually crossing out wide through centre Luke Eves, but Jarvis couldn’t tie the scores to leave Bristol Director of Rugby, Andy Robinson looking less than pleased!
So, this Friday it’s all roads to the Mennaye as the Pirates welcome Leeds Carnegie for the first Championship match under lights with a 7-45 pm kick-off.