The Cornish Pirates ground out a 15-7 win over visitors Moseley on Sunday afternoon at Camborne in National League 1. The first half will not be remembered for long by those who were present, quite simply it was one of the most boring, uneventful halves of rugby I have witnessed in over 38 years of following the game. The game was played almost exclusively in the Pirates’ own half, this with the Pirates having the wind at their backs! Moseley were totally negative playing a pick-and-go game grinding out a few yards, or should that be meters, here and there, playing a game akin to sterile trench warfare from World War 1. To their credit and disciplined play, the Pirates only gave Moseley’s goal kicker Macdonald one shot at goal during the first half, from in front of the posts, about 23 meters out, which he promptly missed! The Pirates had one meaningful incursion into the Moseley 22 during the first half with a dart from Fairhurst with McKeen unable to hold on to the pass. No surprises then that half-time was reached without the scoreboard being troubled! Moseley left the pitch to chants of “Boring, Boring” and boos from the assembled faithful.
The second half resumed with the same scenario being put in place by the visitors. Suddenly the Pirates had a penalty with fly-half Gareth Steenson tapping and going, injecting some pace into the game, eventually the ball was in the hands of centre Vunga Lilo who arched through the visitors line to score in the scoreboard corner of the ground to the huge relief of the crowd, Steenson kicked a fine touchline conversion to put the Pirates 7-0 up. The advantage was short-lived as Moseley got a penalty and kicked to the town gate they set up a catch-and-drive which in the first instance took them to the line only to be held up, the second bite of the cherry proved more fruitful as skipper Neil Mason was driven over by the pack. Macdonald made up for his earlier penalty miss with the conversion to tie the scores after 56 mins.
The Pirates were trying to play rugby, Lilo was close to try but was held up over the line down in the club house corner, the Pirates had a 5 metre scrum, from second phase ball Iva Motusaga who had come on for the returning Stan Mckeen powered over to notch up the Pirates second try on 60 mins, Steenson’s conversion attempt failed having taken a staggering flight akin to a drunken man first left, then right before going across the posts, no doubt, the former BBC rugby commentator Bill McLaren would of found the right words to describe it.
The Pirates went in search for further tries but in the end their only other score was to be a penalty kicked by Steenson from in front of the posts earned following a scorching break from Rhodri McAtee on for the injured Ollie Thomas, which made sure that Moseley’s negative game plan got it’s just rewards on the day ….absolutely nothing!
Cornish Pirates 15 pts
Tries- Lilo, Motusaga, Conversion & Penalty- Steenson
Moseley 7 pts
Try – Mason, Conversion- Macdonald
Cornish Pirates: Thomas (McAtee 70), Moore, Lilo, Winn (Devlin 70), Koko, Steenson, Fairhurst, Paver (capt), Kemp (Dawiduik 61), Heard (Seal 61), Senekal, Beardshaw, McKeen (Motusaga 49), Cracknell, Evans.
Replacement (not used) – Cook, Hobson.
Moseley: Winter (M. Williams 72), Sharples, Binns, Cox, Bressington, MacDonald, Ireland (D.Williams 70), Williams (Buxton 40), Caves (McMillan 72), Sigley (Bayliss 61), Bignell, Tuohy, Mason (capt), Atkinson, Evans
Replacements (not used) – Stott, Taylor.
Referee – Mr. D. Rose (RFU)