It was an appetising first home league game of the season for the Cornish Pirates against Championship favourites Bristol at the Mennaye.
The Pirates got off to a dream start with an unconverted try scored by winger Alex O’Meara with barely 3 minutes on the clock.
David Lemi tied the scores as Bristol began to ramp up the pressure which was further emphasised when Luke Morahan went over in the Club house corner moments later.
Laurence May kept the Pirates keen with a penalty to cut the deficit to just 2 points before the half hour mark.
Lemi then went over for his second try of the game with fly-half Ian Madigan kicking the conversion and a penalty before the break to leave the visitors 20-8 up.
The Irishman then added a further penalty after half-time before Lemi completed his hat-trick of tries in the Western National Corner and Bristol looked set fare at 28-8 for a comfortable afternoon in West Cornwall.
However, the Pirates had other ideas and stirred themselves in front of the four figure crowd.
A penalty-try for the Pirates cut the deficit despite Madigan kicking a third penalty.
Prop Marlen Walker got over for a try following great pressure from the home side with May adding the extras.
With the crowd getting behind the lads Kyle Moyle latched on to May’s kick through to score try number four, May’s conversion leaving the Pirates agonisingly close at 29-31.
Despite the loss Pirates picked up another couple of points ahead of Friday night’s clash against Jersey Reds on the island.
On Saturday Redruth travelled to Barnstaple in National League 2 South but sadly three yellow cards and an inability to see the game out saw the Reds slip to defeat in North Devon 29-24.
Redruth struggled in the first half finding themselves 17-7 down with just a Sam Matavesi try converted by Joe Elderkin on the board.
Elderkin then kicked a penalty and converted Kyle Marriott’s try to tie the scores.
Craig Williams got over for the third Redruth try again betterd by Elderkin before Barnstaple replied with two late tries to seal their second win of the campaign.
In the South West Premier league, Camborne sealed a first win at Brixham in over forty years winning 21-20.
It was a brave win by Town who travelled with no backs amongst their replacements. Taron Peacock and Jake Champion scored the tries with Dave Mankee adding a conversion and three penalties.
In the Tribute South West 1 West, Launceston maintained their good start with a second away win this time at Thornbury 28-22. Ryan Western scored two tries on his 250th appearance for the Cornish All Blacks with new recruit Dan Pearce scoring the other points with a try, two conversions and three penalties.
In London 1 South, London Cornish slipped to a second defeat, 34-18 this time at Civil Service Rugby. Lineout deficiencies proved costly for the exiles as they continue to adapt to life at a higher level.
Cornish did score three fine tries through Dave Funston, Andy Hill and David Smith, with George Kimmins landing a penalty.
In Western Counties West, I took in the game at Truro as they entertained Crediton. In blustery conditions Truro scored three fine first half tries through prop Ollie Seagrove, centre Matt Symons and veteran fly-half Steve Evans. Evo kicked a couple of conversions for a 19-12 half-time lead.
In the second half scoring was limited to just a penalty kick to each side, Evans again for the home side, to leave Truro 22-15 winners.
It was good to see last season’s Cornwall U.20 skipper Will Gilder as the man in the middle for this game. Will has an on-going knee injury which is keeping him from playing at the moment, so he has turned his hand to refereeing for the time being.
St. Ives followed up their win at Falmouth last week with an excellent 49-17 win at home to Wadebridge Camels.
The Hakes scored five tries through Liam Jolly, Pete Mabbot, Rob Elloway, Tom Chandler and Sam Carter plus they had a penalty-try awarded. Rhys Brownfield had a good day with the boot kicking 19 points.
For the Camels Adam Collings and Matt Ballard scored tries both converted by Danny Thomas who also landed a penalty.
St. Austell made up in part for their disappointing loss at home to Sidmouth last week by winning 34-16 at promoted Paignton.
Hugh Noot, Andy Inch Shane Johns, George Tregilgas and Ian Venner scored the Saint’s tries with Cav Boyer kicking three conversions and a penalty.
Falmouth are still adapting to life at this level as they slipped to a second defeat this time at Tiverton 27-12. Nathan Carne and Dan Hubble scored their tries with Justyn Irons kicking a conversion.
In Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, Saltash made it two wins on the trot with a 40-17 win at Morlands against Plymouth Argaum. Ashes scored six tries through Steve Hillman, Lewis Wells, Will Morton, Conor Cooper, Ryan Rayner and Ryan Cruickshanks with Kieran Down slotting five conversions.
Penryn made it two wins on the trot following their 35-5 win at Torrington. Andrew Seviour scored a hat-trick of tries with James Salisbury adding a brace of his own. Mitch Vague added a couple of conversions and two penalties.
Bude had a good win at home defeating Hayle 36-0. Joe Wilson, Ed Hillman-Cooke (2), Angus Hodge and a penalty-try award accounted for the tries with Ollie Denford adding three conversions.
Lanner lost 25-6 at Wellington with just a couple of penalties from Nick Prout to show for their efforts, whilst Pirates Amateurs went down 38-0 at Tavistock.
Check the results page for all the Tribute Cornwall league results.