NO. NOT A SINKING SHIP, but holed below the waterline after being blown off course following their heavy defeat at the hands of Bedford Blues at Goldington Road on Saturday by 42-18. With both the Blues and Bristol grabbing five point wins, it is they, with two games to play who hold the whip-hand in Pool A of the RFU Championship Play-Offs.
Certainly the Pirates have a chance to get back in the mix on Friday evening when they travel to the Brickfields to take on a Plymouth Albion side who are out of the reckoning and who today announced that they are seeking an urgent injection of capital circ. 100K to see them through the summer!
Despite taking an early lead through full-back Rob Cook, the Pirates were rocked by two tries from Fielden and Pritchard both converted by the Canadian full-back. Cook landed a second penalty for the Pirates but then Dorrian scored a third try for the Blues for a 19-6 advantage, however Cook cut the deficit before half-time as he converted his own try to leave the Pirates 19-13 adrift at the break.
Despite a promising start to the second half by the Cornish side, they were rocked by Bedford’s fourth try scored again by the flying Fielden with Dorrian adding the conversion to penalty successes either side of winger’s try for a 32-13 lead. The match as contest was well and truly up. Rob Elloway on as a replacement grabbed a consolation try for the Pirates, but the Blues had the final say with Dorrian scoring and converting his own score, and then with the final kick of the match the Australian kicked another penalty for a personal tally of 23 points!
In National League 1, the Cornish All Blacks had a fine win in an entertaining match at Polson against visitors Wharfedale coming out on top by 38-24. Launceston out-scored the Yorkshire side by five tries to four, with Sam Hocking (2), Tony Yapp, skipper Tom Rawlings and Jake Murphy all crossing. Yapp added three penalties and two conversions to cement the All Blacks’ third spot in the league.
Redruth suffered another heavy defeat on the road as they lost 34-12 at the Rectory Field against Blackheath. To add insult to injury their casualty list now sees locks Damien Cook and Chris Fuca added. Adryan Winnan and Herbie Stupple scored tries for the Reds with Winnan adding a conversion. Redruth gave debuts to a couple of replacements Richie Keverne, who’s been having a fine season and has great potential, and prop Keith Barlow. Redruth really need to get a good win at home to Sedgley Park on Saturday to extinguish any lingering doubts about the drop before playing their final two matches away at Cambridge and National 1 Champions, Esher.
In the Tribute regional leagues, in South West 1 West, St. Ives signed off for the season with a win at Alexandra Rd against Clevedon by 20-19. Trailing to their visitors 19-0, the Hakes staged a great comeback. Full-back Harry Maunder got the revival under-way with an unconverted try before St. Ives scored three more in the second half through Pete Samu, Ryan Trudgeon and Ben Jenkins. St.Ives will now concentrate on defending their Skinners Brewery Cornwall Cuo against the 2008 winners Wadebridge Camels at Camborne on Monday May 3rd.
In Western Counties West, Camborne were crowned champions as they defeated Wadebridge Camels 12-10 at the Molesworth Field. Despite scoring the only try of the game through winger Sean Hawkey, the boots of Shane Woods with three penalties and Joe Parma’s drop-goal deep into time added on gave Camborne the title and promotion to South West 1 West next season. For Wadebridge there remains a play-off against the runners-up in Western Counties North Thornbury to join Camborne again next season.
Truro completed their league program with a 31-17 win over Devonport Services to finish in 4th place. Scott Martin scored 26 points with 8 penalties and a conversion of Simon Peters’ try.
Bude lost their final game at Withycombe 26-17, Paul Williams and Olly Denford scored Bude’s tries, with Denford converting both scores and a penalty. Bude finished up in mid-table just behind Penryn who have already completed their program. Newquay Hornets complete their program on Saturday with a trip to Tiverton. The two sides to be relegated from this league are Minehead Barbarians and Withycombe.
Up in London 2 SW, London Cornish finished their season with a defeat at Guildford 34-13.
In the Cornwall and Devon League, Stithians lost at home to Champions Wellington by 35-8, Lewis Vague scored the only try for the home side with Martin Strick kicking a penalty.
Falmouth defeated Bideford at the Rec by 15-14 with Matt Horton kicking a late penalty to secure a win for Black & Whites.
St. Austell defeated Hayle 23-3, thanks to tries from Meshak Esien and James Earp with Andy Ashwin kicking 13 points. Josh Rule scored Hayle’s only points with a penalty.
In the SE Cornwall derby, Liskeard & Looe won at Saltash 33-12. The Lions scored five tries through Sobey, Johnson, Curgenven, Grant and Elliot, with Ryan Morris kicking the other points. For Saltash, who will be back playing in the Cornwall League next season, Devonport and Sullivan scored tries whilst Toms added a conversion.
Congratulations to Roseland who have won the Cornwall League and will be promoted to the Cornwall & Devon League next season. The play-off spot will see either Veor or Bodmin through, both sides are set to meet in the final round of matches this weekend and both sides are currently level on points!
An interesting article in this Sunday’s local Independent by Neale Harvey, who also writes in the Rugby Times. In an interview with John Vale the RFU’s chairman of the finance and funding committee, Mr Vale let slip that the “Seamless Game” between the amateur community game and professionalism was up for review. “The question we’re asking now is: “Is the Seamless Game over?”. The topic is set to be an agenda item at the IRB forthcoming conference in May.
This will have significant ramifications for rugby from level 3 down i.e. National 1 should it come to pass. Personally I think it would be a retrograde step, but the RFU seem ruthless and determined in their attempts to make all rugby below level 2 strictly amateur and go back to the “Good old days!”