Photo; Tom Duncan powers on
Cornish Pirates 53 Hartpury RFC 17
By Phil Westren
Responding to their hefty defeat suffered at London Irish the previous Sunday, the Cornish Pirates recorded this convincing home win against Hartpury RFC, outscoring their opponents by seven tries to two. Indeed, it might have more had the game not been amicably cut short by seven minutes after Cornish Pirates’ hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie was injured.
This Round 3 encounter was clearly one the Pirates were keen to win, however at the same time not taking anything for granted against a Hartpury team that has lost its opening two games – 35-7 at home to London Irish and 43-14 away to Bedford Blues.
Changes in the Cornish Pirates starting line-up from the team that ran out against ‘Irish’ saw returns in the backs for full-back Kyle Moyle, wing Robin Wedlake, centre Callum Patterson, and scrum-half Alex Day, whilst in the forwards Josh Caulfield partnered Danny Cutmore in the second-row.
On all but a perfect November’s afternoon for playing rugby, after initial sparring it was the visitors who opened the scoring when hooker Luke Stratford kicked and chased to the deliver the required downward pressure at the scoreboard corner. Fly-half Luke Cozens followed up with a fine conversion.
The Pirates looked to respond, with their cause helped when Hartpury centre Tom Seabrook was yellow-carded for foul play. It was certainly no bonus to the player concerned, however for 10 minutes he at least enjoyed first time comport in one of the brand new, Biffa-sponsored sin bins installed at the ‘Mennaye’. At the same time the Pirates also registered three points from a resulting penalty kicked by fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez.
A second successful penalty strike by Rojas Alvarez midway through the first half narrowed the deficit to just one point, but the benefit was soon cancelled out when Cozens was similarly on target with an opportunity that came his way.
On 29 minutes, after Hartpury wing Ed Sheldon had also been directed to the sin bin, the Pirates pack gathered as one at the Newlyn gate corner to nudge themselves ahead thanks to a converted try scored by flanker Matt Bolwell.
This was game where occurring errors at least made it one entertaining for loyal supporters, and of no surprise both sides would score again as play opened up. Wing Alex O’Meara took off on a trademark run to touchdown for the Pirates at the Newlyn posts, and Hartpury responded with a fine try of their own finished off by wing Aquile Smith. Then, to all but conclude first half proceedings. Pirates’ full -back Kyle Moyle was identified as a try-scorer. All three efforts were converted, for the scoreline to read 27-17.
A bonus-point-providing try scored by scrum-half Alex Day, again converted by man-of-the-match Rojas Alvarez, saw the Pirates off to a good second forty.
Another man in fine form was Moyle, whose silky run ended almost effortlessly with his second try, and then there was a converted score for centre Callum Patterson after he charged the ball down. A short time after he became the third player to fall foul of referee Mr. Chivers, as another yellow card was shown.
The final try of the afternoon, with the floodlights now on, was a hat-trick score for Moyle which took the Pirates past the 50-mark. The conversion by Rojas Alvarez also gave him a personal tally of 18 points.
There was still time for further scores, however with both on and off field concern for the injured Tom Cowan-Dickie, during careful attention given him the decision was made to end the game, which everyone present respected and fully understood, the thoughts all focused fully on player welfare. (Update: Due precaution was taken with what potentially appeared a serious neck injury – welcome good news confirmed later that Tom was okay).
Ego-wise the Pirates had taken a bit of a dent when losing heavily (64-17) against London Irish, so this was a result to at least restore confidence for inevitable challenges, both in the Cup and in the League, that lie ahead.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Rory Parata (Dan Koster 63), 12 Callum Patterson, 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (Will Cargill 63), 9 Alex Day (Alex Schwarz 54); 1 Jack Andrew (Marlen Walker h/t),2 Tom Cowan-Dickie (Jack Andrew 73), 3 Jack Owlett (Tyler Gendall 47), 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Matt Bolwell (John Stevens 51), 7 Dan Lee, 8 Tom Duncan (c – James McRae 51). Yellow card: Patterson.
Hartpury RFC: 15 Sam Leeming, 14 Ed Sheldon, 13 Tom Seabrook, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Aquile Smith, 10 Luke Cozens (22 Luke Scully h/t), 9 Charlie Chapman (Richard Bolt 54); 1 Mike Flook (Des Merrey 54), 2 Luke Stratford (Jordan Liney 51), 3 Nick English (Wayne Thompson 61), 4 Joe Quinn, 5 James Scott, 6 James Stephenson (Max Clementson 47), 7 Mat Gilbert, 8 Tom Pashley (c). Replacement (not used): Simon Linsell.
Yellow cards: Seabrook, Sheldon, Scully.
Scorers: Cornish Pirates – tries: Moyle (3), Bolwell, O’Meara, Day, Patterson; cons: Rojas Alvarez (6); pens: Rojas Alvarez (2). Hartpury RFC – tries: Stratford, Smith; cons: Cozens (2); pen: Cozens.
Referee: Neil Chivers (RFU)
St. Austell Brewery’s Man-of-the-Match: Javier Rojas Alvarez