Photo: Alan Paver & Gavin Cattle – Simon Bryant Iktisphoto
By Phil Westren Cornish Pirates’ Media Officer
Cornish Pirates 31 Nottingham Rugby 34
As this game neared conclusion, with the scoreboard reading 17-34 there were likely few about who could have expected the Cornish Pirates to acquire two bonus points. That they did, was commendable, and against an impressive Nottingham team.
The Pirates arrived at this Round 6 Greene King IPA Championship fixture naturally keen to secure a sought after second league match win of the season. With Nicolas De Battista having taken a knock against Yorkshire Carnegie the previous weekend, full-back Toby May wore the skipper’s armband, whilst three players returning to the starting line-up were prop Jack Andrew, who was about to make his 100th appearance for the Pirates, centre Dan Koster and lock Toby Freeman.
In seeking a good start to this match, for the home team it was anything but, as the visitors took full advantage of Toby May being sin-binned. Two examples of clever kicking from hand, the first by fly-half Tiff Eden and the second by scrum-half Darryl Veenendaal, led to wing Sean Scanlon scoring the game’s opening two tries.
Back to a full XV, the Pirates thankfully soon kicked into gear. Koster gathered the ball well and scrum-half Alex Day then nudged the ball ahead for wing Kyle Moyle to follow and score at the Newlyn posts. Fly-half Laurence May then stepped forward and kicked the simple conversion.
For the visitors, hooker Jimmy Stevens was in fine form, however the Pirates had more than an edge at scrum time, with their pack containing two former Nottingham men in Freeman and flanker Rupert Cooper.
May continued his fine kicking form with a 33rd minute penalty, but full-back Will Millett , taking over the kicking duties from the injured Eden, then pulled one back for Nottingham.
Nearing the end of what was a lengthy first half due to injury breaks, Koster was yellow-carded. Again, all but inevitably, Nottingham took advantage with replacement David Williams scoring a try at the Newlyn gate corner to make it 10-22 at the break.
There was a pre-match expectation that the ‘Green & Whites’, who actually wore blue and white, would prove tough opponents, and so it had thus far proved with a good display of rugby.
Opening the scoring in the second period, Moyle’s second try of the match was his sixth in the league this season. May converted well from out wide.
It was now very much ‘game on’, wasn’t it? Well, ‘Yes’, for a moment – and then ‘No’, the next, as first Veenendaal sniped under the Newlyn posts to score a converted try, and then Williams gathered the ball cleanly to cross for his second following a yet another clever kick out of hand, this time by centre Vili Hakalo.
There was still plenty of time for the Pirates to hit back, but neither would score again for the best part of a 20 minutes period, until just near the end when Day showed a fine turn of pace to run from near halfway for a score at the clubhouse corner. May converted, and did again in the very last minute when Koster also displayed skill and admirable determination to register his first try in the Championship.
The late scores lifted spirits at the end, and in the process provide encouragement to home supporters.
The two acquired bonus points took the team to the top of that particular table, with a tally now of eight, whilst the Pirates also moved up one place in the league table to ninth.
Cornish Pirates: 15, Toby May (c), 14 Alex O’Meara (Nicolas De Battista 47), 13 Dan Koster, 12 Pete Laverick, 11 Kyle Moyle (Will Cargill 59), 10 Laurence May, 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker (Billy Keast 45), 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie (Tom Channon 56), 3 Jack Andrew (Christian Judge 49), 4 Toby Freeman, 5 Josh Caulfield, 6 Rupert Cooper, 7 Matt Bolwell, 8 Tom Lawday.
Replacements (not used): James Fish, Angus Taylor.
Yellow cards: T. May, Koster.
Nottingham Rugby: 15 Will Millett, 14 Billy Robinson, 13 Joe Cobden, 12 Vili Hakalo, 11 Sean Scanlon, 10 Tiff Eden (David Williams 25)9 Darryl Veenendaal (Murray McConnell 64); 1 Tom West (Aniseko Sio 68), 2 Jimmy Stevens (Ben Brownlie 67), 3 Rory Burke (David Langley 12), 4 Tim Cardall, 5 Danny Qualter, 6 Ben Morris (c, Josh Poullet 59), 7 Jordan Coghlan (Matt Everard 67), 8 Shane Buckley.
Scorers:- Cornish Pirates – tries: Moyle (2), Day, Koster; cons: L. May (4); pen: L. May. Nottingham Rugby – tries: Scanlon (2), Williams (2) Veenendaal; cons: Eden (2), Millett; pen: Millett.
Referee: Michael Hudson (RFU) Attendance: 1,309
St. Austell Brewery’s Cornish Pirates’Man-of-the-Match: Matt Bolwell