Kyle Moyle looks to break the tackle. Photo: Brian Tempest
Cornish Pirates 29 Richmond 19
Keen to keep progressing, the Cornish Pirates made it four bonus points wins out of four in this season’s Greene King IPA Championship, thus maintaining their status as the early league leaders, reports Phil Westren from the Mennaye Field.
The Pirates made several changes, in the forwards and on the bench, from the squad that faced Hartpury the previous week. James McRae was making his first Championship appearance at No 8 in place of the injured Tom Duncan, and flanker John Stevens was also handed a starting place in the back-row. Props Tyler Gendall and Billy Keast were named to make their first Championship starts of the season, whilst Alex O’Meara and Jake Ashby were keen for action off the bench. For the latter it would be a Championship debut.
After a bright enough start for the Cornish Pirates, when man-of-the-match John Stevens threatened at the old Western National corner, it was Richmond who enjoyed an impressive spell. Their scrum looked particularly strong and they also had some able performers in the backs. Indeed, good inter-play down the right ended with wing Sam Edgerley sprinting in at the clubhouse corner. The conversion from full-back Rob Kirby missed to the right of the posts.
Conditions were bright and breezy, although a little cool, whereas on the field the combative action quickly heated up. Richmond’s No 8 Ed Milne was called aside after one ‘incident’, with him then at least extending a hand of friendship to opponents after being spoken to by referee Mr. Woodthorpe.
A penalty awarded the Pirates was kicked by fly-half Will Cargill, and after Richmond strived to apply further pressure it was Cargill who again showed his prowess with the boot. This time, however, it was with a superb kick out of hand, his strike carried some 80 metres from inside one ‘22’ to the other. Territory acquired would lead to a second Pirates score, this time in the form of a penalty try following a potent surge to the line.
After their below par opening the Pirates were now looking a dominant force, helped further when visiting hooker Ross Grimstone was sent to the ‘Biffa’ sponsored sin bin. Keen to spread the ball wide it would be from a driving maul that the next score came, with home hooker Sam Matavesi registering his fourth Championship try of the season. Cargill’s conversion looked good, however the Assistant Referees judged otherwise.
Approaching half-time a further two tries would be created. The first converted effort went to Richmond centre Cam Hudson who scored at the Penzance posts following a particularly powerful run from wing Jono Woodward. As for the second, it would be a converted score for the Pirates, the ball moved wide to wing Robin Wedlake who followed up a 4-try performance at Hartpury with his fifth Championship try of the season.
Holding a 22-12 advantage at the break, it looked at the start of the second as if the Pirates would further extend their lead, with a possible 40 metre run-in from Matavesi. As it worked out he was unlucky not to keep on his feet, however there was a sense that a further home score was surely in the pipeline – and it was. Forwards and backs raised the tempo, and with a penalty award some 10 metres out it was ‘Mr. Consistent’, in the shape of scrum-half Alex Day who was quick to react with a quick tap and go to the Penzance posts. A sought for bonus point was in the bag and Cargill’s conversion was a formality.
For most of the second period, which was one broken up with the introduction of replacements, play would be evenly enough contested. The Pirates knew ahead of this game that their opponents were a together and hard-working side who would compete to the end, and they did just that. Final points also went their way, thanks to a try scored by centre Ronnie McLean and a conversion kicked by Kirby.
So, four Championships wins to start this campaign, added to the seven at the end of last season, now makes it 11 on the trot. Impressive, yes, but can they make it a dozen when they drop by Vallis Way next Saturday to take on the strong Ealing Trailfinders side? Time will tell, as ever.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Callum Patterson (Alex O’Meara 67), 11 Harry Strong, 10 Will Cargill (Harvey Skinner 65), 9 Alex Day (Jake Ashby 70); 1 Billy Keast, 2 Sam Matavesi (Dan Frost 65), 3 Tyler Gendall (Jack Andrew 69), 4 Toby Freeman (Danny Cutmore 69), 5 Brett Beukeboom (c), 6 Matt Bolwell, 7 John Stevens, 8 James McRae (Josh Caulfield h/t).
Cornish Pirates – tries: Penalty try, Matavesi, Wedlake, Day; cons: Cargill (2), pen: Cargill.
Richmond: 15 Rob Kirby, 14 Jono Woodward, 13 Cam Hudson, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Sam Edgerley, 10 Rory Damant (Lewis Dennett 52), 9 Jamie Gibbs (Jordan Simpson-Hefft 52); 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke (Jermey Cunnew 65), Ross Grimstone (Jason Phipps 70), 3 Craig Trenier (Dave Spelman 69), 4 Will Warden 5 Chris Davies (Harison Edwards 64), 6 Jake Parker (Charlie Lenygon 71), 7 Jesse Liston (c, Jason Phipps 24-31), 8 Ed Milne.
Yellow card: Grimstone.
Richmond – tries: Edgerley, Hudson, McLean; cons: Kirby (2).
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe (RFU).
St. Austell Brewery’s Man-of-the-Match: John Stevens.