Cornish Pirates 31 Doncaster Knights 24
Pre-season complete, the Cornish Pirates welcomed Doncaster Knights to the Mennaye Field on Sunday for their opening game in this season’s Greene King IPA Championship, reports Phil Westren from the Mennaye Field.
Matches between the Pirates and the Knights are often high-scoring and entertaining affairs, whilst they are also hard fought. This one certainly was, it a contest in the sun between two evenly matched teams but with the Pirates ultimately achieving the sought-after win.
Photo Brian Tempest: Sam Matavesi scored two of the Pirates’ tries
Lock Brett Beukeboom proudly skippered the home team, the side showing just one change in the starting line-up from the selection that recently faced Exeter Chiefs, with the inclusion of Brett’s fellow Canadian international Matt Evans named at ’11’
The Pirates looked purposeful in opening exchanges, however a sudden breakout of defence by the Knights ended with scrum-half Tom James scoring the game’s opening try. The effort at the Penzance posts was converted by his fly-half partner Charlie Foley.
It was hardly the start the Pirates were looking for, but they were at least quick to respond. Hooker Sam Matavesi first carried strongly, fly-half Will Cargill then took advantage of a gap on offer and maintaining momentum it was Matavesi who scored. Cargill added the extras.
Midway through the half the Knights scored again, their second try of the match touched down by full-back Cameron Cowell who was one of several in their squad with Newcastle Falcons connections. Centre Joel Matavesi, brother of Pirate Sam, was another.
Could the Pirates respond again? Yes, would be the answer, as following good approach work by midfield partners Callum Patterson and Rory Parata it was Matavesi who again made it over the line for a converted try.
Slack defensively at times, the Pirates leaked a third try on the half hour mark. Foley was the man to take advantage and run well before timing his pass perfectly to James who also scored his second converted try of the match.
To continue the scoring pattern thus far, the Pirates kept on script to level matters before the break, Parata identified as a try-scorer on his Championship debut.
Foley saw a penalty attempt bounce off a post early in the second period, however when pressing strongly as the half wore on, his Premiership referee namesake, Tom Foley, blew again to give him a second chance. It was one taken, for the scoreline to read 21-24.
Thankfully the Pirates hit back in the last quarter, with a mix of determination and perhaps fitness being vital factors. They took the lead for the first time in the match on 64 minutes when Tom Duncan scored a bonus point converted try, and after replacement flanker John Stevens helped attain territory with a clever kick to the right touchline, Cargill shortly after kicked a penalty – the last points of the match.
For the Pirates there will be areas to work on, of course there will be, but all in all the importance for this opener was to record, as previously mentioned, this sought-after ‘W’.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata (Harry Strong 78), 12 Callum Patterson, 11 Matt Evans, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Alex Day; 1 Christian Judge (Tyler Gendall 72), 2 Sam Matavesi (Dan Frost 60), 3 Jack Andrew, 4 Toby Freeman (Danny Cutmore 59), 5 Brett Beukeboom (captain), 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 Matt Bolwell (John Stevens 60), 8 Tom Duncan.
Replacements (not used): Alex Schwarz, Harvey Skinner.
Doncaster Knights: 15 Cameron Cowell, 14 Steve McColl, 14 Lloyd Hayes, 12 Joel Matavesi, 11 Tyson Lewis (Mat Clark 75), 10 Charlie Foley (Ruaridh Dawson 72), 9 Tom James; 1 Robin Hislop (Toby Williams 61), 2 Ben Hunter (Curtis Langdon 70), 3 Colin Quigley (Joe Sproston 60), 4 Matt Challinor (Tom Calladine 60), 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Morgan Eames, 7 Michael Hills (captain), 8 William Ryan.
Replacement (not used): Kurt Morah.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Matavesi (2), Parata, Duncan; cons: Cargill (4); pen: Cargill.
Doncaster Knights – tries: James (2), Cowell; cons: Foley (3); pen: Foley.
Referee: Tom Foley (RFU)
St. Austell Brewery’s Man-of-the-Match: Callum Patterson