What a great game of rugby between the Cornish Pirates and Ulster Ravens in the British & Irish Cup on Friday night down at the Mennaye.
The atmosphere was great just a shame that there was not more than around 1,350 to witness such a great advert for the B&I Cup.
Aaron Carpenter picked up from a scrum to run in the Pirates opening try after just 8 minutes.
Ulster Ravens showed they could play a bit, stringing together some fine phases of play resulting in fly-half James McKinney putting the Ulstermen ahead with a couple of penalties.
Pirates re-took the lead with a penalty from fly-half Angus Sinclair, then scored a second try from turnover ball, a strong tackle on an Ulster player saw the ball go loose with skipper Gavin Gattle – playing his 200th game for the Pirates – reacting the first to gather and pass to winger Mike Pope who went all the way to score.
Ravens’ skipper lock Lewis Stevenson put in a big drive towards the Pirates’ line and when the ball was worked back the ball went wide for winger Peter Nelson to score in the Old Western National Corner, to leave the Pirates 13-11 up at the break.
McKinney made up for his missed conversion before half-time to give the visitors the lead with an early second half penalty.
Pirates full-back Kieran Goss showed a fine turn of speed as he flew into the Newlyn Gate Corner for the Pirates’ third try.
With Ravens’ flanker Mike McCornish sin-binned for a professional foul, Sinclair kicked a further two penalties either side of a penalty for Ulster by McKinney to nudge the Pirates into a 24-17 lead.
Pirates’ grater fitness paid off during the final quarter, as the Pirates again made the most of turnover ball with winger Matt Evans racing in to secure the bonus point. Sinclair added the conversion and Kieran Hallett, on as a replacement, completed the scoring with a late penalty.
Next Saturday the Pirates make the trip to take on Scottish Premiership side Ayr who lost their opening game in the Cup at Jersey 28-16.
See the statement from Dicky Evans about his future commitment with regard to the management structure of the club in the link to WMN site.
In National League 2 South on Saturday, the Cornish All Blacks snatched a late win in stoppage time thanks to a last-gasp try from prop Tim Mathias, to win 34-33!
A seesaw game saw the other tries for Launceston scored by Lewis Paterson (2), Ryan Westren and Mike Rawlings with Kieron Lewitt’s reliable boot adding three conversions and a penalty.
Redruth secured try-scoring and losing bonus points in a 39-32 defeat at Bournemouth.
Redruth’s forwards bagged all four of their tries with Richard Brown, playing at flanker, getting the first. Prop Darren Jacques celebrated his Trelawny’s Army Player of the Year Award he received this week in fine style with a brace of tries, whilst lock Damien Cook got the Reds’ fourth try.
Fly-half Murray Westren kicked twelve points with his final penalty securing the losing bonus point.
In Tribute South West 1 West, St. Austell continued their fine start to the campaign with a well-earned draw at Thornbury 22-22. Adam Pellow, Dan Pearce and Mark Martin all crossed the whitewash for the Saints with Matt Shepherd adding a couple of conversions and a penalty.
Camborne had another hard-fought win, this time at home to Clevedon 33-20.
Tries for the Cherry & Whites were scored by wingers Adam Notman and Rob Floyd with fly-half Dave Mankee and replacement Aaron Hunt also bagging tries in a bonus point win.
Mankee’s boot added thirteen points.
Wadebridge Camels were undone at home by two late tries as North Petherton took the honours winning 27-19.
Matt Ballard, Jack Scott and Harry Woodward all scored tries for the Camels with Ryan Johns adding a couple of conversions.
In Tribute Western Counties West, Truro defeated St. Ives in an entertaining Cornish Derby at St. Clements 39-20.
Jake Champion, Karl Ranscombe, Adam Gayton, James Murdoch and Tom Hatfield (2) all crossed the Hakes’ line with Champion kicking a conversion and penalty and Hatfield converting both his scores.
For St. Ives, Neil Corin bagged a couple of tries and Sean Stevens bagged his side’s third. Jamie Prisk kicked a conversion and a penalty.
In the battle a t the foot of the table, Bude got a first win 10-0 over Paignton at Bencoolen with a couple of un-converted tries scored by Adam Black and James Comber.
Penryn will be disappointed with their loss at Kingsbridge 22-3. Jake Seviour saved a whitewash with a late drop-goal.
In London 2 SW, a good win for London Cornish at Portsmouth 30-8. The exiles scored five tries with lock Harry Somers getting the final score.
In Tribute Cornwall & Devon League, there were two Cornish Derbies; Hayle got the better of Veor 48-5.
Stefan Osborne (2), Scott Harvey (2), Rob Goodman (2) and Doug Arnull alls cored tries for the Lions with Martin Strick kicking five conversions and a penalty. For Veor Andrew Hitchens scored a first half try.
Falmouth edged a win over Newquay Hornets at the Rec 22-21. Sam Burke, James Dobson, and Tom Spiller scored tries for the Eagles with Jeremy Irons adding a couple of conversions and a penalty.
For the Hornets, Harry Pendrick and Ashley Mann scored tries with veteran Ian Morgan kicking a conversion and three penalties.
Saltash lost at Exeter Saracens 33-15.
In Tribute Cornwall 1, there was a big win for Liskeard & Looe over St. Agnes 94-0. The Lions ran in fourteen tries in their win over Aggie.
Bodmin won at Perranporth 41-17, Stithians defeated School of Mines at Penryn 20-18 and Helston won at home against Roseland 35-10.
In Tribute Cornwall 2, Illogan Park won at Lankelly-Fowey 53-17, whilst St. Just beat Redruth Albany at Trewergie 27-24. St. Day played their first game of the season, after being forced to concede their opening two fixtures, defeated Camelford 28-20.
As a footnote re the Pirates game against Ulster Ravens. Does anyone remember the last time Ulster visited Cornwall?
Well it was 1st September 1991 when they played Cornwall at Redruth with a side that included six Irish Internationals. For the record Ulster won 27-6 scoring two tries (worth four points then), five penalties and two conversions. For Cornwall Kevin Thomas kicked a couple of penalties. Cornwall’s captain that day Graham Dawe!