Photo- Cornish Pirates head coach Ian Davies was delighted with Bristol win
What else can I say. Two cracking games of live rugby watched over the weekend, although you wouldn’t think so from one of the score-lines.
Let’s start at the Mennaye. A game that ebbed and flowed with the Cornish Pirates defeating hitherto unbeaten Bristol 45-38 to cap a memorable weekend at the Pirates.
It was good to see Dicky Evans back for the first time since handing over the reins of the club. There was a weekend packed in his honour as the club gave him a well deserved “thank you” for all that he has done for the Cornish Pirates over the past couple of decades.
There had been a few mis-placed words pre-match from Bristol’s Director of Rugby Andy Robinson about the state of the pitch and the facilities at the Mennaye. In his words, “Get the points and get out of there!”
Bristol took the field sporting their red away strip which must have made their plethora of Welsh stars feel very much at home!
The Pirates took to the field to a huge cheer from the biggest crowd of the season at the Mennaye and from the word go the crowd got right behind the Cornish side.
Despite going ahead with an early drop-goal from full-back Matt Evans, the Pirates fell behind to a penalty-try which appeared to be awarded rather hastily by referee Garner.
The Pirates’ response was a try of beauty, a powerful driving maul that threatened to dump the Bristol pack on to their coach parked outside the gate for that quick getaway post match! Rob Elloway took the plaudits with Hallett adding the extras.
The Pirates were then guilty of missing a couple of first up tackles that allowed Bristol to score two good tries David Lemi and Jack Tovey with Matthew Morgan making three successful conversions for 21-10 lead.
Flanker Joe Atkinson then powered over from short-range for with Hallett adding the extras before the fly-half put in a well-judged chip over the Bristol defence for winger Craig Holland to score a sublime try in the scoreboard corner for a half-time lead of 22-21.
The Pirates then rocked Bristol with two quick-fire tries early in the second half as both Holland and then Elloway got their second tries the later after a tremendous run from the superb Atkinson took play almost to the Bristol line. Hallett banged over both conversions and the Mennaye was rocking at 36-21!
Bristol got a lifeline when No.8 Mitch Eadie barged over for an un-converted try, however Hallett kept the Bristol at arm’s length with a peanlty.
Up on the TV gantry, opposite the main grandstand, Robinson was pacing around with increasing anxiety etched on his face!
He calmed momentarily when referee Garner awarded Bristol a second penalty-try, however Hallett banged over a couple more long-range penalties to keep the Pirates two scores ahead.
With time fast running out and Robinson looking glummer by the second, Jack Tovey crossed for the second try in the clubhouse corner to ensure Bristol had the crumb of two points to take hastily back up the A.30.
The final whistle was greeted by a huge cheer from the large Mennaye crowd who went home happy and will surely be back for more in two weeks time!
You can read Ian Davies’ post-match comments from WMN in the link.
CORNISH PIRATES: M Evans, M Pope, T Hendrickson, A Dancer (R James 78), C Holland, K Hallett, T Kessell; K Davies (M Walker 59), (F Deformes 74), R Elloway (J Innard 72), J Ford-Robinson, W Graulich (C Davey 68), D Barry, C Morgan (Capt), J Atkinson, L McGlone.
Replacements (not used): T Lowry, B Hopkin.
Scores – Tries: Elloway (2), Atkinson, Holland (2), Conversions: Hallett (4), Penalties: Hallett (3), Drop-goal: Evans
BRISTOL: J Wallace (N Robinson 55), T Benvenuti (G Watkins 60), J Tovey, B Mosses, D Lemi, M Morgan, D Peel (Capt) (C Hampson), J O’Connell, R Lawrence (R McMillan 48), J Hall (G Cortes 48), I Evans (M Sorenson 48), B Glynn, M Mama, O Robinson (J Ovens 64), M Eadie.
Scores – Tries: Penalty (2), Lemi, Tovey (2), Eadie, Conversions – Morgan (4)
Refreee: Greg Garner (RFU)
Cornish Pirates man-of-the-match: Craig Holland