IT WAS TENSE down at the Mennaye yesterday evening, with just over 10 minutes of proper time left on the clock and trailing to an excellent London Welsh side 10-3, the Cornish Pirates dug deep to turn the result around in dramatic fashion with a little bit of Welsh wizardry from their skipper scrum-half Gavin Cattle. A blind-side break saw the scrum-half scuttle in at the “Old Western National Corner”, following a good run from replacement centre Drew Locke. Full-back Rob Cook converted the score to tie it up at 10 apiece.
The crowd then played their part roaring the Pirates on to victory, Cook kicked a second penalty to nudge the Pirates into a slender lead but then it was Cattle again, this time turning provider for fellow Welshman Rhodri McAtee to dive in at the Newlyn Gate Corner, as the clock ticked into time added on. It was a body blow to the valiant Exiles who had given their all in a gripping encounter. They certainly rocked the Pirates with a storming start that saw them lead with a Gordon Ross penalty, as the Pirates lost flanker Sam Betty to the bin. Although Cook tied the scores with his first penalty success it was Welsh who had the better of the first half with lock Matt Corker crashing over at the Newlyn End to re-gain the lead, Ross’s conversion giving Welsh a 10-3 lead at the break.
Despite having a man advantage at the start of the second half with Exiles’ prop Shawn Pittman shown the yellow card for foul play just on half-time, the Pirates were denied by a robust Welsh defence until Cattle’s telling blows.
The Championship final first leg between the Pirates and the Warriors takes place on Wednesday, May 11 (7.45pm) at Mennaye Field, with the second leg coming a week later at Sixways (also 7.45pm).
TICKETS FOR THE 1ST LEG OF THE FINAL ARE AVAILABLE NOW FROM THE USUAL OUTLETS.
WAIT AND SEE! That is the Red’s fate this week as they did their bit by winning at Wharfedale by 33-22. The result lifts them 2 points clear of Sedgley Park who play Macclesfield next Saturday in their final game.
Mark Bright scored a hat-trick of tries to round off his season as he returns to New Zealand tomorrow to play for Tasman Makos this summer. Tom Notman and Steve Woods got the other tries with Aaron Penberthy adding four conversions.
Penberthy will now look forward to playing for England Counties U.20’s next Friday at West Park Leeds when they play Scotland U.20’s.
The Cornish All Blacks lost their penultimate game at Polson going down 28-21 to Rosslyn Park despite centre Ryan Westren crossing for a brace of tries amongst all the points scored by the centre for his club. Westren’s second try set a new try-scoring record for the Cornish All Blacks in a season.
With Westren set for the Cornish Pirates next season, Mal Roberts is the next player who will move away from Polson at the end of the season as his Army career takes him back up country.
The Cornish All Blacks will complete their season this Saturday at home to Stourbridge kick-off will be at 1-30pm.