A last gasp touchline conversion by Ollie Thomas saw the Cornish Pirates home in their National League 1 encounter at Goldington Road against the Bedford Blues 17-15. The Pirates had to battle hard for the points reduced at one point to thirteen men with back row players Chris Cracknell and Iva Motusaga sitting in the sin bin. To their credit they rode the storm and struck at the death to maintain their fine form. A couple of James Pritchard penalties nudged the Blues into a six-point lead before Motusaga scored the first try of the match on 38 mins. Fly-half Gareth Steenson kicked the conversion and then added a penalty just before half-time, Cracknell making his way to the bin in the company of Bedford’s hooker Karl Dickson.
Early in the second half a rush of blood saw Motusaga binned for coming in at the side once too often, Pritchard’s third penalty cutting the Pirates lead to a point 10-9. Under tremendous pressure during the final quarter the Pirates conceded a couple of penalties, which Pritchard kicked to give the Blues a 15-10 advantage. The late late show from the Pirates came well into stoppage time as the ball was worked back across the field from the initial run by Jimmy Moore, with Nathan Kemp, Rhodri McAtee and Adryan Winnan all involved, Winnan managed to off-load to centre Steve Winn the Welshman squeezing in to the right-hand corner. Thomas completed the win with his fine kick.
At Old Deer Park, the Cornish All Blacks’ fine recent run was brought to an emphatic halt 38-0 by a London Welsh side that had benefited from coaching this week from the former National Team coach Gareth Jenkins. The Cornish All Blacks’ switch their attention once again this Saturday when they play Nottingham in the last eight of the EDF-Energy National Trophy in an evening kick-off.
Coach Nigel Hambly was far from pleased with his side’s 17-10 defeat at Wharfedale in National League 2 a result, which once again pulls the Reds back into the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table. Winger Simon Horsfall scored an un-converted try after only 5 mins for the home side. Andy Baggett added a couple of penalties either side of half-time to extend the home side’s advantage before the Reds struck back with a penalty from Luke Cozens before winger Lewis Vinnicombe, making a welcome return following injury, followed up a kick through by centre PJ Gidlow to score in the corner, Cozen’s conversion brought the Reds back to within a point on the scoreboard. Two further penalties from Baggett sealed the win for Wharfedale with the last penalty award also seeing Reds scrum-half Mark Richards getting a red card. The Reds will have to focus immediately on Saturday’s up coming fixture against an in-form Blaydon side who beat second place Stourbridge.
Mount’s Bay successfully overcame their potentially difficult trip to Canterbury with a 16-15 win to remain top of National League 3 South. The game went to un-contested scrums during the final 20 minutes as the home side lost their complete front row to injuries during the game something the Bay coaching staff were not too happy about. Jon Marlin scored the Bay’s opening try before Canterbury hit back with a penalty and an un-converted try to lead 8-5. Bay hit back before half-time when Tyron Child scored their second try to turn around 10-8 up. Tim Mosey then kicked a couple of penalties to increase the visitor’s lead. Canterbury scored a second try through former Albion player Pat Sykes with De Kock’s conversion bringing his side to within appoint of Bay.
In South West 1, St. Ives managed to raise a side to play Redingensians but it was a familiar story as the Hakes slipped to a 40-5 loss at home to confirm their relegation to South West 2 West next season.
In South West 2 West, Camborne are not quite mathematically relegated but they are certain to play in Western Counties West next season. Camborne’s latest reversal came at Clevedon 38-5 with hooker Nathan Curnow getting Town’s only try.
Wadebridge Camels remain third in Western Counties West, but are now six points behind second place Sidmouth following their 13-13 draw at Tiverton. Hayle are second from bottom following their loss to leaders Paignton 29-12 at the Memorial Park. Trailing 21-0 during the first quarter the Lions fought back to 21-12 at half-time Adam Keverne scoring the first try converted by Paul Lello and James Jago grabbing the second. With five games to play Hayle will be targeting their home games against Withycombe also on 12 points and Penryn to get them out of jail. Bude lost 33-3 at Kingsbridge to remain fifth. Devonport Services eased their relegation fears with a 20-18 win at doomed Penryn.
In London 3 SW, London Cornish despite a brave first half performance holding leaders Cobham 3-3 on their own patch slipped to a second half defeat 29-3. (Dickon Moon’s report in the forums.)
In Cornwall & Devon League, Newquay Hornets remain top following their Cornish derby win over Falmouth at the Sports Centre 17-7. Truro defeated Wellington 13-5 at St. Clements to remain in fourth place.
This coming Sunday sees Cornwall U.20’s begin their County Championship campaign with a home fixture at the Mennaye Field, Penzance against Gloucestershire with a 2-30 kick-off.
The RBS 6 Nations is back on our screens this weekend as England are at the Stade de France on Saturday evening it’s appropriate to cast a quick glance at rugby in Brittany. On Sunday Vannes playing in only their second season in Fédérale 1 qualified for the first time for the second phase of Jean Prat championship following a 24-7 win over Poitiers to clinch the final qualifying spot (4th) in their pool. Two tries from full-back Julien Cazenave, a former teammate of Pirates’ full back Adryan Winnan whilst at Tarbes, helped the Breton side on their way. Vannes are now pitted against three sides from the deep south Lavaur, Lannemezan and Périgueux in a further pool to determine who progresses to the knock out stages.
So to next weekend’s matches, Wales v Italy, the Welsh are on a roll and I expect them to comfortably beat the Italians in Cardiff by 20 points 35 – 15.
Ireland v Scotland, the Irish showed glimpses of what they are capable of at St. Denis during the second half of their match against France, I think Ireland will beat Scotland by a score 21 – 14.
France v England an 8pm kick-off will not suit England, much depends on the selection of the England team. France will be looking for revenge for their defeat in the semi-final of the rugby world cup and I expect them to beat the English by a ten- point margin 25-15 with Vincent Clerc once again getting in on the scoring. It should be a cracker.