Cook makes a hero's return to snatch last gasp win for Cornish Pirates
Cornish Pirates 19 Plymouth Albion 17
Nat Saumi's new-look Plymouth Albion side came within a whisker of sending the Cornish Pirates to defeat in their opening home game of the season, only to be denied by a Rob Cook penalty two minutes from the end of a pulsating derby, writes Dick Straughan.
Albion dominated much of the game in terms of territory and possession and should have been well ahead at the interval.
However early dominance, which saw Pirates prop Paul Andrew sin-binned for killing the ball on his own line, went unrewarded through poor decision-making and saw several good try-scoring chances go begging.
Coupled with a poor place kicking display from fly-half Paul Roberts Albion had to settle for a 7-6 half-time lead through a converted Herbie Stupple try against two Kieran Hallett penalties.
The Pirates roused the home crowd with the first of another brace of Matt Evans try just two minutes into the second half but Albion regrouped to quickly reclaim the lead.
Centre Bevon Armitage picked a hole in the Pirates defence from 5 metres after a spell of pressure but Roberts` conversion was wide.
With Albion's pack now firmly on top, they extended their lead on 68 minutes driving over after a penalty and close range lineout. Canadian Number 8 Aaron Carpenter was credited with the score but again the try went unconverted.
With eight minutes to go the Pirates pack finally gained the upper hand in Albion territory forcing the visitors deep into their own 22. With an advantage being played by the referee they shipped the ball wide at pace for Evans to score in the corner.
Plymouth still led by a point after Rob Cook`s conversion sailed wide but with time almost up they looked nervous.
The Pirates pack again drove from the restart winning a slightly fortuitous penalty in front of the posts and Cook stepped up to steal a victory against the run of play.
Cook, Bedford (Storer 4-13), Riley, Fatialofa (Cheesman 69), Evans, Hallett (Penberthy 69), Cattle (capt) (Kessell 53); P.Andrew (sin-bin 3-13), Elloway, Prescott (M Maidment 49), Lyons, Johnson, Marriott, Burgess, B.Maidment (Buckle 69)
Replacement (not used) – Semmens
Tries – Evans (2)
Cons – Hallett, Cook
Pens – Hallett (2)
Yellow Card – Andrew
Messer, McAtee (Bowen 69), Bailey, Armitage, Arnott, Roberts, Rowley (Cushion 76); J.Andrew (Hopkins 80), Vickers, Fairbrother, Beukeboom, Stephen (capt), Stupple (Nasiga 53), Hocking Nasiga, Carpenter
Replacements (not used) - Fisilau, Cowan-Dickie, , Ashcroft-Leigh
Tries – Stupple, Armitage, Carpenter
Con – Roberts
Referee – M.Carley (RFU)
Attendance – 2,260