Cornish Pirates made to battle hard for win in Cup opener
Cornish Pirates 44 Carmarthen Quins 32
The Cornish Pirates were made to battle all the way at the Mennaye Field in this British & Irish Cup Pool 3 opener as a committed Carmarthen Quins side threatened to stage a shock smash and grab raid in Cornwall, writes Dick Straughan.
The Pirates trailed 20-13 at the end of an insipid first half after flanker Aidan Laxton and hooker Richard Wilkes had both claimed tries for the Welsh Premiership side.
In a first 40 minutes littered with errors and containing little cohesive play from the home team, a try from centre Tom Cheesman and the boot of Aaron Penberthy registered their only points.
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A contentious sin-binning for Penberthy mid-way through the half and a worrying arm injury to skipper Chris Morgan early in the game only served to disrupt matter further as the Quins grew visibly in confidence.
Angry words from the coaching team at half-time prompted a more purposeful display in the second period though, and scrum-half Tom Kessell sniped over for the first of his two tries on 51 minutes. Penberthy converted to level the scores.
Now it was the turn of the Pirates to play with renewed confidence and two quick converted tries on the hour mark turned the tie inexorably in their favour.
With former Pirate Darren Daniel sin-binned on his return to Cornwall for a high tackle on debutant JJ Kilmartin, the home siode pushed on scoring through Number 8 Laurie McGlone.
Full-back Wes Davies then rounded off a fine flowing move started inside his own half by Penberthy before Kessell made it 39-20 with his second ten minutes from time.
Carmarthen claimed two late tries through wing Jason Harries and centre Rheon James as the home side switched off in defence, but while the performance was far from perfect the Pirates start this year's competition with a bonus point win.
Cornish Pirates: W Davies, Bedford, Cheesman, Fatialofa (Kilmartin 50), Mercer, Penberthy (sin-bin 24-34), Kessell (Coote 40-42, 73); Paver (Joyce 73), Semmens (Elloway 46), Joyce (Andrew 46), Barry, Lyons (Burgess 57), Morgan (capt) (Johnson 5), Buckle, McGlone. Replacement (not used): Hallett.
Tries: Cheesman, Kessell (2), McGlone, Davies; Cons: Penberthy (5); Pens: Penberthy (3).
Yellow card: Penberthy.
Carmarthen Quins: C Banfield, R Thomas, A Banfield, James, Harries, Dixon (Daniel 26, sin-bin 58-68), Wells (Rees 68); I Jones (capt) (Beaujean 53), Wilkes ( Evans 68), G Thomas (Robinson 64), C Jones, Pugh, Laxton (T Davies 64), Bennett (Powell 74), Joseph.
Tries: Laxton, Wilkes, Harries, James; Cons: Dixon, C Banfield (2); Pens: C Banfield (2).
Yellow card: Daniel.
Referee: S Harding (RFU).