Cornish Pirates earn bonus point win over Knights in the Mennaye mud
Cornish Pirates 31 Doncaster Knights 18
The Cornish Pirates maintained their pursuit of a place in the Championship play-offs as they scored four tries against bottom of the table Doncaster in a mudbath at the Mennaye Field, writes Dick Straughan.
Heavy overnight rain and persistent showers before kick-off left pools of standing water on the playing surface despite the best efforts of the ground staff, but both teams were committed to playing and the Pirates were rewarded with their opening try after just three minutes.
Hooker Darren Semmens was driven over from 5 metres out but an immediate 22-man brawl brought yellow cards for Laurie McGlone and Knights prop Tom Davies. Kieran Hallett converted the score but on an afternoon of effective driving mauls Doncaster were quickly back in the game with a Rhys Buckley try.
Hallett extended the Pirates lead with a penalty before Buckley burrowed over for his 2nd try in the 24th minute to level the score at 10-all. Hallett and Flockhart then traded penalties at the end of the half before home lock Darren Barry also picked up a yellow card for a lineout offence.
The Pirates were better after the break and Semmens scored his second try on 45 minutes before a further Hallett penalty heaped pressure on the Knights with the score moving to 21-13.
Laurie McGlone added his team`s third try just past the hour as a 5-metre scrum rumbled over the Knights line and with four minutes to go they secured the bonus point after some improbable footwork by Wes Davies.
The Pirates full-back somehow kept his feet in the midfield bog dummying and shimmying around four would-be tacklers before setting up Ben Mercer who broke free over halfway. The wing hacked on and Matt Evans won the pursuit to register his eight try of the season.
In the final minute Doncaster`s driving maul forced its way over the Pirates line for a consolation try from Chris Planchant but it was too little and too late for them.
Davies, Mercer, Riley, Fatialofa, Evans (Smith 77), Hallett, Cattle (capt) (Kessell 77); Andrew (Storer 72), Semmens, Paver (Prescott 8), Barry (sin-bin 38-48), Johnson (Lyons 63), Marriott, Burgess (Maidment 45), McGlone (sin-bin 3-13)
Replacement (not used) – Elloway
Tries – Semmens (2), McGlone, Evans
Con – Hallett
Pens – Hallett (3)
Yellow Cards – McGlone, Barry
Keating, Flockhart, Braid, Simpson (Lennard 63), Lewis, Luke, Bedford (Hallam 72); Davies (sin-bin 3-13, McGovern 74), Buckley (Bergmanis 77), Francis (Cronin 56), Challinor, Parsons (Smith 62), Kettle (Cronin 8-18), Hafu (Pailor 74), Planchant
Tries – Buckley (2), Planchant
Pen – Flockhart
Yellow Card – Davies
Referee – M.Carley (RFU)
Attendance – 1,309
HT – 13-13