Cornish Pirates end losing run with narrow home victory
Cornish Pirates 17 Moseley 14
The Cornish Pirates returned to winning ways in the RFU Championship as they ground out a narrow victory over relegation threatened Moseley on a freezing cold afternoon at the Mennaye Field, writes Dick Straughan.
Icy temperatures and a strong south-easterly gale made open rugby and kicking hugely difficult and in the end both teams settled for a largely attritional affair dominated by both packs of forwards.
Moseley took an early lead through former Pirates full-back Ollie Thomas as he slotted a 30 metre penalty but the home side responded after 16 minutes with wing Matt Evans scoring his 12th try of the season from the first sustained spell of Pirates pressure.
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Thomas then added a second penalty with Aaron Penberthy missing a long distance effort for the home side and the score stayed 6-5 to Moseley right up to the interval despite the Pirates having lock Gary Johnson sin-binned for fighting.
Thomas landed his third kick early in the second half after debutant Pirates hooker Will Tanner was penalised at a scrum, but the Pirates responded positively increasing the tempo of the game and eventually taking the lead.
Lock David Lyons felt he had scored against his old club when a Pirates driving maul crashed over the Moseley line, but minutes later the Pirates spun the ball wide from an attacking 5 metre scrum and wing Ashley Smith claimed his first try for the club. Penberthy added a sublime conversion from the touchline to make it 12-9.
Phil Burgess then led a Pirates breakout from an overthrown Moseley lineout forcing Thomas to concede a penalty in front of his own posts. Gavin Cattle`s quick tap released Smith again and the loan signing grabbed his second score.
From the restart the Pirates knocked on allowing Moseley to build pressure which resulted in a 12-man driving maul powering over the Pirates line. Prop Ethan Waller was credited with the try but Thomas missed the conversion and the Pirates held out in a scrappy final quarter to claim the much needed win.
Pointer, Smith, Riley, Bedford, Evans, Penberthy, Cattle (capt); Storer, Tanner (Elloway 54), Joyce (Prescott 54), Johnson (sin-bin 34-44), Lyons (Barry 73) Burgess, Cheesman (Tyas 79), Marriott
Replacements (not used) – Cook, Hallett, Davies
Tries – Evans, Smith (2)
Con – Penberthy
Yellow Card – Johnson
Thomas, S.Hunt (B.Hunt 79) , King, Carter, Robinson, Hughes, Glynn (Brown 73); Waller (Warren 77), Wilkes (Williams 73), Evans, Lockley (Powell 55), Lawrence, Mason (Robinson 55), Pons (Dickinson 55), Pienaar
Try – Waller
Pens – Thomas (3)
Referee – R.Campbell (RFU)