Cornish Pirates host Triangular Tournament
The Cornish Pirates met St Austell and Cinderford
in a Triangular Tournament at the Mennaye Field on Saturday evening, writes Dick Straughan.
Cornish Pirates 21 Cinderford 26
The Pirates and Cinderford opened proceedings and the game began briskly with the home side forcing the pace before a dangerous counter-attack by Stapleton was thwarted only by the alertness of Hallett.
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Cinderford took the lead after 9 minutes with a well-worked try from Nev Codlin as they patiently worked the phases in the Pirates 22 switching play well from left to right. Mark Davies converted.
The National One side continued to enjoy an accurate spell of possession and fly-half Davies unlocked the Pirates defence with a smart chip through releasing Sam Hanks to score under the posts. Davies again added the extras.
Davies then missed a long distance penalty before claiming a try of his own after 18 minutes. Number 8 George Evans charged through a gap in the home defence only to be halted just short of the line. Cinderford recycled possession and Davies found a gap to ghost through to make it 19-0.
The Pirates finally responded with a converted try from Laurie McGlone on his return to the side after a lengthy injury lay-off, as they crossed the Cinderford line on their first real offensive foray.
McGlone scored again four minutes later setting off on a bulldozing charge and dragging three tacklers over the line beneath the Cinderford posts. Hallett converted.
Junior Fatialofa`s incisive 25 metre break then created space for Conlon to put the Pirates ahead with a third converted try in 7 minutes but from the restart the home side tried to run the ball from deep and were punished. Hanks picked off an interception to trot in under the posts and the conversion made it 26-21 to Cinderford.
But a bigger concern for the Pirates will have been the loss to injury of Junior Fatialofa late in the game.
Cornish Pirates Tries – McGlone (2), Conlon; Cons – Hallett (3)
Cinderford Tries – Hanks (2), Codlin, M.Davies; Cons – M.Davies (3)
St.Austell 14 Cinderford 17
The Saints started brightly in Game Two taking the contest to Cinderford from the start. A huge midfield hit from Sam Tank on Hanks set the tone for the opening exchanges but Cinderford struck with their first attack and Jack Adams claimed the try.
Prop Joe Smart should have quickly added a second try after Andy Ashwin narrowly failed to pick off a dramatic interception, only to drop the ball in the act of scoring.
St.Austell struggled to break out of their own 22 after that and were eventually indebted to Adam Pearce`s charge down the flank after 15 minutes to relieve the pressure.
And their doggedness paid off after 20 minutes as Matt Shepherd unlocked a pedestrian Cinderford defence and offloaded to the charging Dan Pearce who made no mistake with the try. Shepherd converted and the Saints were 7-5 ahead.
Tank`s interception just short of his own line as St.Austell defended a Cinderford tap and go penalty, almost brought the try of the day as he raced 60 metres. Shepherd and Ewuzi kept the move alive but the wing was forced into touch inches from glory.
In a classic sucker-punch Adams then broke to the other end of the field and Chris Hawkins touched down to restore Cinderford`s advantage with Davies again on target with the boot.
Lady luck then smiled on Cinderford as both referee and touch judge missed a blatant knock-on by full-back Mike Wilcox allowing play to proceed instead. Seconds later wing Lloyd Stapleton scored their third try.
Shepherd thought he had scored late on after persistence by the Saints only to be denied by the referee`s whistle. Moments later though he did get a try and converted off the final play of the game to end the match on a deserved high for the Tregorrick Park side.
St.Austell tries – Shepherd, Pearce; Cons – Shepherd (2)
Cinderford tries – Adams, Hawkins, Codlin; Cons – Davies, Wilcox
Cornish Pirates 26 St.Austell 14
The Pirates were out of the blocks quickly in the final match of the evening scoring the opening try after just two minutes.
Joel Conlon made the break and Kieran Hallett finished the move before converting his own try.
Aaron Carpenter, now operating in the back row, was the next to score as he powered his way home in the corner and Hallett landed a difficult touchline conversion.
St.Austell rallied taking the game back to the Pirates with Shepherd again conducting the orchestra but needed desperate defence to rip the ball from Rob Elloway as he threatened to score a third Pirates try.
Craig Holland and Tom Kessell then tried to carve a path to the Saints line only for Pearce to force the move into touch. The Pirates immediately regained possession however with Chris Morgan scoring. Hallett converted to make it 21-0.
The Pirates reached the midway point of the game with their fourth try as this time Tom Riley scored after good work by Kessell. Hallett failed with a difficult conversion attempt.
Alex Welland was then inches from scoring for St.Austell as he just failed to latch onto an accurate grubber kick but Shepherd made no mistake from turnover ball on his own 22, outpacing Bodilly to score under the posts.
The Pirates ended the game with thirteen players on the field and St.Austell responded with a second converted try this time from prop Peter Rowe.
Enjoying the greater spaces on the pitch St.Austell threw caution to the wind in the closing minutes with Welland again going close.
Cornish Pirates Tries – Hallett, Carpenter, Morgan, Riley; Cons – Hallett (3)
St.Austell Tries – Shepherd, Rowe; Cons – Shepherd (2)
Holland, Bodilly, Tincknell, Fatialofa, Evans, Hallett, Pope; Davies, Carpenter, Maidment, Morgan (capt), Barry, Stevens, Conlon, McGlone
Replacements (all used) – Elloway, Joyce, Parker, Bolwell, Goss, Kessell, Riley
Pearce, Chenoweth, Newberry, Welland, Tank, Shepherd (capt), Ashwin; Rowe, Davey, Martin, Pearce, Vian, Venner, Kellow, Howorth
Replacements (all used) – Noott, Morcom, Nelson, Winterbottom, Haley, Cotton, Murley, Conybeare
Wilcox, Codlin, Hanks, B.Davies, Stapleton, M.Davies, Pointon; Smart, Bozzard, Booley, Randall, King, Keenan, Mills, Evans (capt)
Replacements (all used) – Fortey, Sinclair, Hodgetts, Brown, Hawley, Stuart-Smith, Hawkins
Referee – D.Rose (RFU)