Moyle spares Pirates blushes as late try denies Londoners
KYLE Moyle's converted try four minutes from the end of a scrappy encounter at the Mennaye Field spared the Cornish Pirates' blushes as Ealing let slip a game they should have won.
There was little to commend this Pirates performance as the hangover from last weekend's defeat at London Scottish lingered on, but the home side could have snatched a dramatic and undeserved victory in the final minute as Kieran Hallett lined up a penalty on the Ealing 22. He missed and justice was done.
The mid-season lull currently blighting the Pirates shows no signs of abating any time soon on the basis of this lacklustre performance, and Director of Rugby Ian Davies was scathing in his post-match assessment.
"I think we were really lucky to get anything out of it because with 20 minutes to go we were looking at a five-niller," he said.
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"Ealing fully deserved to be in the lead, we weren't playing very sensibly and were coughing up too much ball, and I feel sorry that they had to settle for a draw because they deserved to win."
He added: "We were inept. Ealing didn't do anything in particular that worried us – they put width on the ball which we knew they would do and we gave an interception away.
"We struggled with turnovers in their 22 from which we should have been scoring, they ran the length of the field and scored, then we had set piece dominance but couldn't do anything with it.
"It was a poor performance and home and I'm not happy with it.
"We showed a lot of spirit at the end though, with Kyle Moyle's try and Kieran Hallett's fantastic conversion, and while we can work on the performance you saw spirit from the boys in spades."
The Pirates were ahead after just two minutes through Hallett's opening penalty but the response from the league's bottom team was just as swift.
Prop Richard Palframan broke through the home defence and quick recycling at the breakdown released full-back Andy Henderson for a simple try which went unconverted.
Hallett restored the slender Pirates lead with a second penalty before prop Shane Cahill seized on an overthrown lineout to score the first try of the afternoon after 27 minutes.
But Ealing were enjoying their afternoon in the sunshine hitting back with a Phil Chesters try as they attacked down the length of the field.
Ben Ward landed a penalty just before the hour mark to put Ealing ahead 13-11 and they added to that with Chesters' second try after Tom Bedford had nicked an interception on half-way.
Ward converted the touchdown but only in the closing minutes did the Pirates find any real momentum in attack with Moyle's late converted score salvaging a draw.
Davies said: "Ealing have got used to the pace of Championship rugby and are fighting for their lives. We knew they would come here and scrap for everything but we have to look at ourselves.
"Our accuracy wasn't there again this week and we have to make sure that we take no one for granted."
"Our scrum and line-out was pretty good, but we never really got anything from it. This is where we are though – we are an indifferent side at the moment and we are still learning how to manage games. Here we didn't do it very well, hopefully at Moseley we will do a better job."