Pirates see off Leeds to get back to winning ways
Cornish Pirates 21 Leeds 8
The Cornish Pirates got back to winning ways in the Championship with a dogged display in difficult conditions at the Mennaye Field too see off a strong challenge from Leeds, writes Dick Straughan.
The Pirates went into the game looking for their first league win since early September while Leeds were just looking for some success on the road four defeats this season.
However, after a strong start from the Yorkshire side, it was the Pirates who took the lead in the fifth minute as Laurie McGlone stole possession in his own 22.
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He broke downfield with Matt Evans again snaffling possession from the ensuing ruck deep in the Leeds half as the visitors stole it back, and the Canadian raced in to score the opening try.
Leeds got back into the game with a Joe Ford penalty before the Pirates extended their lead on 16 minutes as lock Gary Johnson rounded off a superb move started by a Tom Riley offload to Jack Nowell, who raced 50 metres through the heart of the Leeds defence.
Kieran Hallett converted and then added two penalties before half-time as the Pirates continued to punish Leeds for failing to turn their own possession into points.
A lead of 18-3 at the break then became three more early in the second half as Hallett struck again, but in worsening weather conditions Leeds stuck to their task and finally earned an unconverted try from Jacob Rowan as their pressure finally paid off.
Ford and Penberthy both missed late penalty attempts as the game became more error-strewn and referee David Rose issued three yellow cards.
David Lyons was sin-binned for the Pirates with James Doherty and Rowan both carded for Leeds in the closing minutes.
Cornish Pirates: Nowell, Pointer, Riley, Fatialofa, Evans (Davies 74), Hallett (Penberthy 70), Kessell (Cattle 66); Andrew (Storer 79), Elloway (Yeandle 52), Paver (Prescott 79), Barry, Johnson (Lyons 52, sin-bin 65-75), Maidment, Burgess, McGlone (capt).
Scorers. Tries – Evans, Johnson; Con – Hallett; Pens – Hallett (3).
Yellow card: Lyons.
Leeds: McColl, Wilson (Goss 70), Griffin, Burdon, D.Doherty, Ford, J.Doherty (sin-bin 73); Lockwood, Graham (Nilsen 66), Tussac, Green (Smith 66), Myerscough, Beck, Walker (Baldwin 27), Rowan (capt) (sin-bin 76). Replacements (not used) –Harris, Hooper, Hampson.
Scorers. Try – Rowan; Pen – Ford.
Yellow cards: J Doherty, Rowan.
Referee: D Rose (RFU).