Pirates on brink of semis after Titans double
Rotherham Titans 14 Cornish Pirates 17
The Cornish Pirates are on the verge of a place in the RFU Championship semi-finals for the second season running after a tenacious display in South Yorkshire all but ended the dreams of Rotherham Titans, writes Dick Straughan.
On a chilly afternoon they dominated proceedings from the start with another solid display from the pack and an aggressive defensive formation which rarely allowed the Titans any momentum.
The only surprise was that it took the Cornish side 18 minutes to get on the scoreboard when Rob Cook landed a penalty at the second attempt.
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Rotherham were dealt a major blow as they lost fly-half Garry Law to injury shortly afterwards and then turnover ball won by Alan Paver inside his own half proved the platform from which the opening try was scored.
Good control and patience through the phases coupled with Grant Pointer`s timely intervention set up Phil Burgess to race home in the corner.
Cook added a penalty in first half stoppage time and then another sixty seconds after the restart to make it 14-0 before a Robin Copeland try converted by Cliffie Hodgson gave Rotherham a glimmer of hope.
In an attritional second half Cook`s fourth penalty after 65 minutes gave the Pirates a two-scores cushion again which they held until the final play of the game when Titans lock Talite Vaioleti raced in under the posts for a second converted try.
Foden, Homan, McCall, Nonu, Monahan, Law (Hodgson 25), Phillips; Cahill (Kilbane 66), Baines, Hooper, Patrick (Griffiths 53), Maddison (Kirwan 69), Copeland, Dougall (capt), Taulava (Vaioleti 66)
Replacements (not used) – Stagg, Tellwright
Tries – Copeland, Vaioleti
Cons – Hodgson (2)
Cook, Pointer, Suniula (Cooper 80), Hill, Evans, Thomas, Cattle (capt) (Kessell 80); Rimmer (Storer 78), Ward, Paver (Brits 71), McGlone (Smith 59), Myerscough, Morgan, Burgess (Elloway 69), Marriott (Maidment 64)
Try – Burgess
Pens – Cook (4)
Referee: T Wigglesworth (RFU).