Pirates find fluency against Quins
The Cornish Pirates got their British and Irish Cup campaign under way with a win, but they were made to work for their 44-32 bonus-point victory over Carmarthen Quins yesterday.
The Pirates were undeniably the better side but struggled to assert their dominance in the opening half.
However, an improved second-half performance enabled them to pull clear of the Welsh Premiership team with five tries from Tom Kessell (two), Alex Cheeseman, Laurie McGlone and Wes Davies.
Pirates' superiority was obvious from the first minute as numerous Quins ball carriers were flattened, surrendering possession in the process.
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An early penalty for the hosts was expertly kicked through the posts from distance by fly-half Aaron Penberthy but home struggles began with the concession of a James Dixon penalty and a try from flanker Aidan Thomas.
Pirates responded, cutting through Quins at will and Cheeseman touched down with Penberthy converting.
It was not enough to settle them. More mistakes at the breakdown cost penalties and Dixon brought his side level, taking the second of two opportunities with the boot that came his way.
Penberthy nudged his side back in front with his second penalty but received a yellow card for not rolling away on the half way line.
Chris Banfield levelled the scores once more and the visitors took the lead when he converted Rich Wilkes' score on the left.
The Pirates returned to the field after the half-time interval with more purpose but still found it difficult to break through the Quins' defence, despite considerable possession inside the visitors' 22. They did so eventually, following a powerful scrum which drove the visitors back before Kessell darted over near the right touchline.
The Pirates continued to apply pressure and once Laurie McGlone finished a rather scruffy try – converted by Penberthy – they played with greater freedom.
Quins' resistance was certainly weakened by going down to 14 men following former Pirate Darren Darren's yellow card for a head-high tackle on Kessell.
Pirates marched straight back into the Carmarthen 22 after some incisive moves and Wes Davies took a pass at pace from Penberthy to cut through under the posts.
Another break, this time from replacement Phil Burgess, disrupted the Quins' defence again. Kessell picked up the pieces and scored his second try, converted once again by Penberthy.
Quins showed heart and deserved their final flourish with two late scores. Wing Jason Harries touched down for one late unconverted score.
And centre Rheon James broke through four home players to score a try converted by Chris Banfield. Those touchdowns were separated by one final successful kick at goal from Penberthy.