Rugby: Dick Straughan looks at the Cornish Pirates first game under the new Mennaye floodlights
AFTER months of talk and build-up the Friday night experiment at the Cornish Pirates is firmly under way and the only thing lacking after this first league match under the lights was a win.
The weather was good, the crowd pretty decent and the opponents strong, so there were no excuses for not enjoying yourself if you discount the final score. But therein lies the potential problem which could scupper this whole brave bid to change the matchday culture at the Mennaye Field.
To keep the crowd sizes at an acceptable level, the team needs to win. As we all know, sport is entirely a results driven business and if the Pirates drift off the pace on the pitch then many of the new faces in the crowd last Friday might well find something else to do with their evenings, once the bad weather sets in.
Leeds, tough cookies on the park that they are, were always going to be relatively straightforward to market because of the fact that they are promotion contenders this season and this was the first floodlit Championship match in Penzance.
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They are not the prettiest side in the world to watch but have a pack of forwards capable of grinding down most at this level, coupled with some pace behind.
They silenced the home crowd for much of the night by getting the Pirates in a proverbial headlock and refusing to let go. It was not what the business side of the Mennaye operation wanted to see, I'm sure, but that is sport for you.
The Pirates, for their part, were below their best. The players will need no reminding of that and the coaches were probably far more angry than their demeanour let on in public.
They set the bar high in beating Bristol and the danger was always that they would follow it up with a display like this. And guess what? They did.
It may have been a defeat but it was certainly not a disaster and I think most Pirates fans would have happily taken five league points from opening games against Bristol and Leeds before the season started.
And now the fixture list throws up a couple of potential plums before we embark on the cup campaign next month.
This Saturday Ian Davies will take his troops to Ealing to play the league's new boys. They should win, but we have seen the Pirates slip up against sides like this before. Then it is back to the Mennaye Field for another Friday nighter against every marketing man's living nightmare – Moseley.
The Birmingham side can rarely be described as easy on the eye and it is highly unlikely that they will challenge at the right end of the table any time soon. That does not mean that this game will be a turkey-shoot though. Far from it. Moseley are more than capable of beating anyone when they really feel like it and the Pirates simply cannot afford to let that happen.
A crowd similar to last Friday's for that fixture would be a job well done by the Pirates staff. It is a tough game to sell. Defeat at Ealing this weekend would just make it even tougher.
Pressure? What pressure?