Five-star Pirates put Ealing to the sword
Ealing Trailfinders 17, Cornish Pirates 31
SOME 20 months after securing their last Championship bonus point win on the road the Cornish Pirates overcame a potentially tricky encounter with newly promoted Ealing to get back to winning ways.
The last time they took maximum points away from home in this competition came also in the capital when they dispatched Esher on January 14 2012. The Pirates ran in five tries at Vallis Way and could have doubled that tally, such was their overall dominance.
They didn't have things all their own way though on a blustery day in west London. Lock Gary Johnson pulled out of the pre-match warm-up with an ankle problem and his replacement, Darren Barry became the third Pirate to be sin-binned in as many games when he received his marching orders late in the first half.
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Ealing responded with a converted try from Ed Siggery which briefly gave them a 7-5 lead, but it was to last only two minutes before Kieran Goss ran in his second touchdown for the Pirates on a day when he might have scored even more.
Nevertheless Pirates boss Ian Davies was happy with the result as his team showed some desired improvements after losing to Leeds.
He said: "Winning away, let alone getting a bonus point win on the road, doesn't happen enough with the Pirates so I am pleased with that. "I thought our work rate was good, our energy levels good, and we showed a lot of physicality, although maybe a bit too much at times. But five-nil, you can't argue with that.
"We had talked about not giving them energy but we gave them that just before half-time when they scored. But we were like a knife through butter and we just had to keep hold of the ball more in the second half for the scores to come. That is what we did and that is what happened. It was a comfortable win in the end."
He added: "It was frustrating to get Darren Barry sin-binned and concede so many penalties, but we also spoke about how some of them were stupid from our perspective. We were fighting lost causes in dead areas of the park and it just gave Ealing a release.
"If we had cut those out we would have been 30 points up at half-time, but we didn't and we weren't. We carried that on at the start of the second half but slowly and surely we became better and the referee began to reward us. The efforts of the boys at the breakdown also paid dividends."
Goss's brace of first half tries gave the Pirates a 12-7 half-time lead and although Tom Wheatcroft pegged them back with a 42nd minute penalty, that was as good as it got for Ealing.
The power and steadily increasing accuracy of the Pirates pack yielded two further tries from Jack Andrew and Aaron Carpenter before the hour mark. With the bonus point secured Tom Kessell added a fifth after further good chances had come and gone for Goss and Carpenter. Ealing put a gloss on the scoreboard with a late try from Tom Parker after the referee ignored a foul in the air on Chris Morgan, but in truth the league new-boys were well beaten on the day.
Davies added: "Some of our backs play was exciting, although there were times when we couldn't hold on to the ball through trying 50-50 passes. In the second half I would have liked them to get more ball. Tom Riley was good in attack, Craig Holland was effective around the breakdown, but all round the energy and work-rate was first class."