The win over Hartpury RFC has leapfrogged The Cornish Pirates above their rivals Gloucester and lifted them into seventh place in the Greene King IPA Championship.
Captained on the day by number 8 Tom Lawday both teams and the crowd respectively observed the one minute silence on what was Remembrance Sunday. The Pirates got off to an encouragingly bright start on the sunny but breezy afternoon, with fly-half Will Cargill successful with an early penalty attempt, and him then converting a try scored by hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie (his impressive sixth in all games), which followed a controlled build-up.
As Hartpury, who were making their first ever visit to the Mennaye Field, settled into the match, it was clear to see how they have been quick to find their feet competing in the Championship, after being promoted from National One at the end of last season. However, trying to breach a resolute home defence was proving a difficult task, and half-time arrived with the Pirates holding a deserved 10-nil lead.
Back to fitness, Tom Duncan was a welcome face on the bench who replaced an injured Lawday during the break. He also took over the captaincy role, and was clearly keen to make an impact, which he did with an early charge. Hartpury scored their first points of the afternoon in the 51 st minute, thanks to fly-half Jacob Perry firing a penalty through the Newlyn posts, and Cargill then responded with his second successful three-pointer of the afternoon, following former Welsh international Rhys Oakley, who skippered the visitors, being yellow-carded.
A penalty from Hartpury replacement James Williams made it 13-6, however immense scrum power by the Pirates set them on the way to registering their next score, in the form of a penalty try awarded by referee Mr. Matthew O’Grady. To their credit, Hartpury would score again, when another replacement in the shape of diminutive scrum-half Charlie Chapman showed a clean pair of heels to cross at the Newlyn gate corner. Williams was again on target, this time with a well-struck conversion.
Although, with ten minutes still to go, for home supporters a 20-13 score line caused just a tad of anxiety, the players thankfully maintained their focus – and confidence. With a bullocking run, and one full of brawn, man-of- the match lock Josh Caulfield tore into the heart of Hartpury’s defence, and when play went left Alex O’Meara provided the scoring pass to fellow wingman Kyle Moyle. Diving over the line it was Moyler’s eighth Championship try of the season, leaving Cargill to then convert and cement the team’s latest ‘W’. This victory for their Pirates was their fourth on the trot, following Cup wins away to Hartpury RFC and home to Ulster A, and then away to Doncaster Knights in the league.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Toby May, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Pete Laverick, 12 Nicolas
Coronel, 11Kyle Moyle, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Alex Day (Mike Pope 72); 1 Billy Keast
(Christian Judge 54), 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 3 Jack Andrew (Marlen Walker), 4 Josh
Caulfield, 5 Toby Freeman, 6 Rupert Cooper, 7 Alex Cheesman, 8 Tom Lawday
(captain, Tom Duncan h/t).
Replacements (not used); Alan Paver, Laurence May, Harry Strong.
Hartpury RFC: 15 Mike Wilcox, 14 Ed Coulson, 13 George Boulton, 12 Luke Eves,
11 Ed Sheldon, 10 Jacob Perry (James Williams 57), 9 Harry Cochrane (Charlie
Chapman 60); 1 Dan Murphy (Mike Flook 54, Dan Murphy 76), 2 Will Tanner (Henry
Walker 57), 3. Rupert Harden (Tom Heard 69), 4 Joe Quinn (Joe Dancer 14), 5 Rhys
Oakley (captain) 6 Rob Langley, 7 Matt Gilbert, 8 Darrel Dyer (Iain Grieve 58).
Yellow card: Rhys Oakley.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Cowan-Dickie, Penalty try, Moyle; con: Cargill; pens: Cargill
Hartpury RFC – try: Chapman; con: Williams; pens: Perry, Williams.
Referee: Matthew O’Grady Attendance: 1,432
St. Austell Brewery’s Man-of- the-Match: Josh Caulfield
Courtesy of Cornish Pirates