Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting PKNEWS to 80360
Pirates walking on Ayr after resounding British and Irish Cup victory
Ayr 10 Cornish Pirates 53
Playing Ayr away on Saturday for what was their first ever match against the Scottish side, the Cornish Pirates duly recorded another super British & Irish Cup win to follow their impressive 34-17 Round 1 victory against Ulster Ravens.
Taking to the air for part of their travel from the west of Cornwall to the west of Scotland, the Pirates expected Ayr, who are the current RBS Scottish Premiership champions, RBS Scottish Cup holders, and last season's RBS Club of the Season – thus being the first team to get their name on the the Bill McLaren Shield - to provide the sternest of opposition.
Ayr's Millbrae ground is a notoriously tough one for visiting teams, and when their hosts opened up an early 10-0 lead in the sunshine thanks to a penalty slotted by fly-half Ross Curle and a converted try scored by wing Craig Gossman, it looked as if the Pirates might be in for a difficult afternoon.
The Cornish team's line-up showed a number of changes from the one that won against Ulster Ravens, including a switch from the middle of the back-row to the middle of the front-row for Canada's skipper Aaron Carpenter. Joel Conlon moved across to No. 8, with Alex Cheesman and Jake Parker forming the flanker pairing.
Craig Holland was back in at full-back, swapping places with Kieran Goss who was on the bench, and three players making their first competitive starts were lock Neale Patrick and the centre pairing of Alex Dancer and Tom Hendrickson.
It would have perhaps been no surprise if this fresh selection took a little time to settle, and a few mistakes were made, but playing with positivity there were also signs that they would likely not take too long to gel.
Making light of going behind, the Pirates opened their account in the eleventh minute when fly-half Angus Sinclair scored and converted his try at the posts, and midway through the half he also added the extras to a penalty try awarded, which followed the Cornish team having taking prompt advantage after Curle had been shown a yellow card.
Carpenter scored a third try for the Pirates and just before the interval Sinclair opened up a 12 points gap to give the Pirates a deserving their 22-10 points lead.
The home side needed to start the second period as they had the first, for if the Pirates scored first then there was surely every chance they could go on and secure a surprisingly comfortable victory.
Sound defence was initially the key, and after displaying that were in no mood to leak any more points the Pirates then notched the telling score sought, it a bonus point effort ran in by Conlon. Sinclair's conversion made it 10-29.
A try for replacement lock Darren Barry extended the Pirates lead and another scored by Matt Evans added to the entertainment now given the crowd. The wing man's try, converted by replacement Kieran Hallett, drew admirable praise from two former Pirate wingers watching, namely Graham Nicholas who was visiting family in Scotland and Lanre Osifodunrin who is nowadays a Consultant in the A&E Department at East Kilbride Hospital.
The Pirates were much the dominant force, despite a deterioration in weather conditions, and their fitness was also evident.
Two more tries would be scored , the actual seventh for the Pirates recorded by replacement Kieran Goss thanks to a surging run by Barry, and the final converted effort then touched down by a happy Hendrickson.
Cup match action now put on hold until early December, with two bonus point wins the Pirates can feel deservedly satisfied to top the Pool Six table on 10 points. Jersey are second on six, Ulster Ravens third with four points, and Ayr prop the table up with zero to their name.
Speaking at the end of Saturday's game, Head Coach Ian Davies said: “Credit to Ayr for their wholehearted effort but we did what we had to do in the professional manner sought. Set piece dominance was important, with some fine scrummaging evident, and it was also pleasing to score eight really good and varied tries.”
Ian added: “To top our Pool after two games is satisfying as we now look forward to this coming Saturday's important Greene King IPA Championship game away to London Welsh, where we know there'll be a massive step up in intensity.”
Ayr: G. Anderson (capt), C. Gossman, R. Fergusson, D. Kelbrick (D. McCluskey 31-40, 71), R. Dalgleish (K. Gossman 71), R. Curle, P. Jericevich (M. McConnell 55), C. Templeton, P. McCallum, J. Eddie, S. Sutherland (G. Fisken 63), G. Williamson, G. Hunter (D. Rae 55), D. Young (S. Fenwick 63), D. Mutamangira (N. Cox 42).
Yellow card: Curle
Cornish Pirates: C. Holland, M. Pope, A. Dancer, T. Hendrickson, M. Evans, A. Sinclair (K. Hallett 60), G. Cattle (capt, K. Goss h/t), J. Conlon (J. Atkinson 60), A. Cheesman, J. Parker, N. Patrick (D. Barry h/t), W. Graulich, B. Prescott (S. Cahill 53), A. Carpenter (T. Channon 55), K. Davies (P. Joyce 53).
Ayr – try: C. Gossman; con: Curle; pen: Curle.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Sinclair, Penalty try, Carpenter, Conlon, Barry, Evans, Goss, Hendrickson; cons: Sinclair (3). Hallett (2); pen: Sinclair.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys