Moseley 28 Cornish Pirates 20
This contest was always going to be closely fought, remembering that the last three games between the sides at Billesley Common had ended with the scores level.
Indeed, nearing conclusion the match, which had been rescheduled following postponement two weeks earlier, it appeared that another draw was on the cards, but a late try and a penalty for the home side then decided the outcome.
Not having played for three weeks the Pirates were keen for rugby action, whilst they were also aware that their hosts would be full of fire and energy as they looked to bounce back from a 62-5 drubbing at Leeds Carnegie the previous weekend.
Just as expected Moseley were lively at the start and with just five minutes on the clock hooker Rhys Buckley scored an unconverted try.
The first points of the afternoon for the Pirates, who were playing with the wind and slope advantage, came on the quarter of an hour mark with a penalty slotted by fly-half Angus Sinclair, but there was also an early blow when wing Matt Evans had to leave the field with a knee injury.
A penalty kicked by fly-half Will Hooley opened up a five points lead for the hosts but the deficit was soon pulled back to two once more when Sinclair was successful with his second in the match.
Another injury, this time to hooker Rob Elloway, was a worry, and he had to be replaced, but late in the half the Pirates took the lead with a try scored by centre Tom Hendrickson, which was his first the Championship. Sinclair added the conversion to open up a five points lead but Hooley, a young Northampton 'Saint', landed another penalty to make it 11-13 at the break.
Moseley came out in the second half keen to take advantage of the elements, and with errors made by the Pirates the home side welcomed kickable penalty opportunities awarded them. A first on 43 minutes gave the Midlanders back the lead, and Hooley was on target again just three minutes later. A fifth, landed on the hour mark, made the scoreline 20-13.
To their credit, despite injury setbacks, the Pirates refused to buckle.
Their scrum had served them well, and with penalties awarded deep inside Moseley's half, with the scrum option repeatedly taken, referee Mr. Campbell quite rightly awarded a penalty try, converted by replacement fly-half Kieran Hallett, which brought the scores level. It begged the question would this be yet another Moseley versus Pirates encounter that would end in a draw? The answer would be no.
Applying pressure late in the half, Moseley’s efforts were rewarded when flanker Olly Robinson, son of Andy, scored an important try. This left the Pirates, who lost the services of replacement flanker Jake Parker to the sin bin, with likely a losing bonus point from the match, but they were cruelly denied even that, as there was still time for Hooley to add to his points tally with his sixth penalty of the night. Final score 28-20.
Defeat at the end proved a cruel blow for the Pirates, as they had shown considerable character to get back into the match following injury setbacks.
Commenting after the game, the Director of Rugby at the Cornish Pirates, Ian Davies, said:
"Having lost two of the more experienced players in Matt and Rob, plus with two or three others also picking up niggling injuries during the match, the team showed great character to fight back and draw level with 10 minutes to go.
"I think we deserved at least a losing bonus point, but as a group we also all know this is a very competitive competition and good effort alone will not win you matches, you've got to be accurate with your skills and clinical when scoring chances appear."
Moseley: 15 Anthony Carter, 14 Simon Hunt, 13 Scott Armstrong, 12 Greg King (Will Owen 76), 11 Matt Williams, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Sam Brown (Ryan Glynn 77); 1 Craig Voisey, 2 Rhys Buckley, 3 Adam Parkin (Tom Warren 70), 4 Mike Powell, 5 Greg Charlton, 6 Neil Mason (Nigel Burrows 70), 7 Olly Robinson, 8 Chris Brightwell.
Replacements (not used): Will Evans, Stef Thorp, Ollie Thomas.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Craig Holland, 14 Matt Evans (Tom Kessell 16), 13 Tom Hendrickson, 12 Junior Fatialofa (Tom Riley 55), 11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Angus Sinclair (Kieran Hallett 54), Mike Pope; 1 Shane Cahill (Kieran Davies 73), Rob Elloway (Aaron Carpenter 32), 3 Alan Paver (Shane Cahill 77), 4 Will Graulich (Will Carrick Smith 72), 5 Darren Barry, 6 Chris Morgan (capt), 7 Alex Cheesman, 8 Laurie McGlone (Jake Parker 63).
Yellow card: Parker
Moseley tries: Buckley, Robinson; pens: Hooley (6)
Cornish Pirates tries: Hendrickson, penalty try; cons: Sinclair, Hallett; pens: Sinclair (2)
Referee: Ross Campbell (RFU)