AHEAD of this game the Cornish Pirates had spent most of the week in Guernsey, training on the island and also cementing good relations by coaching local players.
Indeed, It will be remembered that last summer the Pirates signed Guernsey's England under 18s wing Luke Jones with support from the Guernsey Sports Commission, whilst early in July a second islander, back-rower George Collenette, signed similarly for the club.
Both featured in this opening pre-season friendly played in three 30-minute thirds at the Footes Lane Stadium in St. Peter Port.
The home side, who play their competitive rugby in National League 3 London & SE, were never going to be a match for their Championship opponents, but they entered this game with a view that playing such a fixture in Guernsey provided a fantastic opportunity not only for both teams but also for the island and its community – and they were right.
Two close season signings, prop Adam Jamieson and lock Marcus Garratt, were making their starting debuts for the Cornish Pirates, and at the end of the first third the score was 3-5.
The islanders had competed with great commitment and spirit, but they were up against it in set piece play and during the middle third the Pirates added 31 more points without reply.
For the final third the visitors introduced more of the many gifted youngsters being given the opportunity to develop and make their mark in the game. Guernsey did manage one try, scored by hooker Tom Ceillam, but the dominant Pirates extended their lead to win 62-8.
Cornish Pirates' director of rugby Ian Davies was happy with the final outcome and was also full of praise for the hospitality afforded the Pirates during their stay.
He commented: “We have had a fantastic training week and have been impressed by the Guernsey club's organisation and facilities. The boys have enjoyed working with the community here and if the opportunity arose to visit again we'd welcome it with open arms.”
The trip to Guernsey provided the first of six pre-season games for the Cornish Pirates, as they build to their Greene King IPA Championship opener at home to Yorkshire Carnegie on Sunday 7th September, kick-off 3pm.
As for their next 'friendly, it is a match this coming Saturday at home to Rosslyn Park, kick-off 3pm.
Guernsey: 15 Sam Whitehead, 14 Luke Sayer, 13 Jim Elliot, 12 Jason Batiste, 11 Ben Challinor, 10 Blair Campbell, 9 Dale Rutledge; 1 Cameron Craine, 2 Tom Ceillam, 3 Layton Batiste, 4 Nick Merrien, 5 Matt Thomas, 6 Greg Smith, 7 Robin Le Cocq, 8 Nick Barton.
Replacements: Darrin Bellingham, Kyle Garner, Bradley Choules, Dave Harvey, James Regnard, Dave Davison, Ned Brown, Rory Jones.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Craig Holland, 14 Luke Jones, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Rheon James, 11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Kieran Hallett, 9 Tom Kessell; 1 Paul Andrew, 2 Tom Channon, 3 Adam Jamieson, 4 Marcus Garratt, 5 Darren Barry, 6 Chris Morgan (capt), 7 Alex Cheesman, 8 Tom Duncan. Replacements: Jamal Ford-Robinson, Tyler Gendall, Jay Tyack, Aaron Carpenter, Locryn Williams, Will Graulich, Jake Parker, Matt Bolwell, Todd Lowry, Joe Atkinson, Sam Marland, Kieran Goss, Oliver Snook, George Collenette, Gavin Cattle.
Scorers: Guernsey – try: Ceillam; pen: Whitehead.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Kessell (2), Goss (2), Gendall, Barry, Atkinson, Cheesman, Snook, penalty try; cons: Marland (4), Hallett (2).
Referee: Matt Carley (RFU) Attendance: 800