CORNISH PIRATES 44pts
CARMARTHEN QUINS 32pts
Playing their British & Irish Cup opener at home to Welsh Premier side Carmarthen Quins at the Mennaye Field on Sunday, the Cornish Pirates turned around a 13-20 half-time deficit to ultimately secure their sought after winning start.
Laurie applies the pressure for one of our five tries scored in the match - Photo: Brian Tempest
The Pirates expected the game to be hard fought, and for periods of the match it was, and particularly so in the first forty. However, on a sunny afternoon their second half performance proved just that little too hot for the visiting Quins who, besides making a first ever visit to the 'Mennaye', were also making their debut performance in the competition.
Given the nod at fly-half for this game, young Aaron Penberthy kicked an excellent penalty from 43 metres to put the Pirates 3-nil up in just the second minute. It was a fine start but there then a setback when skipper Chris Morgan departed proceedings shortly after with an arm injury.
The Quins had clearly arrived in positive mode and were keen to create an early score of their own. Open-side flanker Sion Bennett made two committed carries, and with support given to his second by wing Jason Harries, the ball was then released to blind-side flanker Aidan Laxton whose try to the right of the Newlyn posts was converted by fly-half James Dixon.
Penberthy looked comfortable also with his passing game, and after spraying the ball left, and then right, the Pirates regained the lead when centre Alex Cheesman scored a try to which Penberthy also added the extras.
Former 'Pirate' Rhodri Wells was his usual lively self wearing the number '9' shirt for the visitors, and in what was proving to be a topsy-turvy affair the Quins were soon back on level terms thanks to full-back Chris Banfield's well-struck penalty effort.
Hooker Darren Semmens was showing up well for the Pirates, making a number of effective charges with ball in hand, and a Penberthy penalty put the home side back in front before was shortly after sent to the sin bin by referee Mr. Harding.
Having numerical advantage the Quins looked to at least get back on level terms, and they would manage just that when Banfield's second penalty made it 13-all.
Tom Kessell missed with a penalty strike just before Penberthy's return, and after Harries made yet another strong run at the heart of the Pirates' defence, when the ball was moved left hooker Richard Wilkes was on hand to dot the ball down at the old Western National corner. Banfield converted and the visitors were deserved 20-13 leaders come the break.
Replacement Gary Johnson led the Pirates out for the second half, with it evident that the side was looking to up its performance. Indeed, Kessell, who required attention to a wound and had returned bandaged and seemingly disguised, was alert to score a converted try at the Newlyn gate corner, and after Quins' replacement Darren Daniel, who is another former Pirate, was yellow-carded for a high tackle on the Pirates' scrum-half, other tries followed from No. 8 Laurie McGlone and full-back Wes Davies. The try from Davies delivered the bonus point and at 34-20 the Pirates were now very much in charge.
Fresh legs were helping the home team's cause and Kessell's second converted score made it 41-20 before the Welsh visitors hit back with a try deservedly scored by Harries.
A penalty by Penberthy made it 44-25 and a final bonus point try for the spirited Quins, scored by centre Rheon James and converted by Banfield brought play to a conclusion.
This match provided important game time for a number of players, including debutant wing Ben Mercer, despite him not seeing much of the ball, and for replacements Rob Coote and JJ Kilmartin.
Both only 19 years of age, Truro-born Coote is an Exeter University student who has played for Exeter Chiefs in the 'A' league and will provide cover during Gavin Cattle's temporary absence through injury, and Kilmartin is dual-registered with Bath Rugby.
McGlone also had a fine game as he makes his way back from injury, and he will expected to play an important part in tougher challenges that lie ahead. As for Penberthy, he certainly made his mark with an impressive 19 points kicked in the match.
Cornish Pirates: W. Davies, B. Mercer, A. Cheesman, J. Fatialofa (JJ Kilmartin 47), T. Bedford, A. Penberthy, T. Kessell (R. Coote 38-43 blood, 66), L. McGlone, J. Buckle, C. Morgan (capt, G. Johnson 5), D. Lyons (P. Burgess 53), D. Barry, P. Joyce (P. Andrew 45), D. Semmens (R. Elloway 45), A. Paver (P. Joyce 66).
Replacement (not used): K. Hallett.
Yellow card: Penberthy.
Carmarthen Quins: C. Banfield, R. Thomas, A. Banfield, R. James, J. Harries, J. Dixon (D. Daniel 26), R. Wells (H. Rees 63), L. Joseph, S. Bennett (O. Powell 69), A. Laxton, H. Pugh, C. Jones, I. Jones (capt, T. Davies 50), R. Wilkes (G. Robinson 63), G. Thomas (A. Beaujean 58).
Replacements (not used): G. Evans.
Yellow card: Daniel.
Cornish Pirates - tries: Kessell (2), Cheesman, McGlone, Davies; cons: Penberthy (5); pens: Penberthy (3).