ANOTHER season in the Greene King IPA Championship has been guaranteed for the Cornish Pirates thanks to their derby day win on Sunday.

The Mennaye Men put in a controlling performance against nearest geographical rivals Plymouth Albion as tries from Kieran Hallett, Chris Morgan and Paul Andrew helped them to a 27-16 victory.

This latest success means the side will remain a Championship club for next season and also mathematically keeps alive their hopes of reaching the play-offs, although many expect this to be a bridge too far for them.

A large dash of pink was added to proceedings as the home side held their Ladies Day with a specially designed kit worn by the player and donations being made to the Mermaid Centre in Truro.

By the end of the 80 minutes though, these pink shirts were doused in mud as wet and windy conditions howled around the Mennaye.

Fans were given hope of a free flowing game of rugby breaking out when after just three minutes Hallett opened the scoring after a scrum was won against the head by the Pirates before the fly-half spotted a gap to dive through under the posts.

He easily added the conversion to cap off the good start for the hosts and 12 minutes later Hallett stretched the lead to ten points when Morgan’s excellent work at the scrum, spotting the ball popping out of the Albion pack, eventually saw a penalty awarded against the visitors.

Almost immediately from the restart Albion were allowed back into the game as an offside gave Declan Cusack a kickable penalty in the Pirates half, which he duly slotted between the uprights.

Indiscipline was spreading into the host’s game and resulted in three more penalties for Cusack to take aim at goal inside the next 14 minutes.

The Irishman scored two of them, but missing one denied Albion from taking the lead and just before half time, a break into the away half ended with the visitors getting penalised in the ruck and Hallett comfortably put his kick between the posts for a 13-9 scoreline at the interval.

Both sides knew the next score would be crucial in deciding who would gather the momentum and probably go onto win the match and thankfully for the home supporters it can from their men.

The Pirates’ forwards had been getting the edge over their rivals all game and they made it count in the 47th minute when from 5m out, they mauled their way over towards the line.

Albion’s defence managed to stop it just in time, but the Pirates were determined to get a try and after moving the ball out, skipper Morgan found the space to dive across the whitewash with Hallett adding the extras.

A chance to push the lead further ahead was missed by Hallett when his penalty kick from 41m out drifted wide but pressure kept being mounted by the Pirates and eventually something had to give.

Reward was finally achieved in the 61st minute from another great forwards move with Laurie McGlone claiming a line-out from 22m out and the pack plus a few backs drove all the way into the try zone with prop Andrew dotting down with Hallett kicking a good conversion.

Barring the shouting, Albion’s goose was cooked at this point but to the side desperately battling to remain a Championship side did not give up and put together a ten minute spell where they had the upper hand on proceedings.

Just like they had in the first half, the Pirates also had a period where they kept feeling the wrath of Dean Richards’ whistle which helped Albion spend plenty of time in the home side’s territory.

They eventually got their chance for a catch-and-drive from the 5m line and an almighty shove from the pack saw Irish flanker Eoghan Grace score a try for his fellow countryman Cusack to convert.

With the gap at nine points now, Albion did everything they could to find another score which would have given them a losing bonus point and in the process set up a nervy finish.

But their efforts ended with no reward with mistakes from line-outs and knock-ons giving the ball back to the Pirates who eased out the result.

An Easter weekend off can now be enjoyed by the Cornish side before travelling to Jersey on April 11.

PIRATES: 15 Evans, 14 Pope, 13 Hendrickson, 12 Dancer (James 61), 11 Holland, 10 Hallett (May 77), 9 Kessell (Townsend 73); 1 P Andrew, 2 Elloway (Channon 71), 3 Paver (Walker 77), 4 McGlone, 5 Barry (Graulich 77), 6 Morgan (c), 7 Atkinson, 8 Bolwell (Parker 61).

TRIES: Hallett (3), Morgan (47), Andrew (61).

CONS: Hallett 3/3.

PENS: Hallett (15, 35).

ALBION: 15 Rayner (Henry 59), 14 Koteczky, 13 Woods, 12 Howley-Berridge, 11 Arnott, 10 Cusack (c), 9 Davies (Setter 61); 1 Fidler (Chapman 61), 2 Cowan-Dickie (Stagg 59), 3 Tiedman (Pullinger 66), 4 Patrick (Hicks 57), 5 Beukeboom, 6 Jubb (Bowe 59), 7 Grace, 8 Oakley.

TRY: Grace (67).

CON: Cusack.

PENS: Cusack (18, 22, 32).

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Paul Andrew.