Cornish Pirates 40, Ampthill 11

Playing against Championship newcomers Ampthill on Sunday, the match also a first ever meeting between the two sides, in securing five league points this win for the Cornish Pirates also sees them placed second in the table behind leaders Newcastle Falcons,writes Phil Westren.

These are early days, but Ampthill deserve credit for having settled well into the Greene King IPA Championship, as they arrived at the Mennaye Field having won 2, lost 1, and drawn 1 in the competition. It was also perhaps not such a big surprise, considering they have a squad littered with players possessing years of top-level experience, including Dave Ward, a popular former ‘Pirate’.

The Cornish Pirates’ selection saw the same set of backs named as started against Nottingham the previous weekend. As for the forwards there were two changes in the front-row, with hooker Dan Frost and tight-head prop Jay Tyack stepping up from the bench to join loose-head Jack Andrew. In the second row Danny Cutmore was named to partner skipper Brett Beukeboom, whilst Fa’atiga Lemalu moved back a row to replace injured flanker Matt Bolwell. Listed among the replacements was Sam Matavesi, rested from his exploits playing for Fiji in Japan and now ready to make his first appearance of the season for the Pirates.

Ahead of kick-off, being Remembrance Sunday a minute’s silence was one impeccably observed, as ever.

Match underway, in front of a good-sized ‘Kronenbourg’ crowd of 1664, it was the visitors whose applied early pressure was rewarded, thanks to a penalty successfully kicked by fly-half Sam Costelow.

For the Cornish Pirates, fly-half Javier Rojas Alvarez was off target with a penalty attempt that came his way, however after surging play from scrum-half Jean-Baptist Bruzulier (making his first appearance for the Pirates on the ‘Mennaye’) and skipper Brett Beukeboom, it was full-back AJ Cant who would open the home team’s account, when midway through the first half he scored a converted try at the Newlyn gate corner.

Wing Robin Wedlake scored the Pirates second try and there was then a converted effort from centre Callum Patterson. The Ulsterman has been in impressive try-scoring mode this season, his latest effort culminating from him, along with other backs, joining a potent driving maul.

For the visitors, Costelow slotted a long range second penalty late in the half, the break then arriving with the Pirates leading 19-6.

Clearly keen to secure a bonus point on the resumption of play, the Pirates achieved their objective thanks to the try of the match - a second for Wedlake. Linking initially with Cant it was a combination of strength, determination and pace that saw him burst down the left flank and cross at the scoreboard corner.

Ampthill hit back on the hour mark, Ward a no surprise try-scorer, before the Pirates confirmed their comfortable victory thanks to further tries scored by wing Alex O’Meara, who had also eagerly attached himself to the back of a driving maul, and to one registered as in celebration at the Penzance posts by the returning Matavesi. Rojas Alvarez, in fine kicking form once again, converted both.

Speaking after the match, Cornish Pirates’ Director of Rugby Chris Stirling said: “Our lack of discipline let them off the hook at times and there is plenty to work on. I am never one hundred per cent happy and am hard to please, although scoring six tries was a positive to entertain the crowd and the outcome was ultimately good”

Cornish Pirates: 15 AJ Cant, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Rory Parata (Maliq Holden 71), 12 Callum Patterson (Will Cargill 52), 11 Robin Wedlake, 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier (Rhodri Davies 58); 1 Jack Andrew (Hayden King 46), 2 Dan Frost (Tom Cowan-Dickie 54), 3 Jay Tyack (Sam Rodman 54), 4 Danny Cutmore, 5 Brett Beukeboom (captain), 6 Fa’atiga Lemalu (James McRae 52), 7 Will Wilson, 8 Tom Duncan (Sam Matavesi 52).

Yellow card: Parata

Ampthill: 15 Karim Lynch (Louis Grimoldby 58), 14 Kwaku Asiedu, 13 Cameron Anderson, 12 Sam Hanks (Mikey Waters 21), 11 Nigel Baker, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Darryl Veenendaal (captain, Kevin Barrett 31); 1 Ben Christie (Soane Tonga’uiha 51), 2 Syd Blackmore (Maama Molitika 58), 3 Matthew Collins (Aleki Lutui 51), 4 Billy Johnson (Henri Williams 54), 5 Shay Kerry, 6 Facundo Dominguez (Dave Ward 51), 7 Jow Bercis, 8 Sam Hudson.


Cornish Pirates – tries: Wedlake (2), Cant, Patterson, O’Meara, Matavesi; cons: Rojas Alvarez (5)

Ampthill – try: Ward; pens: Costelow (2)

Referee: Dean Richards

‘Tribute’ Man of the Match: Will Wilson

‘Glengoyne’ Try of the Match winner: Robin Wedlake

Attendance: 1664