Jersey Reds 10, Cornish Pirates 23

Down 10-3 at the interval, the admirable Pirates kept their belief and patience to not only hold on to second place in the Greene King IPA Championship but to also record their first away league win against Jersey Reds since September 2012, writes Phil Westren.

For this Round 9 game, where Cornish Pirates’ captain Brett Beukeboom was proudly making his 100th appearance for the club, nothing less than a tough challenge was expected. His side showed one change in personnel from the team that ran out against Yorkshire Carnegie the previous weekend, with Tom Duncan coming into the starting XV at No.8. James McRae moved across to the flank, Antonio Kiri Kiri was selected on the bench, with fit again returnees Craig Mitchell, Danny Cutmore and Javier Rojas Alvarez also listed among the replacements.

Despite the Jersey team having only conceded two league tries at their Stade Santander International ground this season, the Cornish Pirates started this match with a quiet confidence. Holding possession, they took the game to their opponents, however when an opening score came it suddenly went the way of the Reds whose Namibian World Cup performer, No.8 Janco Venter, crossed for a try that was converted by fly-half Brendan Cope.

Although the home side extended their lead in the sixteenth minute, thanks to the the boot of South African Cope now slotting a 30 metres penalty, the Pirates maintained their composure and were unlucky not to score when hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie spun off the back of a driving maul. He went close, very close, but was adjudged to have been held up.

It was approaching half-time as the Pirates continued to apply pressure, again trying to break what was a resolute Jersey Reds defence.

Former Jersey prop Sam Rodman carried with a little menace, and wing Robin Wedlake also threatened. Then, following a penalty award from in front of the posts, fly-half Will Cargill’s successful effort reduced the points deficit for the half-time score to read 10-3.

At the start of the second forty, after Jersey Reds lost the services of their skipper Josh Bainbridge, him yellow-carded by referee Mr. Leal for having made what appeared a high tackle, the Pirates looked to take immediate advantage. They did, thanks to a well struck second penalty of the match kicked by Cargill.

Now keen to add further points, the will was there, only for the occasional error to for the present thwart such ambition. Both sides were also quick to throw replacements into the fray.

A pacey and potent drive by the Pirates saw them soon take the lead for the first time in the match, replacement hooker Tom Channon the scorer with Cargill again on target, this time with a conversion.

Reflecting on what was at times a stop-start affair, the Pirates had overall defended very well. In the welcome sunshine travelling Pirates supporters were also really making themselves heard, perhaps sensing that the long sought second league match win on the island was perhaps at last to be theirs, and especially so after Cargill was on target with his third penalty of the match..

Nearing the end of the match Jersey Reds gained territory and with it a chance to snatch victory. It would have been be cruel if realised, but the Pirates continued to show their steel and withstanding late pressure were then, from a line-out penalty award, able to clear the threat.

Into injury-time the Pirates were yet again called upon to show their defensive qualities. Up for the task once more, from a Jersey line-out it was their centurion captain Beukeboom who so suitably and importantly stole possession, for the Pirates to then work their way up field where at the very death Wedlake this time scored. It was a try that also denied the home side a bonus point, with Cargill again nailing the conversion.

Commenting after the game, Cornish Pirates’ coach Alan Paver said: “Whenever we face Jersey it is tough and robust, and today was no different. It didn’t flow quite as we wanted it to and it wasn’t the prettiest at times, but it’s good that we came out the right side.

“Both teams errored, however we made less mistakes in the second half and we are really pleased. I said at the beginning of the week that if we can a win away in Jersey then it will be significant and prove to everyone that we are capable of challenging at the top.”

Jersey Reds: 15 Greg Dyer, 14 Alex Morgan, 13 George Spencer, 12 Rodney Iona, 11 Leroy Van Dam, 10 Brendan Cope, 9 Luc Jones (22 Will Homer, 58); 1 Harry Morley (17 Roy Godfrey, 57), 2 TJ Harris, 3 Alec Clarey (18 Leeroy Atalifo, 60), 4 Kyle Hatherell (19 Charlie Beckett, 79), 5 Rory Bartle, 6 Max Argyle (21 Conor Joyce, 65), 7 Josh Bainbridge (captain), 8 Janco Venter (20 Jake Upfield, 37; 8 Janco Venter, 41; 20 Jake Upfield, 41).

Replacements (not used): 16 Nic Dolly, 23 James Newey

Yellow card: 7 Josh Bainbridge (41)

Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Rory Parata (22 Javier Rojas Alvarez, 48), 12 Callum Patterson, 11 AJ Cant, 10 Will Cargill, 9 Jean-Baptist Bruzulier (21 Rhodri Davies, 60); 1 Jack Andrew (17 Marlen Walker, 41), 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie (16 Tom Channon, 46), 3 Sam Rodman (18 Craig Mitchell, 41), 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Brett Beukeboom (captain), 6 James McRae, 7 John Stevens (19 Danny Cutmore, 56), 8 Tom Duncan (20 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 47).

Replacement (not used): 23 Matt Evans


Jersey Reds – try: 8 Janco Venter (07); con: 10 Brendan Cope (07); pen: 10 Brendan Cope (16).

Cornish Pirates – tries: 16 Tom Channon (55), 14 Robin Wedlake (80); cons: 10 Will Cargill (55, 80); pens: 10 Will Cargill (37, 41, 69).

Referee: Adam Leal (RFU)

Assistants: Simon Adams & Bill Burton

Official 4: Owen Taylor

Assessor: Steve Leyshon

Attendance: 1501