Cornish Pirates 13

Yorkshire Carnegie 26

Yes, the Pirates may have lost this match at home to the league leaders, who they have not actually beaten since recording a 21-8 points result at the Mennaye Field in October, 2012, but in their performance there was much to commend.

Eight players named in the Cornish Pirates team had not feature in the defeat at Ealing the previous week. Wing Alex O’Meara was making his first Championship appearance for the club, John Stevens started on the flank, and Matt Bolwell was selected at No. 8. The ever reliable Laurie McGlone moved up into the second-row and proudly skippered the team, whilst changes of personnel in the front-row saw Marlen Walker coming into the side at loose-head prop and Jack Innard at hooker. Refreshed faces on the bench were Joe Atkinson, Stuart Townsend and Laurence May.

This first game in October brought an autumnal feel to the occasion, as the comfort of sun and calm of recent was replaced by a strong wind - and an ever threat of rain.

Visiting fly-half Joel Hodgson was off target with a first penalty kick at goal, whilst he also tested the Pirates with lofty up ‘n’ unders. Remaining resolute, home team catchers were up to the task and the Pirates also soon threatened themselves following good play from scrum-half Mike Pope.

Former Scotland international Bryan Redpath’s side cleared the danger, and when they took play deep into the Newlyn half it was Hodgson who skipped through a gap and popped the ball to Rob O’Donnell. The bulky prop trundled over and Hodgson added the conversion. 0-7.

Awarded a penalty two minutes later, the Pirates were grateful to the boot of their own fly-half, Will Cargill, for posting three points with a well struck penalty from 40 metres out. 3-7.

Better though, was to come, with some fine running and passing from props Marlen Walker and Adam Jamieson, further yardage made by Pope, and then a try to the right of the Penzance posts scored by full-back Toby May. Cargill converted. 10-7.

The Pirates may have entered this match as underdogs, and as witnessed from such teams in the present Rugby World Cup, but they too were showing plenty of ‘dog’. A tackle from centre Rheon James, who was making his 50th appearance for the club, typified such spirit with a tackle on former ‘Pirate’ Mike Myerscough.

It was the visitors, though, who would have the last say in the first forty, when centre Andy Forsyth’s try, which was converted by Hodgson, gave them back the lead. 10-14.

An injury to Pope was a set-back for the Pirates early in the second period. He was enjoying a fine game and play had to be delayed for several minutes whilst he was given attention, assessed, and then taken to hospital on a stretcher.

To test their resolve the Pirates then went further behind when scrum-half Chris Pilgrim crossed for an unconverted try at the scoreboard corner. 10-19.

In no mood to buckle, however, applying pressure brought its reward thanks to Cargill’s second successful penalty strike of the afternoon. 13-19.

The Pirates conceded a further try – a bonus point effort scored by centre James Fitzpatrick on 56 minutes, which was converted by replacement Harry Leonard – but they would leak no more points in the match.

There was indeed much to commend, from the front-row, to a very young back-row unit, and in the backs, where a further reshuffle was required when replacement scrum-half Stuart Townsend was also injured. Craig Holland came off the bench to take a wing spot, with Jack Arnott moving to ‘9’.

Supporters were anything but despondent at the end, as they had been encouraged by much that they had seen.

The Director of Rugby at the Cornish Pirates, Ian Davies, was also upbeat in his assessment, saying:

“Considering we were playing against the league leaders I thought our lads rolled their sleeves up and showed endeavour right to the very end, as to a man they played for the shirt.”

Cornish Pirates: 15 Toby May, 14 Jack Arnott, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Rheon James,

11 Alex O'Meara, 10 Will Cargill (Laurence 70), 9 Mike Pope (Stuart Townsend 44, Craig Holland 63); 1 Marlen Walker (Jack Andrew 72), 2 Jack Innard (Rob Elloway 69), 3 Adam Jamieson (Marlen Walker 73), 4 Laurie McGlone (capt, Marcus Garratt 72), 5 Will Graulich, 6 Sam Simmonds, 7 John Stevens (Joe Atkinson 70), 8 Matt Bolwell.

Yorkshire Carnegie: 15 Jonah Holmes, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Christian Georgiou, 10 Joel Hodgson (Harry Leonard 49), 9 Chris Pilgrim; 1 Charlie Beech (Lee Imiolek 48), 2 Jack Walker (Phil Nilsen 73), 3 Rob O’Donnell (Charlie Beech 72), 4 Mike Myerscough (Jack Barnard 73), 5 Chris Jones (capt), 6 Jarad Williams (Dean Schofield 48), 7 Josh Bainbridge, 8 Ryan Burrows.

Replacements (not used): Matt Dudman, Pete Lucock.


Cornish Pirates – try: Toby May; con: Cargill; pens: Cargill (2).

Yorkshire Carnegie – tries: O’Donnell, Forsyth, Pilgrim, Fitzpatrick; cons: Hodgson (2), Leonard.