Defence Holds Strong To Record A Deserved Victory

Cornish Pirates 21 London Scottish 17

Playing a second home game on the trot, the Cornish Pirates welcomed London Scottish to the Mennaye Field on Sunday.

This was an eleventh versus third clash in the Championship, but you would wouldn’t have known it, as clearly still buoyed from what was a well-contested home loss against league leaders Yorkshire Carnegie seven days earlier, the Pirates this time went one step further to record a richly deserved victory.

Match day mascot, young Henry Hocking, proudly accompanied skipper Alex Cheesman to lead the Pirates onto the field, and it was the home side who got off to an encouraging start.

Kieran Hallett was off target with his opening penalty attempt, but when pressure applied at scrum time created a second opportunity he made no mistake to open the scoring. 3-0.

The Pirates were soon called upon to show their defensive credentials, and they did, thwarting London Scottish skipper Mark Bright as he threatened close to the line.

Play was evenly contested for a lengthy spell, but the Pirates then extended their lead on the half-hour mark thanks to second successful penalty slot by Hallett. 6-0.

So far, so good, but it was about to get better, helped in part because the visitors went down to 14 men following the sin-binning of their replacement scrum-half Matt Heeks.

Centre Rheon James used his strength to power over at the old Western National corner for a converted try, and wing Craig Holland also got in on the act to show elusive running skills to find a path to glory. 18-0.

London Scottish full-back Peter Lydon kicked a penalty on the stroke of half-time, but smiles were on the faces of home supporters as their team looked comfortably in front at the break. 18-3.

The popular Cadgwith Singers had entertained pre-match, and they did again during the interval. A collection took place in support of the Fishermen’s Mission, whilst words of condolence were also expressed following the news that stalwart supporter John Sullivan had sadly passed away.

After the second half started it was not long before the Pirates showed further dominance at the scrum. It also led to a further score, with Hallett kicking his third penalty of the match. 21-3.

In a hope to get their game together, the exiles team immediately made changes in personnel, and although things didn’t happen right away there were signs that a comeback was not out of the equation.

A run by centre Jason Harries sparked danger, added to still further when Bright threatened. However, it was swift movement of the ball to the right that led to wing Matt Williams scoring a converted try at the Newlyn gate corner. 21-10.

Tension was now very much in the air, but nothing compared to that experienced after London Scottish suddenly narrowed the deficit to just four points, thanks to fly-half Oli Grove jinking his way over for his team’s second converted try. 21-17.

It was now time for the Pirates to introduce fresh legs, firstly those of Jack Andrew, who was making his 50th appearance, and then fellow prop Alan Paver.

Scottish would go down to 14 men for the second time in the match as replacement Matt Shields was directed to the sin bin, so now was a time for the Pirates to strive to take advantage.

Andrew made a bulldozing run into the Penzance ‘22’, but with a few errors then creeping into the Pirates game, opportunities were gifted London Scottish to mount a series of late attacks. The pressure applied was relentless, however keeping strongly focused the defensive display by the Pirates was simply terrific. This was a test that they passed with tremendous credit, and it also, importantly, delivered this hard-earned and richly deserved victory.

Cornish Pirates: 15 Toby May, 14 Jack Arnott, 13 Tom Riley, 12 Rheon James, 11 Craig Holland, 10 Kieran Hallett (Will Cargill 76), 9 Alex Day; 1 Marlen Walker (Jack Andrew 64), 2 Rob Elloway, 3 Adam Jamieson (Alan Paver 67), 4 Marcus Garratt, 5 Laurie McGlone, 6 Alex Cheesman (capt), 7 Sam Simmonds, 8 Matt Bolwell.

Replacements (not used): Jack Innard, Brad Howe, John Stevens, Rob Coote.

London Scottish: 15 Peter Lydon, 14 Matt Williams, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jason Harries, 11 Craig Jackson (Lee Millar 53), 10 Oli Grove, 9 Russell Weir (Matt Heeks 16); 1 Kurt Schonert, 2 Adam Kwasnicki (David Cherry 45), 3 David Young (Matt Shields 45), 4 Neale Patrick (Will Carrick Smith 53), 5 Josh Thomas Brown, 6 Rory Bartle (James Litchfield 71), 7 Alex Brown (Kieran Treadwell 45), 8 Mark Bright (capt).

Yellow cards: Heeks, Shields

Scorers: Cornish Pirates – tries: James, Holland; con: Hallett; pens: Hallett (3) London Scottish – tries: Williams, Grove; cons: Lydon; pen: Lydon

Referee: Greg Garner (RFU)

St. Austell Brewery Man-of-the-Match: Rob Elloway

Attendance: 1,054