Cornish Pirates 51 Richmond 20
CORNISH Pirates moved up to fourth place in the Greene King IPA Championship table as they collected their fifth successive league win.
They bounced back well from their disappointment of losing to Ealing Trailfinders in the British and Irish Cup quarter-final the week before to complete the double over Richmond.
Skipper and Argentinean centre Nicolas De Battista bagged a hat-trick of tries, Canadian international Matt Evans a brace, and there was one apiece for Dan Koster and Alex O’Meara as the back division claimed all of the try-scoring glory, with Will Cargill adding five conversions and two penalties for a personal 16-point haul.
But, as ever in these situations, the pack provided the foundation for the victory.
Richmond responded with touchdowns from Jesse Liston and Jason Phipps, with the second coming in the final minute of the game, while Rob Kirby slotted two conversions and two penalties.
It was a special day for O’Meara as he made his 50th appearance in a Pirates shirt, and full-back Kyle Moyle his 100th.
Pirates revelled in the welcome spring sunshine at the Mennaye Field and took the lead after only 90 seconds when Koster galloped clear for a try.
Richmond were still very much in it at only 14-13 down three minutes from the break, but then the hosts took control.
Pirates coach Gavin Cattle said: “We went in at the end of the first half pretty close, after we got that try just before the break.
“Myself and Alan Paver were not impressed with the collision area of our game, so we spoke at half-time about the opportunities we could see in the Richmond defence, and ultimately it was down to our mindset and we had a big shift in that, and the players came out and delivered in the second half, especially in that collision area.”
Pirates gave away eight penalties in the first half, compared to one in the second 40 minutes, and Cattle said: “We had a lot of the ball in the second half and we were a lot more clinical, and showing a lot more intent with our carrying of the ball, and we scored points, but credit to Richmond, we knew they would keep going right until the end, and they scored with the last play of the game, which just shows they don’t stop.”
He added: “There were some elements today that I was really pleased with and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing some stuff come off that you have prepped for during the week, and a lot did today, though we could have been better in areas as well, as you always can be.”
Pirates now finish their season with two tough games, away to third-spot Bedford Blues on Saturday, followed by a home match against second-spot Ealing a fortnight later.
Cornish Pirates: K Moyle (L May 62), A O’Meara, D Koster (N Coronel 51), N De Battista (capt), M Evans, W Cargill, A Day (R Cullen 70), B Keast, D Frost (M Walker 56), C Judge (J Andrew 56), T Freeman (J Caulfield 55), B Beukeboom, T Lawday, J Stevens (D Lee 55), T Duncan.
Richmond: R Kirby, J Woodward (C Hudson 48), C Mitchell, R McLean, J Simpson-Hefft, R Damant, L Jones (J Gibbs 58), J Cunnew (W Goodrick-Clarke 53), R Grimstone (J Phipps 58), J Tarrant (C Trenier 60), W Warden (capt) (C Lenygon 63), C Davies, J Liston (H Edwards 53), J Allcock, J Parker.
Pirates: Tries: Koster, O’Meara, De Battista (3), Evans (2), Cons: Cargill (5); Pens: Cargill (2).
Richmond: Tries: Liston, Phipps; Cons: Kirby (2); Pens: Kirby (2).
Referee: Adam Leal (RFU).