Cornish Pirates 22 Yorkshire Carnegie 12
CORNISH Pirates ended a four-match losing streak in the Greene King IPA Championship with an excellent victory over third-place Yorkshire Carnegie.
The Pirates also picked up a bonus point to complete the perfect day on their return to the Mennaye Field for the first time in 2018.
Delighted Pirates coach Gavin Cattle said: “I want to commend the boys’ physicality. For the last two weeks it has been right up there, but when you play with that physicality, sometimes your discipline goes out of the window and you go over the edge.
“We spoke a lot about layering our physicality with discipline, and we had a spell in that second half where we let Yorkshire into the game when we had complete control, and it is something we will readdress again and again until we get it right.
“At times we were putting spells of rugby together in both defence and attack which, from a coaching perspective, is pleasing, but it is when the game becomes emotional, that is when we have got to get a bit more control.”
Pirates took the lead with a try after 14 minutes through skipper Nicolas de Battista – his second in two games. It came after turnover ball, with some good hands releasing the Argentinean centre for the score.
Carnegie quickly levelled matters with a try from former Pirates dual-registered scrum-half Will Homer, who had come on as a fifth-minute replacement for the injured Alex Davies.
The conversion was once again missed in the very windy conditions in west Cornwall, with Homer hitting the upright.
Carnegie prop Marc Thomas went to the sin-bin after the visitors had given away four successive penalties, and soon after came a penalty try as referee Simon Harding lost his patience, to put the hosts 12-5 in front.
Only three minutes later, the Pirates extended their lead, taking advantage of their extra man, with dual-registered Exeter Chiefs centre Harry Strong crossing, and that gave the Cornishmen a comfortable 17-5 interval advantage.
It was becoming a fractious affair, with several scuffles breaking out, and one of them led to former Pirates hooker Joe Buckle being yellow carded in the 53rd minute.
However, on the hour mark, Pirates’ club captain Chris Morgan was sin-binned for sacking a maul to even the numbers up, and Carnegie made the hosts pay as Richard Mayhew got over for a try, improved by Homer, to cut the gap to only 17-12.
It was getting tense as Carnegie sought a score to put them in the lead for the first time, but it was instead Pirates who gave themselves some breathing space, and the try-scoring bonus point, with a touchdown in the 74th minute.
An excellent long pass by fly-half Will Cargill found Kyle Moyle, who drew the cover before sending in winger Alex O’Meara to make it 22-12.
Veteran player-coach Alan Paver brought himself on close to the end to clock up his 359th appearance, and Carnegie’s hopes all but disappeared when they suffered their third yellow card of the match, with replacement hooker Mike Mayhew the recipient this occasion.
Pirates saw out time to claim an impressive scalp and climb to seventh place in the table, with another home game against Doncaster Knights next up on Sunday.
Cornish Pirates: K Moyle, A O’Meara, D Koster, N de Battista (capt), H Strong, W Cargill, A Day, M Walker, S Matavesi, C Judge, C Morgan, B Beukeboom, T Lawday, J Stevens, T Duncan. Replacements: B Keast, A Paver, T Freeman, D Lee, M Pope, L May, T May.
Yorkshire Carnegie: S McColl, G Watkins, A Forsyth, T Casson, L Brown, P Lucock, A Davies, M Thomas, J Buckle, K Bryce, J Whetton, M Myerscough, B West, R Mayhew (capt), R Beck. Replacements: M Mayhew, C Capps, J Thraves, M Smith, T Lloyd, W Homer, C Irvine.
Pirates: Tries: De Battista, penalty try, Strong, O’Meara; Con: Cargill.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Tries: Homer, R Mayhew; Con: Homer.
Yellow cards: Pirates: Morgan 60; Carnegie: Thomas 26, Buckle 53, M Mayhew 80.
Referee: Simon Harding (RFU).