By Phil Westren


Cornish Pirates 45 Cambridge 18

THIRD-PLACED Cornish Pirates recovered from a half-time deficit to ultimately beat Cambridge 45-18 at the Mennaye Field on Sunday.

This was a third meeting between the two sides this season, with Pirates winning at Ellgia Fields in both the Premiership Cup and league.

Cambridge had only ever visited West Cornwall once, back in 1998 in a 32-13 defeat in the Tetley’s Bitter Cup.

There were several changes in the Pirates line-up from the one that started the 30-25 victory away to Hartpury. 

Tom Pittman was named at fly-half and Arthur Relton on the wing, whilst in the forwards Fin Richardson came in at tight-head prop and Hugh Bokenham moved up into the second row. 

Hugh’s place at number eight was taken by skipper John Stevens, who played in the ‘7’ shirt the previous week, which for this game was worn by Will Gibson.

Keen to respond to a hefty 43-13 defeat against London Scottish the previous weekend, Cambridge started well and former Glasgow Warriors winger Eli Caven scored first.

Fly-half Steff James missed the kick, but soon added a penalty from in front of the posts.

Going 8-0 down appeared as a wake-up call for the home side, as soon after the restart, scrum-half Ruaridh Dawson dotted the ball down near the Newlyn posts for a try converted by Pittman.

The Pirates soon pressed for a second score, and went close on several occasions, only to be thwarted through a combination of self-made mistakes and gifting penalties away.

Then, to add to increasing levels of frustration, Caven secured possession and weaved his way to the line.

Just past the half-hour mark, a second try for the Pirates lifted home morale for a spell, with centre Ioan Evans the scorer and Pittman again adding the extras. 

But, after the Pirates lost John Stevens to the sin-bin, Cambridge wing Kwaku Asiedu ran 35 metres to score an unconverted try at the clubhouse corner, which made the scoreline 18-14 at the break.

The Pirates now had the challenge to aim for a much improved second 40, and were given a helping hand by centre Sam Hanks going to the sin-bin after he made a deliberate knock-on.

With penalties now coming the Pirates way, when three kickable opportunities were up for grabs it was Pittman who stepped forward on each occasion to by the hour mark give his team a 28-18 lead. 

The Pirates were now in the ascendancy, and with full-back Kyle Moyle running from deep, and with man of the match Alex Everett displaying accustomed determination, it was not long before the former scored a well-worked try.

Cambridge flanker Ben Adams had been shown a yellow card, and replacement wing Robin Wedlake also soon scored the Pirates fourth – for the bonus point – , and converted, try.

In time remaining the Pirates extended their lead thanks to a fine chip and chase score from wing Matt McNab, and then yet another by Wedlake. 

The Pirates had ‘nilled’ their opponents in the second period, the sudden improvements in their performance no doubt impressing watching guest and television presenter Nick Knowles, who knows a little bit about restoration.

CORNISH PIRATES: Kyle Moyle (Bruce Houston, 70), Arthur Relton, Ioan Evans (Robin Wedlake, 44), Joe Elderkin, Matt McNab, Tom Pittman, Ruaridh Dawson (Alex Schwarz, 50); Lefty Zigiriadis (Jacob Morris, 58), Harry Hocking (Iestyn Harris, 28), Fin Richardson (Matt Johnson, 53), Hugh Bokenham (Josh King, 60), Steele Barker, Alex Everett, Will Gibson (Hallam Chapman, 67), John Stevens (captain).    

Tries: Dawson, Evans, Moyle, Wedlake (2), McNab; Convs: Pittman (3); Pens: Pittman (3).

Cornish Pirates man of the match: Alex Everett.