Pirates Please in Opening League Win

Cornish Pirates 33 Richmond 18

With two worthy pre-season friendlies behind them, the Cornish Pirates started their RFU Championship league campaign with this worthy home game win versus Richmond.

Wing Callum Sirker crossed for two of the Pirates five tries scored in the match The challenge of Richmond was, of course, one not taken lightly, as the West London side have recruited well and at the end of pre-season had recorded warm-up victories over Ampthill (26-7) and London Scottish 17- 13).

In a Pirates side led by No. 8 Tom Duncan, making their first league appearances in a Pirates shirt were prop James Kenny, flanker Will Gibson, wing Callum Sirker, and full-back Carwyn Penny, whilst waiting on the bench for his call was prop Alfie Petch.

Wearing their new predominantly black home strip, the Pirates got off to a fine start. Control inside Richmond’s ‘22’, and then pressure applied near the try-line, soon saw a try awarded flanker Matt Bolwell who crossed to the right of the Penzance posts. Fly-half Arwel landed the easy conversion.

To their credit the visitors responded all but immediately, as working the ball right led to an unconverted try scored at the Newlyn gate corner by wing Will Homer. Then, following a scrum penalty award, they suddenly took the lead thanks to a successful kick slotted by full-back James

It was now turn of the Pirates to hit back and, playing with commendable spirit, they did just that. A nowadays lighter frame of hooker Tom Channon saw him run like the scrum half of his youth, whilst also getting stuck in where needed.
Also, after the Pirates kicked a penalty pit of hand to the clubhouse corner, his throw at the line-out was gathered in accustomed style by lock Danny Cutmore. A well drilled drive to the line followed, ending with skipper Duncan scoring a try that was again converted by Robson.

Arwel kicks for goal

A second penalty kicked by Kane kept Richmond in touch. However, as the clock ticked to half-time, a fine passage of play involving flanker Will Gibson, scrum half Ruaridh Dawson and centre Shae Ticker ended with wing AJ Cant taking his chance to score wide out left. Robson’s finely struck conversion made it 21-11, and to add to their sudden woe, Richmond also lost the services of centre Ronnie McLean before the break.

With determination, wing AJ is about to score at the scoreboard corner After making changes for the start of the second half, the Pirates managed to extend their lead when further clinical play ended with speedy wing Callum Sirker diving in at the Newyn gate corner. Robson was luckless with his conversion attempt but was spot on target when Sirker scored a second super try out on the right.

Richmond, to their credit, maintained their effort to the last, and nobody more so than 42-year-old No. 8 Mark Bright. They also scored again through replacement Jack Rouse, with the impressive Kane adding the extra two points.

Speaking after the game, Cornish Pirates’ joint head coach Alan Paver commented: “Looking at it clinically it perhaps wasn’t our best performance but, for the start of the campaign, there were parts to please. I am also sure our supporters enjoyed the match, and it is also especially great to have
them back because their presence is something the players feed off.
“In the second half it was evident that there are some areas that we need to work through to make us stronger, which will happen when everyone is integrated. There is no lack of application, talent, individual skills, and speed, and in a few more games you will see a different Pirates team out there.”

Cornish Pirates: 15 Carwyn Penny, 14 Callum Sirker, 13 Tommy Wyatt, 12 Shae Tucker, 11 AJ Cant, 10 Arwel Robson, 9 Ruaridh Dawson; 1 James Kenny, 2 Tom Channon, 3 Patrick Schickerling, 4 Josh Caulfield, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Matt Bolwell, 7 Will Gibson, 8 Tom Duncan (captain).
Replacements (all used): 16 Marlen Walker, 17 Jack Andrew, 18 Alfie Petch, 19 Cory Teague, 20 John Stevens, 21 Alex Schwarz, 22 Harry Bazalgette, 23 Rory Parata.

Richmond: 15 James Kane, 14 Max Trimble, 13 Cameron Mitchell (captain), 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Will Homer, 10 Ted Landray, 9 Charlie Gowling; 1 Jonny Harris, 2 Callum Torpey, 3 Jimmy Litchfield, 4 Freddie Hosking, 5 Sam Collingridge, 6 Huw Worthington, 7 Jared Cardew, 8 Mark Bright.
Replacements (all used): Jack Musk, Kurt Schonert, Mtinga Mpiko, Byron Hodge, Jack Rouse, Lewis Dennett, Jake Caddy, Hamish Graham.
Yellow card: McLean.
Cornish Pirates – tries: Sirker (2), Bolwell, Duncan, Cant; cons: Robson (4).
Richmond – tries: Homer, Rouse; cons: Kane; pens: Kane (2).
Referee: Joe James (RFU)
Match Day Sponsor: Microcomms
St. Austell Brewery ‘Tribute’ Man of the Match: Matt Bolwell
Glengoyne ‘Try of the Match’ winner: Callum Sirker
Attendance: 1,263

Courtesy of Phil Westren - Cornish Pirates