Ian Davies disappointed not to mark passing of Sid Thomas with a Pirates victory over Leeds
CORNISH PIRATES head coach Ian Davies revealed his players were upset not to have won Friday's Championship game against Leeds as a fitting tribute to club director Sid Thomas.
The Pirates saw an early ten-point lead slip away as they went down 27-20 to the Yorkshiremen.
It was the first Friday night Championship match under the new floodlights at Mennaye Field, but the occasion was overshadowed by the sad death the previous day of the popular Thomas, who had also been chairman of Penzance and Newlyn RFC since 2008.
"It was great to play under the lights, but it was a sad occasion with Sid passing away the day before," admitted Davies. "A lot of the older guys in the team, such as Laurie McGlone and Alan Paver, have known Sid for a long, long time.
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"He was a great supporter of Penzance-Newlyn and the Pirates, and it is disappointing we didn't win the game for him."
The Pirates were hoping to back up their superb opening-day triumph over Championship favourites Bristol by starting their home campaign with a victory, despite the quick five-day turnaround, but they came up short against a side widely tipped to make the end-of-season play-offs.
"We have gone from the top of the roller-coaster to the bottom in the space of five days," said Davies, whose side had led 10-0 after only eight minutes, with a try by skipper Gavin Cattle and a conversion and penalty from Kieran Hallett.
"Maybe our start was a little bit too good. Maybe we started to believe our own press from last week, that we are world beaters, but we knew Leeds were going to come back at us, and they certainly did that.
"Our forwards got bullied a little bit, and we knew Leeds had a lot of gas behind their pack and a lot of steppers, but if you miss tackles, it doesn't matter if they are big and hard, or fast and steppy.
"We scored a cracking length-of-the-field try right at the end. We had nine minutes of possession in the closing moments of the game, a lot of phases, and in terms of effort and fitness you can't question it.
"To get a losing bonus point was important. We didn't do enough to win the game, and Leeds probably did do enough, but it would have been nice if we had finished off with another score, because the effort of the guys who came off the bench was commendable."
The Pirates only trailed 15-13 at the break, with everything still to play for, but they spent a large part of the second period pinned inside their own half.
"We said to the boys to cut out the silly errors and to play some rugby in Leeds' half," commented Davies.
"The fact we had some set pieces in their 22 and we didn't execute was disappointing, because we worked hard to get down that end of the pitch.
"The reversal of a penalty early in the second half was silly and going down to 14 men just made life a little bit harder for us again."
Pirates were hit by several injuries during the game, with skipper and scrum-half Gavin Cattle, flanker Alex Cheeseman, hooker Rob Elloway and replacement prop Max Maidment all having to go off.
Davies will now be waiting to see if any of the casualties are fit for Saturday's trip to newcomers Ealing, who were thrashed 79-9 at Rotherham over the weekend. "There could be three guys there out for a while, but that is rugby, and somebody else will have to step up," he said. "It will be Ealing's first home game in the Championship and they will be fired up for it, and we have got to go there and show a little bit more aggression."