Pirates made to work for first home victory
at Mennaye Field
Cornish Pirates enjoyed a successful Friday night under lights, securing their first home Championship victory of the season, 28-13, against Moseley at Mennaye Field.
Visitors Moseley have never won against Pirates in Cornwall – be it a Saturday, Sunday or otherwise – and they only briefly looked like amending that sorry statistic yesterday.
Tom Riley scored twice with additional home tries coming from Jack Andrew and Mike Pope to earn the four-try bonus point, this despite the Penzance club making significant changes to the side that beat Ealing Trailfinders last weekend.
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Wing Pope and fly-half Angus Sinclair both made their Championship debuts in what turned out to be a challenging night for the hosts.
The Pirates were given an early let-off when their former fly-half Ollie Thomas missed a penalty in the second minute for Moseley.
From then on, Pirates ramped up the pressure before scoring the first points of the game in the tenth minute.
It was Riley who got the score, chasing a Craig Holland grubber kick into the corner. Sinclair came close to adding the conversion, but an unsporting shout from a member of the crowd at the crucial moment perhaps played a part in disrupting him.
That turned out to be a temporary setback, even though Thomas kicked his first successful penalty of the game from long range moments later.
Prop Andrew soon extended Pirates' lead to seven points with another try shortly after Pirates stole Moseley's line-out deep in the visitors' 22. It was his second in as many games, but Sinclair again unable to add the extras.
Moseley, for all their defensive uncertainty, were able to draw their third penalty from Pirates as the half reached its midpoint. And if Thomas' kicking had been consistent, they would have only been a point behind.
It wasn't and Pirates made has inaccuracy pay as Riley ran in his second try from distance. Home goalkicker Sinclair, meanwhile, was struggling to find the posts just as much and missed the conversion.
Pirates needed to be smart in their defensive work just before half-time, as Moseley worked through numerous phases inside the hosts' 22 before infringing, allowing the home side to regain possession.
The midlands side continued in similar fashion straight after the break, scoring within three minutes of the restart through wing Scott Armstrong, just to the right of the posts.
A lengthy stoppage for an injury to Pirates' back-row Joel Conlon did little to halt the visiting side, who continued to threaten.
Yellow cards for Alex Cheesman and Aaron Carpenter hindered the home side further still. Suddenly, Pirates were facing a struggle.
Thomas kept the scoreboard moving with another penalty, reducing the deficit to just two points as the pressure grew.
The introduction of experienced half-backs Kieran Hallett and Gavin Cattle, in place of Sinclair and Tom Kessell, coincided with Pirates' first possession in the Moseley half after the interval.
Hallett then helped to ease the burden on his men with successful penalty. However, the game was effectively won by Pope's fine solo effort, chasing his own kick down the right, beating two with pace and footballing skills before touching down near the posts.
Hallett converted and added another penalty as Pirates survived another Moseley surge to seal the win.