Plymouth Albion v Cornish Pirates Match Report

Plymouth Albion 20 Cornish Pirates 26

Saturday 29 March 2014

Whatever Plymouth Albion do they just can’t get over the finishing line when they play the Cornish Pirates.

For the fourth season in a row the Pirates completed the league double over Albion but not for the first time it could easily have been the Devon side finishing on top.

Albion’s problems started up front where the Pirates pack gave the home eight a torrid time in the set scrum.

The visitors also made much better use of the strong breeze blowing down the pitch.

Pirates had first use of the elements of the elements but only led 18-14 at half time.

Twice in the second half Albion got themselves back within one point but in the end had to settle for the losing bonus point.

A clearly disappointed Albion head coach James Shanahan reflecting on the defeat said, “The scrum was an issue and the Pirates have a good set piece.

“Saying that we made far too many errors and our poor kicking game in the second half killed us.

“We didn’t get the rub of the green from the officials and I thought we should have been awarded two tries in the second half.”

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Plymouth Albion made eight changes to the side that was well beaten at Rotherham the previous weekend.

The most interesting selection was at hooker where Cornish born Fijian international Sam Matavesi made his first senior start in that position.

Pirates who were missing recent skipper Chris Morgan through injury included ex Albion men Tom Kessell, Aaron Carpenter Hallett and Andrew in their starting line up.

After Hallett missed an early penalty Albion took the lead when right wing Tom Bowen intercepted on half way and sprinted in under the posts with fly half Declan Cusack adding the simple conversion.

A scrum penalty against Albion gave Hallett the chance to open his sides account with the penalty and he quickly reduced the home lead to one point with a second penalty in the 16th minute.

With Albion giving away a series of penalties at the set scrum referee Darren Gamage pulled out a yellow card for prop Tom Harrison.

With the extra man the Pirates took full advantage running in two quick tries.

Full back Max Bodilly claimed the first after being put clear on the overlap.

Almost from the restart centre Tom Riley went through a gap in the Albion defence for a try that Hallett converted.

Shortly before half time Albion got themselves back in the game when flanker Eoghan Grace finished off a catch and drive move with Cusack adding the extras.

Shortly after half time a Cusack penalty got Albion to within one point but his effort was cancelled out by a similar strike from Hallett.

Midway through the second half the Pirates went a man down when Carpenter was carded for a professional foul.

Plymouth Albion v Cornish Pirates 290314

Cusack slotted the resultant penalty but unlike the Pirates, Albion were unable to get over the whitewash when they had the advantage of a full 15 on the pitch.

Albion flanker Sean-Michael Stephen was denied a try for a double movement and it was the visitors who secured victory late in the game.

A loose Albion line out was gathered by the Pirates and Kessel stretched out for the line for an unconverted score.

Plymouth Albion: D Mugford, T Bowen, B Woods, T Howley-Berridge, J Davies (M Rice 23-33 Arnott 77), D Cusack, P Rowley, T Harrison (M Rice 69), S Matavesi, L Fairbrother (D Morton 55), B Beukeboom, I Ascroft-Leigh (H Tovey 69), S-M Stephen, E Grace, R Oakley capt reps not used D McGregor, C Elder, R Cushion

Tries: Bowen, Grace

Cons: Cusack 2

Pens: Cusack 2

Yellow card: Harrison

Cornish Pirates: M Bodilly, C Holland, T Riley, J Fatialofa (T Hendrickson 76), K Moyle, K Hallett, T Kessell, J Andrew (K Davis 80), T Channon (R Elloway 63), B Prescott, L McGlone (W Carrick-Smith 57), D Barry capt (J Conlon 76), J Parker, A Cheesman, A Carpenter (J Conlon 51-59 T Duncan 74)  rep not used A Sinclair

Tries: Bodilly, Riley, Kessell

Con: Hallett

Pens: Hallett 3

Yellow card: Carpenter

Referee: Darren Gamage (RFU)

Attendance: 2,598