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Cornish Pirates Match Preview – 2pm Kick Off

Cornish Pirates Match Preview – 2pm Kick Off

On Saturday London Scottish welcomes our fellow Celts, Cornish Pirates for their first ever visit to the Richmond Athletic Ground in what promises to be a very exciting encounter. The Pirates will come to London on the back of a good victory over Doncaster Knights, whereas Scottish will be looking to bounce back from their reversal at Bristol.

On Saturday London Scottish welcomes our fellow Celts, Cornish Pirates for their first ever visit to the Richmond Athletic Ground in what promises to be a very exciting encounter. The Pirates will come to London on the back of a good victory over Doncaster Knights, whereas Scottish will be looking to bounce back from their reversal at Bristol.

The Cornish Pirates are the re-branded name for the Penzance & Newlyn rugby club, which was formed out of the Penzance and Newlyn rugby clubs in 1945. Both of the founding clubs have a long and distinguished history, which can be traced back to the late 19th Century. The re-branding of the club took place in 2005 and was designed to increase their fan base by appealing to the large Cornish nationalist sentiment. In addition, the club moved ground to Camborne in an attempt to try and further increase their support whilst maintaining their spiritual home at the Mennaye Field. At the start of last season the club made an emotional return to the Mennaye Field, following a disagreement in Camborne. To bring the ground up to standard for Championship rugby, the club built a number of temporary seating areas with an additional covered stand opposite the main stand being erected. The long term aspiration of the club is to build a 10000 seater stadium, which will allow the club to meet Premiership ground criteria.

MPU

Last season was the most successful in the clubs history as the club reached the Championship promotion play off final, but lost out to Worcester Warriors 46 – 32 on aggregate. During the regular season the club came third behind Worcester Warriors and Bedford, however in the play-offs the club stepped up their game to progress to the play off final. Over the summer the club lost a number of key players who moved up to Premiership rugby, with centre Matt Hopper joining Harlequins and 2nd row Ben Gulliver joining Worcester Warriors. Head Coach Chris Stirling was quick to line up replacements with centre Tom Cooper arriving from Newport Gwent Dragons, fly half Ceiron Thomas from Leeds Carnegie, centre Ryan Western from Launceston and winger Andrew Suniula from USA rugby, who is currently starring in the 2011 World Cup for the USA. Another player who Scottish supporters should look out for is former Scotland U 21 2nd row forward Ian Nimmo, who scored a try in last weekends 39 – 32 victory over Doncaster Knights. In their other Championship match this season, the Pirates drew 27 -27 away at Moseley.

Before a ball was kicked or passed this season the Pirates were one of the favourites for the Championship along side the likes of Leeds and Bristol, so will present a massive challenge for Scottish on Saturday. For Scottish it provides a quick opportunity to bounce back from last weekend's reversal at Bristol. The Scottish squad and coaching team will have learned the lessons from the Bristol defeat and will be battling hard to ensure that they send the Scottish supporters home with another victory. All Scottish supporters should note that kick off is 2pm on Saturday, so make sure you get down to the ground early to cheer on the lads as the next instalment in the Championship unfolds. See you all at the game and C'mon Scottish!
 

London Scottish 23-25 Cornish Pirates

London Scottish 23-25 Cornish Pirates

London Scottish showed tremendous character in coming back from an eight point half time deficit to only narrowly lose out 23 - 25 to the Cornish Pirates, one of the favourites to lift this seasons Championship crown. Scottish in an end to end game took the game to the Pirates and was unlucky to go down in an extremely exciting affair.

London Scottish showed tremendous character in coming back from an eight point half time deficit to only narrowly lose out 23 – 25 to the Cornish Pirates, one of the favourites to lift this seasons Championship crown. Scottish in an end to end game took the game to the Pirates and was unlucky to go down in an extremely exciting affair.

The Pirates kicked off towards the park end of the ground on a blustery day, which was interspersed with light showers. The opening phases of the game were played down the middle of the pitch as both teams tried to gain the ascendancy. The first scoring opportunity came in the 3rd minute after the Pirates conceded their second consecutive penalty in quick succession with Scottish fly half Dan Mugford pulling his kick to the left of the posts. On the 10th minute Scottish made their first full foray into the Pirates 22 metre area, when the ball was hacked into the 22, but unfortunately scrum half Simon Amor knocked on as the covering Pirates defence closed him down.

MPU

On the 13th minute the Pirates opened the scoring after Scottish were penalised for being offside at the ruck on their 10 metre line. Pirates fly half Thomas kicked to the corner and at the line out the ball was caught and the Pirates drove over with Kiwi Number 8 Blair Cowan emerging with the ball. Full back Rob Cook missed with his conversion attempt. Shortly afterwards, Scottish full back John Bordiss played a good up and under which was caught by debutant Scottish winger Rod Penny, who made good headway to just outside the Pirates 22 metre area. The Pirates were yet again penalised at the ruck and Mugford cooly converted the penalty opportunity to reduce the arrears.

During this phase of the game the penalty count was beginning to rack up against the Pirates, however the Pirates increased their lead on the 20th minute when their forwards again drove over the Scottish line with prop Paul Andrew scoring. Cook again missed with his conversion attempt. Immediately at the restart the Pirates were penalised for holding onto the ball at the ruck and Mugford converted with a very good kick to leave the score 6 -10. On the 27th minute the Pirates increased their lead after winger David Doherty finished off a very good try. The ball was fed out to him on the left wing, where he cut inside and dived over the white wash to score. Cook converted his third attempt. Scottish remained in touch, when the Pirates were again penalised for illegally blocking at the ruck. The referee felt it necessary to speak with the Pirates captain over the number of penalties being conceded. Mugford converted the penalty to leave the half time score 9 – 17 in favour of the Pirates.

Scottish came out after the break with all cylinders firing and immediately put the Pirates defence under pressure. The Scottish winger David Howells made a great run down the left flank and as he closed in on the Pirates line he was stopped with some last ditch covering defence. The referee finally yellow carded one of the Pirates players on the 46th minute when he dispatched second rower Ian Nimmo for an offence at the ruck close to the Pirates line. Scottish capitalised and at the subsequent line out replacement second row Steve Pape was driven over by his fellow Scottish forwards, with Mugford adding the extras. With the score now reduced to a one point game, Scottish were starting to dominate the play. On the 53rd minute Scottish were given an opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the match when the Pirates were yet again penalised as they were caught offside at the ruck. Mugford pulled his kick to the right of the posts.

The pressure the Scottish pack was exerting was getting to the Pirates forwards and on the 58th minute replacement prop Dave Ward probably made the shortest ever replacement appearance before being yellow card for deliberately collapsing the scrum when he came on and was immediately dispatched to spend the next 10 minutes on the sidelines. Shortly later as the Scottish team were attacking in the Pirates 22 metre, the ball was fed out to one of the Scottish players who cut inside the oncoming Pirates defence and was tripped by one of the Pirates players. The referee allowed play to continue and eventually stopped the play as the assistant referee was signalling for foul play. A long discussion ensued between the officials which led to the referee speaking with the Pirates replacement scrum half Gavin Cattle for a considerable time and to the disbelief of many in the crowd, allowing the offending player to remain on the park and awarded Scottish with a penalty.

Scottish took the lead on the 63rd minute when Pape scored his second try. The Scottish forwards at a line out close to Pirates line took a clean ball and from the rolling maul drove their opponents back with Pape using his power to drive over the line. Mugford converted a difficult conversion attempt to put Scottish 23 -17 ahead. With time moving into the final 10 minutes the play was fluctuating between both halves. Scottish conceded a penalty on the 67th minute and Cook reduced the Scottish lead to three points. With the home crowd sensing another famous victory the Pirates snatched the game from the jaws of defeat when Cowan drove over out wide on the 80th minute with Cook missing the conversion to leave the final score 23 – 25 to the Pirates.

A tremendous display by the whole Scottish team, who were very unlucky not to have secured their second consecutive home win in the Championship. Pirates are certainly a strong physical outfit and will have been sorely tested in a strong physical demanding match. It is clear that Scottish are finding their Championship feet quickly and on this showing have all the hallmarks of a competitive side in the league. As one Scottish media hack once said about a league campaign “This is a Marathon and not a Twix” so with Scottish now taking a break from the league campaign as they take on their fellow Exiles London Welsh in the British & Irish Cup on Wednesday night with the league campaign resuming next Saturday away at Doncaster Knights. Look out for the match previews later in the week.

Fly half Dan Mugford was awarded the FirstCape Man of the Match award.
 

 

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