Cornish Pirates 26, Nottingham 24
A strong second half performance from the Cornish Pirates saw them return to winning ways as they battled past Nottingham at the Mennaye Field with a 72nd minute Rob Cook penalty grabbing a dramatic victory, writes Dick Straughan.
The visitors had led 17-3 just after half an hour through converted tries from Alex Lewington and Tim Streather but never managed to take control of the contest.
A strong display from the Pirates pack edged them steadily back into the contest late in the half and a Chris Morgan try from a driving maul converted by Cook just before the break came at the perfect time for the Cornish side.
Nottingham lost lock Felipo Levi and flanker Brent Wilson to the sin bin either side of half-time and the Pirates inched into a one point 18-17 lead through a second Cook penalty and a Grant Pointer try.
But no sooner were the Pirates in front than they surrendered it again as Sione Kalamafoni bulldozed his way through the Pirates defence from fifteen metres to score under the posts. Arlidge converted.
With time running out and pressure building the Pirates introduced fly-half Aaron Penberthy for his Championship debut and scored their third try on 66 minutes as wing David Doherty squeezed over the line wide on the left for his 11th try of the season.
Cook missed the conversion but was on target when it counted in the closing minutes slotting a crucial penalty after Kalamafoni had been penalised for holding on in his own 22.
Cornish Pirates: Cook, McAtee, Pointer, Locke (Hill 37), D.Doherty, Thomas (Penberthy 60), Cattle (capt), Andrew (Rimmer 60), Ward, Paver (Andrew 78), Nimmo, Myerscough, Cowan, Morgan, Maidment (Marriott 68).
Replacements (not used) – Cowan-Dickie, Smith, J.Doherty.
Scorers. Tries – Cowan, D.Doherty, Pointer; Con – Cook; Pens – Cook (3).
Nottingham: Savage, Lewington, Streather, Socino, Cobden, Arlidge, Romans (Barnham 73), Parr (Holford 31), Duffey, Shields (Prescott 52), Levi (sin-bin 40-50), Hammond (capt) (Cooper 73), Kalamafoni, Wilson (sin-bin 42-52), De Carpentier (Morley 52).
Replacements (not used): Taylor, Munro.
Scorers. Tries – Lewington, Streather, Kalamafoni; Cons – Arlidge (3); Pen – Arlidge.
Yellow cards: Levi, Wilson.
Referee: R Campbell (RFU).