Cornish Pirates 32, Bristol 17
THE Cornish Pirates started 2013 in style as they ran in four tries to comfortably beat Bristol at the Mennaye Field and move into the play-off zone in the Championship for the first time this season, writes Dick Straughan.
The bonus point victory over an irritable and disjointed West Country outfit allowed the Pirates to climb two places up to fourth.
Head coach Ian Davies said: "It's fantastic and a great way to start 2013. I didn't think we would get five points and deny them a losing bonus point because of the conditions but to do that is absolutely fantastic."
The Pirates began brightly on a fine winter afternoon with the pitch holding up well, and deservedly took the lead with ten minutes played through a Kieran Hallett penalty.
Three minutes later flanker Phil Burgess, back in the side after injury, fashioned the opening try out of a passage of broken play in midfield before racing past a stunned Bristol defence and Hallett converted to make it 10-0.
The Pirates fly-half then added a drop goal and a try of his own as he weaved his way around several tacklers in a congested Bristol 22 before hurling himself at the line to score, and suddenly the atmosphere at the old ground was super-charged with excitement.
Bristol were second best at the set piece and on rare forays into the home half met a solid and committed Pirates defence.
It took them until the final kick of the first half to score when Jarvis landed a routine penalty, but they were a different proposition after the break finally breaking through with a Kyle Traynor try.
Ben Mercer's converted try on the hour restored the Pirates cushion and Bristol then lost Jason Hobson to a yellow card for punching Burgess.
Marco Mama scored a second try for the visitors late in the game before centre Tom Riley's first try in Pirates colours deep in added time secured the bonus point.
PIRATES: Davies, Bedford, Riley, Fatialofa (Hill 61), Mercer, Hallett, Cattle (capt)(Kessell 79); Paver, Elloway, Prescott (Storer 55), Lyons, Barry (Johnson 50), Marriott (Maidment 47), Burgess, McGlone. Replacements (not used) – Semmens, Joyce.
Scorers: Tries – Burgess 13, Hallett 32, Mercer 61, Riley 80+3. Cons – Hallett 13, 61, 80+3. Pen – Hallett 10. Drop Goal: Hallett 23.
BRISTOL: Goodridge, Tovey, Eves, Gadd (Otto 57), McIlwaine, Jarvis (Roberts 79), Tipuna (capt) (Grindal 72); Traynor, Johnston (Lawrence 31-33, 75), Hobson (Sin-bin 64-74, Douglas 74), Sambucetti (Glynn 55), Townson, Faosiliva (Mama 55), Pennycook, Eadie (Douglas 64-74).
Scorers: Tries – Traynor 54, Mama 77. Cons – Jarvis 54, 77. Pen – Jarvis 40.
Yellow Card: Hobson.
Referee: S Lee (RFU).