CORNISH PIRATES head coach Ian Davies admitted his side were fortunate to earn an 18-18 draw with Championship strugglers Ealing Trailfinders on Sunday.
Pirates were 18-11 down with ten minutes left before Kyle Moyle’s late try and Kieran Hallett’s conversion brought them level.
Fly-half Hallett even had a chance to win the game with a penalty, but missed, meaning both sides shared two points apiece.
Davies said: “We thought they would scrap for everything and they certainly showed that. But we didn’t manage the game well and allowed them opportunities to score.
“They took their chances very well. With a quarter of the game to go, I thought it was going to be a five-nil [league points] defeat because they were certainly in the ascendency.
“We were falling off tackles and getting turned over at the breakdown and that was poor from us.
“It was a fantastic score from Kyle Moyle that lifted us and suddenly you saw Ealing deflated.
“When you are at the bottom of the table losing becomes a habit and even though they played really well you could see them slipping away a little bit and we could have snatched it at the end.
“That would have been an absolute travesty because Ealing fully deserved at least two points from the game. They played some really good stuff.”
The result leaves Ian Davies’ men ten points adrift of the play-off spots with fourth-placed Bristol even having a game in a hand.
Pirates’ best chance of success in the second half of the season is very much the British and Irish Cup, with a home quarter-final against Pontypridd to come in April.
“We have not played well since the beginning of November to be honest,” said Davies. “We have flattered to deceive and people’s perception of where we can finish and the expectations were high after a few good performances but we are a squad in transition.
“The squad is young and we’re trying to move forward. We have got some really good rugby players but what we don’t have is really good match managers.
“We’re improving but we didn’t really see it today. Hopefully, we see it at Moseley.
“Top four is always the target. That is where the play-offs start and where you want to get into. We have been up and down all the way, we have struggled to score points while our defence has been OK.
“Where are in the table is probably where we are as a squad – about sixth or seventh – in this first year.
“Our job is to kick on from here with a massive British and Irish Cup quarter-final. That’s our focus, we want to win that.
“If we do that, it won’t be a bad half-season, if we don’t, it will depend on how many of the squad we retain and how we kick on in pre-season for year two.”