Cornish Pirates 17 Nottingham 11
The Cornish Pirates returned to winning ways at home in the Greene King Championship as they edged past relegation threatened Nottingham in a scrappy encounter at the Mennaye Field, writes Dick Straughan.
Beaten for only the second time this season at home just seven days earlier, the Pirates knew that they would be in for a battle against Martin Haag’s side and they were not to be disappointed.
Penalised mercilessly all afternoon at the scrum by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys and down to 12 men in stoppage time with three players in the sin-bin, the Pirates hung on to consolidate sixth place in the table.
Nottingham took an early lead with Matt Jarvis’s second penalty effort but were hit hard midway through the half conceding two tries in eight minutes.
Wing Kyle Moyle seized the first grabbing an interception yards from his own line from Alan Walker as Nottingham looked set to score themselves, before racing the length of the field to touch down.
Kieran Hallett, playing against his former club and making his 50th appearance for the Pirates, converted.
Hallett turned provider for the next try as his well-judged grubber kick behind the Nottingham defence released Craig Holland for his fourth try in three games.
The visitors scored the first points of the second half with Jarvis’s second penalty but mistakes from both teams continued to litter the game and disrupt passages of attacking play.
At the scrum Nottingham reigned supreme but conceded a third try on 66 minutes when Tom Kessell tidied up a passage of loose play and released Moyle down the right flank to score in the corner.
The Midlanders battled to the end and the first to see yellow were their skipper Dan Montagu and Pirates lock Darren Barry for fighting.
In a fractious finale Pirates prop Jack Andrew was sin-binned for a scrum offence which forced uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game.
Nottingham’s pack were twice held up over the Pirates line before Aaron Carpenter also saw yellow and the visitors finally profited with an injury time try from Will Skuse earning a losing bonus point.
With time still to play Jarvis had the chance to bring the contest even closer on the scoreboard with the conversion attempt but sliced his hastily taken kick wide of the posts.
Cornish Pirates: Boddily, Moyle, Riley, Fatialofa, Holland, Hallett, Kessell; Cahill (Davies 50) Elloway (Channon 76), Andrew (sin-bin 77), Carrick-Smith (Barry 59, sin-bin 70-80), Graulich, Morgan (capt), Cheesman, Duncan (Carpenter 52, sin-bin 80+1).
Replacements (not used): Sinclair, James, Hendrickson.
Scorers. Tries – Moyle (2), Holland; Con – Hallett.
Yellow cards: Barry, Andrew, Carpenter..
Nottingham: Lynn, Hough, Munro, Pohe, Catchpole, Jarvis, Romans; Ma`afu (Bower 63), Walker (Vickers 59), Holford (Williams 71), Freeman, Montagu (capt)(sin-bin 70-80, Keogh), Skuse, Cooper, Shaw.
Replacements (not used): Lee-Everton, Molloy.
Scorers. Try – Skuse; Pens – Jarvis (2).
Yellow card: Montagu.
Referee: C Maxwell-Keys (RFU).