IF Ian Davies was hurting after an afternoon of high drama and ultimately disappointment at a damp and muddy Clifton Lane, then he did well to hide it.
Not for the first time this season, the Cornish Pirates head coach watched his team surrender a potentially match-winning advantage in what is turning out to be a fabulously competitive Championship season, but he was prepared to take the 35-30 defeat to Rotherham Titans on the chin.
“It was a cracking game of rugby with 30 points in each half and plenty of entertainment for the crowd,” he said. “We deserved to get the losing bonus point and I was glad Juan Pablo [Socino] missed the kick at the end because that would have been rough justice.
“We certainly played a lot of good rugby and I actually don’t think that Rotherham were the better team on the day. I thought that they were very ordinary and we lacked a little bit of composure, made some key errors in the second half, and that cost us the game.”
Davies was left to rue a lack of ruthlessness by the Pirates after tries from Craig Holland, Tom Riley and Tom Kessell had seen them race into a 24-3 lead after just 27 minutes.
Rotherham replied with 26 unanswered points either side of half-time in the next 23 minutes of a thrilling contest and suddenly the Pirates were chasing the game.
He said: “We allowed them back into the game giving a soft try away and then gave them two penalties which allowed them to score again and 24-15 truly wasn’t a fair reflection of the first half, because we were dominant.”
“But we gave them hope and we spoke at half-time that we had allowed them a bit of light and we knew that the crowd here would get behind their team and that makes a huge difference.”
He continued: “We started the second half poorly, they scored again and were suddenly in the running again. The fourth try was dubious to say the least but now we were looking tired and it was good character from us to secure a losing bonus point.”
Also, speaking of the controversy surrounding Mike Keating’s 50th-minute fourth try for the Titans, Davies explained: “I don’t think it was a knock-on but my concern is for the forward pass in the last pass of the score.
“I’m a big fan of NFL and I saw some of that here again today. It’s gone now but I will be keen to look at that again on the DVD.”
The Pirates now move on to play their final two British and Irish Cup Pool Six qualifiers, needing only one point next Sunday against Scottish Premiership champions Ayr to secure their passage into the quarter-final.
Davies said: “We have got two games against Ayr and then Ulster Ravens in Belfast, but we are looking to go through the pool games undefeated.”