Esher 30 Cornish Pirates 36
The Cornish Pirates came from behind three times at Molesey Road to beat a dogged Esher side in a nine-try thriller in the Championship, writes Dick Straughan
The Surrey outfit led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter as the Pirates faltered conceding tries from wing Charlie Walker and lock Matt Symons.
But with fly-half Aaron Penberthy growing in confidence and directing the pack with ever increasing effectiveness they got back into the game with converted tries from Paul Andrew and Chris Morgan late in the half.
Wing David Doherty punished slack Esher defending running in his twelfth try of the season from half-way after 38 minutes to edge the Pirates into a 19-17 lead but indiscipline from the restart resulted in a penalty for Esher converted by Mark Atkinson.
Cook restored the Pirates advantage early in the second half with a penalty following an offside call but a good break down the right flank by Esher full-back Ross Chisholm resulted in their third try as he gathered his own chip ahead.
With lock Laurie McGlone sin-binned the Pirates conceded again this time from Jamie Mackenzie but on the hour a piece of brilliance from Penberthy shifted the momentum once again.
With little on in midfield he chipped over the Esher defence and raced through to touchdown as the home side looked on. Cook converted.
Trailing by a point with five minutes to go a fine piece of skill by Tom Kessell on the right touchline unleashed the Pirates backs as they shipped the ball at pace to the opposite flank and David Doherty was on hand to finish again.
Cook converted and the Pirates survived a frantic finale to claim maximum league points.
Chisholm, P.Mackenzie, Cheeseman (capt), Cruickshanks, Walker, Atkinson, J.Mackenzie (Garner 73), Millard, Campbell, Collier (Nebbett 73), Symons, Inglis, Goodman, Stitcher, Macfarlane
Replacements (not used) – Renwick, Doherty, Corrigan, Griffiths, Little
Tries – Walker, Symons, Chisholm, J.Mackenzie
Cons – Atkinson (2)
Pens – Atkinson (2)
Cook, Evans, Pointer (Cooper 41), Hill, D.Doherty, Penberthy, J.Doherty (Kessell 66), Andrew (Rimmer 59), Cowan-Dickie (Ward 50), Brits (Fairbrother 66), Nimmo, Smith (McGlone 50, sin-bin 54-64), Marriott (capt), Walker-Blair (Morgan 22), Maidment
Tries – D.Doherty (2), Penberthy, Andrew, Morgan
Cons – Cook (4)
Pen – Cook
Yellow Card – McGlone
Referee – M.Tutty (RFU)