Cornish Pirates 31 Jersey 20
Late drama at the Mennaye Field saw the Cornish Pirates snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and sensationally grab a winning bonus point with two tries in second half injury time.
This third win out of three games played in Pool 6 of this season`s British & Irish Cup sees the Pirates now in pole position to qualify ahead of next weekend`s rematch in Jersey. But they were pushed all the way on a cool Penzance evening by a physical Jersey outfit.
The Islanders travelled as an unknown quantity following the departure this week of Director of Rugby Ben Harvey but they maintained their abrasive style of play throughout this tie.
After a high tempo start they fell behind to two Pirates tries in two minutes inside the first quarter. On-loan Number 8 James Phillips scored the first from close range with wing Kyle Moyle then running in a gem of a score under the posts from halfway as he collected Niall O`Connor's wayward downfield kick.
Moyle converted both but an O'Connor penalty on 21 minutes rekindled their interest and they won a penalty try ten minutes later as their pack destroyed the Pirates scrum just 5 metres from their own line.
O'Connor converted before adding a late first half penalty as the home lead was cut to 14-13 at the break.
Moyle landed the opening points of the second half with a routine penalty after excellent work by Darren Barry before Jersey roared back threatening to steal the show.
An epic spell of 12 successive scrums in 11 minutes again just 5 metres from the Pirates line finally forced the home pack into submission and won a second penalty try. O`Connor`s boot made it 20-17 to Jersey.
Then as the clock hit the 80 minute mark Gavin Cattle`s excellent inside pass released Matt Evans who raced in under the posts for his third try in two games. Angus Sinclair added the extras.
From the final play of the game Darren Barry piled over the Jersey line from a driving maul and Sinclair ended the game slotting a tough touchline conversion.
Holland, Jones, Riley, James, Moyle, Evans, Cattle (capt); Cahill, Elloway, Joyce, Graulich, Sandford, Morgan, Conlon, Phillips. Replacements (all used) – Channon, Andrew, Barry, Cheesman, Pope, Sinclair, Dancer
Tries – Moyle, Phillips, Evans, Barry
Cons – Moyle (2), Sinclair (2)
Pen – Moyle
Jersey: Locke, Copsey, McCrea, Foster, Burroughs, O`Connor, Dudley; Fidler, Felton, Selway, Campbell, Markham, Voss, Silcock, Brown (capt)
Replacements (all used) – Taione, Stratford, Brennan, Rae, Buckle, Williams, Makaafi
Tries – Penalty (2)
Cons – O`Connor (2)
Pens – O`Connor (2)
Referee – D.Richards (RFU)
Attendance – 1,223