Cornish Pirates 51 Richmond 20

A six hundred mile plus journey as far west as you can go, near the end of a long hard season, proved “A Bridge too Far” for the Richmond amateurs last weekend, writes Paul Kirby.

The Cornish Pirates’ end of season run-in, their fifth Championship win on the bounce, moved the Cornishmen up to 4th in the league and all this on an uncustomary glorious afternoon in Penwith when Spring at last decided it was time to make an appearance!

An entertaining eighty minutes beckoned but after only ninety seconds, Pirates’ Kiwi centre Dan Koster, pounced on a loose ball on halfway and galloped to the Penzance End to score the first try close to the posts. Fly-half Will Cargill converted for an early 7-0 advantage.

Richmond though, were clearly not here to make up the numbers, as their early ambition clearly displayed. Their willingness to spread things wide caused the home defence sufficient problems, so much so that the Pirate’s penalty count gave cause for concern.

A brace of penalties for Richmond’s full back, Rob Kirby, deservedly reduced the Pirates early lead to only the one point, and with half an hour completed this deficit remained as firstly Pirates Alex O’Meara celebrated his 50th appearance with a try followed soon after by Richmond’s Jesse Liston who touched down in the corner. Both scores converted and Richmond were just 14 -13 down.

Sadly for the Richmond lads, this was as good as it was going to be.

With just five minutes to half time, the Pirates extended their lead. A delicate kick forward from Cargill bounced kindly for skipper Nick De Battista to score his first try, again converted, leaving Richmond 21-13 down at half time, Cargill’s penalty just after half time maintained the Pirate’s momentum, which set up a third quarter that was to kill off the contest. Full back Moyler scored the crucial bonus point try, and then Canadian International wing Matt Evans nailed the first of his pair.

Three further tries in less than twenty minutes affirmed the Pirates’ new found superiority, De Battista with two, and Evans, with Cargill converting another 65th minute penalty.

There was no way back now for the visitors but their tenacity in the game’s dying embers highlighted commendable spirit. Phipp’s consolation try in the corner and Kirby’s accuracy from the tee, at least gave their contribution to proceedings the respectability it warranted. Richmond remain a commendable eighth in the Championship.

Steve Hill, Richmond FC Director of Rugby, commented, “We were well beaten by a very in form side today. The Mennaye is a tough place to win. The Richmond players have an opportunity next Saturday to demonstrate they are a better team than they showed today. I anticipate and expect a significant response”.

The coming match this Saturday, Richmond’s last at home, will be a huge affair with a 2,000 plus crowd expected against the Auld enemy London Scottish.

Tries: Liston, Phipps Conversion: Kirby (2) Penalties: Kirby (2) Team: R.Kirby, J.Woodward (C.Hudson), C.Mitchell ,R.McLean-Dents, J.Simpson-Hefft, R.Damant, L.Jones (J.Gibbs) , J.Cunnew (W.Goodrick-Clarke), R.Grimstone (J.Phipps), J.Tarrant (C.Trenier), W.Warden (C.Lenygon), C.Davies, J.Liston (H.Edwards), J.Allcock, J.Parker.