Cornish Pirates 09/04/22

24Doncaster Knights

26Cornish Pirates

2:30 pm · April 9, 2022

Knights Suffer Narrow Cup Defeat at Castle Park

Doncaster Knights fell just two points shy of Cornish Pirates today at Castle Park in what was their first defeat on home turf in the entirety of the 2021/22 season.

It was a tough match for both sides as Doncaster only came back at the visitors in the second half before an agonising miss-kick at the death denied them a draw.

Pirates secured the first points of the day with a try on 15 minutes. A trip from Jack Davies at the lineout meant Josh Peter’s had only one lifter and so had to abandon his jump to tackle instead. The visitors played the ball quickly across the field with a lucky break culminating in Robin Wedlake-Millecam steaming over for the try. 

Mark Best – who put his best foot forward in the fullback shirt today – was the first Knights player on the scoreboard. A cross-kick from Billy McBryde was taken perfectly by Harry Davey who cleanly broke down the wing. Making a judgement call just short of the line, with the onrushing defence, Davey flicked inside to Best to complete the score.

As the 14 remaining minutes of the half ran out, there was no more scoring. However, some lovely interchanges between the likes of Davey and George Roberts as well as some monstrous defensive tackles from Kyle Evans were enough to take praise and raise noise from the home crowd.

Emerging for the second half, the opposition seemed the most on their game out of the two sides. They were immediately in solid attacking position and, with Shae Tucker having spotted a gap in the 22, the centre ran into and through the space for the score. Harry Bazalgette added the conversion and the side were seven points better off.

50 minutes plaid and the Pirates were scoring again. The Cornish men used their ever-impressive driving maul from the lineout to crash over in a pile of bodies, the ref popping up with an arm in the air. With Marlen Walker confirmed as the try-scorer, Bazalgette once more added the extras.

Shortly following the hour mark, the crowd witnessed a simultaneous yellow card and penalty try being given. A beautiful break down the wing from Davey – who danced a tackle to keep his momentum – was thwarted as Alexander Cant looked to have tackled him as the ball had left his hands in a pass.

Following consultation with his linesman, the referee sent the Cornish fullback to the sin bin and ran under the sticks to award the Knights the full seven points, bringing the gap to a converted score. 

A beauty of a kick into the corner from McBryde gave the Knights a lineout on the Pirates five metre line. Fresh on the field, Thom Smith took the throw cleanly and a huge drive came on from the Donny men. Tearing off the back, replacement hooker Will Holling slammed over for the important score. With McBryde’s conversion, things were all square on the scoreboard.

Pirates pulled ahead with three minutes left to play as an extremely unhappy Castle Park looked on as Cant cantered in an interception for a score. Judging by the body language, the consensus among players on the field seemed to be that Cant had infringed, however, the referee allowed the points to stand, and with Bazalgette’s conversion, the Knights needed a huge final three minutes.

In extra time, the Knights – in a carbon copy of Holling’s try – surged towards the line with any number of bodies in their driving maul. Emerging from the base to be heralded the try-scorer was Smith. 

In agonising fashion, however, as the full 15-man Cornish team charged him down, McBryde was unable to convert and the final whistle was blown to end the fixture with the Pirates just two points clear.

Doncaster Knights will need a dominant performance down in Penzance in two weeks time should they want to keep their Championship Cup hopes alive.

Match Statistics

Knights Starting XV | 15 Mark Best; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Connor Edwards, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Harry Davey; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Lloyd Wheeldon; 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 George Roberts, 3 Charlie Connolly, 4 Josh Peters, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Jack Davies, 8 Sam Graham (c).

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Liam Usher, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Alex Groves, 20 Thom Smith, 21 Joe Green, 22 Maliq Holden, 23 John Kelly.

Tries: Best, Penalty Try, Holling, Smith

Conv: McBryde


Pirates XV | 15 Alex Cant; 14 Robin Wedlake-Millecam, 13 Shae Tucker, 12 Joseph Elderkin, 11 Callum Sirker; 10 Harry Bazalgette, 9 Ruaridh Dawson; 1 Garyn Phillips, 2 Thom Channon, 3 Sam Rodman, 4 Cory Teague, 5 Daniel Cutmore, 6 Matt Bolwell, 7 Will Gibson, 8 Antonio Kiri Kiri.

Replacements | 16 Marlen Walker, 17 Oliver Adkins, 18 Hayden King, 19 Edward Scragg, 20 Bear Williams, 21 Alex Schwarz, 22 Thomas Wyatt, 23 Carwyn Penny.

Tries: Wedlake-Millecam, Tucker, Walker

Conv: Bazalgette (x2)

Yellow card: Alexander Cant


Referee: Charlie Gayther.

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