Cornish Pirates 7/1/23

37Cornish Pirates

15Doncaster Knights

2:30 pm · January 7, 2023

Cornishmen Too Strong in Second Half for Knights at Mennaye Field

Having re-emerged for the second half evenly set on the scoreboard, the Knights suffered a frustrating 37-15 loss at Mennaye Field in their rearranged Round 10 fixture against Cornish Pirates.

Despite final scoring, the Knights were the first team on the board on Saturday. As Pirates were penalised for straying offside in their own 22 in the opening three minutes, Alex Dolly indicated a shot at goal and easily secured the points from the tee.

Pirates swiftly moved in front just three minutes later as the hosts’ pack mauled their way over the line from a lineout in the Knights 22. As Will Crane was named the try scorer, Harry Bazalgette failed to add the extras – leaving it as a 2-point game.

A combative to-and-fro unfolded in the middle section of the first half as both teams fought for some kind of ascendancy in the slog of mud which the Cornish weather had reduced the field to. Pirates ultimately allected for a shot at goal when awarded an advantage on the edge of the Knights 22, with Bazalgette pulling his side to an unconverted score ahead.

The Knights scored that unconverted try 4 minutes shy of the end of the first half. Bruising carries from John Kelly, Connor Edwards and Thom Smith got the Donny men on the front foot. Robbie Smith then broke in the wide channels, with a lovely interchange with Joe Margetts advancing them into the 22. With the last pass, Margetts barrelled through a tackle to dot the ball down and even the score.

Just 11 minutes in to the second half, the Knights were reduced to 14 men. A disagreement broke out following a maul and, having consulted his linesman, the referee sent Knights hooker George Roberts to the sin bin.

Pirates immediately capitalised on the man overlap. Going into the corner, Robin Wedlake was fed the ball off the back of the lineout, drawing in the defending tackle from the Knights long enough to offload to Tom Kessell for the score. Bazalgette then added the conversion.

The home side added another 5 minutes later. This time they broke off their scrum and, whilst Maliq Holden put in a confident tackle under pressure on Tommy Wyatt, Kessell spotted open air on the wing so took the ball himself and sniped down the channel to catch the Knights unaware for the score.

The Cornishmen added a further 3 points to their tally on 68 minutes as the debutant Jack Metcalf was called offside on a Dolly chip kick, allowing Bazalgette to successfully go for goal.

The possibility of a late comeback looked on the cards as the Knights added a try with 9 minutes left in the encounter. A 13-man Knights maul crashed over the line with Dolly emerging from the base with ball in hand before proceeding to convert his own score.

However, the afternoon was to end on a sour note for the travelling side as Pirates scored 2 more converted tries before the encounter came to a close. The first of the 2 owes a bit to chance as a grubber ball in the Knights 22 popped out of George Simpson’s hands as he attempted to take it at a dive, allowing Rusi Tuima to collect from the floor to score.

The second saw the hosts move with pace in the wide channel as the Knights doggedly attempted to re-set their defence but the fractured formation was not enough to stop Wyatt from darting through. Both tries were converted by the replacement Arwel Robson.

It was a tough day for the Donny men who will have to head back to the drawing board before their first home game of 2023 at Castle Park on Saturday, Jan 14 for which they welcome Hartpury to Doncaster.

Match Statistics

Cornish Pirates XV | 15 AJ Cant; 14 Tommy Wyatt, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Garyn Smith, 11 Robin Wedlake; 10 Harry Bazalgette, 9 Tom Kessell; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Will Crane, 3 Matt Johnson, 4 Cory Teague, 5 Will Britton, 6 Alex Everett, 7 Will Gibson, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor.

Replacements | 16 Max Norey, 17 Olly Adkins, 18 Harvey Beaton, 19 James Fender, 20 Rusi Tuima, 21 Alex Scwarz, 22 Arwel Robson, 23 Will Trewin.

Pens: Bazalgette 2

Tries: Crane, Kessell 2, Tuima, Wyatt

Cons: Bazalgette, Robson 2


Knights XV | 15 Maliq Holden; 14 George Simpson, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Robbie Smith; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Ben Carlile, 2 George Roberts, 3 Jake Armstrong, 4 Ehize Ehizode, 5 Evan Mintern, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Thom Smith, 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 James Wayland, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 Martin Sigren, 20 Jared Cardew, 21 Joe Green, 22 Billy McBryde, 23 Jack Metcalf.

Pens: Dolly

Tries: Margetts, Dolly

Cons: Dolly

Yellow card: George Roberts

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