Cornish Pirates 23/04/22

20Cornish Pirates

32Doncaster Knights

2:30 pm · April 23, 2022

Knights Claim Important Championship Cup Win in Penzance

It was a tough battle in Penzance this afternoon as the Knights dug deep to out-perform the hosts, Cornish Pirates, for an important win in the Championship Cup.

It would be fair to say the Pirates dominated the opening few minutes on home soil. However, they had their own frustration as handling errors hampered their attack at times – including a knocked-on ball from Matt Bolwell when he had completed the hard work of breaking the line.

They were on the board first regardless. Callum Sirker collected a ball, darting to the line before being torn down just short by the backtracking Knights defence. They kept momentum on the Knights line, however, and after a quick check, the ref’s hand went in the air to signify Alfie Petch was the day’s first scorer.

Harry Bazalgette confidently secured the extras and it was the hosts’ turn to switch to defensive mode as the Knights looked to charge down the field. Good competition for the restart ball from Sam Hudson and John Kelly set them on the right path as a great line from Harry Davey certainly didn’t hamper efforts.

A slight falter allowed Pirates to add a penalty to their score but the Knights knuckled down to secure their first points minutes later.

Hudson perfectly executed a support line for Kelly. The charging second row drew in the closest defender before handing off to his back row teammate to run in the score under the posts. An easy kick for Billy McBryde secured the full contingent of points for the Knights.

Knights didn’t let-up as half time quickly approached. Fraser Strachan, Davey, Maliq Holden and Kyle Evans looked for quick interplay off a scrum but a last pass not going to hand gave Pirates a lineout. The set-piece was unclean from the hosts and Will Holling was able to dive on the ball.

Hudson, spotting a gap straight ahead, scooped up the ball and charged through with the line dead-set in his sights for his, and the Knights’, second score of the day. An unsuccessful conversion attempt from McBryde limited the points, but the Knights were still a shy two points ahead.

On the last minute of the half, the hosts secured the half time lead as a return kick from Ruaridh Dawson was collected by AJ Cant who, having run down the line, gave the offload to Sirker to secure the points. With an unsuccessful conversion attempt from Bazalgette, it was a narrow three point lead at the half.

Re-emerging for the second half, the game was up for the taking by either team. Eight minutes after the restart, a Knights forwards was scoring again. With a lineout deep into the Pirates 22, Holling timed his tear off the driving maul perfectly, making the short run to crash over the whitewash. A successful conversion from McBryde gave the Knights a short four point lead.

Shortly after the hour mark, the Knights added to their tally. A theme of the day – slick connection between the backs – produced for the Knights as Strachan made the initial break before flicking the ball out to his winger Holden to run in the score. Freshly on the field, it was an unfortunate conversion miss from Sam Olver.

Five minutes later, the Knights were charging forth again. Cant looked to have thought he had more time than he did for a clearance kick as Mark Best charged him down. The Donny man’s timing was the better of the two as he prevented the kick and gathered the ball for an easy run-in. Unfortunately, it was another ball pulled wide of the uprights in Olver’s conversion attempt.

With the ten minute warning having passed, the Pirates were attacking deep in the Knights 22, driving their maul towards the line. It looked to be Kessell that knocked on while taking the ball off the back but the referee called an end to the play. Having consulted his linesman, Ben Murphy was shown a yellow card which looked to be for coming through the maul.

Using their man advantage, the Pirates added to their score as a chance flick pass in the wide channels was collected by replacement Rory Parata for the run-in. A missed conversion could only bring the hosts within nine points, however.

To put the sealant on things, Olver indicated the posts for a penalty in the Pirates 22 and secured the three points to see the game culminate with the Knights claiming an important 20-32 away win.

In a tough match, there were stand out performances from a number of Knights players and the game showed a Donny team that has no plans of letting up in their commitment to performances in this Cup campaign.

Match Statistics

Pirates XV | 15 AJ Cant; 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Tommy Wyatt, 12 Shae Tucker, 11 Callum Sirker; 10 Harry Bazalgette, 9 Ruaridh Dawson; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Thom Channon, 3 Alfie Petch, 4 Cory Teague, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Matt Bolwell, 7 Will Gibson, 8 Tom Duncan (c).

Replacements | 16 Syd Blackmore, 17 Garyn Phillips, 18 Hayden King, 19 Steele Barker, 20 Josh Caulfield, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Arwell Robson, 23 Rory Parata.

Pens: Bazalgette

Tries: Petch, Sirker, Parata

Conv: Bazalgette


Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Connor Edwards, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Joe Green; 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Will Holling, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Thom Smith (c), 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Edgson, 17 Conor Davidson, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Lloyd Wheeldon, 22 Mark Best, 23 Sam Olver.

Pens: Olver

Tries: Hudson (x2), Holling, Holden, Best

Conv: McBryde (x2)

Yellow card: Ben Murphy


Referee: Dan Jones.

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