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Cornish Pirates Preview

Cornish Pirates Preview

This coming Sunday London Scottish make their longest journey of the season away at Cornish Pirates. Scottish will go into this match determined to make improvements on the back of two consecutive losses, similar to the Pirates record who have also lost the last two matches on the bounce.

This coming Sunday London Scottish make their longest journey of the season away at Cornish Pirates. Scottish will go into this match determined to make improvements on the back of two consecutive losses, similar to the Pirates record who have also lost the last two matches on the bounce.

 

MPU

Scottish will only be making their third visit to the Mennaye Field ground in the last decade, with the last appearance being in February 2009 for a cup match against the short lived and now defunct Mounts Bay side. Scottish lost the game 8 – 6 in a close match and since then the Mennaye Field ground has been completely revamped for the “home coming” of the Pirates in the 2010/11 season. The ground has been completely upgraded for Championship rugby to include a new temporary covered stand being erected opposite the existing main stand and uncovered seating being sited at the town end of the ground.

At the start of this season the Pirates were considered to be one of the favourites for the Championship title after they had reached the final play off match the previous season, losing against the eventual winners Worcester Warriors. The Pirates opened up with a draw away at Moseley, however they immediately bounced back with four consecutive wins in September. This run included their 23 – 25 away win at Scottish with the last play winning try by Blair Cowan, which sealed the bonus point victory in a hard fought game. The Pirates bounced back after this close game by putting 50+ points on their next two opponents, Bristol and Leeds respectively at home.

October was a bit of a mixed bunch for the Pirates as they experienced their first home loss of the season to Bedford. They also drew two away games at Nottingham and London Welsh, however they recorded victories away at Plymouth and at Esher. As the season moved into November the Pirates opened up with a good home win against Rotherham.  The Pirates form over they last two weeks has dipped with them recording losses in their last two away fixtures in the Sky covered match at Bristol 37 – 33 and last weekend away at Doncaster 36 -21. Don't be misled by these scores as the Pirates side is a quality team and just proves how competitive the Championshlip is this season. Pirates currently sit 5th in the table, six points behind the league leaders Bristol.

Two Pirates players have appeared in all twelve league matches this season; winger David Doherty and utility back Grant Pointer, with former Scotland U21second row Iain Nimmo and full back come fly half Rob Cook only missing one match. The leading points scorer for Pirates is Rob Cook with 149 points to his name. David Doherty is the leading try scorer for the Pirates and is joint top try scorer with 9 tries to date. Although the Pirates are amongst the top overall points scorers in the league their Achilles heel would appear to be their defensive record as they have conceded the fifth largest number of points in the league. One thing is for sure a potential high scoring match could well be on the cards on Sunday if the scoring records of both sides is taken into account.

For Scottish they will be determined to put the last two matches behind them and they will go into the match confident that they can put in a good performance and achieve what would be a hard earned victory. Any match down in Cornwall is very tough, especially in front of a vocal partisan local support. Scottish have the character to take the match to the Pirates and pose a significant threat through a well drilled pack, and backs who will punish any side on their day.

For those supporters considering travelling down to Penzance by train on the day should be aware that no trains out of Paddington will arrive in time for the kick off. The first direct train of the day arrives in Penzance 5 minutes after the kick off. The lack of suitable public transport on the day limits the options available for supporters, so those driving to Penzance should enter the post code TR18 4LY into their SatNavs. The journey from West London should take approximately five and half hours driving time. Make sure you get to the match and cheer on the team and C'mon Scottish! Enjoy the game.            

Cornish Pirates 42 – 10 London Scottish

Cornish Pirates 42 – 10 London Scottish

A Dan Mugford try couldn't stem the scoring from a ruthless Pirates side, as Scottish were defeated 42-10 at the Mennaye.

A Dan Mugford try couldn’t stem the scoring from a ruthless Pirates side, as Scottish were defeated 42-10 at the Mennaye.

Match report courtesy of the Falmouth Packet, the Pirates' local paper:

MPU

Welcoming old friends to a well grassed, but sodden Mennaye Field, the Cornish Pirates showed their opponents little mercy in the difficult conditions, emerging convincing winners as a 6-1 try-count clearly indicates, writes Phil Westren.

Having lost their last Championship games away to Bristol and Doncaster, some form of backlash was clearly expected, and despite going behind to a second minute penalty kicked from 40 metres out by London Scottish centre Dan Mugford, the Pirates responded immediately to set expected of them.

After hooker Rob Elloway carried strongly following a line-out, fly-half Myles Dorrian, making an impressive debut on loan from Exeter, linked a clever pass to fellow 'Chief' Sam Hill, the dual-registered young centre picking a line that saw him burst over for his first try in Pirates colours. Full-back Rob Cook added the conversion.

A Cook penalty extended the Pirates lead and then, in just the ninth minute, they went further ahead after centre Drew Locke chased a kick down the left to score a try at the old Western National corner.

London Scottish were trying to match the enterprise of their opponents, but it simply got them into trouble, and the Pirates scored again through flanker Charlie Walker-Blair after wing Rhodri McAtee applied a pressure creating chase down the right. Cook missed a second conversion attempt but then made it 23-3 with a penalty successfully struck in the 28th minute.

The visitors continued to play with much endeavour and their efforts were rewarded when Mugford charged down a kick to run in a try that he also converted. At 23-10 they were back in the game, but only briefly, as to the frustration of the London side's coaching team the Pirates hit straight back. Leaving defenders floundering in his wake Cook scored and converted what was the bonus-point-providing fourth try, thus making it 30-10 at the break.

People were still returning to their seats as the Pirates opened their second half account in rip-roaring style when David Doherty crossed at the scoreboard corner. It was the pacey wingman's 10th Championship try of the season, making him the joint top try-scorer in the league alongside Bedford's Josh Bassett. Play was more even for a spell, and following a midfield drive made by a former 'Cornish All Black', replacement lock Steve Pape, his colleagues gave it their all in trying to get more points on the board. Full-back Jamie Sole, who is the son of former Scotland captain David, made good yardage with a couple of runs, and wing David Howells went close to scoring on the left, but their efforts were to no avail.

The final score came in the 70th minute, when the Cornish Pirates snaffled possession to seriously hurt the exiles team for the last time in the game. Man of the match Sam Hill passed one handed to Evans, who arrived outside at pace to stride away and dive for a try converted by Cook.

Scottish now need to pick themselves up for next Saturday's crunch game against a Doncaster Knights side only one place, but 14 points ahead of them in the league table.

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