Whilst Cambridge came back empty-handed in terms of points from Penzance, Richie Williams’ side took much credit from an excellent first half which they shaded going into the break. Full-on, competitive and with a deal of flair and panache, by the time the referee signalled the end of the first forty, Cornish Pirates knew they’d been in a battle.

“All the way” Eli Caven opened the scoring five minutes in, finishing off Steff James’ cross-kick to the corner with aplomb. James conversion from out wide drifted across the posts in the breeze.

James, though, did stretch the lead nine minutes later with a penalty from in front of the posts, which provoked a response from Pirates’ nine Ruaridh Dawson who touched down for Tom Pittman to further reduce the deficit with the extras.

Caven’s second came with 14 minutes left before the break, collecting his own chip, gathering and turning on the afterburners to finish in the left-hand corner. Again, the breeze did for James’ conversion.

Nahum Merrigan went off injured – Billy Walker returned to the fray after a head injury assessment – and it was still very much ‘game on’.

Ioan Evans got Pirates second – Pittman converted – but Kwaku Asiedu had the final say before the whistle as he bullied his way through the Pirates’ defence to finish, arm outstretched, wide out on the right.

So, into the sheds, but, after the break – and a rallying cry for a step-up from the home dressing room – Pirates went full-on for the win and wore the Blood & Sand down with wave after wave of attacks.

17-18 at the break was never going to be enough of a lead and, with the visitors wilting under relentless pressure, cracks began to appear.

Pittman landed three fairly perfunctory penalties as his side ground the Blood & Sand down, with Sam Hanks and Ben Adams spending time in the sin bin for their troubles. Changes were rung to keep up the momentum on both sides.

And, in the end, Pirates ran out winners with four tries in the final fifteen minutes as they ended in rampant fashion. Kyle Oyle got the first of those, Robin Wedlake-Millecam the second, and two late interceptions thrown by the visitors, chasing a try bonus point, led to one from Matt McNAb and another from Wedlake-Millecam.

The final score was harsh based on the first half – but there was no taking away from Pirates deserving their victory.

Richie Williams was sanguine in defeat;

“Ultimately, Pirates have taken that game away from us in the second half. That’s the second week running we haven’t scored in the second half, too. We put ourselves in a really commanding position, going in leading at half time, with arguably some of our best attacking rugby in a long time. Our discipline was really good – we only conceded a couple of penalties – and our set piece functioned really well and we really fronted up defensively which we didn’t do at times last week against London Scottish. But we’ve got to ask ourselves why we fell of the cliff in the second half – it was like watching two different teams. We’ve go to grow that performance and we know with the group of players that we’ve got, they’ll continue to work hard and try and develop, but we’re making some of the same mistakes we made at the beginning of the season. We’re gutted with that result – the effort, the urgency, that we wanted, we got in that first half and to come away with nothing, conceding 40 points again, is the disappointing part”.

Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle (22 Bruce Houston, 70) 14 Arthur Relton 13 Ioan Evans (23 Robin Wedlake, 44) 12 Joe Elderkin 11 Matt McNab 10 Tom Pittman 9 Ruaridh Dawson (21 Alex Schwarz, 50); 1 Lefty Zigiriadis (17 Jacob Morris, 58) 2 Harry Hocking (16 Iestyn Harris, 28) 3 Fin Richardson (18 Matt Johnson, 53) 4 Hugh Bokenham (19 Josh King, 60) 5 Steele Barker 6 Alex Everett 7 Will Gibson (20 Hallam Chapman, 67) 8 John Stevens (captain).

Yellow card: 8 John Stevens (34).

Cambridge: 15 Joe Tarrant (21 Lawrence Rayner, 78) 14 Kwaku Asiedu 13 Sam Hanks 12 Matt Williams (22 Tom Hoppe, 68) 11 Eli Caven 10 Steff James 9 Kieran Duffin; 1 Jake Ellwood (17 Huw Owen, 50) 2 Ben Brownlie (16 Archie Vanes, 59) 3 Billy Walker (18 Matt Collins, 35; Billy Walker 40; 18 Matt Collins, 50) 4 George Bretag Norris (captain) 5 Gareth Baxter 6 Ben Adams (20 Morgan Veness, 78) 7 Jared Cardew (19 Noah Sloot, 64) 8 Nahum Merrigan (23 Anthony Maka, 25).

Yellow cards: 13 James Hanks (43) 6 Ben Adams (63).


Cornish Pirates – tries: Ruaridh Dawson (16) Ioan Evans (31) Kyle Moyle (65) Robin Wedlake (69, 79) 11 Matt McNab (77); cons: Tom Pittman (16, 32, 70) pens: Tom Pittman (44, 50, 58).

Cambridge – tries: Eli Caven (05, 26) Kwaku Asiedu (39); pen: Steff James (14).