By Phil Westren


Cornish Pirates 17 Ealing Trailfinders 26

LEAGUE leaders Ealing Trailfinders secured a late victory thanks to a late converted try scored by lock Bobby De Wee as they won 26-17 at the Mennaye Field.

On a night less than ideal weather wise, a large crowd was in attendance who just ahead of kick-off stood for a minute’s applause in respect of former Royal Marine and Penryn rugby player, James ‘Jim’ Henderson’, who was one of the aid workers so tragically killed in Gaza during the week.  

There was only one change in the Pirates selection from the team that drew 27-all away to Doncaster Knights last time out. Prop Lefty Zigiriadis, who is an on loan Trailfinders player in the Pirates squad, saw his place taken by stalwart Marlen Walker.

Under bright Friday night lights, and following pitch inspections that had taken place ahead of the game, the near 2,000 crowd of enthusiastic home supporters were soon quick to make themselves heard.

After applying considerable pressure on their opponents, from a penalty award Pirates fly-half Bruce Houston fired the ball into the clubhouse corner, with prop and man of the match Marlen Walker soon scoring the game’s opening try. In his testimonial year, it was his 25th five-pointer  since arriving at the Pirates back in 2015.

Midway through the half the strong and talented visitors pulled three points back thanks to a penalty slotted through the boot of fly-half Craig Willis, before the Pirates soon disturbed the scoreboard operator once more. 

Play was briefly a little feisty, Houston kicked to the scoreboard corner from a penalty award, and following hooker Morgan Nelson’s short and successfully flat throw to the lineout, it was not long before Pirates’ skipper John Stevens made it over the line for a try to which Houston this time added the extras.

There would be one more try scored in the first half, which went the way of the visitors. Earning a penalty opportunity and opting to kick to the corner, a maul initially developed before the ball found the hands of Willis who kicked long and cleverly across the width of the field to enable former Ulster wing Angus Kernohan to score. The conversion from Willis was also on target to make the scoreline 12-10, which was as it stood at the break. 

Into the second half, despite the incessant rain, the Trailfinders would though nudge ahead for the first time thanks to two penalties kicked by Willis who contributed 16 points in total.

Ealing were increasingly dominant, so entering the last quarter it was timely that the Pirates hit back. Runs by wing Matt McNab and then replacement scrum-half Ruaridh Dawson ended with McNab notching a wonderful try, unconverted, at the old Western National Corner.

This was a match that had shown passion and commitment aplenty, and in sodden April conditions the like of which have surely never been seen before. 

As for the outcome, Willis kicked another penalty and near the end converted the try scored by De Wee. 

It also cruelly denied the Pirates even a losing bonus point, in a match where they scored three of the five tries.

CORNISH PIRATES: Kyle Moyle, Will Trewin (Arthur Relton, 68), Ioan Evans, Joe Elderkin, Matt McNab, Bruce Houston (Tom Pittman, 71), Alex Schwarz (Ruaridh Dawson, 53); Marlen Walker (Jack Andrew, 70), Morgan Nelson (Rhys Williams, 40, Marlen Walker, 74), Matt Johnson (Fin Richardson, 70) Will Britton (Josh King, 62), Steele Barker, Alex Everett, John Stevens (capt; Will Gibson, 57) Hugh Bokenham.

Tries: Walker, Stevens, McNab; Convs: Houston; Pens: N/A.

Cornish Pirates man of the match: Marlen Walker.