By Phil Westren at Castle Park


Doncaster Knights 27 Cornish Pirates 27

THE Cornish Pirates were left feeling frustrated not to have won after second-placed Doncaster Knights recovered from being at one stage 22-3 down to earn a draw at Castle Park.

Clearly seeking a good start, following a penalty awarded some 30 metres out, the Cornish Pirates opted for a kick to the corner rather than try for three points. Fly-half Bruce Houston duly posted the ball clinically left to within five metres of Doncaster’s line, and from a potent and totally efficient driving maul, it was hooker Morgan Nelson who scored the game’s opening try. 

As for the conversion attempt, to judge how the wind would carry the ball would likely be something of a lottery, and so it proved, as what appeared a perfectly well-struck effort from Houston drifted to the left of the posts.

After home winger George Simpson unluckily knocked on when well-placed, the Knights continued to press the positivity button, their cause appearing to be helped when the referee, Mr Sellwood, yellow-carded Will Trewin for making an apparent deliberate knock-on.

The hosts were on top, but as play built towards half-time, it was fair to say that the Pirates were having the better of the first half, with their cause helped when former ‘Pirate’ Maliq Holden, was suddenly shown a red card.

The Pirates scored a second unconverted try in the match just before the break, when from another driving maul, Nelson notched up his 10th try in the league this season. 

The Cornishmen’s second half got off to a bad start as outside-centre Ioan Evans was yellow-carded and the Knights registered their first points of the afternoon courtesy of a penalty kick from fly-half Russell Bennett.

The Pirates hit back and were awarded a deserved penalty try, and then opened a 19-point gap thanks to the alertness of Steele Barker and then the timing of centre Joe Elderkin’s pass that fed try-scorer Will Trewin. Houston’s conversion attempt from wide on the right narrowly missed, but at least a bonus point was in the bag. 

A first try for Doncaster, converted by Bennett, materialised after quick ball from replacement scrum-half Ollie Fox found the hands of centre Connor Edwards, whose then pass was safely taken by scorer Margetts. 

Play became a little feisty, before dangerman Simpson ran 40 metres to score an excellent converted try for the hosts.

With just five points separating the sides, it was now game back on. However, on about the hour mark, following aggressive ball carrying by prop Lefty Zigiriadis and flanker Alex Everett, it was a fine offload from Barker that found the hands of Kyle Moyle who scored an unconverted try to make it 17-27.

As play entered the last quarter the outcome was too close to call. The penalty-count against the Pirates appeared to rise and, after Bennett opted to successfully slot one penalty kick through the posts, it appeared that everything was now seemingly going the way of the Knights.

A second former Cornish Pirate in the shape of replacement wing AJ Cant went close to scoring, before a final converted try from Simpson levelled matters – the nowadays rarity of a draw thus proving a frustrating finale for the Cornish side.

CORNISH PIRATES: Kyle Moyle, Will Trewin (Arthur Relton, 67), Ioan Evans, Joe Elderkin, Matt McNab, Bruce Houston, Alex Schwarz (Ruaridh Dawson, 50); Lefty Zigiriadis (Jack Andrew, 61), Morgan Nelson (Rhys Williams, 50), Matt Johnson (Fin Richardson, 50), Will Britton (Josh King, 67), Steele Barker, Alex Everett, John Stevens (captain), Hugh Bokenham (Will Gibson, 57). Replacement (not used): Tom Pittman.

Tries: Nelson (2), penalty try, Trewin, Moyle; Convs: N/A; Pens: N/A.