Cornish Pirates 28 Jersey 24
Mennaye Field, Penzance
by Tom Innes
Leading by 11 points at the break and in sight of a major scalp
to end the season, Jersey ran out of gas in the second half to
finish well beaten.
Cornish Pirates were dominant virtually throughout the second
period in wiping out the deficit and scoring 22 unanswered points
until Michael Le Bourgeois scored in the final play.
With a marching band, singers and end-of-season awards in the
glorious sunshine, the host club were aiming to put on a spectacle
and both sides played their part in an eventful first half.
Jersey began the match with a late personnel switch, after Elvis
Taione pulled a calf muscle during the warm-up. David Felton was
summoned to the starting line-up with travelling reserve Kingsley
Lang called up for bench duty.
Pirates made a rapid start and Jersey were almost entirely
starved of territory and possession during the first eight minutes.
The home side tried to attack with lineout and scrum options after
penalty awards, and Jersey were relieved when Kieran Hallett went
for goal and the damage was limited to three points.
The restart saw Jersey start to compete fully, and soon
afterwards Max Stelling intercepted and appeared to be within sight
of the line, albeit 50 metres out. But the centre opted to try and
find David Bishop with an unorthodox flip pass, and the ball went
to ground. However it was not long before Le Bourgeois had an easy
penalty chance to level the scores.
As on many occasions this season, Guy Thompson was a potent
attacking weapon for the Islanders, making a series of dynamic runs
through the home defence. His first such charge could have lead to
a try to the supporting Ed Dawson, but Thompson went on alone and
was hauled down inches short following a last-ditch ankle tap.
Pirates were stunned and lost two men to the sin-bin in quick
succession. Gary Johnson cynically prevented Jersey recycling the
ball from a ruck, while from the resultant penalty Phil Burgess
hacked the ball out of the scrum and followed his colleague.
Jersey opted for a second attacking scrum and the Pirates pack
buckled, conceding a penalty try after being shunted towards Land's
Seeking to maximise the opportunity of a two-man advantage, the
visitors conceded a second penalty to Hallett but then scored a
second try when Dave McCormack broke clear from a maul thanks to a
silky dummy and fed Dawson for the touch-down.
Pirates returned to full strength without further damage and
were relieved to be still in sight at the break. Jersey had
threatened again through Thompson and some more powerful scrum
work, but the scoreboard was unmoved as the players left the
The first score of the second half appeared crucial and it was
the Cornish side who achieved it. Felton was yellow-carded for
bringing down a maul, and when Pirates staged a second attempt,
After being put under pressure, there was again an element of
relief for Jersey to concede only three points, but the home side
continued the one-way traffic, and scored a second try in the
left-hand corner through prop Paul Andrew to retake the lead. Both
the home side's try-scorers were playing their final games for
Pirates, with Burgess signing an England Sevens contract and Andrew
bound for Worcester.
Jersey made a series of substitutions, including Championship
debuts for Joel Dudley and Myles Landick, but the revised XV had
little more success in stopping the one-way traffic. The penalty
count was mounting against Jersey, and Hallett took advantage three
times, adding nine more points to his side's tally.
Jersey rallied in the dying moments with strong running by
Thompson, Voss and Bishop, and Le Bourgeois was able to register
his side's first points for 55 minutes of playing time in the last
move, clinching a bonus point for his team.
The home side were able to enjoy their end-of-season awards -
there seemed to be one for almost everybody - on the back of a
winning conclusion to the season. Jersey were left tired and
disappointed, but knowing that a hard season's work had already
been enough to ensure Championship survival.
/* report reproduced by kind permission of the Jersey
Jersey, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
Forwards: Sean McCarthy, David Felton (YC 45), Jon
Brennan, Rob Anderson, Dave Markham, Fred Silcock, Joe Buckle, Guy
Thompson. Half-backs: Dave McCormack, Michael Le
Bourgeois. Backs: Ed Dawson, David Bishop, Max Stelling,
Mark Foster, Glenn Bryce.
Replacements: Kingsley Lang for Silcock (11 mins), James
Voss for Anderson (57), Joel Dudley for McCormack (57), James
Gethings for Brennan (61), Myles Landick for McCarthy (68), Donovan
Sanders for Stelling (79), James Copsey for Dawson (79)
Cornish Pirates: Paul Andrew, Darren Semmens,
Peter Joyce, David Lyons, Gary Johnson (YC 14), James Tyas, Phil
Burgess (YC 16), Ben Maidment; Gavin Cattle (capt), Kieran Hallett,
Matt Evans, Sam Hill, Tom Riley, Wes Davies, Kyle Moyle.
Replacements (all used): Ryan Storer, Will Tanner, Max
Maidment, Laurie McGlone, Alex Cheesman, Tom Kessell, Ben
Referee: Tom Foley
Men-of-the-match: Kieran Hallett (Pirates); Guy Thompson
(Jersey) (Thompson also won the poll among viewers on
Tries: Burgess 45, Andrew 54
Penalties: Hallett 8, 22, 51, 60, 66, 72
Tries: penalty try 17, Dawson 25, Le Bourgeois 80
Conversions: Le Bourgeois 17, 25, 80
Penalty: Le Bourgeois 12
21 Sep 2023
Chiefs visit Stade for first-ever Jersey encounter