Jersey 6 Cornish Pirates
Pirates ensured a tough baptism for Championship new boys
Jersey, to the delight of Head Coach Ian Davies.
The beaten finalists from last season finished deserved winners
after scoring three tries to none against the champions of SSE
"I'm really happy to get the win - I didn't want to come here
for our first game, as we'd not been able to find out much about
Jersey and knew there'd be a cup final atmosphere at the ground,"
Davies said. "It wasn't pretty, but it was winning rugby.
"Our forwards produced good ball and I think our backs had an
extra yard of pace, although to be fair to Jersey they had some
significant injuries - to lose players like Guy Thompson, Ross
Broadfoot and Dai Bishop was a blow to them.
"Jersey will get used to Championship rugby, so in some respects
maybe it was good to meet them first up before they do."
Davies had his own injury concern when Pirates full-back Grant
Pointer dislocated his shoulder while stopping a Jersey attack in
the final minute of the game.
Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey admitted the old maxim abut
'no easy games' had been made very clear to both his players and
the home spectators in a crowd of 2,470.
"Pirates had some real pace in the three-quarters, but we will
get better," he said. "This is a serious league with full-time
players, it's not a million miles away from the Premiership but
it's totally different to National One, and we will need to get
used to that.
"The players will need to step up and show more urgency - that's
how we'll turn this round and get some results."
The first half saw a dearth of genuine try-scoring
opportunities. Fly-halves Ross Broadfoot and Kieran Hallett traded
early penalties and the Jersey pack had the satisfaction of a
25-metre driving maul to which the visitors had no answer.
Broadfoot was just short attempting a second penalty and then in
the closing minutes Pirates worked space for Matt Evans to score in
the corner and give his side a narrow five-point cushion at
The home side reduced the arrears on the resumption with
replacement fly-half Mike Le Bourgeois slotting a straightforward
penalty that followed some intense pressure. But the shift in
momentum was short-lived: two minutes later, Pirates' skipper Gavin
Cattle slotted through a precise grubber kick, the ball held up
just over the try-line and Evans pounced on it to score.
Le Bourgeois and Hallett both missed tricky penalty chances as
the scoreboard remained unmoved for 33 minutes, with defence
getting the better of attack for the most part. Jersey had a few
isolated moments when attacks sparked by Talite Vaoileti and Nicky
Griffiths promised more than they delivered, but the home side's
chances effectively disappeared when hooker Steve Boden was
sin-binned for foul play.
The under-strength home side were bound to be stretched, and
Hallett's long floating pass enabled Evans to dive over for his
With the result settled, the closing stages saw both sides pushing
for a bonus point, but the high standard of defence witnessed on
both sides throughout the match continued until the final
JERSEY: Bryce, Cooper,
Bishop (Le Bourgeois 33, ), Sanders, Dawson, Broadfoot (Copsey 40,
), Griffiths, Barrington (McCarthy 50, ), Boden (Felton 67, ),
Evans, Hannay (capt) (Markham 50, ), Anderson, Vaioleti, Thompson
(Nihill 67, ), Trower. Not
CORNISH PIRATES: Pointer,
Bedford, Riley, Fatialofa (Cheesman 72, ), Evans, Hallett
(Penberthy 76, ), Cattle (capt) (Kessell 70, ), Prescott (Storer
70, ), Elloway, Andrew, Barry (Lyons 60, ), Johnson, Marriott,
Burgess, Maidment. Not used:
Referee: Steve Lee
Man-of-the-match (as chosen by
match-day sponsor Vantage): Matt Evans (Pirates)
Penalties: Broadfoot 6, Le
Tries: Evans 37, 43,
Conversion: Hallett 43
Penalty: Hallett 11
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.