By LI Bohemian
November 22 2016
A couple of seasons ago Irish played a game at Twickenham against Quins which involved two X-Factor singers ruining some popular tunes and a “Fun Bus” delivering the match ball on the pitch in a hovercraft amongst fireworks and flames, the game against Cornish Pirates on Saturday was way more entertaining because it had all the razzamatazz I want from rugby.
The two memories that stood out for me in the game was the 5th Irish try scored via a deft chip, catch and pass to Ransom who stepped on the gas and dabbed the ball; under the posts it was honestly breath-taking. The other was the unyielding Pirates pack: Irish pushed and strained on their put-ins but could not move it an inch. Luckily Irish had the workaholic Steele taking the ball out at the back and giving it to the dangerous and imaginative Marshall at 10, he just made things happen all day. The Mennaye Field Stadium did remind me of the Bedford Blues ground but with no slope and more grass. We bought our 2-pint Guinness’s from the clubhouse and made our way past the temporary changing rooms to see Big Trev trying to fit into a Portaloo! We then passed through NBC to sit in an open stand.
The game started with Irish exerting some control playing through phases and getting territory to earn an 8 – 0 lead, but Pirates had other gears to go through unlike the other teams so far in the championship. They put together some quick rucks, pick and go’s to get territory and pressure for a try and a penalty 11-10 to Pirates.
Irish answered back with a penalty goal. The ever improving Ben Ransom made a fantastic run up the left hand try-line that reminded me of the way Lewi can break tackles and find gaps but he could not find a pass. Hehad put Irish at the right end of the pitch though.
The turning point came when one of the Pirates was yellow carded. It seemed harsh so it must have been an accumulation of penalties against Pirates.
Irish took full advantage of the extra man to score a try making it 10-16 to Irish and half time.
Irish take to the field in the second half determined not to make it an arm-wrestle with pirates. Irish score through a line-out drive, Pirates are back up to 15 and then straight down to 14 again, this is too much time for any team to be a man down, especially against the league leaders and so flood gates opened. Pirates conceded two more tries 35-10, maybe the game had gone from them but the fight never stopped until the final whistle.
The Pirate bench was as strong as the starting side, they fought back with two tries to make the final score 35-24.
If Cornwall manage to get their act together any time soon with a purpose built stadium and a serious backer, coupled with the passion in the area for rugby and how attractive the area is I have no doubt they will be a force to reckoned with. That said when you ask the locals about it they will say this is Cornwall nothing happens fast or is straight forward.