March 4 2011
For McKay and his men it was another job well done. However, the Pirates coach knows all too well a much stronger performance will be needed next time out at Kenwyn when the Mighty Quins roll into town.
Cornish Pirates 21-13 Pertemps Bees 6th March 2006
HAVING ventured into troubled waters over the past month, the Pirates ship was firmly back on course as they saw off the visiting Pertemps Bees at Kenwyn on Sunday.
Not for the first time this season a strong second half showing saw Jim McKay's men to their intended four-point treasure - and helped close the gap on league leaders Harlequins and second-placed Bedford Blues, both of whom spent the weekend booking their respective places in next month's Powergen National Trophy final at Twickenham.
As those two sides can prepare for a Finals day at English rugby's HQ, the Pirates still have their sights set on a best-ever finish in the National Leagues. Third spot would certainly represent that, second would be even better.
Yesterday's success was another step in the right direction, even if the performance was not of the same vintage of that seen on other occasions at Kenwyn this season.
In truth the win was an ugly one, not secured until the dying minutes of the match, but as McKay was quick to stress at the final whistle, it was effective and vital, particularly after his side's setback at Nottingham a fortnight ago.
"I'm really happy with the win, especially on St Piran's Day, " said the Australian. "It was a tough game out there and we showed a great deal of character and commitment to come through like we did. They [the Bees] are a useful side at this level and have some very good rugby players in their team.
"It took us a while to break them down, but in the end we did it and we got the win, which is the most important thing. Full credit to them for the way they played - they caused us a few problems at times, but the endeavour and the composure we showed, especially in the second half, was excellent."
Not for the first time this season, a howling down field wind ensured it was going to be a game of two halves. With first use of the breeze, it was the Bees who wasted little time in attacking their Cornish hosts, who won the corresponding fixture 36-24 at Sharmans Cross Road back in October.
Just six minutes had been played when a flowing move saw wingers Tom Beim, Aaron Takarangi and centre Simon Martin combine to release Adam Billig, but sadly he was unable to hold on to the pass and knocked on just short of the home line.
It was a let off for the Pirates, but it was not long before the Bees made their mark, scrum-half Ben Harvey firing them in front on 11 minutes after Pirates No.8 Tim Cowley had been penalised for going offside.
The Bees were dominating the early exchanges and it was the visitors who added to their advantage on 14 minutes when the impressive Harvey released full-back Dave Knight at pace, he brushed off the attentions of centre Shaun James in midfield, before feeding the ball to Beim, who collected and ran in under the posts for Harvey to convert.
Although Harvey, the son of former Pirates player Brett Harvey, failed with a long-distance penalty on 19 minutes, he atoned shortly after with a second successful kick as the visitors continued to lay some early foundations.
However, as half-time approached the Bees were stung with a brilliant counter-attack from the Pirates. Full-back Wes Davies collected deep inside his own 22 before instigating a move that involved Joe Bearman, Tom Barlow, Davies again and Tim Cowley, who fed the ball wide to the right for winger Richard Welding to race in for his 16th try of the season.
Barlow was unable to reach with the difficult touchline conversion, but he reduce the arrears with a 50th minute penalty, then fired over a drop-goal with 11 minutes remaining to leave just a point in it.
The former Plymouth Albion player then struck put over another decisive blow on 71 minutes to put the Cornish club in front for the first time - a position they were not willing to surrender in the dying stages.
Although the Bees looked for fresh impetus from their bench, they were unable to secure crucial ball and instead turned to some kamikaze-style attacking in a bid to find their way down field.
Sadly the tactic failed when Aussie fly-half Tim Walsh fired a loose pass straight into the arms of Namibian international Heino Senekal just yards from the line - and the Pirates forward gleefully accepted the chance to touch down for his second of the season, converted by Barlow.
For McKay and his men it was another job well done. However, the Pirates coach knows all too well a much stronger performance will be needed next time out at Kenwyn (March 26) when the Mighty Quins roll into town.
Cornish Pirates 21
Tries - Welding, Senekal; Conversion - Barlow; Penalties - Barlow 2; Drop-Goal - Barlow
Pertemps Bees 13
Try - Beim; Conversion - Harvey; Penalties - Harvey 2
W Davies; R Welding, S James, W Kelly, K James; T Barlow (L Jarvis 80), G Cattle (capt); A Paver, N Makin (P Ince 70), N Adams; H Senekal, J Beardshaw; J Bearman, S Betty, T Cowley (M Evans 70).
Replacements (not used): N Chivers, M Jess, S Hockings, D Seal.
D Knight (N Baxter 72); A Takarangi, A Billig, S Martin, T Beim (M Davies 75); T Walsh, B Harvey; M Long (R Hardwick 52), M Miles (L Wordley 52), J Hobson (A Le Chevalier 52); A Davidson (E Orgee 72), M Walton; D White (B Gerry 52), C Trayhern, J Jenner (capt).
Referee: Nick Williams (RFU)