The Cornish Pirates returned to league action on Saturday when unbeaten table leaders Ealing Trailfinders visited the Mennaye Field, writes Phil Westren.
The teams, officials and supporters held a minute’s applause in respect and memory of the inspirational former Scotland international Doddie Weir, who had recently passed away.
After the Pirates applied pressure upon their opponents all but from the start of the game, suddenly it was Ealing’s centre David Johnston who went close to scoring to the left of the Penzance posts.
Injured in the process, he was replaced by former Wales under 20s player Steven Shingler, who was making his 50th appearance for the Trailfinders.
As the Cornish Pirates eased the pressure upon them, it was their man-of-the-match Ruaridh Dawson who used his up-and-under-kicking skills to good effect.
Forcing opponents to make mistakes, the Pirates were awarded a raft of penalties which led to them going close to scoring on several occasions.
Then, following Shingler being shown a yellow card, the Pirates achieved a score they fully deserved when hooker Will Crane made it over the line for an unconverted try.
Defending magnificently for a lengthy spell, after a score eventually looked very much on for the Trailfinders at the clubhouse corner, full-back AJ Cant acquired possession inside his ‘22’ for the ball to quickly reach Tommy Wyatt.
The centre escaped attempted Trailfinder clutches and ran some 75 metres to score a try near the Newlyn posts to which fly-half Arwel Robson added the extras.
The visitors went on to score an unconverted opening try through flanker Simon Uzokwe.
Midway through the half, in the space of just two minutes the Pirates went down to 13 men following referee Mr. Gayther showing ‘yellow’ to both Crane and centre Joe Elderkin.
It was, therefore, no surprise when they leaked a second try scored by replacement Carlo Tizzano.
Indeed, not even a losing bonus point was secured, as their opponents put the result beyond doubt thanks to a penalty slotted by fly-half Craig Willis and there two tries scored by replacement Jordan Burns.
Speaking at the end of the game, Cornish Pirates’ man-of-the-match Ruaridh Dawson said: "Delighted to be 12-0 up at half time, perhaps the final scoreboard didn’t fully reflect the game.
"It obviously didn’t help that we gave away penalties to allow them back into the match, and at the end we were naturally very disappointed not to at least get a bonus point.
"We had spoken during the week about Ealing being a very a good team in the second half, which makes it even more disappointing to have let them back in. Everyone was buzzing in the build up during the week, and the atmosphere was perhaps the best we have experienced all season.
"It showed when the boys really got stuck into the match in the first half, but there was unfortunately a drop off around the sixty-minute mark and the yellow cards also inevitably proved costly.
"Going down to 13 men against a strong side like Ealing inevitably made it very difficult.
“Looking for positives, against a particularly strong side our game plan coming into the match was good and our physicality up front was encouraging again, as we had showed in the first period."