PIRATES V JERSEY 7.12
BRITISH AND IRISH CUP
Under a beautiful still Saturday night with a man-in-the-moon moon the Pirates made us suffer once more against Jersey, but this time with a happier outcome.
At last some of the basics had come right – the line-outs were mostly held, the possession was kept instead of being kicked away, and the spot kicks had improved beyond recognition. As for the scrums - but more of that later. When these virtues were added to the Pirates doggedness in defence and ability to penetrate again and again in attack they were an outfit to be feared. And just as well because Jersey came to town on the back of a last-second win and were strong, well-organised and full of talent.
After taking some pressure the Pirates ploughed through some broken play to strike first, followed by a super conversion. A couple of minutes later a Jersey clearance was caught in the air by Moyle – his feet must have been whirring in the air like Road Runner because when he touched ground he whizzed through the opposition like the proverbial sh*t off a shovel. The defence tried to run him down in the corner but thrillingly he used his head as well as his feet, sidestepped two defenders, changed course and ran an angle right under the posts, the try of the season so far. Which he also converted.
Jersey shook off the blows and kept the game tight. Their pressure was rewarded with a penalty try and penalties which brought them back within a point by half-time. Not once during either half did a scrum produce a clean heel, but instead became this season’s curse of macho shoving and twisting in search of a penalty, stressful for the players and so boring to watch. The referee’s arm went up this way and that with no obvious reason and the crowd grew quiet and cold. After a deadly series of scrums under our posts at the end lasting some seven endless minutes a second penalty try went to Jersey, the offence seeming to be our unwillingness to let them push us over. We were three points behind.
I thought the game was over and trudged down to the Newlyn end in a temper, but there was just time for not one but two restarts and the Pirates won a converted try at the end of each one. The first was a brilliant inside pass to Matt Jess, and the second a rolling maul which – being the closest – I can confirm was planted safely in the very corner. The referee seemed in some doubt, but I did my best to reassure him. The blood rushed back into our veins and the Pirates went to their bath with maximum points, richly deserved.