CORNISH PIRATES: Paver, Kemp (Dawiduik,
61), Heard (Seal, 61), Senekel, Beardshaw, McKeen (Motusaga, 48), Cracknell,
Matt Evans, Fairhurst, Steenson, Moore, Winn (Devlin, 71), Lilo, Koko,
Thomas (MccAtee, 71).
MOSELEY: N Williams (Buxton, 40), Caves (McMillan,
72), Sigley (Bayliss, 60), Atkinson, Tuohy, Mason, Bignell, Mark Evans,
Ireland (Taylor, 70), Macdonald, Bressington, Cox, Binns, Sharples, Winter
(M Williams, 74).
Referee: Mr. D. Rose (RFU)
SCORERS: PiratesTries- Lilo, Motusaga, Conversion & Penalty- Steenson
Moseley Try – Mason, Conversion- Macdonald
By Graeme Welch at Cambourne Recreation Ground
This was not a pretty game for anyone to watch except the purist, but in the
context of their season it may well turn out to be a defining match for the
men in red and black.
That Moseley did not get anything from this match was, even to those few
faithful supporters who had made the long journey to Cambourne, perhaps a
little unfortunate, for they dominated the first half and had territorial
advantage for long periods in the second.
The rain-sodden pitch and gale force wind which Moseley chose to face in the
first half dictated their style of play. The forwards kept control of the
ball by playing in narrow channels either side of ruck and maul.
With Adam Caves, Neil Mason and Terry Sigley especially taking the eye
Pirates were frustrated into conceding early penalties, one of which was
inexplicably missed in front of the posts by Greg Macdonald. Nevertheless,
the half was Moseley's, even though the scoreboard was untouched.
The second half began in similar fashion until the fifth minute, when a
succession of penalties allowed Pirates to gain some momentum and Tongan
World Cup player Vunga Lilo powered his way over for the first try. This was
converted by Gareth Steenson.
Moseley, showing greater cohesion than in recent weeks came back quickly and
forced a position deep in Pirates' territory from where captain Neil Mason
was driven over, Greg Macdonald converted to level the scores.
The game now was see-sawing between Moseley's forward control and Pirates
attempts to play a wider game, so it was somewhat incongruous that their
second try in 20 minutes was from a driven maul with replacement Iva
Motusaga, a Samoan international, getting the touch down.
With Steenson missing the conversion and the game still finely balanced
Moseley began to kick on their ex-team-mate Ollie Thomas who was playing at
full back. Despite one or two moments of confusion at the back, desperate
defence by the Pirates back row, in which open side Cracknell (later awarded
man of the match) was outstanding, foiled Moseley's attempts to score.
Then on 74 minutes a series of short Pirates attacks gave them a penalty
kicked from in front of the posts by Steenson. This galvanised Moseley into
attempts to gain a losing bonus point, which was not to be, and the game
ended as it started with Moseley on the attack. A last ditch clearance by
Pirates foiled Moseley's final thrusts at the full-time whistle.
Despite the defeat Moseley can take great heart from this performance.
Playing against one of the more expensive, full time professional sides in
National One they competed on equal terms, they showed they have a good pack
of forwards who have maybe underachieved in the first half of the season and
have a back line which is capable of making and finishing chances.
Head coach Ian Smith spoke of his pride in the team: "We battled hard today
and deserved to get something from the match.
"We can take this performance forward to the next month when we have a
series of important games.
"I know that our players have gained greater belief in themselves today and
although we have things to work on, we can look forward to the future with a
positive, confident frame of mind."