A View From The Terraces: Cornish Pirates
Blackthorn Pete expects a tight encounter at the Mennaye
It’s finally time to embark upon the knockout stages of this year’s RFU Championship as we travel to Penzance to take on Cornish Pirates.
As I mentioned last week, I’m still of the opinion that the final outcome is too close to call and there is something of a lottery factor about the competition. Unlike in previous seasons, the semi-finals will be played over two legs so perhaps overall the probability of an “upset” is slightly reduced.
So, how might the first leg go? Well, the form book perhaps suggests that Pirates go into the match as slight favourites. The hosts have lost only once at the Mennaye Field this season, succumbing to a rampant Bedford Blues way back in October.
The Cornishmen are led by the hugely experienced and talismanic captain Gavin Cattle who, incidentally, is to be an Olympic Torch Bearer. Their game is built upon the strength of a formidable pack. As well as having a mean defence, the Pirates have been impressive going forward, scoring 92 tries, with full back Rob Cook amassing a prolific 257 points so far this season.
But we know how to beat Pirates and the 37-33 victory back in November is one of my season highlights. But, even in that game, Pirates appeared to have the upper hand for long periods, and it was only a superb defensive effort from the Bristol team which paved the way for a valuable result.
Nevertheless, we finished the regular season top of the pile and have come through the group stages unbeaten, outperforming every other side in the competition. Liam Middleton has prepared the squad well for the semi-final challenge and they will be in no mood to come away with anything less than a win.
I am sure that every member of the Sixteenth man have been training hard too and the Bristol Chant will be echoing around the Mennaye field on Monday.
If you can’t make the trip to Cornwall you can catch the game on Sky and remember the early 12:05 kick-off time. The whole city has been getting behind the boys and we are ready to urge them on as we reach the back end of the campaign.
We’re all behind you boys; you are good enough to win the day. Let’s do it in Bristol Fashion.
All together now; C’MON BRIIIIS!