Bristol Suffer Mennaye Field Defeat
Cornish Pirates 32 - 17 Bristol Rugby
Bristol Rugby’s miserable run at Mennaye Field continued as Cornish Pirates ran out 32-17 winners on New Year’s Day.
Liam Middleton’s men – who lost Jason Hobson to the sin-bin – trailed 18-3 at the half time break and, despite scores from Kyle Traynor and Marco Mama, fell to their first defeat in seven games.
Pirates had a chance to break the deadlock inside the opening minute, but Kieran Hallett saw his effort sail wide of the upright.
The former Plymouth fly-half made amends soon after, landing a long-range strike to move the hosts into a 3-0 lead.
Pirates stretched their advantage when Phil Burgess outpaced the Bristol defence to collect a kick-through and dab down for a converted try under the posts.
In a scrappy first half, Liam Middleton’s side struggled to find any flow to their game and fell further behind when Hallett converted a drop-goal to cap a spell of pressure from the home side.
Indicative of Bristol’s afternoon, having squandered a gilt-edged opportunity on the Pirates try-line, the visitors allowed Kieran Hallett to waltz over from close range to put his side 18-0 up.
Adrian Jarvis gave Bristol a glimmer of hope on the stroke of half-time with an angled three-pointer as the sides turned around at 18-3.
Bristol enjoyed the greater territory after the break, but stubborn defence from Pirates kept Alafoti Faosiliva and Jon Goodridge at bay.
Bristol eventually reduced the deficit on the hour-mark, courtesy of Kyle Traynor’s touchdown. The prop took advantage of David McIlwaine’s fine break to cross the whitewash. Jarvis slotted the extras as Bristol fought back to 18-10.
But hopes of a comeback were dashed soon after, when former Bristol centre Ben Mercer stretched over in the corner for a converted try. Trailing by fifteen points, the visitors lost Jason Hobson to the sin-bin after an off-the-ball altercation.
Marco Mama ensured a nervy finale when the flanker collected Mitch Eadie’s offload to coast in under the posts for a converted try.
With the last play of the game, Pirates sealed the bonus point with their fourth try, as Tom Riley weaved his way in to confirm the victory.
Wes Davies; Tom Bedford, Tom Riley, Junior Fatialofa, Ben Mercer; Kieran Hallett, Gavin Cattle (c); Ben Prescott, Rob Elloway, Alan Paver, Darren Barry, David Lyons, Laurie McGlone, Phil Burgess, Kyle Marriott.
Replacements: Ryan Storer (for Ben Prescott, 52 mins), Darren Semmens, Peter Joyce, Gary Johnson (for Darren Barry, 47 mins), Ben Maidment (for Kyle Marriott, 47 mins), Tom Kessell (for Gavin Cattle, 77 mins), Sam Hill (for Junior Fatialofa, 65 mins).
Jon Goodridge; Jack Tovey, Luke Eves, Jack Gadd, David McIlwaine; Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna (c); Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Jason Hobson, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Alafoti Faosiliva, Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie.
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence (for Ross Johnston, 72 mins), Bruce Douglas (for Jason Hobson, 66 mins), Ben Glynn (for Mariano Sambucetti, 60 mins), Marco Mama (for Alafoti Faosiliva, 60 mins), James Grindal (for Ruki Tipuna, 71 mins), Tristan Roberts (for Adrian Jarvis, 77 mins), Fautua Otto (for Jack Gadd, 62 mins).
Referee: Steve Lee