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Nottingham 14 vs Cornish Pirates 16 - Match Report

Nottingham missed a good opportunity to consolidate their place in the top four of the Championship table, spurning several scoring chances against a Cornish Pirates side looking low on confidence.

Pirates Match Report

 

Basic errors cost them dearly and Pirates took full advantage as Keiran Hallet slotted over three first half penalties to give them a nine point advantage at the break.

A better second half performance from Nottingham saw them score tries through Campese Ma'afu and skipper Brent Wilson, only to be hit on the break as Pirates sent in winger Matt Evans for their only try of the game to earn a 14-16 win.

It was certainly an improvement on the performance at Leeds a week earlier, as the Green and Whites won plenty of possession and kept play in the visitors half for long spells, particularly in the second half.

But it was a game that could, and should, have been won.

Early defensive pressure forced Pirates into a mistake as they tried to get out of their own half presenting Tiff Eden with an early penalty opportunity, but his kick fell short.

A lineout steal then set up a threatening attack, with Javiah Pohe making plenty of ground before slipping.

But it was Pirates who got the first points on the board, Hallett slotting over a long-range penalty in the 11th minute and then doubling the lead a couple of minutes later from a similar distance.

Another good break from Pohe took play into the Pirates' 22 before he was brought down.

Pirates threatened down their left wing and it took a fine tackle from Sean Romans to keep them out. But the visitors kept possession and eventually forced another penalty for Hallett to make it 0-9 just before the half hour mark.

Romans almost got over as the Green and Whites finished the first half strongly, but the move did bring a penalty which went to touch. Pirates managed to hold up the inevitable maul but as Nottingham moved the ball wide they created a huge overlap on the right only to knock on when it looked easier to score.

Another penalty came their way though and should have brought another scoring opportunity, but the kick to touch was missed and the sides went in at the break with Pirates hanging on to that 9 point lead.

There was a let off for Nottingham in the early stages of the second half when Hallett missed a decent penalty chance, and when the Green and Whites counter-attacked it took some good defence to keep out Pila Iongi as he supported a pacey break from Liam O'Neil.

Nottingham won a penalty though, only to see Eden miskick. He made amends minutes later though, wrong-footing the defence and almost getting over the line before offloading to Ma'afu for a try under the posts. Eden's conversion brought them back to 7-9.

As Nottingham kept the pressure on though a quick counter-attack from Pirates brought a try for Evans, with Hallett making it 7-16 with the conversion.

A trademark try from Wilson, converted by Rory Lynn, brought them back to 14-16 but despite forcing a couple of half chances they were unable to break through and had to settle for a losing bonus point.