Nottingham Rugby sealed back to back wins for the first time this year after winning 20-18 against Cornish Pirates at The Bay on Friday night.
Cornish Pirates started the game in a similar vein to their loss to Ealing Trailfinders last week, scoring early in the match and giving the Green and Whites a difficult time in the opening stages.
The away side won a penalty after a tackle in the air from David Williams. They kicked to the corner for a line out and their driving maul proved to be too much for the home side, who conceded a try after 2 minutes. The conversion was unsuccessful and Nottingham looked to find their way in to the match.
Nottingham then had a penalty of their own, kicking to Pirates’ corner looking to put pressure on the away side. Their resulting driving maul was not as rewarding as Pirates’ but they were given a penalty right in front of the posts.
A relatively simple kick for Shane O’Leary was slotted away to bring the score to 3-5.
Nottingham then found a foothold in the game, running through the phases and winning a series of penalties to put themselves in a commanding position deep in Cornish territory.
The Green and White pressure paid off with a try from Murray McConnell in the left corner after a series of phases in the Cornish 22. O’Leary’s conversion narrowly missed the posts as Nottingham took the lead.
Pirates then saw plenty of the ball but struggled to find momentum in Nottingham’s half.
A fantastic break from Sean Scanlon, who ran 50 metres to nearly score an incredible try, was halted by a knock on in Pirates’ 22.
Cornish then kicked on to win a penalty inside the Nottingham 22. Cargill found the posts and the scores were level at 8-8 with 15 minutes to play in the first half.
David Williams then scored his sixth try in six matches following a quick break from Nottingham. A kick straight out on the full gave Nottingham a line out on Pirates’ 22 and their quick hands found Williams on the wing who finished a fine attacking move. O’Leary missed the conversion.
Scanlon, not deterred by the previously failed 50 metre run in, then scored a 60 metre try that will undoubtedly be in contention for try of the season. Darting through the Cornish defence, he showed incredible pace to run in from his own half. O’Leary converted and Nottingham established a 20-8 lead with 5 minutes to play in the first half.
But the Pirates brought the pressure. Running through phase after phase in Nottingham’s 22, they scored a try in the last play of the half, the conversion was good and the half ended 20-15.
The second half began just like the first with Pirates dominating the opening minutes, winning a penalty right under the posts. Cargill went for the penalty and slotted it away for a straightforward three points.
The Green and Whites struggled to find a foothold in the second half as Pirates continued to cause trouble.
Nottingham withheld the proceeding Pirates’ storm with strong defensive play but were unable to find their rhythm.
Pirates then had an opportunity to take the lead, going for the posts from around 45 metres. The line was good but it didn’t quite have the legs.
A low-scoring, scrappy second half ended with a Nottingham penalty. Shane O’Leary tap and kicked the ball to touch to end the game.
Next up, Nottingham Rugby host Richmond on Sunday 24 March.