By Richard Grainger
On the day that will be long remembered in the Emerald Isle as the day Ireland so nearly beat the All Blacks, Bristol were left to reflect upon how so nearly beating the Cornish Pirates may yet condemn them to another season of Championship rugby.
Pirates’ pressure pays off
Cornish Pirates 21, Bristol 15
The Pirates recovered from last gasp defeat in St Peter to inflict what Bristol director of rugby Andy Robinson referred to as a “kick in the teeth” by completing the double on their Westcountry neighbours.
The Cornishmen, who defeated Bristol at Exeter on the opening day of the season, were victorious courtesy of a brace of opportunist tries from Kieran Goss and a try from Tom Kessell.
Bristol, who have not won in Cornwall since 2004, held a narrow lead thanks to a Nicky Robinson penalty and tries from Ross Johnston and Luke Eves either side of half time, until Goss scarpered over for his second in the final quarter.
And despite being camped on the Pirates’ line for the last ten minutes the visitors had to settle for a losing bonus point.
“We gifted Pirates three tries on Sunday and – credit to them – they took them well,” said Bristol’s director of rugby. “It’s a kick in the teeth because we had so many opportunities but we didn’t finish them.”
Mose deny Exiles bonus point
Moseley 8, London Welsh 24
The Exiles’ trip to Birmingham on Saturday was a potential banana-skin for the side looking most likely to head back to the Aviva Premiership, as we approach the halfway mark.
However, despite being in touch at 8-14 at the interval, thanks to a penalty from Caolan Ryan and a Rhys Buckley try, the Midlanders faded in the second period as Seb Stegmann scored his second try to add to Carl Kirwan’s first half effort.
But the resolute defence of the Billesley Common part-timers denied Welsh a bonus point.
Bedford get the better of substandard Plymouth
Plymouth Albion 16, Bedford 27
It looked like another case of the away-day blues for Bedford when Tom Bowen pounced on a loose pass to score for Plymouth Albion; Declan Cusack converted to add to his brace of penalties for the hosts to take a 13-3 lead into the interval.
But Mike Le Bourgeois was on song with the boot to slot three penalties and convert all of the Blues’ second-half tries scored by James Short, Mark Atkinson and Pat Tapley.
13-man Rotherham re-enact the Great Escape
Rotherham 17, Nottingham 11
Two contributing factors enabled Rotherham to notch their sixth GKIPA win of the season: heroic defence when reduced to 13 after prop Marshall Gadd trudged to the bin in the shadow of Australian fly-half Dallan Murphy, and six kicks at goal that went west.
Matthew Jarvis missed four penalties and a conversion for the visitors while Rori Lynn missed a penalty.
Rotherham had a try from Sean Scanlon and four penalties from the division’s points scorer, Juan Pablo Socini to thank for a win they didn’t really merit, and will have to concede fewer than 17 penalties if they want to remain in the hunt for the title.
Leeds leave it late to sink Islanders
Leeds Carnegie 29, Jersey 13
Two injury-time scores denied Jersey any hope of a bonus point at Headingley on Sunday. The Islanders went into the break only two points adrift at 10-12 following Drew Locke’s late first-half try and a Niall O’Connor penalty.
David Doherty and Jacob Rowan had touched down for the hosts before Glyn Hughes slotted three further penalties to stretch Carnegie’s lead.
Replacement Alex Lozowski made a late impact for Leeds, slotting a penalty and then launching a cross-kick from which Josh Griffin scored.
Scottish leapfrog Leeds into top four
Ealing Trailfinders 10, London Scottish 36
There was the same sense of inevitability at Vallis Way in Ealing on Sunday as there was at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, as the Trailfinders crashed to their ninth GK IPA Championship defeat.
The Exiles, who look likely candidates for a play-off berth, scored five tries to Ealing’s one and replace Leeds in the top four by virtue of their try bonus point.