ANDY GOODE bagged 16 points to put Worcester Warriors in pole position for a return to the Aviva Premiership, as they won the first leg of the RFU Championship play-off 21-12.
The former England fly-half grabbed a first-half try and kicked three penalties and a conversion as Warriors left the Mennaye Field with a nine-point lead going into next Wednesday’s RFU Championship final second leg at Sixways.
“We’ll take nine points back home with us but it could have been more,” said Goode. “In first half we were in complete control but in the second they threw everything at us and chucked the ball around with nothing to lose. We gave too many penalties away, which only gave us a nine-point cushion when it could have been 12 or 15.”
For Pirates wing Rhodri McAtee it was a frustrating night but he added: “We can still do it. Nine points is not a big deficit at all. We are disappointed not to have scored any tries but they defended well.”
The Warriors got on the score-sheet in the sixth minute after being camped in the Pirates ‘22. They beat a forwards’ march to the line before bringing centre Dale Rasmussen into play and wing Miles Benjamin proved why he is Warriors’ top try scorer by stepping out of McAtee’s tackle and over the line.
The livewire wing put the disappointment behind him to lead the Pirates fightback with a chip and gather but it came to nothing.
Goode put Worcester 8-0 up before Rob Cook pulled back three points but it was small respite.
The Warriors’ forwards had the upper hand in a series of reset scrums on the Pirates’ line and with such a dominant platform, scrum-half Jonny Arr fed Goode, who skipped out of Gavin Cattle’s reach for the try which he converted.
Cook landed his second penalty but then Pirates infringed straight away and Goode slotted another kick for an 18-6 halftime lead.
He missed a chance to put the Warriors safe but hooked it wide and Cook did no better with a chance of his own.
Goode rediscovered his radar to extend the lead before Cook pulled back two more penalties, one when Neil Best was sinbinned.
Cornish Pirates: R Cook; R McAtee, M Hopper, T Luke (D Locke 54), W Davies (R Elloway 63); J Bentley, G Cattle (capt); P Andrew (R Storer 63). D Ward (T Holmes 75), A Paver (C Rimmer 69), I Nimmo, M Myerscough, C Morgan, P Burgess, L McGlone (K Marriott 69). Rep not used:J Doherty.
Scorers: Pens– Cook (4).
Worcester Warriors:C Pennell (capt); M Garvey, A Crockett (A Grove 57), D Rasmussen, M Benjamin; A Goode (J Carlisle 75), J Arr; A Black, C Fortey (A Lutui 54), T Taumoepeau (B Douglas 61), G Rawlinson (G Kitchener 61), C Gillies, N Best (A Balding 69), J Abbott, K Horstmann. Rep not used: O Frost.
Yellow card: Best 58-68
Scorers: Tries – Benjamin, Goode; Pens – Goode (3); Con – Goode
Referee: Martin Fox (RFU)