West Cornwall Spectacle

23 February 2024

19:30 @ Cornish Pirates

Senior Men XV


Cornish Pirates

On a cold and damp Friday evening under lights the Royal Navy were looking to steady the ship. A big squad was selected to ensure the management gave the players an opportunity to impress, whether it be for a half, 30 or even 20 minutes, they demanded concentration and a desire to play.

The Cornish Pirates were sitting 4th in the Championship table and would use this game as a continuation since the announcement that Jersey Reds were no more. They gave the game the attention it demanded but also drew on the local players to give them the stage to entertain and play the brand/ professional style of the rugby the Pirates demand.

The crowds arrived, the vibes were felt, new and old shipmates came to support and cheer on their teams, the total attendance was 1725 a fantastic number ready with a pasty and drink. Referee Tom Foley and his team, whistle in hand, allowed the game to begin.

Pirates kicked off from right to left, deep into the Navy 22 who clear to touch. The Pirates took a clean line-out on the halfway, with the ball zipped into midfield. The centre partnership combined with a little slip pass and Pirates centre Tom Georgiou raced under the posts with Bruce Houston converting 7 - 0 with less than a minute on the clock!

Pirates remained in control; their speed at the ruck and ball presentation allowed a fast pace, moving the Navy defence from left to right over multiple phases, getting over the game line. The Navy scrabbled and soaked it up. Their defence was crisp, they worked hard in not over committing with Kye Beasley, captain for the evening, leading from the front, quite literally putting is body on the line. The Navy frustrated the Pirates, but they kept their composure and on the 20th minute Tom Pittman danced his way through the Navy centre partnership of Jesse Lowe and Kristan Dobson, to off load to supporting Bruce Houston who converted his own try 14 - 0.

The Navy started to get a toehold in the game, slowing down the Pirates attack by competing at the ruck. Some long clearance kicks from Craig Duncan allowed a little respite and a chance to reset and form a strong defence line. The Pirates were sharp- with number 10 Bruce Houston pulling the strings, setting the attack, looking for gaps, he attacked well and on the 33rd min another great supporting run from Pirates captain John Stevens extended the score 21 - 0 with Houston converting.

The Navy dug in deep to stop the game running away from them, Chris Mills at 8 carried hard and his fellow back rowers George Wagstaff and Lewis Roxby were all over the field, winger Kane Teear-Bourge was looking for work coming off his wing. At the end of the half the Pirates thought they had scored under the posts, but Tom Foley penalised them for going off their feet and the half ended 21 - 0 to the Cornishmen.

Pirates started the better; they got stuck into the Navy at scrum time, but the Navy kept them inline making sure they did not concede a penalty. 5 minutes into the half, again running fast and hard and supporting the ball carrier, Pirates’ Tom Georgiou sliced through the Navy defence to score, with Houston converting: 28 - 0.

From the restart the Navy were again on the back foot, the pirates pinning them down in their own half. What ball they did get they couldn’t make much of an impact with. Using his full repertoire, Houston looked up and placed well placed kick to the corner for Robin Wedlake to catch and go over, 33 - 0.

An influx of changes followed from both sides. The game was equally as good as the first half. Freddy Elliot from full back, Jamin Hoffman in the centre and Jack Ryder on the wing carried well and poked and prodded the Pirates’ defence.

The game was enjoyable and entertaining, players making their mark and stepping forward for IS contention. Against a very solid Pirates team the Navy should be proud of their momentum and brand of rugby they play.

The Navy Rugby Senior Men’s next fixture is against Cornwall RFC on Wednesday 28th Feb at St Austell RFC.

Senior Men: K Beasley (C), R Williams, D Cleverley; D Mcadams, M Scott; G Wagstaff, L Roxby, C Mills; W Rigelsford, J Gott, B Chambers, J Lowe, K Dobson, K Teear-Bourge, C Duncan.

Replacements: H Wright, J Wright, T Lindsay, AJ Hussell, L Sutton, B Mallett, T Mullen, J Toogood, R Brink, J Hoffman, A King, M Hall, F Elliot, J Ryder, H Hayes.

Words by Guy Pallet

Images by Callum Sanders