Wedlake try at the death steals points for Pirates
HARTPURY were agonisingly close to picking up a much-needed result but a last minute Robin Wedlake try sealed the win for the Cornishmen.
However, this was a hugely improved Hartpury performance and a draw, as seemed likely with the score at 29-29 with seconds to play, would have been deserved.
Pirates coach Gavin Cattle said: “It wasn’t a stand out performance from us, but it was pleasing to be able to execute under pressure, in the final seconds of the game.”
Opposite number Mark Cornwall lamented: “It was a frustrating last 30 seconds but overall we were much better this week, with the boys putting in a courageous second half.”
Both sides made changes from last week’s encounter, with Pirates rotating their squad, and Hartpury with a number of experienced players returning from injury.
Pirates were quickly into their stride as James McRae punished some slack defence by grabbing the opening try in the fourth minute, converted by Javier Rojas Alvarez.
But Hartpury were fired up, and the scores were level six minutes later when Luke Eves battered his way over to score on his return to the team. Luke Scully added the extras.
Penalties were coming thick and fast as both sides earned the disapproval of referee Matt Turvey and, from one of them, Scully nudged Hartpury in front.
Alvarez restored the Pirates advantage with a well-taken try which he converted himself.
But the hosts hit back again and it was another powerful finish, from hooker Luke Stratford, which took Hartpury into a 17-14 lead after Scully’s conversion.
The closing few minutes of the half were to prove costly for Hartpury. Scully was too ambitious with his penalty to touch and kicked the ball dead.
Good play from the scrum saw centre Dan Koster score for Pirates and he was in again on the stroke of half time, after Hartpury had been loose in midfield.
Hartpury dominated for large stretches after the interval and, despite a yellow card to Harden, had the better of the scoring with winger Elias Caven rounding off a good attack in the 51st minute and Will Tanner finishing strong lineout drive with five minutes remaining. That brought to scores level, before Pirates late winner.