Hartpury suffered their worst defeat in recent memory at the hands of a ruthlessly efficient Pirates team, who will now progress to the knock-out stage of the final B&I Cup competition.
Although Hartpury’s Cup chances had already gone, the club were keen to build on some encouraging recent performances before returning to Championship action next week. The team was, however, much-changed after last Sunday’s narrow defeat at Yorkshire Carnegie.
The fixture had been switched to the Gillman’s Ground at the eleventh hour, when it became apparent that The Mennaye, Pirates’ homely ground in Penzance, would be unfit for play for the second time in a fortnight.
If that decision had upset the Pirates’ players at all, they took their revenge in the best possible way by outplaying their hosts for almost the whole of this match. This was particularly true in the second half, when they had things completely their own way against a second-rate Hartpury effort.
Returning former student, Alex O’Meara, could have had a couple of tries before finally crossing, untouched, in the 19th minute. Impressive scrum-half, Alex Day, added a second before the break after Alex Cheeseman had initially punched through some non-existent Hartpury fringe defence.
The home side did enjoy some periods of possession in the half – there were barely any after the break – but basic errors generally prevented any sustained pressure.
10-0 down at the interval was hardly an irretrievable situation for Hartpury, who had come from behind to record an impressive win against Scarlets in the previous round, but it was not to be on this occasion as the Pirates took total control.
If Hartpury were average in the first half they were, frankly, poor in the second. Shape and discipline were lost and the visitors took full advantage.
Day, again, and Number 8, Tom Duncan, quickly made sure of the much-needed Pirates’ bonus point and put the game beyond Hartpury’s reach by the 53rd minute.
Game won, Pirates did not let up and there was more misery for the sparse home crowd before the end.
Nic Coronel finished an attack down the left wing on the hour, before a searing, virtually unchallenged, break from the base of a scum by replacement half-back Mike Pope created the field position from which Tom Cowan-Dickie eventually scored.
Tom Duncan’s second, in the closing minutes, was the final torment for Hartpury, and Pirates would have passed the 50-point mark had they kicked more of their conversions.
Pirates can now look forward to a B&I quarter final with Ealing Trailfinders. Hartpury, no doubt closer to full-strength, will be hopeful of something much better when Nottingham Rugby visit in the Championship next Saturday (2.30pm).
Hartpury: Coulson, Perkins, Boulton, Eves, Sheldon, Williams, Fenley; Flook, Tanner, Harden, So’oialo-Chan, Quinn, Edwards, Oakley, Dyer. Bench: Crane, Murphy, Heard, Everard, Everitt, Cochrane, Perry.
Cornish Pirates: Moyle, O’Meara (Try 19), Koster, De Battista, Coronel (Try 59), Cargill (Cons 48, 60), Day (Tries 30, 53); Andrew, Matavesi, Judge, Morgan, Caulfield, Lee, Cheeseman, Duncan (Tries47, 77). Bench: Keast, Cowan-Dickie (Try 71), Stevens, May (Con 72), Pope, Evans.
Referee Aled Evans