The weather in Coventry certainly delivered on a much-awaited return to Butts Park Arena for Alex Rae’s squad and Cov supporters alike. The rugby family was out in full force and as multiple Warriors, Wasps and Tigers shirts were worn with pride around the BPA, adding to the fantastic community feel to the day.
Coventry started strong but went behind early as the powerful Pirates pack built up some pressure before they spun the ball wide to find Everett who went over in the corner. Robson missed the conversion, but the early warning shot had been fired by the Cornish. (0-5)
Coventry’s response came soon after and was initiated by a beautiful 50:22 from Pat Pellegrini. With good field position, Cov almost mirrored the opponents’ score as they worked through the forwards before Pellegrini floated a lovely pass over the on-rushing defence to feed Shea Cornish to happily score against his namesake side. (7-5)
Cov’s next try came just minutes later, and this one was all about the pack. Having won a penalty in midfield, Brown kicked his side deep in to Pirates territory. James Tyas secured the lineout ball before Senitiki Nayalo crashed over to extend Coventry’s lead before Pellegrini did the same with his second conversion of the day. (14-5)
Cornish Pirates are a top team and were not about to give up early or be intimidated by the 2,552 supporters inside the BPA as they began to create more and more opportunities. Cov got away with one as Pirates virtually dropped the ball over the line, but the visitors made immediate amends as their winger went straight over from the following goal-line restart. Robson added the extras and things were looking tight! (14-12)
On the 25-minute mark the 2,500+ crowd erupted as straight from the scrum, Cov whipped the ball wide and after a superb offload from Louis Brown, Will Talbot-Davies went over in the corner. Pellegrini’s conversion strayed wide, but the score was certainly the moment of the half for the hosts.
Cov managed to withstand plenty of Cornish pressure to keep the score at 19-12 as both sides ran in to the sheds for a half-time break.
Coventry began the second half in the manner in which they needed to if they were going to pull off a victory against one of the league’s strongest teams. James Tyas locked himself over the ball to win the turnover, before Will Talbot-Davies stepped up to send the ball through the sticks from distance. (22-12)
Cov weren’t letting their feet off the metaphorical pedal as some nice handling between the backline produced the opportunity for Shea Cornish to dot down for his second of the afternoon in the 47th minute – Pellegrini added the extra two points. (29-12)
Things rested in a stalemate for the next 15 minutes or so as both sides tested each other’s defence and ariel ability, before Pirates made things very interesting in the 67th minute as Max Norey went over after some patient build up from the forwards – the conversion was successful and Cov’s lead was reduced to 10 points. (29-19)
Thankfully (from a Coventry perspective), Alex Rae’s men demonstrated a masterclass in game management in the final 10 minutes, playing the majority of the game in Pirates territory. With a minute or so left to play, the opposition were caught offside, as Toby Trinder pointed to the posts. Pat Pellegrini happily converted the penalty to 3 points which meant that Cov were victorious 32-19.
Thank you to everyone that visited the BPA yesterday, and we look forward to welcoming you back in 3 weeks when we face London Scottish in our first Championship Cup outing of the season.