Bedford Blues 32, Cornish Pirates 6
THE Cornish Pirates slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season as they surrendered their five game unbeaten run on a chilly night at second-placed Bedford Blues.
In a poor display against a Blues side who, on this form, are play-off certainties, the Pirates barely threatened in the first half and after a brief spell at the start of the second half when they worried the home team, ended the game firmly on the back foot.
There were no excuses from Pirates assistant coach Harvey Biljon, who was visibly angered by the error-strewn display from his team.
"That was a pretty comprehensive display from Bedford," he admitted. "In the first half we didn't get any ball and probably only had possession for four or five minutes.
"When we did have it we weren't very accurate with the ball going to ground and I'm pretty disappointed with the inaccurate kicking, where we just gave up cheap territory. They were all errors we have not been making."
He added: "In the second half with the introduction of Kieran Hallett we got ourselves back in the game, put on pressure, began to build phases, and then silly errors let Bedford hurt us again.
"The penalties we gave away frustrate me and we needed to combat what they were doing from set piece."
The Pirates were on the back foot from the off as Aaron Penberthy kicked off and put the ball into touch on the full. It was to be an unhappy evening for the young fly-half as he missed three first half penalties before being withdrawn with a worrying injury to his pubic bone.
Bedford for their part feasted on the glut of possession and opportunities to score points with four Jake Sharp penalties before the break. Wing Josh Bassett should have been awarded a try as both referee and touch judge failed to see that he had clearly grounded the ball, and Paul Tupai was held up over the line as the back row piled forward.
The Blues also coped easily with the sin-binning of Mark Atkinson after a cynical block on Phil Burgess as the Pirates flanker threatened to cut free in his team's only real open-field attack of the half.
A decent start to the second half from the Pirates and two Hallett penalties clearly worried the Blues as their lead was cut back to 12-6, but the initiative was lost and Bedford again took control.
Hooker Neil Cochrane scored the first try on 66 minutes before two more Sharp penalties and an injury time converted try from Brendan Burke put the gloss on a good night for the home side. Biljon added: "We needed to get territory and get the ball. We didn't get either of those. When we did get it we just seemed to break down. The message at half time was to get the ball, keep it and build phases but we just didn't do that."
"Everything was spot on in the build up to the game and we had the right script. Now we have to make sure we find out what went wrong. The Nottingham game on Sunday is now even more important."