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Pre-match deluge fails to rain on Paver's parade

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

  • LUCKY CHARM: Alan Paver with seven-year-old mascot, Nicole, his partner's daughter, as he takes to the field for his 300th appearance.

  • BEST BOOT FORWARD: Pirates fly half Kieran Hallett kicks a conversion.

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TWO hours before kick-off on Sunday I was worried that we would not get a game on as the rain beat down on the Mennaye and pools of standing water formed.

An hour later I was certain that it would be called off with the weather refusing to relent and the ground staff unable to make a dent in the size of the puddles.

Somehow though the match officials decided to leave it to the two teams to decide and we got underway dead on time in conditions more akin to those found in your average paddy field.

There were financial considerations behind the willingness of the Doncaster party to play with the cost of an aborted trip to the far west of Cornwall destined to hurt them badly.

And the Pirates wanted some game time after a three week lay-off which has rested battered bodies but clearly left them a little rusty.

So with bad weather and a massive televised international in Dublin to contend with it was a shame that the smallest crowd of the season at the Mennaye for a competitive fixture tuned out for Alan Paver's 300th game.

As it happened his was a cameo appearance, leaving the fray after eight minutes with an arm injury. Head coach Ian Davies joked that Paver had just wanted to milk the crowd's applause, but in fairness I think the man himself might have hoped to stay on a little bit longer.

So having been surprised that we actually had a game to watch at all, I was then taken aback by the willingness of both teams to score tries in the glorious mudfest. We saw seven in total and while five came through the tactic of unstoppable driving mauls, both teams did try to run with the ball.

How Wes Davies kept his poise and his footing to set up the final Pirates try I do not know but his agent needs to speak to the producers of Dancing on Ice – he's a shoe-in to win it with that kind of balletic grace and balance.

New signing Ashley Smith, a fast track player with lightning pace, probably thought after 77 minutes that he could delay making his debut for another week but then the dreaded call from the coaches came and he was sent onto the swamp. Nobody was allowed to go home without getting muddy it would appear, but he did look dangerous with the ball in hand wading through the marshland.

The big concern from this valuable bonus point win for the Pirates is that their home pitch is now wrecked for the season.

It has been battered and churned up beyond recognition and making it fit for Sunday's home clash with London Scottish will take a huge amount of hard work, skill, a bit of luck, and no more rain.

More wet stuff this week could leave that game in serious doubt, unless of course we all decamp up the road to the Rec of Camborne or Redruth. It might be worth considering as a Plan B.

– Dick Straughan

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