Coach Cattle lauds Pirates’ dominant display

Coach Cattle lauds Pirates’ dominant display

Dan Frost scores one of his three tries on Saturday; inset, Pirates joint-head coach Gavin Cattle. Pictures: Brian Tempest.

19th May 2021

By Gareth Davies

Joint-head coach Gavin Cattle praised the Cornish Pirates’ forward display as they romped to an eight-try victory over Hartpury on Saturday.

The 52-26 triumph was as good as wrapped up by half-time with Cattle’s side leading 40-5, despite shipping the first try after just two minutes when visiting winger Ben Foley jinked his way over. In the build-up to Foley’s try, Tom Cowan-Dickie picked up a knock and was replaced by Dan Frost with the replacement hooker going onto play a leading role in the Pirates’ biggest win of the shortened campaign to date.

The Hartpury lead was soon wiped out by a penalty-try before Alex O’Meara’s intercept score put the hosts in control. Frost and skipper Tom Duncan both scored twice in a dominant first half to secure the bonus point, with both players duly completing their hat-tricks in a quieter second 40 compared to the first.

With 20 minutes to go and Hartpury’s Ciaran Knight sent to the sin-bin, the home side were expected to run riot, but an avalanche of late points never arrived and it was indeed the visitors who finished strongest and scored twice more themselves through impressive fly-half Joshua Bragman and James Williams.

“To get over 50 points is pleasing, and a lot of credit goes to our boys up front for that,” Cattle told the Voice at full-time. “We definitely had the upper-hand in the pack and to be 40-5 up at half time shows our dominance from the scrum and driving maul. I’m really pleased with the forwards because they grafted hard, and they had a bit of a fractious start with the line-out accuracy and they certainly gathered momentum as the game went on.

“After half-time, they changed their approach a little bit by throwing the kitchen sink at us. However, the one learning point for us is that we scored a lot of points by driving the ball over, but then we moved away from the line-out. We tried to vary the picture a little bit although you should never get bored of scoring tries from something that works.”

Although the Pirates’ win was fully deserved, Cattle felt that his side being slow out of the blocks was partly down to playing yet another game behind closed doors, with the Bridgend-born man praising the spirit his side showed in recovering from going behind.

He added: “We were flat at the start and I could tell that from the warm-up because trying to create your own energy without a crowd is taking its toll. I’m not saying that the boys don’t get up for it by pulling on the jersey, the natural energy you get from a crowd, now the season is in full swing, is missed here at the Mennaye a little bit. I thought we did get our spark back after they scored first with reaction and character the main thing – something we talked about continuing after the Coventry match.”

Cattle will be hoping that his side can continue their strong end to the campaign when they travel to Jersey Reds for their season finale on Saturday, May 29. Despite a week’s break, he says his players will be determined to go out on a high, with some set to move on to pastures new for next term.

“Ideally you get some momentum by playing week in and week out, but for our current squad, it will be the last time they all play together as a group,” he revealed.

“Like every season, there will be some players that depart, and they will go into the Jersey game looking to finish on a high.”