Cornish Pirates v Bedford Blues

Sunday, 12 October, 2014 - 15:00
1st XV Cup
Won 28-34


The following Organising Committee decision relates to the Round 1 British & Irish Cup fixture between Cornish Pirates and Bedford Blues on Sunday October 12.

Both teams started the match with five 'suitably trained and experienced' front-row players. During the match Pirates had provided such replacements to cover their injured players on the first occasion for both their hooker and prop.
In the 72nd minute, the match went to uncontested scrums as Pirates were not able to provide a further suitably trained and experienced front-row replacement to cover the injured prop Tyler Gendall. At this time, in accordance with Regulation 9.4, Cornish Pirates should have continued with fourteen men on the pitch.
However, Pirates replaced Gendall with fly-half Bertie Hokpin and continued to play with fifteen men.
The score at the time of the match going to uncontested scrums was 34-28 to Bedford.
Pirate's replacement Hopkin scored a try in the 78th minute which was converted to bring the final score to 35-34 to Pirates.
The Panel was of the view that Pirates had breached Regulation 9.4 by replacing the player whose departure caused the uncontested scrums and thereby having fifteen players on the field of play when they should have had only fourteen men. The sequence of events and the Regulations meant that Pirates should have played with fourteen men for the period of time from when the match went to uncontested scrums.
Whilst the Panel accepted that the Match Officials should have noted the extra man on the pitch, or did not realise Pirates should have only had fourteen men present, this does not change the fact that Pirates are ultimately responsible for compliance with Regulations and for the breach of those Regulations. This approach is entirely consistent with other decisions such as in the Bristol vs. Bedford case (23 October 2013) in the 2013/14 Greene King IPA Championship.

The Panel considered the sanctions available to them as set out in Regulation 9.5 and took into account previous cases involving similar breaches.  The Panel concluded that Pirates were in breach of Regulation 9.4 of the British & Irish Cup, and agreed that the appropriate sanction would be to discount the match points scored by Pirates (7) whilst in breach of said Regulation and therefore the result of the match will be recorded as 34-28 to Bedford with the competition points allocated accordingly.  

Cornish Pirates have 48 hours to appeal the decision and it is understood that they will be seeking legal advice accordingly.


Bedford suffered late heartbreak in their opening British & Irish Cup match as a last gasp conversion by former Blue Kieran Hallett saw Cornish Pirates edge a thrilling contest, 35-34.

Mike Rayer's men travelled to Penzance on the back of two Championship victories and must surely have thought they had extended their winning run when Steffan Jones crossed for his second try which put them into the lead after 73 minutes.

They couldn't hold out though and had to make do with both a try and losing bonus point at The Mennaye after Jim Wigglesworth, Pat Tapley, Villiami Hakalo and Dean Adamson had also crossed the whitewash for the visitors.

There was a lot of energy spent by both sides without reward in the opening minutes. A Bedford line-out, stolen by lock Will Carrick-Smith, was probably the highlight for the hosts, with the Blues enjoying more possession and territory early on.

Wing Tapley came close to scoring with a run to the try line, but strayed into touch. Instead, the first score that counted was touched down by a Pirate, as Kieran Goss intercepted a pass deep in his own 22 and sprinted the length of the pitch for his side’s first points. Hallett added the conversion.

It didn’t take long for Bedford to level the scores. Full-back Wigglesworth, who was powerless to prevent Goss moments earlier, broke some weak Pirates tackling to touch down to the left of the posts and then fly-half Jones struck a confident conversion.

At the midpoint of the first half, Pirates took the lead again with arguably their first sustained pressure in the opposition’s 22. An excellent scrum set the platform and Hallett opted to take the points from a penalty kick when Bedford infringed.

But whatever their occasional deficiencies at the set-piece, Bedford made up for with the potency of their attack. Wigglesworth was again involved in another break and a try-scoring finish eventually came from Tapley as the two combined once again in devastating fashion, speeding towards the right corner flag for a try, successfully converted by Jones, giving his side a four-point lead.

That advantage was soon reduced to a single point when another strong scrum from Pirates gave Hallett a chance to kick for goal from distance.

Pirates’ route to victory seemed clear when their pack demonstrated their superiority once more with a catch-and-drive for try number two. Alex Cheesman got the score as his side rumbled to the line with very little resistance.

A scrappy start to the second half preceded a classy long-range penalty from Hallett to extend Pirates’ lead, but Bedford were soon back to within two points of their hosts when debutant centre Hakalo took a pass at pace and pierced though the home defence for an unconverted try.

Hallett missed the chance for a fourth penalty just short of the hour mark and his opposite number Jones took full advantage in the 63rd minute to give his side the lead.

However, it was a momentary setback for the Pirates who regained the initiative once more through Cheesman just moments after Blues’ forward Harry Wells had been sent to the sin bin. Hallett then added the conversion.

Being down to 14 men was no barrier to a Bedford fightback and Pirates only remained ahead thanks to a rare missed conversion following Adamson’s try – the Blues’ fourth – with ten minutes remaining.

Even that was only temporary in an end-to-end finale as Jones scored a superb individual try to mark the score of the day in a wonderful solo effort short of the 75th minute and added the conversion.

With just a minute left, replacement Bertie Hopkin scored the final try of the game to bring Pirates back within a point and Hallett kicked a nerveless conversion to edge his side a single point ahead, enough to ensure a thrilling win.

Cornish Pirates 
15 Craig Holland (22 Laurence May 49)  14 Kieran Goss  13 Alex Dancer  12  Rheon James  11 Luke Jones  10 Kieran Hallett  9 Tom Kessell  8 Todd Lowry (18 Jake Parker 14)  7 Alex Cheesman  6 Chris Morgan (capt)  5 Will Carrick-Smith (19 Joe Atkinson 69)  4 Will Graulich (16 Aaron Carpenter 71)  3 Tyler Gendall (20 Bertie Hopkin 71)  2 Tom Channon  1 Jamal Ford-Robinson (17 Jack Andrew 62)

Tries: Goss (10), Cheeseman (39,67), Hopkin (79)
Cons: Hallett (10,67,79)
Pens: Hallett (19,28,49)

Bedford Blues
15 Jim Wigglesworth (22 Ollie Dodge 68)  14 Pat Tapley  13 Michael Le Bourgeois  12 Viliami Hakalo  11 Dean Adamson  10 Steffan Jones  9 Darryl Veenendaal (21 Peter White 73)  1 Tom Williams (Billy Moss 43)  2 Jared Saunders (16 Antonio Harris 54)  3 Camilo Parilli-Ocampo (18 James Currie 54)  4 Harry Wells  5 Eoin Sheriff (19 Mike Howard 62)  6 Joe Vandermolen (20 Josh Buggea 62)  7 Justin Blanchet  8 Nick Fenton-Wells (c)

Tries: Wigglesworth (13), Tapley (24), Hakalo (54), Adamson (69), Jones (73)
Cons: Jones (13,24,77)
Pens: Jones (62)

Yellow: Wells (64-74)

Match Officials:
Referee: Andy Rawson (RFU)
Assistants: Michael Patz & Clare Daniels

Attendance: 1289



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