GKIA Championship

Cornish Pirates 29 Bristol 31

By John Harding

THREE tries from Samoan international David Lemi helped steer Bristol to a 31-29 bonus point victory at the Mennaye Field, but they had to hold off the second half come back from the Pirates who came close to snatching the game.

The visitors went into the break with a 20-8 advantage after two tries from Lemi and one from fellow wing Luke Morahan with fly-half Ian Madigan converting the second from the Samoan and also adding a penalty.

"The job is done - we got the five points - but we certainly made it difficult for ourselves," said Bristol head coach Pat Lam. "Similar to last week [at home to Hartpury] some of our decision making and putting ourselves under pressure needs working on.

"We'll find every week that if we don't keep the foot on the throat, the opposition will come back at us because, as every coach tells me, this is their Cup final. It was certainly a step-up, away from home in tough conditions.

"But we can definite see the improvement on some of the things were weren't as good last week. We conceded a penalty try, and we need to nail those sort of things. Credit to Pirates, they pushed us all the way.."

Morahan's try started deep in Bristol's half with a break involving Dan Thomas and Rhodri Williams before a kick ahead and chase for the Australian international to score. Lemi's three touchdowns makes him Bristol's leading try scorer in competitive matches.

Lam added: "He is a great club man, team man, and the boys love him and he puts a lot in. Nobody would know the age that he is but is a sprightly young thing and did some great things - I'm pleased for him."

But it was the Pirates who had opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock when Alex Day hacked a loose ball ahead, and Alex O'Meara dotted down in the corner before Lemi had a try disallowed for a forward pass.

Fly-half Laurence May kicked a first half penalty while the Pirates other tries came in the second half with a seven penalty try plus touchdowns from loosehead prop Marlon Walker and wing Kyle Moyle with replacement fly-half Will Cargill landing two conversions.

Bristol, who are fourth in the table behind Bedford Blues, Ealing Trailfinders and Doncaster Knights, host a Richmond side that have been beaten in their opening two games and have just one losing bonus point. Kick off is at 2 pm.

Cornish Pirates scorers - tries: A O'Meara, pen try, M Walker, K Moyle; cons: W Cargill 2, pen con; Pens: L May.

Bristol scorers - tries: D Lemi 3, L Morahan; con: I Madigan; pens: I Madigan 3 Cornish Pirates: Toby May; Alex O’Meara, Dan Koster (Pete Laverick, 48), Nico De Battista (capt), Kyle Moyle; Laurence May (Will Cargill, 57), Alex Day; Marlen Walker(Billy Keast, 71), Tom Cowan-Dickie, Jack Andrew (Christian Judge, 57), Josh Caulfield, Toby Freeman, Rupert Cooper (Matt Bolwell, 57), Alex Cheesman, Tom Lawday (Dan Lee, 53) Rep (not used): Mike Pope Bristol: Jordan Williams (Mat Protheroe, 57), Luke Morahan, Will Hurrell, Tusi Pisi (Billy Searle, 70), David Lemi; Ian Madigan, Rhodri Williams (Ryan Glynn, 65); Soane Tonga’uiha (Jack Cosgrove, 48), Jason Harris-Wright (Max Crumpton, 70), Tyler Gendall (Nicky Thomas, 74), Sam Jeffries, Joe Latta (capt), Steven Luatua, Dan Thomas, Nick Haining (Jordan Crane 42-52,77).

Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU) Attendance: 2236