Cornish Pirates plundered the spoils as they beat Doncaster Knights 35-26 in yesterday’s televised Championship game to become the first side to win at Castle Park this season.
Knights had faced up to the possibility of defeat in several previous home games before mounting a late revival but there was to be no happy ending on this occasion.
Knights opened the scoring during their first attack of the game on six minutes.
Fly-half Declan Cusack picked centre Andy Bulumakau out with a long pass who in turn sent wing Tyson Lewis over in the corner.
Pirates, who had shaded the exchanges before the Doncaster try, opened their account on eight minutes with an easy penalty by fly-half Lawrence May.
The visitors edged into an 8-5 lead on 15 minutes when full-back Toby May, who had linked up to make the extra man in attack, touched down out wide after a spell of sustained pressure during which backs and forwards combined well.
Pirates continued to take the game to Knights and but for Lawrence May electing to try and score himself from close range, could have added a second try.
May helped to make amends when extending Pirates lead 11-5 with a second penalty after his side had again tested the Doncaster line.
Cusack found touch just short of the line with a superb free-kick to put his side into an attacking position deep in Pirates territory for the first time since their early try.
Knights had a touchdown by prop Richard List from a driving maul disallowed after the referee asked the TMO to adjudicate.
Another TMO decision on the stroke of half-time also went in Pirates favour with No 8 Tom Duncan being awarded a try which May converted to give his side an18-5 lead.
Knights, who had been second-best in the forward exchanges in the first half, knew they had to score first after the break which they did on 50 minutes.
The ball was moved wide from the foot of the posts after Pirates had thwarted their efforts to score from a maul with centre Lloyd Hayes putting wing Paul Jarvis over from close range.
Cusack added the extra from close to the touchline to close the deficit to just six points
Lawrence May helped steady the ship for Pirates with two penalties either side of the hour mark.
Knights suffered a double blow on 65 minutes when loan flanker Harrison Orr, making his home debut, was sin-binned and May kicked the resulting penalty to make it 27-12.
Hopes that Knights wouldn’t end up empty handed were raised when prop Robin Hislop rewarded a spell of intense pressure with a 71st minute try converted by Dougie Flockhart to make it 27-19.
Those hopes suffered a blow, however, when Pirates skipper Chris Morgan raced in following a defensive mix-up from a maul.
Jarvis weaved his way over at the death for a bonus point try. May denied Knights a losing bonus point with a last-minute penalty.
Knights: Scanlon, Jarvis, Hayes,Bulumakau, Lewis,Cusack, Heaney; List, Allen,John, Challinor, Nolan, Young, Owen Williams. Rep: Hunter, Hislop, Quigley, Orr, Flockhart, Young, Humberstone, White.
Cornish Pirates: T May, Moyle, Hendrickson, Dancer, Arnott, L May, Townsend; Walker, Elloway, Andrew, Morgan, Parker, Lee, Simmonds, Duncan. Rep: Channon, Gendall, Pascoe, Cheesman, Day, Cargill, De Battista.