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Gnr Senitiki Nayalo (7 PARA RHA) played the full 80 minutes for Coventry, but they were knocked off the top of The Championship following a narrow 21-19 home defeat to Cornish Pirates.

The Midlanders dominated the opening quarter but had to wait until the 19th minute to go in front through a Will Rigg try converted by Pat Pellegrini.

Pirates levelled with their first real attack as Joe Elderkin touched down before Tom Pittman added the extras, and they took a stranglehold on proceedings with a quickfire double midway through the third quarter.

The first of two converted tries in three minutes came from John Stevens at the back of the maul, and a 75-metre Ruaridh Dawson interception score gave the visitors a 14-point advantage.

A Jimmy Martin five-pointer with a quarter-of-an-hour gave Coventry hope, and Gnr Nayalo’s 40-metre charge almost made things better before he was stopped short of the line.

And while Pellegrini was on target after Will Lane crossed in added time, it was too little, too late for a home side who slip to third behind new leaders Ealing Trailfinders and Pirates.

LCpl Pita Ratukadreu (REME) was replaced just after the hour-mark as Plymouth Albion – who were leading 17-14 before his departure – suffered a first National One home defeat of the season, losing 28-17 to Darlington Mowden Park.

The hosts raced into a 14-0 lead as Connor Eastgate was on target after tries from Jack Oulton and Hallam Chapman, only for the northerners to level by half-time through Max Fraine and Ben Frankland along with two Callum Pascoe conversions.

A Tom Putt penalty nudged Plymouth back in front, but DMP weren’t to be denied and claimed a bonus-point thanks to Obi Ene and Pascoe, the latter adding two more successful kicks for a stunning win.

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Mark Deller


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