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Sgt Matt Dawson (Int Corps) won his 50th Cambridge cap on Saturday, but his side were beaten 40-33 at home to Cornish Pirates in the Championship.

The flanker was a 55th-minute replacement for Benji Hoppe and helped galvanise the hosts into picking up two bonus-points which lift them off the foot of the table.

After taking an early lead when Steffan James converted a Kwaku Asiedu try, things went quickly downhill for Cambridge as Morgan Nelson, Joe Elderkin, Matt McNab and Josh Williams all crossed the whitewash in a 13-minute Pirates’ blitz, three Bruce Houston kicks making it 26-7 at the break.

Eli Caven crossed for Cambridge in the first minute of the second period, but the visitors extended their lead shortly after Sgt Dawson came on, Ruaridh Dawson touching down before Houston added the extras.

The Blood & Sand collected a third try through Ben Brownlie, James on target, only for Pirates to put the game to bed as Houston converted a Harry Dugmore try.

However, two converted tries in the final seven minutes – scored by Nahum Merigan and Brownlie – ensured try and losing bonus-points for Cambridge and something for Matt to take away on his milestone appearance.

LCpl Pita Ratukadreu (REME) played the full 80 minutes on the wing as third-placed Plymouth Albion maintained their perfect National One home record with a 39-23 win against Bishop’s Stortford.

Connor Eastgate converted a Jake Clemson try for the hosts before a Dan Cole penalty and Chris Smith five-pointer nudged Stortford in front, only for Plymouth to hit back and lead 20-8 at half time thanks to Jordan Gott and Jack Oulton crossing the whitewash and an Eastgate penalty.

A Cole kick and Smith’s second cut the gap to two before Jesse Lowe went over for Albion, but Bishop’s hit back again as Cole converted Nick Hankin’s effort.

However, those were the visitors’ last points, Eastgate on target after Angus Hodges crossed before a penalty try sealed the deal.

Spr Lauren Brooks (RE) was part of the matchday squad as Trailfinders Women picked up two bonus-points from their 33-27 home loss to Gloucester-Hartpury, a result which leaves them seventh in the Premiership standings.

Words © Richard Ashton

Header and featured image – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn