AN ELEVEN-POINT deficit was overturned as Coventry Rugby sunk Cornish Pirates 28-23 to go fourth in the RFU Championship.
The Pirates went into the fixture against Rowland Winter’s men on a six-game winning streak prior to Saturday’s face-off at Butts Park Arena – a record that looked set to continue before Coventry ripped up the script with a scintillating second-half performance.
Both sides traded penalties in the opening 11 minutes, with Javier Rojas Alvarez lofting the ball between the posts either side of Rory Jennings’ sixth-minute leveller.
An opening try of the game was then touched down by Callum Patterson after Cornish had crept towards the try line, followed by Rojas’ conversion, on 15 minutes.
The regular scoring continued as Jennings slotted his two further penalties, albeit the only points in Coventry’s favour during a sin-bin period where the visitors were two players light, to end the half with a 13-9 deficit.
Pirates’ swashbuckling rugby continued to pay dividends as they extended their lead to 11 points within three minutes of the restart, this time as a result of Jack Andrew’s touchdown – Rojas again the provider of the extras.
Three minutes later, the hosts were back in with a shout when Ryan Burrows made a successful break for the try line, followed by Jennings’ punt over the upright to bring the score to 20-16.
Coventry’s opening try breathed new life into the game, so it was little surprise when Luke Wallace followed up with his first try for the club to put the home side ahead on 58 minutes
Jennings again converted, though he was unsuccessful with his next attempt following James Martin’s darting run to the line five minutes later.
With ten minutes left, Rojas gave a reminder of his threat by reducing the hosts’ lead to five points with a penalty, bringing the game to a nervy finale.
As much as they tried, the Pirates were unsuccessful in their search for a levelling score, as Winter’s men secured a sixth win of the campaign.
A trip to Bedford, currently in ninth, is next on the agenda for Coventry on Friday night (7.45pm).