Doncaster Knights’ hopes of going one better in this year’s B & I Cup were sunk by Cornish Pirates in their quarter-final at Mennaye Field.
Winners of the inaugural competition back in 2010, Pirates ended a run of defeats by Knights with a six-try 38-19 win over the Castle Park side.
Had last year’s beaten finalists started the game with the side they finished it with then the outcome might have been different.
Just three of the Doncaster backs who started in the Championship win on the same ground a fortnight earlier, started the tie with No 8 Alex Shaw, who spent time with the Pirates earlier in his career, being the only forward to start.
Shaw captained the side for the first time and scored two of the three Doncaster tries on a day when Pirates led from start to finish.
Pirates, who had run leaders Bristol close at Ashton Gate last time out, drew first blood in the league game between the two sides and did so again when punishing a lost lineout and some sloppy defence.
Centre Tom Riley, who made his 100th appearance for the club at Bristol, touched down for an unconverted try after just six minutes.
Pirates opened up a 10-0 lead three minutes later - Canadian international wing Matt Evans touched down from a neat chip kick by scrum-half Stuart Townsend – a thorn in Knights’ side all afternoon.
Knights’ attempts to gain a foothold in the game were not helped by some sloppy handling mistakes and a failure to take their own lineouts at times.
They opened their account on 18 minutes when Leicester centre George Catchpole touched down after he had hacked the ball forward following good work by scrum-half Brad Field in the build-up.
Declan Cusack, back in his favoured fly-half berth after playing at full-back in the last two games, added the extras to make it 10-7.
Pirates extended their lead within a minute of the restart – No 8 Tom Duncan rewarding some good build-up play. It proved a case of third time lucky for May whose conversion made it 17-7.
May had the chance to add to Knights’ problems, but he pulled a straight 38 metre penalty wide. Knights tested the Pirates’ defence with wing Tyson Lewis going close.
The visitors brought on several of their big guns off the bench, but before they had the chance to make any sort of impact they fell further behind, Pirates’ hooker Rob Elloway getting the touchdown from a driving maul and May added the extras.
Knights were thrown a bit of a lifeline when Canadian second-rower Brett Beukeboom was sin-binned and they wasted no time in capitalising on their extra man – Shaw grabbing a second converted try 11 minutes from time.
But there was to be no grandstand finish on this occasion and a fifth try by flanker Sam Simmonds dashed any comeback hopes they may have entertained.
Shaw bagged a second close-range try, shortly after Michael Hills had lost his footing with a try for the taking, but Pirates deservedly had the final word with another converted try at the death.
Cornish Pirates: May, Moyle, Riley, Hendrickson, Evans; Stuart, Townsend; Walker, Elloway, Paver, Parker, Breukeboom, Cheesman, Simmonds, Duncan. Rep: Channon, Gendall, Garratt, Atkinson, Day, Cargill, James.
Doncaster Knights: Bryant, Bulumakau, Catchpole, Armitage, Lewis; Cusack, Field; Joh, Stagg, Sprotson, Maksymiw, Hotson, Young, Owen, Shaw. Rep: List, Veikoso, Pasquali, Challinor, Hills, McIlwaine, Heaney.