Steve Boden’s side are top of the table again tonight - for 24 hours at least - after winning their first four games of the shortened season.
John Kelly’s early try gave Knights a flying start against an unbeaten Pirates outfit but the visitors fought back to lead 15-7 going into the final quarter.
Conor Edwards’ converted try just after hour mark set up a grandstand finish and Sam Olver kicked a 76th minute penalty to claim a memorable win for Knights – their first league victory against the Pirates in nine attempts.
Pirates, who beat Saracens in the opening round of fixtures, still had the chance to win it themselves but Will Cargill’s penalty drifted wide.
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Knights’ sensational start to the season is even more eye-catching because of the shortened nature of the 2021 campaign. Teams will play ten league matches before the top four take part in the play-offs.
Ealing Trailfinders will return to top spot if they beat Hartpury on Sunday.