Cornish Pirates: Championship Cup final 'a bridge too far' after Ealing loss

Ealing v Cornish Pirates
Cornish Pirates could not recover from conceding four first-half tries at Ealing

Cornish Pirates coach Gavin Cattle says their Championship Cup semi-final at Ealing was a "bridge too far" as his side went down 36-26.

The hosts led 26-7 at half-time before Syd Blackmore, John Stevens and Lewis Pearson went over in the second half as the Pirates staged a comeback.

It ends a season which saw the Pirates finish third in the second tier.

"I'm really happy with how we applied ourselves, it was just a bridge too far I think," Cattle told BBC Cornwall.

Having drawn level at 7-7 thanks to dual-registered Exeter forward Rus Tuima, the Pirates conceded three tries in the final 13 minutes of the first half at Vallis Way.

"That spell before half-time was telling really," added Cattle.

"A couple of bits of individual error, but we left some opportunities out there in that first half as well.

"We gave Ealing a couple of easy ins, but having said that our pack had an average age of 22, they fought very hard, we expected there to be errors and a lack of cohesion, but I didn't feel like we lacked that physicality up front. I think we matched theirs and were on top at times.

"But Ealing were very sharp off turnovers and there were a couple of system errors and missed tackles that gave them some easy ins and then we were playing catch up in that second half."

But Cattle says he is still impressed with his team's achievements this season, having won 14 and lost four of their 20 league games and having a shot at the Championship title going into the final weeks of the season.

"I'm immensely proud to be part of this club, immensely proud of what the boys have achieved this year," he said.

"I do think we've got close to reaching our potential, we didn't quite get there, but you've got to be realistic and the growth we've shown this year has been brilliant and it'll be a challenge again next year because I know the rumour mill starts with players in and out.

"But we've got a massive base of boys with that type of character and that rubs off on others."

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