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Page last updated at 21:00 GMT, Wednesday, 11 May 2011 22:00 UK

Cornish Pirates 12-21 Worcester

Cornish Pirates (6) 12
Pens: Cook 4
Worcester (18) 21
Tries: Benjamin, Goode
Goode Pens: Goode 3

Miles Benjamin
Winger Miles Benjamin opened the scoring with his 25th try of the season

Worcester Warriors moved a step closer to a Premiership return with a convincing Championship play-off first leg win over Cornish Pirates.

Winger Miles Benjamin's early score in the corner set Worcester on their way at the Mennaye Field.

Former England fly-half Andy Goode then got the Warriors' second, also landing three penalties for a 16-point haul.

Rob Cook kicked four penalties for the Pirates, who struggled to cope with the power of Worcester's pack.

The two teams will now meet in the second leg at Sixways next Wednesday.

And, although trailing, the Cornish club will head up the M5 top Worcestershire buoyed by the memory that they are the only side to have come away with the spoils at Sixways this season, having won there 23-21 in October.

While an aggregate win for the Pirates would mean a relegation reprieve for Leeds, victory for Worcester will see them promoted back into the Premiership after only a year's absence.

Having won on their previous visit to Penzance in January, the Warriors appeared undaunted by the partisan Cornish crowd in the opening exchanges.

And, with Goode at the helm, Richard Hill's men controlled much of the first 20 minutes, their confidence boosted by Benjamin's early try - which took the winger's tally for the season to 25 touchdowns.

"We'll take nine points back home with us but it could have been more. In the first half we were in complete control but in the second they threw everything at us and chucked the ball around with nothing to lose. We gave too many penalties away, which only gave us a nine-point cushion, when it could have been 12 or 15

Worcester fly-half Andy Goode

While Worcester kept things tight, relying on the power of their pack and midfield runners, the Pirates attempted a far more expansive game, half-backs Gavin Cattle and Johnny Bentley constantly looking to run with ball.

Worcester resisted the temptation to follow their hosts' example, a ploy which was rewarded on the half-hour mark when, after a series of five-metre scrums, Goode pierced a gap in the Pirates' defence to cross for the Warriors' second try.

Two penalties from Cook kept the Pirates interested but, as the teams left the field at the break, it was definitely advantage Warriors.

The second period followed a similar pattern, with the Cornish club determined to run the ball whenever the opportunity allowed.

A 57th minute yellow card to Warriors flanker Neil Best gave the home side an element of hope. But they were unable to take advantage, with a paltry penalty from Cook all they had to show from 10 minutes with an extra man.

As the match wore on, mistakes began to creep into the Pirates' play, the ball often going astray in the offload.

The superb Johnny Arr at scrum-half expertly marshalled Worcester's pack, as the Pirates were rarely allowed the necessary space from which to attack. And, when Cook missed a late penalty chance, their nine-point lead ahead of the second leg was assured.

Pirates head coach Chris Stirling told BBC Radio Cornwall:

"It's only half time. This game doesn't finish for another 80 minutes up at Sixways.

"We won that second half and we outplayed them, but things didn't quite go our way as little pieces of inaccuracy let us down at times.

"Worcester were very clinical. They started strongly and we made a couple of errors and they took the points.

"This is the longest half-time these guys will ever get. It's a week and in that time you get to sit down and do analysis. We're not out of this by a long shot."

Warriors head coach Richard Hill told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"We would have been delighted with a one-point win, so a nine-point margin is a bit more comfortable.

"We did everything right in the first half but, in the second half, the Pirates did step up and we kicked too much ball away.

"That Pirates team will not give up. They will battle and battle. This has been a long old day.

"Both sides were tired after that. There were a few going down with cramp and it is going to be a tense affair on our own patch."

Cornish Pirates: Cook; McAtee, Hopper, Luke, Davies, Bentley, Cattle; Paver, Ward, Andrew; Myerscough, Nimmo; McGlone, Burgess, Morgan.

Replacements: Storer, Elloway, Rimmer, Holmes, Marriott, Doherty, Locke.

Worcester: Pennell; Garvey, Crockett, Rasmussen, Benjamin; Goode, Arr; Black, Fortey, Taumoepeau; Rawlinson, Gillies; Best, Abbott, Horstmann.

Replacements: Lutui, Douglas, Kitchener, Balding, Frost, Carlisle, Grove.

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see also
Pirates buoyant ahead of showdown
10 May 11 |  Rugby Union
Hill aims to stay calm for final
09 May 11 |  English
Cornish Pirates 18-10 Lon Welsh
04 May 11 |  Rugby Union
Worcester 23-22 Bedford
02 May 11 |  Rugby Union
Cornish Pirates 30-33 Worcester
31 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Worcester 21-23 Cornish Pirates
22 Oct 10 |  Rugby Union

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