Pertemps Bees 23 Cornish Pirates 27

Pertemps Bees head coach Russell Earnshaw must be wondering which of the rugby gods he has really upset after watching his part-timers outplay and out-battle the full-timers of Cornish Pirates and still manage to lose in the mud of Sharmans Cross Road.

The giant flanker said: "We cannot fault the commitment, pride or passion but we gave them two easy tries, two defensive errors."

The result was made worse with bottom club Launceston beating Rotherham to leave Bees propping up the table and London Welsh, the most likely of the bottom half strugglers to be caught up in any survival dogfight, winning at Coventry. Bees are now 13 points adrift of safety with 12 games left. When you are at the bottom though little goes your way and Earn-shaw is also unhappy at some of the decisions in the match particularly what he saw as Pirates' side entry at mauls which went unpunished and which could have helped save the match when Bees camped in the opposition 22.

The match also saw Bees wing Reece Spee twice blatantly taken out, once in each half, as he chased kicks down the line with the officials seeing nothing wrong with either incident.

A turning point in the game though came through Bees' indiscipline when lock Alex Davidson, who plays his rugby on the edge, crossed the line and was yellow carded for throwing a punch in a bout of fisticuffs near the Pirates' line.

Bees had just taken the lead and were in control but without their enforcer the pressure eased and Pirates came back to grab what turned out to be a decisive lead.

Former Moseley fly half Ollie Thomas kicked Pirates ahead after four minutes with a penalty and with 16 minutes gone Pirates' scrum half, Canadian international Ed Fairhurst, picked up from the base of the scrum in the Bees 22 and unencumbered by defence galloped in under the posts with Thomas making it 10-0.

Two penalties from fly half Paul Knight reduced the deficit to 10-6 at the break but four minutes into the second half and Pirates extended their lead when a flurry of rucks in the right corner saw the ball worked rapidly wide for wing Vunga Lilo to go over in the left corner with Thomas adding the extras.

Knight landed a third penalty and then on 56 minutes Pirates loose head prop Peter Cook, already on a warning, offended once too often and was yellow carded.

Bees knocked on the first chance to make it count but four minutes later flanker Andy Daish was driven over by the posts and Knight converted. Six minutes later and lock Mark Gaby was forced over by the posts, Knight add the two points and Bees, deservedly, lead the top six full timers 23-17.

With six minutes to go though Davidson was off to the sin bin and from the penalty the ball went up field and Gareth Steenson, on for Thomas scampered through for a try he converted himself. Knight missed a penalty to retake the lead but Steenson landed one to make the gap four points. Bees managed to keep the ball alive in the Pirates 22 for 14 nail-biting minutes of added time but could not find the breakthrough to reward their efforts.

Earnshaw saw the yellow card as a defining moment. "We would have won had he not been yellow carded. He has been good to us this season He has been on the verge of legality without being yellow carded but he will be fined for that because it was stupid."

Bees got a point from the match, some would say that was more than they would have expected, but not Earnshaw.

"Why would I bother turning up? I think we are going to win every game. I know the players we have got and I know what it means to them to play for this club and they have shown that these last two weeks.

"We just need to iron out the little things that are costing us games."