Falmouth Eagles 12 : 6 St Ives Hakes
Following last week’s victory in the Cornwall Cup it was back to league action for the Hakes last weekend in the Tribute Cornwall & Devon Division and they travelled to local rivals Falmouth for their latest match. Head Coach Paul Thirlby named a side including new signings Luke Collins in the second row, Laurie Manna in the centre and Aaron Rowe on the wing for his first start of the season.
The St Ives players went in to the game in positive mood following a 5 match unbeaten run since the start of the season, but it soon became clear that this was going to be a tough afternoon against a well organised Falmouth side that has only lost one game so far this season. St Ives opened the scoring in the 12th minute when fly half Grant Thirlby converted a penalty to give the Hakes a 3 points to nil lead. However, it was Falmouth who constantly pressed the visitors back into their own half with the wind at their backs.
The pressure from the home side paid dividends in the 23rd minute when they scored a try out wide after the ball was lost on the 22 metre lie on the other side of the pitch. The conversion was missed to give them a narrow 2 point advantage over a St Ives side that were struggling to get into the game and show any serious threat to the Falmouth try line.
The remainder of the first period saw Falmouth continue to push the Hakes into their own half without managing to break through the resolute St Ives defence. The half ended with Falmouth still in front by 5 points to 3.
The second half saw St Ives with the wind at their backs which saw them enjoy more time in Falmouth territory, but a lack of cohesion between the players gave only glimpses of the potential that the team possesses. Take nothing away from Falmouth, they fought for everything with grit and determination, in the 46th minute this boiled over and resulted in them losing one of their second row to a yellow card for 10 minutes.
With Falmouth down to 14 players this should have provided the Hakes with the opportunity that they needed to take a decisive grip on the game, but they were unable to capitalise and did not add to their score during the 10 minute period that they held this advantage over their opponents.
With Falmouth back to the full complement of personnel it was the Hakes who managed to score next. In the 59th minute it was Grant Thirlby’s boot once more that saw St Ives retake the lead in the match by 6 points to 5 when he converted a penalty chance. Only 3 minutes later a similar chance was missed as the St Ives forwards began to pressurise the Falmouth defence.
With the game now entering a crucial phase both sides sensed that the next score would be crucial, St Ives suffered a body blow in the 75th minute when debutant Laurie Manna saw yellow from a deliberate knock on near the half way line, reducing the Hakes to 14 men. This time it was Falmouth’s turn to take advantage of the extra man and, sure enough, they succeeded when their captain, Justyn Irons, burst through the St Ives defence to score by the posts in the 76th minute, he converted his own try to give Falmouth a precious 12 points to 6 lead.
The last four minutes saw St Ives throw everything they could at the home side. The Hakes pack did manage to put huge pressure on the Falmouth defence and saw them camped on their 5 metre line for the remainder of the match, the St Ives scrum forced a series of penalties as they pushed the Falmouth pack back towards their line, each time they chose a scrum to try and push home their advantage but with no reward for their efforts. The referee could have chosen to award a penalty try for the succession of infringements by the Falmouth scrum, but chose to keep his whistle in his pocket until he blew it for the final time when the home side eventually turned over the ball and kicked it into touch to confirm their victory over St Ives by 12 points to 6.
Following the match St Ives Director of Rugby Joff Rowe commented; ‘Of course I am extremely disappointed with the result. Falmouth played with direction and a will to win. We played at times with no thought or game management and I am frustrated as I know Paul (Thirlby) has put a lot of time and effort into our playing structure and this was left in the changing room this afternoon. Work needs to be done on the training ground so that hopefully this setback will be one of only a few this season. Lots of hard work needs to be done to refocus and get us back on track for our next league match against Tavistock. On a positive note it was good to see Luke Collins and Laurie Manna take to the field in a St Ives shirt for the first time, I welcome them both and look forward to our next contest’.
The Hakes should have been back in action in the Cornwall Cup quarter final against Hayle this coming Saturday but a decision has been taken by Hayle to hand St Ives a walkover victory which sees the Hakes progress to the semi final without taking to the field. The next league fixture for St Ives will be on Saturday 24th October at home to Tavistock, kick off at Alexandra Road is scheduled for 3:00pm.
St Ives : Ben Wheeler, Ben Taylor (Captain), Jess Tompsett, Jamie Prisk, Luke Collins, Neil Corin, Cameron Bone, Martyn Lawrance, Sam Carter, Grant Thirlby, Nathan Allen, Sam Bristow, Laurie Manna, Aaron Rowe, Lewis Thomas.
Replacements: Ben Jenkins, Tom Chandler, Sean Stevens (All Used).