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  • Writer's pictureAlan Thomas

Strong Squad to Face Sarries

After last week’s outstanding performance against league leaders, Withycombe, St Ives is able to field a strong side for their next match. There are some enforced changes due to several players going home for the Christmas period on leave. The Culdrose trio of Sam Carter (Workington), Greg Loydall (Rugby) and Bobby Conroy-Smith (Worthing) are all on leave.

Jess Tompsett is rested today, which allows Tony Stevens a starting place. Captain, Ben Taylor, will be keen to make his presence felt before handing over to Joel Stevens, who is on the bench for the first time since 12th September; a fitting reward to one who trains regularly and has waited patiently for his opportunity. He performed outstandingly for the reserves in the week. The ever present Ben Jenkins completes the solid front row.

Brothers Todd and Jamie Prisk were a very dominant force together last week, up against the wiles of former England lock Dave Simms. Sean Stevens starts at wing forward. Sam Heath is on the bench after incurring an injury early in last week’s encounter. Cameron Bone is proving to be a terrific signing. He should again dominate around the ruck and tackle area, and produce some powerful runs. Martyn Lawrance, who continues to learn the game, especially at the base of the scrum, makes his thirteenth consecutive appearance. He has scored ten tries in those games.

In the backs, veteran John Trewhella joins cousin Paul Thirlby at half back. This allows Grant Thirlby to move back to centre alongside Tom Nicholas. Grant has played so much better at fly half in the last two matches, compared to his performance in this position at Falmouth earlier in the season. He should draw considerable confidence from this. It also means that Paul can concentrate more on the coaching side of things. Tom Nicholas put in a superb display against Withycombe and richly deserved his try, which concluded a period of excellent ball retention and pressure from The Hakes. It was Martyn Lawrance who not only made the break in defence to set up the try, but also passed out of the tackle to ensure it.

Tom Murray has a further opportunity on the wing. Lewis Thomas continues at full back, with seven tries to his name this season. If he begins to take the ball on the full more often, his enthusiasm for attacking will be even more noteworthy. Peter Mabbott is a strong runner. Of that there is no doubt. He has no mood for finding space and is happy to take on any opposition head on. Ryan Bishop should get on the park at some point. He has shown a real desire to be involved, coming off his wing to do so.

Exeter Sarries has a long trip with no wins and precious few points away from home. This is a game where a bonus point for The Hakes is expected. However, it is tempting to take things too easily after the immense effort of last week. Head coach, Paul Thirlby, will be impressing on the lads to treat this game as any other. If you make to the Rec this afternoon, you should be well entertained, weather permitting.

KO 2:30pm – The full squad is…

1 Tony Stevens

2 Ben Taylor

3 Ben Jenkins

4 Jamie Prisk

5 Todd Prisk

6 Sean Stevens

7 Cameron Bone

8 Martyn Lawrance

9 John Trewhella

10 Paul Thirlby

11 Tom Murray

12 Grant Thirlby

13 Tom Nicholas

14 Peter Mabbott

15 Lewis Thomas

16 Ryan Bishop

17 Joel Stevens

18 Sam Heath

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