St Ives 55 v 0 Exeter Saracens
In their latest league game of the season St Ives rang the changes; Tony Stevens started in the front row with Jess Tompsett unavailable. John Trewhella made his second start of the season at scrum half, while Head Coach, Paul Thirlby, slotted in at fly half after recovering from injury. Brother Grant moved to 12 with the back line duo of Greg Loydall and Bobby Conroy-Smith unavailable and Tom Murray started on the wing.
Exeter Saracens travelled to the match with a bare 15 players, a situation the Hakes knew only too well during last season’s campaign. Despite this, throughout the game the Exeter players gave a good account of themselves with a display of tackling and commitment that was impressive to say the least.
The St Ives players got off to a great start when after only 3 minutes of play Captain Ben Taylor burst through a gap with an impressive turn of pace to open the scoring. The conversion was missed in the windy conditions, but the Hakes had the start they wanted. Taylor doubled the lead in the 7th minute with another fine effort. This time the conversion attempt hit the post to put the Hakes 10 nil up.
12 minutes in and St Ives were reduced to 14 men when second row Jamie Prisk saw yellow for an off the ball incident that the referee spotted and during the 10 minutes they were a man down did not add to their score. When back up to a full compliment it was Jamie’s brother, Todd Prisk, who gathered the ball at a lineout and marched over the Exeter line at the back of a maul to dot down for his first try for the club since his return. The conversion was missed again, but the Hakes were ahead by 15 points to nil with 27 minutes played.
The last 10 minutes of the first half saw the Hakes continue to dominate. Their scrum was causing the visitors no end of problems and this helped St Ives go on to score two more tries before the break. The first was an unconverted try by flanker Sean Stevens after 36 minutes and the second through Grant Thirlby, who took an opportunity in the 39th minute to score a try which he converted himself to make the half time score St Ives 27, Exeter Saracens nil.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first with an early score for the dominant St Ives side. This time Paul Thirlby grabbed an opportunity and scored a fine try, his brother Grant converting to put the result beyond doubt at 34 points to nil after 44 minutes. Cameron Bone was the next on the score sheet with a try underneath the posts after 56 minutes; again Thirlby added the extras.
Next to grab a try was second row Jamie Prisk who underlined his man of the match performance with a try in the corner which was again converted by Thirlby after 63 minutes. The next quarter of an hour saw the Exeter players have their best spell of the match; they kept the Hakes pinned back into their own 22 and looked as though they would score their first points of the afternoon. Despite the pressure the Hakes responded well and defended their own line with great spirit to keep the visitors from Devon at bay. When they eventually cleared their lines it wasn’t long before they were on the front foot once again. At a scrum on the Exeter 5 metre line they pushed the visitors back over their own line allowing No.8 Martyn Lawrance to score the try at the back of the set piece to complete the match. The final kick saw Thirlby send the ball through the uprights for the extra 2 points to confirm the Hakes as winners by 55 points to nil.
The Hakes now go into the Christmas break having consolidated their third place in the league. Only 4 points cover the top three sides, which will set up an exciting second half of the season with the top two sides Bude and Withycombe both having to come to Alexandra Road before the end of the season.
The Hakes are back in action on Saturday the 2nd January with an away trip in the league to Paignton. Kick off in Devon is scheduled for 2:30pm and any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives : Tony Stevens, Ben Taylor (Captain), Ben Jenkins, Jamie Prisk, Todd Prisk, Sean Stevens, Cameron Bone, Martyn Lawrance, John Trewhella, Paul Thirlby, Tom Murray, Grant Thirlby, Tom Nicholas, Peter Mabbott, Lewis Thomas.
Replacements: Joel Stevens, Sam Heath, Ryan Bishop (All Used)