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Hakes Defeated in Top of the Table Clash

St Ives 8 v 27 Bude

St Ives' hopes of promotion take a severe dent as Withycombe gain a bonus point win, as expected.

Last weekend the St Ives 1st XV welcomed league leaders Bude in what was on paper a mouth watering clash between the top two sides in the Cornwall & Devon league. St Ives Head Coach Paul Thirlby named his strongest available side. Jason Jackson returned at scrum half and Bobby Conroy-Smith was available again on the right wing. Luke Collins became unavailable on the morning of the match. Todd Prisk moved to 2nd row, Guy Pallett to the blind side and Peter Mabbott filled the space on the bench. It was Guy Pallett's extreme effort and tackle count that earned him the man-of-the-match for The Hakes.

The game began with both sides playing with the confidence that you would expect from two sides at the top of the league. St Ives, however, struggled initially with some wrongly made decisions that put them on the back foot early in the first period. Bude took full advantage and looked dangerous with the ball in hand in their back line. It was the Bude forwards though that made the breakthrough. In the 4th minute they formed a maul in the Hakes’ 22 and the power of their pack marched the ball over the St Ives line allowing Joe Wilson to ground the ball and score the try. Full back, Dan Pearce, added the extras to give the visitors an early 7 points to nil lead.

Try as they might in the first 10 minutes the Hakes were unable to break down the Bude defence. In the 10th minute, following a high tackle from a St Ives player, Dan Pearce once again slotted a successful goal for Bude to put them further ahead by 10 points to nil.

The Hakes had a chance to pull back 3 points themselves from a penalty kick in the 18th minute, but the chance was not taken. The home side did, however, get on the scoresheet in the 28th minute when Grant Thirlby successfully converted the penalty chance to put the Hakes back within a score of the visitors at 3 points to 10.

The remainder of the first half saw the Hakes frustrated by their own indiscipline and give away a succession of penalties that the visitors did not manage to capitalise on to leave the score at the break St Ives 3, Bude 10.

After the break it was the St Ives players who took the early initiative and in the first play of the half they pressurised the Bude line and were rewarded when the ball found its way wide into the arms of Paul Thirlby, who crossed in the corner to score the try. The difficult conversion was missed, but the Hakes only trailed Bude now by 2 points at 8 points to 10.

The next period of the match once again saw a succession of penalties awarded to the visitors as the St Ives players continually showed indiscipline at the break down. With so many chances to put pressure on the St Ives defence it was inevitable that Bude would again put points on the board. The introduction to their pack of experienced forward and head coach, Adam Black, soon paid off as he crossed for a try from close range in the 58th minute. The conversion was missed, but crucially the visitors now had a lead of 15 points to 8, more than one score.

It was a yet another penalty that created the next opportunity to score. The ball was despatched to touch by the boot of Pearce. The resulting lineout saw Ollie Denford cross out wide on the right to increase Bude’s lead to 22 points to 8 following the missed conversion. It was Denford again who put the nail in the coffin for the Hakes when he chased through his own kick and won the foot race to score his second try of the match in the 76th minute and earn Bude an all-important, well deserved bonus point. The conversion was once again missed, but the visitors now had an un-assailable lead of 27 points to 8.

The referee brought the game to an end a few minutes later to confirm the victory for Bude and leave the Hakes to pick up the pieces in this coming Saturday’s away trip to Tavistock, a game that is a must win for the Hakes if their promotion hopes are to stay alive. Any chance of this may depend upon a victory over Withycombe at home and a favour from Bude when they travel to Withycombe on 2nd April.

This is obviously a disappointing result for St Ives. On the day there was a fair gap, but not a gulf, between the teams. Wet, muddy conditions may have favoured the more experienced Bude pack. Poor discipline under pressure, may be one or two decisions going against the home side could account for the result in part. A punch in the face of Cameron Bone in full view of the referee, went without penalty and was followed by a Bude try immediately after. This would have felt like being kicked when you are already down. How different when Tony Stevens had to leave the pitch for a similar incident during the home game with Falmouth. But, on the day, Bude were the better side. The test is how the players react, as a team, and learn from this. The performance at Tavistock may begin to give some answers.

The kick off at Tavistock next weekend is scheduled for 2:30pm. Any travelling support would be most welcome.

St Ives : Jess Tompsett, Ben Taylor (Captain), Ben Jenkins, Todd Prisk, Jamie Prisk, Guy Pallett, Cameron Bone, Martyn Lawrance, Jason Jackson, Paul Thirlby, Tom Murray, Grant Thirlby, Tom Nicholas, Bobby Conroy-Smith, Lewis Thomas.

Replacements : Sean Stevens, Stuart Milliner, Peter Mabbott, (All Used)

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