Tavistock 19 v 45 St Ives
A hat trick of tries from St Ives number 8 Martyn Lawrance helped to keep the Hakes promotion hopes alive last weekend when they travelled to Dartmoor to face Tavistock in their latest encounter in the Tribute Cornwall & Devon League. The side saw a number of changes to the one that played Bude at home last week. This was not from the position of being able to effect changes to strengthen the side per se, but due to player availability. The squad was desperately short of three quarters. New signing, Raph Baragwanath, picked on the wing, was sadly unable to play due to illness throughout the week and stood down on Friday, the day before. This meant that Lewis Thomas moved from centre to full back and Bobby Conroy-Smith from full back to wing. The hole at centre was filled by Cameron Bone. The knock on effect of this meant that captain, Ben Taylor, played in the back row, leaving Stuart Milliner to hook. Such can be the overall effect of a player not playing after being selected. Peter Mabbott stepped in on the bench, as he did when called upon last minute against Bude. Well done to him, especially as he is carrying a hamstring problem. The backs had Sam Carter standing in at stand-off. The bench was without Louis Stevens, who had to fulfil a long standing obligation. Thus, Niall Prisk, the younger brother of Jamie and Todd, made his first appearance for The Hakes this season, coming off the bench late in the game. This paragraph underlines the situation for many clubs that play at this level, even when we are second in the league.
The Hakes dominance up front gave them the platform to score tries. With Lawrance taking his three tries from the base of their dominant scrum there was little that the Tavistock players could do to stop the power of the St Ives pack. Martyn will be delighted as he has gone five games without scoring, when he got two against Honiton early in January. This brings his personal tally to 16 from 21 games.
The Hakes took a 5 point lead after 12 minutes, but with half the first period gone the Tavistock players had pegged the Hakes back and had levelled the game at 12 points each. Before the break St Ives had extended their lead and when the whistle blew for half time the score was Tavistock 12, St Ives 26.
The second half saw the Hakes take control of the match. During this time St Ives lost Lewis Thomas, who has been a selection for the Cornwall U20s in recent weeks, to injury. Niall Prisk came on from the bench. Jess Tompsett also left the field injured. This created the need for positional changes all round; Milliner to prop, Taylor to the front row, Bone back to flanker, and Paul Thirlby from bench to centre. It is to their credit that St Ives continued to add to their tally of points.
It was not all plain sailing however, as Tavistock showed that they are better than their league position suggests. They looked very dangerous in the open with good interplay between forwards and backs and elusive outside backs. Their 13, Doug Lloyd, really caught the eye and looked very dangerous whenever he got his hands on the ball. But other tries were scored; by Todd Prisk, Bobby Conroy-Smith, Tom Murray and Jason Jackson. The latter two were scoring for The Hakes for the first time. Goal kicker, Grant Thirlby struck five successful conversions. When the final whistle blew the bonus point victory was confirmed with the score Tavistock 19 St Ives 45.
This win sees The Hakes consolidate second spot in the league. St Ives have a game in hand over league leaders Bude, but trail the north Cornwall side by 15 points. In third place are Withycombe who lost at home at the weekend to Plymouth Albion Oaks. They are 5 points behind St Ives, but have two games in hand. Crucially Withycombe have to play Bude at home and must travel to face St Ives at Alexandra Road in April which is sure to be an important game in deciding who will gain promotion from the Cornwall & Devon League.
The Hakes are back in action this coming Saturday when they welcome local rivals Pirates Amateurs to Alexandra Road. With dry weather the pitch will be in a better state and hopes are for an open, competitive game. Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30pm, and support would be very welcome.
The full squad was:
Ben Taylor (Capt)
Repalcements (all used):