St Ives 22 v 21 Pirates Amateurs
Last Saturday the St Ives 1st XV welcomed local rivals Pirates Amateurs to Alexandra Road in their latest Tribute Cornwall & Devon League match. St Ives Head Coach Paul Thirlby named a strong side; Louis Stevens came back into the pack replacing the unavailable Cameron Bone. Sam Carter was named at scrum half with Bobby Conroy-Smith replacing the injured Lewis Thomas at full back.
From the kick off it was the St Ives players who took the early initiative after only two minutes. The Hakes demonstrated to the Pirates their strength up front when they marched over the Amateurs line from an attacking line out allowing second row Jamie Prisk to score the try and give the Hakes an early lead. The conversion was missed, but St Ives had just the start they wanted with an early lead of 5 points to nil.
The Pirates had a chance to score their first points of the afternoon from the boot of the experienced Rhodri McAtee after 8 minutes, but the ball fell short of the posts to leave the Pirates still looking for their first score.
The pattern of the first half continued with St Ives looking the more likely to score. The Hakes defence was coping well with the Pirates attacks and in the 35th minute of the half their efforts were rewarded. Off the base of an attacking scrum Martyn Lawrance forced his way over the try line to score the Hakes second try of the match. This time the conversion was kicked by Grant Thirlby to give the Hakes a lead of 12 points to nil.
At the break there was no further score to maintain the Hakes 12 point lead over their local rivals who had now played 120 minutes of rugby against St Ives without scoring a point.
The second half began with the Pirates looking feisty and determined to get something from the game. In the 43rd minute they were rewarded for their efforts when replacement Jamie Barrett forced his way over from a scrum on the St Ives 5 metre line. James Trezise added the conversion to put the Amateurs back in the game at 12 points to 7.
The Pirates suffered a setback in the 46th minute when they lost Rob Cutter to a red card following foul play at a breakdown. They were punished 8 minutes later when the Hakes took full advantage of the extra man. They moved the ball swiftly from left to right, allowing full back Bobby Conroy-Smith to breakaway and score the Hakes’ third try of the afternoon in the corner. The conversion was missed, but St Ives were now ahead by 17 points to 7.
As the second half wore on the game became more ill-tempered. Things came to a head in the 69th minute when a clearance from St Ives fly half Paul Thirlby in his own 22 was met with a late challenge by Pirates flanker Charlie Goldsworthy. The fracas that followed saw St Ives lose Grant Thirlby to a red card for retaliation and the Pirates lose Goldsworthy to a yellow card for the late challenge.
With the Pirates reduced to 13 men and the Hakes to 14 it was the Pirates who responded better. They pressurised the St Ives defence deep in their own half and were rewarded in the 71st minute when Rhodri McAtee went over from close range to score the Amateurs’ second try of the afternoon. The conversion was added by Trezise to make the score St Ives 17, Pirates 14.
The St Ives players rallied well and were soon on the attack again in the Pirates half. An attacking line out in the 75th minute provided the platform that the St Ives pack were looking for. From the throw second row Todd Prisk wriggled and forced his way over the line to score the Hakes’ fourth and bonus point try. The conversion was missed, but the Hakes now enjoyed a lead of 22 points to 14.
As the game entered its last few minutes it was clear that the Pirates still believed that they could get something from the match. Their task was made a little easier when in the 77th minute St Ives centre Tom Nicholas was shown a yellow card for an illegal tackle reducing the Hakes to thirteen men. The Pirates took full advantage of this and attacked the St Ives try line with renewed belief. In the 79th minute their pressure turned into points when Steve Evans crashed over the try line to score the Pirates third try. Again Trezise added the conversion to put the Pirates within one point of the Hakes at 22 points to 21.
There was time to restart the game, but with only one minute to play there was little time for either side to add to their score. The match ended with the score line the same to confirm St Ives as the winners by the slenderest of margins.
The bonus point victory for St Ives leaves them with their promotion hopes still in their own hands. Bonus point victories for both league leaders Bude and third placed Withycombe see the status quo preserved in the league table.
The Hakes are back in action this coming Easter weekend with the traditional fixture against the Imperial Medics on Good Friday at Alexandra Road (2:30pm KO) and on Easter Monday in the re-arranged league fixture against Newquay again at Alexandra Road (3:00pm KO).
St Ives : Jess Tompsett, Ben Taylor (Captain), Ben Jenkins, Jamie Prisk, Todd Prisk, Guy Pallett, Louis Stevens, Martyn Lawrance, Sam Carter, Paul Thirlby, Tom Murray, Grant Thirlby, Tom Nicholas, Peter Mabbott, Bobby Conroy-Smith.
Replacements : Tony Stevens, Jamie Hoskin (Used), John Trewhella (Not Used)