Hakes Consolidate 2nd Place in League
Bodmin 0 v 31 St Ives
The St Ives first team squad travelled to Bodmin last Saturday for their latest league game in the Cornwall & Devon league knowing that only a bonus point victory would keep their promotion hopes in their own hands. Head Coach, Paul Thirlby, named a strong side to face their mid Cornwall opponents and handed out senior debuts to Colts players Luke Allatt and Jake Clemson. Niall Prisk came on to the right wing joining his two brothers in the side and Lewis Thomas returned from injury to full back.
From the kick off the St Ives players went on the attack. Following a penalty that was despatched into the Bodmin 22 the St Ives forwards demonstrated their power and formed a maul from the line out. They powered their way over the try line allowing Louis Stevens at the rear to score the try. The difficult conversion was missed, but the Hakes had the start they wanted with an early 5 point lead after only 2 minutes play.
The early exchanges continued to demonstrate the power of the St Ives front five, but Bodmin did get a chance of points in the 10th minute when they were awarded a penalty when a St Ives player was penalised for not releasing following a tackle. The chance, which came from a counter attack from a charged down kick, was not taken however, to leave St Ives with the early advantage intact.
Playing down the slope in the first half gave the Hakes an advantage that they needed to use as it was sure to be difficult playing up the slope in the second half. In the muddy conditions they continued to press home their attacks. In the 15th minute the St Ives pack worked the ball once again into the Bodmin 22. Prop Ben Jenkins deftly swept the ball wide into the arms of centre Guy Pallett who crossed the try line to score the Hakes second try. This time the conversion was successfully kicked by Lewis Thomas to put the Hakes ahead by 12 points to nil.
The St Ives defence was managing to keep the Bodmin players in check which gave their forwards the platform they needed to push home their attacks. Once again this was rewarded in the 22nd minute when Todd Prisk forced his way over following an attacking line out to make the score Bodmin 0, St Ives 17 following the missed conversion attempt.
On 29 minutes prop Ben Jenkins was replaced by Ben Wheeler who returned to the side for his first appearance since November. Wheeler was soon in the thick of the action as the St Ives players were awarded several scrums on the Bodmin 5 metre line in the 32nd minute. Repeated infringements from the Bodmin scrum saw the referee march under the posts and award the penalty try, perhaps surprisingly, only their second of the season. Lewis Thomas kicked the conversion to put the Hakes in control of the match at 24 points to nil.
The Hakes continued to put pressure on the Bodmin defence for the remainder of the first half, in the 37th minute more great work from the St Ives forwards saw them camped on the Bodmin 5 metre line. Scrum half Sam Carter saw an opportunity and gathered the ball from the base of a ruck and darted across the try line to score the Hakes 4th and bonus point try; once again Thomas added the extras to put the Hakes 31 points to nil up at the break.
The second half was always going to be tough for the St Ives players as they struggled to work their way up the muddy slope. Bodmin, however, knew that this was their chance to put pressure on the St Ives defence which they did for long periods of the second half. The St Ives defence was up to the task and kept the home side at bay for the entire second half to ensure the Hakes were victorious at the final whistle by 31 points to nil.
This dominant bonus point victory for St Ives was positive for many reasons, but it was pleasing to see two youth players come through into the senior set up. Seventeen year old debutants Luke Allatt and Jake Clemson acquitted themselves well and performed capably. This shows that the Hakes have a good Colts set up which is able to provide players capable of making the step to senior rugby.
DoR Joff Rowe: “Look, it was a game that should really have been called off given the dire pitch conditions, but it wasn’t and we got a bonus point win, so we’ll happily take that.”
Head coach Paul Thirlby: “It was never going to be a pretty match. We knew we had a job to do and executed well in the first half to get the bonus point. It would have been pleasing to see us combine a little better in attack up the slope, but our defence was good against a Bodmin team that applied plenty of pressure. Some scruffy rugby in difficult conditions, but we got what we came for.”
“I am pleased with the arrival of Rob Elloway this week. It should help motivate players to commit themselves fully for the rest of the season. We still have a lot to learn and a lot to play for.”
After the final whistle the St Ives players and staff were keen to learn how their promotion rivals Bude and Withycombe had faired against each other. News soon came through that Bude had beaten Withycombe by 40 points to 19. This result sees the Hakes consolidate second place in the league. Bude still top the table with 103 points ahead of St Ives who are 10 points adrift of the leaders. Withycombe trail the Hakes by 15 points in third place, but the Devon side have 3 games in hand over St Ives. This means that this coming Saturday’s fixture between St Ives and Withycombe at Alexandra Road is all important in the race for promotion. Kick off at St Ives is scheduled for 3:00pm. Any support for the St Ives players in this mouth watering encounter will be greatly received.
St Ives: Jess Tompsett, Ben Taylor (Captain), Ben Jenkins, Jamie Prisk, Louis Stevens, Todd Prisk, Cameron Bone, Martyn Lawrance, Sam Carter, Paul Thirlby, Luke Allatt, Guy Pallett, Tom Nicholas, Niall Prisk, Lewis Thomas.
Replacements: Ben Wheeler, Jake Clemson, John Trewhella (All used).