St Ives kick off the new season with some familiar names from last year’s highly successful campaign. There are also a number of new names and faces, mingled with some old ones. Many will be pleased that local St Ives lads are also featured in a game, even at this level, survives by the movement of players from various clubs. Indeed, Cullompton may benefit from the promotion of both Barnstaple and Exmouth into National League 2 South, with players disinclined to travel the entire breadth of the realm.
Jess Tompsett has continuing knee problems, which opens the way for James Bishop in the front row. He is an ex St Ives Colt and Truro School player. He joins the ‘redoubtables’ in the form of captain Ben Taylor and Ben Jenkins. The welcome return of former St Ives player John Wright covers the front row on the bench.
In the second row, the experienced Jamie Hoskin partners young Harry Parton. The latter may be staying in St Ives pending permanent employment. He showed plenty of promise at the start of last season and should do well.
The back row has two key men from last year, who will want to figure just as prominently in this higher level. They have new signing, Archie Mackay filling the other flanker role. Young Jake Clemson, who played so well at the end of last season against Bodmin and Exeter Saracens, may get his first home game for the Hakes, should he be called upon from the replacements.
Supporters will be wondering about other names from last year. Luke Collins has signed elsewhere, Guy Pallett is recovering from injury, Jamie Prisk, Sean and Joel Stevens are all available. Tom Chandler is back training and prop Ben Wheeler will be around for any emergency from other front row unavailability. It is worth noting that pre-season training has averaged about twenty, with 29 last Tuesday for the latest session.
The half backs are new signings Liam Jolly and Jordan Gott. Much will depend on their decision making and core skills. Hakes regular, Tom Nicholas, is partnered at centre by Steve Kenward, to form another new partnership, which should be a strong combination. Grant Thirlby is the third member of the bench and can slot in anywhere in the midfield.
Luke Allatt begins on the wing to make his home debut. On the other wing, Josh Palmer returns to the club and is available for several weeks. The now familiar figure of Lewis Thomas is at full back.
Other three quarters include Peter Skeggs, Sam Carter (away at sea until mid-October) and Pete Mabbott, who has just begun training. Rhys Gilbert is another signing from Redruth. He has played his rugby with their colts and for Truro College.
This new look group has trained hard and prepared as well as they can according to head coach, Paul Thirlby. They are now eager to take the field and see what they can achieve. The first few results across this league will begin to give a clearer picture of who is likely to emerge as battling for top, middle or lower places.
Kick off is at 3:00p.m. We look forward to seeing new and old faces. The full squad is:
1. James Bishop
2. Ben Taylor (c)
3. Ben Jenkins
4. Harry Parton
5. Jamie Hoskin
6. Archie McKay
7. Cameron Bone
8. Martyn Lawrance
9. Liam Jolly
10. Jordan Gott
11. Luke Allatt
12. Steve Kenward
13. Tom Nicholas
14. Josh Palmer
15. Lewis Thomas
16. Grant Thirlby
17. Jake Clemson
18. Jon Wright