St Ives has a good looking squad for the match against Exeter University tomorrow, Saturday 17th September. The last time the teams met was in the same league (Western Counties West) at the same time of the year, with similar starts made by both clubs. Exeter University are riding high in second place with two wins. The Hakes lost 7:77 in that game two seasons ago. Only six players from then will be taking the field for St Ives tomorrow. Back then it was tough getting a three quarter line on the field. It looked like this: J Rouncefield, J Ninnes, S Chandler, A Rowe, G Rees, J Palmer and N Prisk.
The forward line up has similar faces to previous games this season. In the front row Ben Taylor returns, leaving Joel Stevens on the bench. It should be noted that the latter deputised well at Devonport, but the club captain will make a difference. Jon ‘Oggy’ Wright starts at prop with Ben Jenkins the named front row replacement.
In the second row Tom Chandler makes a welcome return. He made considerable progress after switching from the backs. Family responsibilities have kept him side-lined from rugby for the past twelve months. His last encounter was at Falmouth in October 2015. He will partner Jamie Prisk.
Martyn Lawrance returns from holiday at blind side, leaving Harry Parton to continue at No.8. Sean Stevens maintains his place after a solid performance last week.
The backs stay the same as last week. As reported earlier in the match report, they were far more convincing at Devonport. For sure, the services side are not Cullompton, but St Ives often made line breaks deep in the heart of their defence. With good ball they should be able to create chances as they become more cohesive with each game. Liam Jolly (scrum half) is the backs’ replacement.
Exeter University has made an excellent start, one that St Ives will want to halt. The drubbing of two seasons since will not be repeated. In their other away fixture the students travelled to Wadebridge and won narrowly 5:10. Wadebridge player/coach, Mike Rawlings said of his team,
"The whole defensive effort from one to 15, and the replacements that came on, everybody in the Camels side was just chucking their body into tackles, and just working so hard with our scramble defence.”
St Ives’ task will need total commitment and good decision making. Any chances must be converted.
Come up to The Rec and watch what should be a very good game of rugby. Kick-off is at 3 o’clock. The full squad is:
1 James Bishop
2 Ben Taylor
3 Jon Wright
4 Jamie Prisk
5 Tom Chandler
6 Martyn Lawrance
7 Sean Stevens
8 Harry Parton
9 Grant Thirlby
10 Jordan Gott
11 Peter Mabbott
12 Steve Kenward
13 Tom Nicholas
14 Josh Palmer
15 Lewis Thomas
16 Liam Jolly
17 Joel Stevens
18 Ben Jenkins