St Ives 10 v 11 Exeter University
The St Ives 1st team squad came the closest yet to a victory this season when they entertained an un-beaten Exeter University side at Alexandra Road last Saturday.
Several changes were made to the team that travelled to Devonport last weekend. Ben Taylor returned to the side after shaking off the injury that prevented his participation last week. Tom Chandler returned after nearly 12 months in the second row alongside Jamie Prisk. With the departure of Jess Tompsett to Redruth and Cameron Bone to Camborne this week Martyn Lawrance returned from holiday to the flank with Harry Parton continuing at number 8. Lewis Thomas was not available this weekend due to illness so new signing Reece Gilbert was named on the bench with Liam Jolly starting at scrum half and Grant Thirlby covering full back.
The game began brightly with both sides showing equal determination to gain the upper hand early on. It wasn't until the 17th minute, however, that the deadlock was broken. The university side despatched the ball into the corner and they successfully converted the throw into a driving maul which, despite some excellent defensive work from the Hakes, Simon Lindsell managed to cross the try line for the first points of the afternoon. The conversion was missed to give the visitors a 5 points to nil lead.
Many onlookers may have thought that the St Ives team would go on to concede further points to what is a strong Exeter University side, but in this game that was not the case as it was two seasons ago when these two sides last met. For the remainder of the 1st half the Hakes gave as good as they got and eventually got right under the visitors skin forcing them into errors and indiscipline before the half time whistle.
On the half hour mark St Ives scored their first points of the afternoon when fly half Jordan Gott successfully converted a penalty kick awarded for the visitors illegally holding on to the ball at a breakdown to make the score St Ives 3 Exeter University 5.
There was no further score in the first half, but notably both sides lost a player to a yellow card just before the break which was a result of frustration showing on the visitors behalf as they were obviously not having things all their own way.
The second half began with the Hakes on the attack. Captain Ben Taylor made a break for the line and gave a slick offload to second row Chandler who dived over the line to score the try only for the referee to arrive and judge that the ball had been held up by the University defence much to the dismay of the home crowd. From the following 5 metre scrum the St Ives players worked the ball through several phases into a position for Jamie Prisk to burst over the try line to score a try in the 44th minute, the conversion was added by Gott to put the Hakes ahead by 10 points to 5.
St Ives squandered a chance to go further ahead A penalty chance was missed following a high tackle on a St Ives player. This miss was to prove costly as it would have put the Hakes ahead by more than a converted try which surely would have seen them hang on for a famous victory.
In the 53rd minute the visitors were gifted a penalty chance when the home side stayed offside inside their own 22 which Exeter fly half Charlie Wicks successfully converted to put the visitors within 2 points of the St Ives score at 10 points to 8.
The University side visibly upped their game for the last quarter of the match, but their renewed efforts were met with some resolute defending from the St Ives players which prevented the visitors from scoring any further tries in the match.
The St Ives players held the lead in the match until the 74th minute when their own scrum collapsed in front of their posts. The referee awarded the visitors an easy penalty chance which fly half Wicks again converted to break St Ives hearts and make the score St Ives 10, Exeter University 11.
The referee brought the game to a close 5 minutes later with no change in the score to see the Hakes condemned to their third defeat in a row. Despite losing this game the St Ives coaching staff must take some heart from the performance given in this game which will surely lead to them claiming their first victory in the coming weeks.
The Hakes are back in action next weekend when they are back on the road again with an away trip to Devon side Torquay, kick off in Devon is scheduled for 3:00pm this coming Saturday, any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives : James Bishop, Ben Taylor (Captain), Jon Wright, Jamie Prisk, Tom Chandler, Martyn Lawrance, Sean Stevens, Harry Parton, Liam Jolly, Jordan Gott, Peter Mabbott, Steve Kenward, Tom Nicholas, Josh Palmer, Grant Thirlby.
Replacements : Reece Gilbert, Ben Jenkins, Joel Stevens.