The stage is set for the dual against Devon club Sidmouth at the Recreation Ground at 3:00 tomorrow. Several notable esteemed players from the locality recognise this as a ‘must win’. Assuredly, home games against teams that are close to The Hakes in the league table, and Sidmouth are one of them, provide a perfect opportunity to show how real the progress is with this group of players.
There is little change to the pack. St Ives has a small squad with none too many options. However, the return of Archie Mackay at blind side is a pleasing one. After making his mark in the opening fixture with Cullompton, the former London Irish Academy member limped off with a knee problem. His return allows Harry Parton to lock with Jamie Prisk to give the second row more mobility. Accordingly, Ben Jenkins can take his place in the front row, which sees Jon Wright on the bench, from where Tom Chandler will have his chance to make an impact as he continues to improve his match fitness.
In the backs Grant Thirlby has his first match at fly half. In the centre the solid partnership of Tom Nicholas and Steve Kenward is halted as Tom is on duty with the Fire Service. It is perhaps a little surprising that Jordan Gott is moved to centre, but head coach, Paul Thirlby will have his reasons. In the back three former colt Peter Skeggs takes position on the wing. Peter Mabbott is not available and Josh Palmer has returned to university. With resources stretched as they are, Paul Thirlby names himself as the cover for the backs.
The league table, whilst interesting to examine, does not tell the whole story. Last week Sidmouth had a mammoth victory over Bude. But what has happened to our Cornish rivals from the north of the county, with one slender win and three heavy losses? Sidmouth are just above them and a win for St Ives would take us above them. Equally, although this is a fair old trip for Sidmouth, they managed a losing bonus point at home to Truro. Much will depend on the side they bring. But St Ives will be absolutely focussed on the task.
It should be a fascinating encounter, one not to be missed.
The full squad is: