The team to play Falmouth has a few changes from the one that played so well in the last two matches. The pack stays the same. Martyn Lawrance, who left the field injured after just ten minutes last week is fit and returns to the back row. Captain Ben Taylor and second row, (uncle) Todd Prisk, will both be keen to make their presence felt to underline their inclusion in the Cornwall senior county squad training for the county championship in May.
The bench of brothers, Tony and Louis Stevens, together with Jamie Hoskin, provides impact and / or cover for the forwards. But they are only one of three sets of brothers playing for The Hakes today; Todd and (dad) Jamie Prisk adorn the second row, while head coach Paul Thirlby comes in at fly half. His brother, Grant moves out to centre while Greg Loydall is absent. All of them are St Ives men too, proper Hakes.
The club extends a welcome back to Jason Jackson, who has agreed to help out while Sam Carter is unavailable. He comes in for his sixth appearance. The Culdrose boys are committed to Combined Services training over the next couple of weeks. The other welcome back from injury, while Peter Mabbott has work commitments over the weekend, is Nathan Allen on the wing. Nathan was injured in October during the Falmouth game at Dracaena Avenue. He was then injured after the game at Bude in November. With Bobby Conroy- Smith on the other wing, St Ives has immense pace out wide if these speedsters can be served with good ball.
Conditions on the pitch are poor, with the terrific amount of rain that fell on Thursday. More is forecast before tomorrow’s match. The Hakes have shown that they can produce quality football even in such conditions. Paul Thirlby, who watched the previous performance against Falmouth from the touch line (and dead ball line), knows that St Ives will have to do better and play a lot smarter than in that meeting, which ended in defeat. He has the opportunity to leave his own mark and ensure game plans are followed in this return fixture.
Some will feel that Falmouth is not so good on the road. In fact, they have won four of six away games. This can be tempered with another fact. All these wins were against sides in the bottom half of the table; Bodmin, Newquay, Hayle and Exeter Saracens. Apart from a surprising mauling at Bude, this is The Eagles’ toughest assignment away from home this term. They will be keen to prove themselves. Their side has most of their regulars, but appear to be without club captain, Justyn Irons.
If St Ives is to press home their promotion prospects, a win is crucial today. Few of the side played well at Falmouth. All will be ‘up for it’. Self-discipline and team structure, so much improved since that awful display in October, should spread quiet uncomplacent confidence amongst the squad.
There will be a minute’s silence before the kick-off in remembrance of Terry Perkin, who passed away this week. Please arrive early so as not to miss this opportunity to show support for the family.
Kick-off is at 2:30pm.
The full squad is: