St Ives 22 : 28 Sidmouth
The Hakes slipped to their fifth defeat in a row when they welcomed Devon side Sidmouth to Alexandra Road last Saturday in their latest league game in the Western Counties West division. Importantly St Ives secured two losing bonus points that may well help them in the latter stages of the season.
The team was strengthened by the return of flanker Archie Mackay who has recovered from a knee problem sustained in the first game of the season. With Tom Nicholas unavailable this week due to work commitments Jordan Gott moved to centre with Grant Thirlby making his first start at fly half this term. A shortage of players in the backs saw Peter Skeggs make his first start on the wing and coach Paul Thirlby named himself as cover on the bench.
The game didn't start well for the Hakes as they looked to secure what would have been a first victory this season when a missed tackle in midfield which saw Sidmouth take full advantage with James Powell crossed for the opening try converted by Tom Whelan to give the Devon side an early 7 point lead after just 5 minutes.
Despite finding themselves behind the St Ives players showed good character and patiently played their own rugby. Several phases were skilfully worked and in the 10th minute this was rewarded when lock Jamie Prisk crashed over the line from the 5 metres to finish off an excellent team movement. The tricky conversion was missed, but the Hakes had a foothold in the game at 5 points to 7.
The momentum that St Ives had achieved produced a good spell of pressure which resulted in a further two tries in what was an excellent 15 minute spell for the home side. First it was number 8 Martyn Lawrence off the base of an attacking scrum in the 17th minute for an unconverted try. In the 23rd minute the Hakes opened up a 10 point lead when Jordan Gott read the Sidmouth defensive play superbly and intercepted a loose pass to score a try under the posts. This time he converted himself to put the Hakes in charge at 17 points to 7.
The remainder of the first half saw the visitors have a good spell of pressure themselves. The last 15 minutes of the half saw them camped in the St Ives half of the pitch. Despite some resilient defence from the Hakes the pressure eventually told and Sidmouth scored a try when Sam Richardson got the ball down against the posts following a ruck on the 5 metre line. Tom Whelan added the conversion to make the score at the break St Ives 17, Sidmouth 14.
The first quarter of the second half saw both sides largely cancel each other out and the following stalemate was eventually broken when Sidmouth stole the ball from a St Ives ruck in midfield, they worked the ball into the hands of their full back Rory O’Brien who finished off the turnover with a try, again the conversion was kicked by Whelan to put Sidmouth back in front by 21 points to 17.
With the St Ives players going behind as the clock ticked away towards the end they restarted the game with renewed vigour and began to press the Devon side back into their own half. Once again they lost the possession when the ball was dropped. Sidmouth capitalised in full making a break and once again finding the hands of pacey full back O’Brien who outpaced the St Ives cover to score his second try of the game. Tom Whelan made it four conversions out of four when he kicked the extra’s to put the Devon side in a commanding position with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.
The St Ives players responded well and spent the remainder of the match camped in the Sidmouth 22. The pressure was rewarded fun the 75th minute when scrum half Liam Jolly squeezed into the corner for an unconverted try to put the Hakes within a score at 22 points to 28. From the restart St Ives once again camped themselves in the Sidmouth 22. The following siege saw multiple attempts by the St Ives forwards to break through a resolute Sidmouth defence that ultimately held on for a victory that condemned St Ives to a fifth successive defeat.
Despite the loss the Hakes picked up a valuable 2 bonus points which sees them second from bottom in the league table but equal on points with Bude and only two points short of 11 placed Burnham on Sea where the Hakes must travel to at the end of October.
St Ives are back in league action this coming Saturday when the travel to St Austell. Kick off at Tregorrick Park is scheduled for 3:00pm; any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives : James Bishop, Ben Taylor (Captain), Ben Jenkins, Jamie Prisk, Harry Parton, Archie Mackay, Sean Stevens, Martyn Lawrance, Liam Jolly, Grant Thirlby, Peter Skeggs, Steve Kenward, Jordan Gott, Reece Gilbert, Lewis Thomas.
Replacements: Paul Thirlby, Tom Chandler, Jon Wright (All Used)