St Ives 27 v 10 Wellington
Following St Ives demolition of Bude in their last game it may have been expected that they would have put a similar result on bottom of the league side Wellington. The encounter that took place was very different however.
St Ives fielded what on paper was a stronger side, Jamie Hoskin returned in the second row, Archie Mackay resumed his role at number 8 and Tom Nicholas was available again at centre. With Jordan Gott returning to fly half head coach Paul Thirlby stood down.
The game began with Wellington on the attack early on. This was rewarded with a penalty that Tom Hawkings slotted between the posts to give Wellington an early advantage after 2 minutes. St Ives hit back 8 minutes later. They were piling the pressure on the visitors’ defence in their 5 metre zone allowing scrum half Sam Carter to score a sniping try from the base of a ruck. Jordan Gott added the conversion to put the Hakes ahead by 7 points to 3.
It soon became clear that St Ives had a game on their hands. Despite being the physically larger side the Hakes were struggling to press home this advantage and Wellington were repelling the St Ives attacks with some outstanding commitment in defence.
St Ives did extend their lead in the 28th minute, but only from a penalty when the visitors were caught offside in front of the own posts. Gott slotted the kick to extend the Hakes lead to 10 points to 3.
The pressure that the Hakes were applying was beginning to make some holes in the Wellington defence and in the 37th minute full back Lewis Thomas was released out wide on the right to score the try. This time the conversion was missed to make the score St Ives 15, Wellington 3.
The remainder of the first half saw more resilience from Wellington to frustrate the Hakes in attack and the visitors had two chances from the boot of Hawkings. Neither opportunity was taken, despite one of the efforts hitting the uprights. The referee probably miss read what should have been an attacking 5 metre scrum and awarded a 22m drop out. St Ives was also guilty of several missed chances where a final pass would have brought a try. The combination of a little white line fever, slippery, damp conditions and Wellington’s drifting defence against an attack that failed to straighten the line brought frustration to players and supporters alike. The latter were probably also guilty of expecting an easy, entertaining try scoring feast. The referee brought the half to an end with no further additions to the score (15-3).
The second half began brightly for the visitors and they pushed the Hakes back in their own half early on. The St Ives defence, however, stood firm and soon the Hakes turned defence into attack. In the 55th minute second row Jamie Prisk made a break for the line. As he was tackled he offloaded the ball to number 8 Archie Mackay, who crossed for the try. The conversion was missed to see the Hakes advantage increase to 17 points at 20 points to 3.
Wellington refused to give up. They were soon mounting attacks of their own, quite unwilling to be rolled over. Good pressure in the St Ives 5 metre zone saw Wellington’s Josh Hancock cross for a well-deserved try for the visitors. Hawkings, a reliable goal kicker, struck the conversion to make the score line St Ives 20, Wellington 10.
Despite Wellingtons best efforts they never really looked like they would threaten the lead that St Ives had built. Wellington’s try celebration had the potential to ruin St Ives’ afternoon, but it proved to be the home side that reasserted themselves. In the 70th minute the Hakes put the result beyond any doubt. The home side were awarded an attacking scrum and the ball was worked into the hands of centre Tom Nicholas. Mr. Consistent weaved his way through the visitors defence to score the try; Gott added the conversion to set the final score of the match at St Ives 27, Wellington 10.
Most stake holders, like me, would say that the game was not a memorable one, but at least we got a bonus point win, which had looked unlikely at times. But it may have been a better afternoon than we thought. After checking Wellington’s six away matches this season, which include Wadebridge (28:14) and Truro (36:22), the defeat on Saturday was the heaviest. Those sides managed a fourteen point difference, compared to The Hakes’ seventeen.
After the game the St Ives coaching staff was quick to praise the visitors for their performance, which does not reflect their league position. This win sees St Ives consolidate 6th place in the league only two points behind 5th placed Wadebridge and 11 points adrift of league leaders Devonport Services who visit Alexandra Road in the last match before Christmas on the 17th of December. Exeter University have now lost three in a row.
This coming Saturday, St Ives travel to Crediton for their final away league game of the year. Before we all start to pencil in another win to keep us chasing the pack at the top of the league, a little research of Crediton’s home form will be of interest. They have won their last three at home. The two losses at home, suffered prior to that, were by just one point against Torquay Athletic and a 5:14 loss to league leaders, Devonport Services. Points are clearly hard to come by at The Blagdon Ground. Kick off in Devon is scheduled for 2:30pm; any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives : Ben Jenkins, Ben Taylor (Captain), Tom Chandler, Jamie Prisk, Jamie Hoskin, Martyn Lawrance, Sean Stevens, Archie Mackay, Sam Carter, Jordan Gott, Pete Mabbott, Steve Kenward, Tom Nicholas, Joe Rouncefield, Lewis Thomas.
Replacements: Jacob Ninnes, Ben Wheeler, Liam Jolly (All Used)