Joint head coaches Paul Thirlby and Rob Elloway took the St Ives 1st team squad to the Recreation ground Falmouth for the Hakes' first fixture of the new Western Counties West 2017/18 season.
St Ives desire for success this season has been underlined by some good signings in the summer including ex Cornish Pirates player Rob Elloway as player coach, Rhys Brownfield, John Lamsin, prop Leigh Hocking, back row forward Cameron Bone rejoins from Camborne, Treve Polglase and Kye Beasley.
With a strong side named, for this first match against Falmouth, the club had high hopes of a victory in an all Cornish derby match that certainly lived up to pre match expectation.
The first points of the afternoon went to the home side, when Falmouth fly half Justyn Irons successfully converted a penalty chance in the 15th minute, when a St Ives player was penalised for not releasing the ball. This score came following a typically nervous opening to the first game of the new season from both sides. St Ives replied just 4 minutes later through the boot of new signing Rhys Brownfield, from another penalty in the 19th minute to level the scores at 3 points each.
With both sides now beginning to settle into their rugby it became clear that Falmouth were a strong defensive side that were going to be difficult to break down but were also dangerous in attack with some quick and skilful players in their back division that were more than capable of breaking through the St Ives defence.
In the 25th minute the threat from the Falmouth backs was all too evident when centre Alex Kindjarsky broke through the visitors defence with relative ease, to score the first try of the afternoon. Irons kicked the conversion to put Falmouth ahead by 10 points to 3.
Irons missed a chance to extend the home sides lead further when a penalty chance was missed in the 29th minute. The remainder of the half saw the St Ives' players begin to put pressure on the home defence from a series of penalties that were despatched into the corner giving the powerful St Ives pack a chance to demonstrate their catch and drive skills. From the second such set piece the St Ives forwards formed a maul that rumbled its way over the Falmouth try line, allowing prop Ben Taylor to score St Ives opening try of the game. The conversion from Brownfield put the Hakes on level terms at 10 points each.
On the stroke of half time Brownfield successfully converted another penalty chance to make the half time score Falmouth 10, St Ives 13.
The second half began with St Ives looking in determined mood to stamp their authority on the game. The Hakes raised the tempo of the match and began to pile the pressure on the home side and only 5 minutes after the restart second row Jamie Prisk finished off a move with a try which was again converted by Brownfield to put the Hakes further ahead at 20 points to 10.
With the game now being played at a pace that was being set by an impressive looking St Ives side it was almost inevitable that the next score was going to come sooner rather than later. With 52 minutes on the clock St Ives number 8, Martyn Lawrance, burst through the home defence in typical style to score another try for the visitors. This time the conversion was missed, but St Ives had a healthy looking lead at 25 points to 10.
The next score came against the run of play, it has to be said, when Falmouth’s Matt Poole intercepted a wayward St Ives pass and outpaced the Hakes defence to score a breakaway try. The conversion was missed to make the score Falmouth 15, St Ives 25.
With the St Ives momentum disrupted by the Falmouth score against the run of play the remainder of the match was more evenly contested with much of the play condensed into the middle portion of the field. In the 65th minute the St Ives victory was assured when replacement centre Joe Parma used his strength to break through the home defence to score the final try of the match out wide on the St Ives left. Many spectators and palyers were non plussed, since the ball seemed to clearly bounce from a metre off the ground. No conversion was added to set the final score at Falmouth 15, St Ives 30 when the referee brought the game to a close.
This was a hard fought but deserved victory for St Ives against a resolute and strong defensive Falmouth side who on this performance look good value for a strong season in the Western Counties West division. St Ives own credentials also look good for the season with an impressive looking pack and strong hard running set of backs.
St Ives now look forward to their first home game of the new season this coming Saturday when they welcome Wadebridge Camels to Alexandra Road. Kick off is scheduled for 3:00pm, any home support would be very welcome.
St Ives : Leigh Hocking, Rob Elloway, Ben Taylor, Jamie Prisk, Jamie Hoskin, Harry Parton, Sean Stevens, Martyn Lawrance, Sam Carter, Paul Thirlby, Peter Mabbott, Steve Kenward (Captain), Tom Nicholas, Liam Jolly, Rhys Brownfield.
Replacements : Ben Jenkins, Tom Chandler, Joe Parma (All Used).