The next test in a very encouraging start to the season is St Austell. This was the venue where St Ives igniting their season last year with a 32:39 victory, after five straight loses, which saw The Hakes propping up the table with Crediton. How times change! The experience of spending a season in the Western Counties West League is perhaps showing dividends. However, make no mistake; this will be a test of proper derby proportions.
St Austell were jolted by a single point home defeat against Devon side Sidmouth, who themselves were thrashed 44:3 away to Kingsbridge last week. Travelling to Paignton for their first away challenge, The Saints returned in more buoyant state, having notched a bonus point win.
It is early days, but anyone who follows sport enjoys the opportunity to consider all the ‘ifs and buts’.
How lovely to see Stephen Bassett able and willing to support The Hakes last week.
We trust and pray for continued progress in his rehibilitation.
On the field, St Ives are able to present a strong looking squad. With Rob Elloway unavailable this week, Joel Stevens comes in at hooker for his first appearance this season. With fourteen appearances last year, Joel is steadily building his confidence. No one can fault his commitment when called upon. Ben Taylor and Leigh Hocking are the props. The former was not found wanting in his scrummaging, nor did we see any the less of him in going forward with ball in hand.
Jamie Prisk is playing well, and, no doubt, will be a regular performer and points scorer. His partner in the second row is John Lamsin, whose considerable experience will be appreciated in his second match for The Hakes.
Martyn Lawrance returns at No.8 after a rare absence last week. Martyn continues to impress with his willingness to work. His control at the base and his passing and distribution show progression. Harry Parton and Peter Mabbott complete the back row. Harry played in twenty one matches last season, but only three had him selected to start in the back row. His experience in the line out will, however, be a bonus. Peter has a one track, single minded approach to his game, which is built on fearlessness and power. No wonder he suffers from having to carry injuries. For him to survive long term he may need to adopt some illusiveness into his running skills. Three of his seven tries last season came from the wing forward position, where he is equally at home as on the wing.
Treve Polglase becomes the third scrum half starting partner for joint head coach Paul Thirlby, although the former came off the bench during the win over The Camels. Liam Jolly reverts to the wing. The rest of the backs take on a familiar look. Captain Kenward, Nicholas, Parma and Brownfield should cause enough problems to keep the St Austell defence busy. Brownfield kicked with precision last week, to increase his moving average percentage of converting tries to 66%. This is a very good standard in this league.
The bench is made up of Ben Jenkins, Ben Wheeler and Josh Palmer, which may herald the return of two more Hakes, if all goes well, or injuries occur.
Worth the Effort
The weather is for continuing blustery showers, but the met office indicates the best of the day being from 3:00 in the afternoon. With this being a derby and the next home match a month hence, this is a good time to make the effort to watch The Blues, who maybe in ‘the pink’.
Kick-off is at 3:00pm. The full squad is: