St Ives are able to field a strong looking squad to travel into Devon for their fourth match in the Tribute Western Counties West league. Their opponents are Paignton, who are almost propping up the table in 13th place. To date they have recorded just one win in four and that was away to near rivals Sidmouth. However, The Hakes are all too aware that a list of names on paper may have little resemblance to the way those players perform. The debacle at St Austell a couple of weeks ago is truly one to be forgotten. A win at Paignton will be the best medicine for that outcome.
Unknown to your writer is the reason why one match in last week’s fixture list was omitted, such that St Ives and Sidmouth dropped a game behind others. All the results last week went against St Ives, which renders them in 6th place.
In other matched today, Kingsbridge, St Austell and Wadebridge, again on paper, are likely to further their cause with wins to keep them above The Hakes. The top fixture has to be Devonport Services v Chard, 2nd v 4th, separated by just one point.
With few vocal leaders on the pitch at St Austell, the return of joint head player coach, Rob Elloway, is significant and should provide the sort of guidance that was lacking. Ben Jenkins and Ben Taylor complete a solid front row. Tom Chandler and Leigh Hocking provide more than adequate back up on the bench.
The second row continues the pairing of Jamie Prisk and John Lamsin, while Sean Stevens returns to partner Harry Parton in the back row. Martyn Lawrance is at No.8. Cameron Bone looks set to have his first appearance for St Ives this season from the bench.
Also returning is Sam Carter at half back, with Rhys Brownfield moving to flyhalf. Joint head coach, Paul Thirlby, will be eyeing proceedings from the touch line this week. Kenward and Nicholas continue together in the centres, Peter Mabbott moves back to one wing, while Josh Palmer is promoted from the bench to the other.
Congratulations are extended to Able Seaman Grant Thirlby who is at full back today. We trust he is able (no pun intended – OK, I suppose it is) to celebrate with the rest of the squad with a win today!
Paignton were promoted as runners up from the Cornwall & Devon league last season and are finding their feet, rather as St Ives did last year. The previous occasion that St Ives visited Paignton was on the 27th February 2016 in the Cornwall & Devon league. Another bonus point win similar to that 10:35 result would be very much the desired outcome.
Kick-off is at 3:00pm. The full squad is:
1) Ben Taylor
2) Rob Elloway
3) Ben Jenkins
4) Jamie Prisk
5) John Lamsin
6) Harry Parton
7) Sean Stevens
8) Martyn Lawrance
9) Sam Carter
10) Rhys Brownfield
11) Pete Mabbott
12) Steve Kenward
13) Tom Nicholas
14) Josh Palmer
15) Grant Thirlby
16) Cameron Bone
17) Leigh Hocking
18) Tom Chandler