After a bonus point win and seven tries against Chard at home last week, the Hakes, rather unexpectedly, found themselves at the top of the league. Sidmouth fielded their strongest side of the season as they hosted Devonport Services, who had occupied first place since the end of September. The home held in the final ten minutes, down to 14 men, due to a handling offence in a ruck. The final score of 26:24 saw the Navy boys slip to second place, allowing St Ives top berth.
St Ives is able to name a pretty solid looking squad, although, as I write, there is room for one more in the replacements. The front row of Taylor, Elloway and Hocking, with Ben Jenkins waiting in the wings (i.e. the bench, not the actual wing) should provide an excellent platform. Tom Chandler returns to partner Jamie Prisk in the second row, after missing last week’s assignment.
The back row includes Harry Parton and newcomer Chris Quick, who gave such a good account at open side on his debut a week ago. With Martyn Lawrance unavailable, Jamie Hosking makes his first appearance since the end of October.
The three-quarter line up is where there are several changes. Sam Carter continues at scrum half, while Paul Thirlby returns to flyhalf. Brother Grant is on one wing, with Josh Palmer on the other. The absence of Tom Nicholas means that in form Peter Mabbott moves in and another player makes his debut; R. Bramble, number 32 for this season, to partner him in the centre. Jacob Ninnes is at full back. The backs’ replacement is Liam Jolly.
So, how have we faired against Crediton recently? Well, a year ago we lost in a close game 17:13. With Devonport at home to Paignton, only a win for The Hakes is likely to keep them in first place. This may create its own pressure, with the navy side due to come to St Ives next week.
Kick-off is at 2:30pm if you are prepared to travel up to watch. The full squad is:
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