St Ives 34 v 19 Devonport Services
Last Saturday at Alexandra Road the Western Counties West league leaders St Ives welcomed the second placed side Devonport Services in a much anticipated clash.
Ahead of the match St Ives were awarded the Tribute team of the month for November in recognition of their form throughout the previous month.
Joint head coached Paul Thirlby and Rob Elloway named strong side and welcomed back Martyn Lawrance at number 8, Jacob Ninnes returned at full back and Liam Jolly was named at scrum half. Kye Beasley and Matt Holland were named among the replacements to round off the changes from last weekend’s win at Crediton.
It was St Ives who took the early initiative and certainly took the game by the scruff of the neck. After only 5 minutes play Paul Thirlby scored the opening try when he was put in the clear by an off load from second row Jamie Prisk. Rhys Brownfield converted to give St Ives a precious early lead of 7 points to nil.
St Ives kept up the early tempo to maintain their impressive start to the match. 12 minutes in, from a scrum just over the half way line, the ball was picked up by number 8 Martyn Lawrance, who ran at the Devonport fly half brushing him aside. The yards made gave St Ives the opportunity to put intense pressure on the Devonport defence and the move was finished off by centre Grant Thirlby. Brownfield again converted to make the score 14 points to nil.
With Devonport struggling to break out of their own half as St Ives played some outstanding rugby it wasn't long before the Hakes scored their third try of the match. Winger Pete Mabbott finished off an excellent passage of play from a scrum to score the try out wide on the left. No conversion this time, but St Ives now commanded a lead of 19 points to nil over a shell-shocked Devonport side.
As the clock ticked past the half hour mark the visitors managed to get some points on the board. A lapse of concentration in the St Ives midfield saw Devonport’s Max Venables break through to score a try. Richard West added the conversion to make the score 19-5.
St Ives weren't finished though and added another try in the 38th minute when they played an excellent advantage. The ball was knocked on and advantage played saw a try through Grant Thirlby with his second of the game. No conversion and the half time score was set at St Ives 24, Devonport 5.
The second half was a much closer half of rugby than the first period as the visitors began to show their credentials as the second placed team in the league. However, it was St Ives who scored the first try after the restart. The Hakes pack showed their power when, in the 52nd minute, they rolled a maul over the Devonport line following an attacking line out allowing second row Jamie Prisk to score the try. No conversion again but the Hakes looked to be in a commanding position at 29 points to 5.
The visitors had their best period of the game in the mid part of the second half and scored two tries following penalties that were despatched to the corner. The first of these came in the 59th minute and was scored by Will Marsh with Richard West adding the conversion. The third try for the visitors came only 3 minutes later when Aaron Webb crashed over in what was almost a carbon copy of the previous try again with West converting to make the score St Ives 29, Devonport 19.
Any thoughts that Devonport may of had of putting pressure on the St Ives lead were quashed almost immediately from the restart when number 8 Martyn Lawrance made one of his typical strong runs to break through the visitors defence to score a well-deserved try. No conversion again but St Ives now had what looked like a winning margin of 15 points at 34-19.
The remainder of the match was played out without any further score to see St Ives register a well-deserved bonus point victory that sees them stretch their lead at the top of the league to 4 points over second placed St Austell.
This impressive performance underlines the fact that St Ives recent performances make them candidates for promotion if they can maintain their form in the second half of the season which commences this coming Saturday with an away fixture at Wadebridge. Kick off in North Cornwall is scheduled for 2:30pm; any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives: Ben Taylor, Rob Elloway, Leigh Hocking, Jamie Prisk, Jamie Hoskin, Harry Parton, Chris Quick, Martyn Lawrance, Liam Jolly, Paul Thirlby, Peter Mabbott, Rhys Brownfield, Grant Thirlby, Josh Palmer, Jacob Ninnes.
Replacements: Kye Beasley, Ben Jenkins, Matt Holland (All Used)
Apologies for the lateness of this match report for any blog followers, but the blogger was away for a short family break with no access to the Internet for editing purposes.