St Ives 23 v 17 St Austell
Following the Christmas and New Year break St Ives got back into Western Counties West league action last Saturday by welcoming the 2nd placed team in the table, St Austell.
A large crowd welcomed both sides onto the field, many of which were travelling support, and they were not disappointed with the game that was played out in front of them. Both sides threw themselves into a full blooded encounter which saw St Austell take an early lead in the first minute of play when St Ives were penalised in front of their posts presenting a penalty chance which Liam Freeman converted to give the visitors a 3 points to nil lead.
St Ives responded by applying some pressure of their own and soon found themselves camped in the St Austell 22. In the 10th minute following an attacking scrum in the left corner of the field the ball was switched quickly wide to right winger Lewis Thomas who was making his first appearance of the season. He finished the attack off with a try in the corner. The conversion was missed, but St Ives was ahead by 5 points to 3.
Despite taking the lead St Ives continued to show a lack of discipline at the breakdown and the referee penalised them again in the 15th minute giving St Austell’s Freeman another penalty chance which he converted to put his side ahead once more at 6 points to 5.
St Ives answer to going behind was again to mount an attack from the restart which saw them score their second try of the match. Rhys Brownfield broke clear to score out wide on the right. Again no conversion, but the Hakes were ahead once more by 10 points to 6 with 17 minutes played.
Only two minutes later and St Ives were guilty of indiscipline again, in the 19th minute. Up stepped Freeman whose accuracy was sure. He collected the three points from another penalty to put St Austell within a point of St Ives at 10 points to 9.
The visitors then had their best spell of the match when they pinned St Ives back in their 22 following another penalty that was despatched to the corner by Freeman. At the ensuing line out the ball was recycled into the hands of George Knowles who forced his way around the blindside to score the visitors 1st try of the match. The conversion was missed, but St Austell now lead by 14 points to 10 after 26 minutes play.
The St Ives response to going behind again was to attack from the restart. Once more this developed into another try being scored. This time it was second row Jamie Prisk who stretched out an arm to cross the try line which provided The Hakes’ third try of the match on the half hour mark. Although the try went unconverted, St Ives had retaken the lead in the match by 15 points to 14.
The final act of the first half was another penalty awarded to the visitors when St Ives went off their feet at a ruck. Freeman converted the penalty chance with the last kick of the half to give the visitors a lead of 17 points to 14 at half time. An exciting forty minutes left the spectators in both camps wondering who would be victors and who would be victims.
The second half began with St Ives putting some serious pressure on the St Austell defence. It cannot escape the reader’s attention that The Hakes seemed to be making a habit of responding very positively at the restarts. As the pressure mounted from the home side it was St Austell who started to show some indiscipline of their own at the breakdown. Only two minutes into the second period the referee gave Rhys Brownfield a chance from a penalty, but this chance went begging as the ball sailed harmlessly past the posts. It was not the goal kicker’s day.
With the Hakes keeping up the pressure on the visitors another chance soon came Brownfield’s way from a penalty. In the 52nd minute he kicked St Ives back into the lead at 18 points to 17. Better stuff from the centre.
Things boiled over in the 55th minute when the referee brandished yellow cards to St Ives Jamie Hoskin (blind side) and St Austell’s Ian Venner (open side) for an altercation at a ruck.
St Ives kept up the pressure on a beleaguered St Austell defence. With 14 aside there was a little more space to take advantage of. In the 60th minute St Ives centre Tom Nicholas broke through and was looking like he was going to score The Hakes’ 4th try of the match, but slipped in the act of scoring and knocked the ball on much to the disappointment of the home crowd.
With the away side pinned back in their own half the St Ives forwards began to pile on the pressure and on several occasions threatened to march over the visitors try line from a maul. In the 65th minute they did manage to cross the line from a maul only to have the referee judge the ball to have been held up. They made amends, however, with another display of power from their pack only 3 minutes later, when Rob Elloway dotted down from another maul to score the 4th and bonus point try. The conversion was missed, but The Hakes now lead by 23 points to 17. This ultimately gave St Austell what may prove to be a vital losing bonus, their third this season. Indeed they have accrued points from every match so far.
The referee brought the game to a close a few minutes later with no change to the score to see St Ives take a well-deserved bonus point victory. This result sees them strengthen their position at the top of the league. St Ives now hold a six point lead over the side in second place Devonport Services, who bounced back above St Austell after thrashing Truro at the weekend.
St Ives are back in action this coming Saturday with a long trip away to the ‘in form’ Devon side, Sidmouth. They have recorded seven victories in their last seven games, so it should be a very interesting and entertaining encounter. Kick off at Sidmouth is scheduled for 2:30 pm; any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives: Kye Beasley, Ben Taylor, Leigh Hocking, Tom Chandler, Jamie Prisk, Jamie Hoskin, Chris Quick, Martyn Lawrance, Liam Jolly, Grant Thirlby, Peter Mabbott, Rhys Brownfield, Tom Nicholas, Lewis Thomas, Jacob Ninnes.
Replacements: Ben Jenkins, Rob Elloway, Sam Carter (All Used).