St Ives 29 : Paignton 7
St Ives continued their journey to secure promotion into South West 1 rugby by beating Paignton with a score of 29 points to 7 at home in a workman like performance.
The weather had disrupted a number of matches in the Western Counties West league over the weekend. The gusting winds whistling across Alexander Road helped dry the pitch and the game went ahead.
St Ives selected a strong squad with some changes from the recent journey to Sidmouth. Liam Jolly replaced Pete Mabbott (hamstring); Ben Jenkins replaced Kye Beasley (childcare), while Ben Taylor returned from a rib injury, with joint head coach, Rob Elloway, starting on the bench. Jon Lamsin (2nd row) started on the bench and made his fifth appearance, his first since last October. Welcome back.
The back line kept Sam Carter and Grant Thirlby as half backs, with Tom Nicholas recovering from last week’s injury, partnering Rhys Brownfield in the midfield.
The Paignton squad are well coached by Ex -Exeter forward, Trevor Harris. The team travelled with a side that promised to push The Hakes throughout the contest.
At the start the wind was howling across the pitch and no one side had an advantage. The Hakes elected to play away from the clubhouse in the first half.
Paignton maintained ball for the first 10 minutes and showed that they travelled with intent. The Hakes held firm and would not allow the defence to be broken. Discipline was excellent and St Ives’ constant hard hitting tackles caused early problems from the opposition.
On 13 minutes The Hakes took control with lots of running from depth, with great handling skills in the difficult conditions. The constant attacks saw Tom Nicholas break through to score the first try for the league leaders, taking own tally to four in fourteen games. Rhys Brownfield converted the extras to make it 7 - 0 to The Hakes.
St Ives realised that with a tight defence, Paignton were making mistakes and The Hakes would capitalise on turn over ball. There were great performances from Ben Jenkins and skipper, Ben Taylor, who were attacking the gain line with pace, depth, plenty of movement and effective offloading.
On the 26th minute Sam Carter made his way over the white wash to put The Hakes two scores clear. Unfortunately the kick wide out was missed so the score was 12 – 0.
A poor clearance from the restart allowed the Paignton pack to take the game to St Ives. On the 30th minute, with some great attacking play by Paignton, the back line opened up the defence and Sam Nelson-Smith showed a clean pair of heels to run in unopposed. Scrum half Mick Sandercock added the extras to take the visitors within 5 points of the Hakes; 12 – 7.
From that point on The Hakes tightened their grip and turned their focus to a bonus point victory.
Tries by Martyn Lawrance and fellow back row partner Harry Parton, on the 34th and 37th minute respectively, saw the score change before half time to 24 – 7. Rhys Brownfield missed the first kick, but slotted the second in the difficult conditions. Martyn is the first of the squad to reach ten tries.
Half time St Ives 24 Paignton 7.
St Ives started the second half under pressure with Paignton camped in the old scoreboard corner, pressurising the defence with line out, rucks, mauls and scrums.
The defence was strong and the experience gained from last week at Sidmouth gave great pride and belief to the squad. As the attacks came thick and fast the defence got better and better.
St Ives managed the onslaught and then worked the ball up the field to attack the opposition line. Lewis Thomas found himself on the blind side and with options and runners all around him. He elected to place a kick in behind the defenders. A great piece of individual skill resulted in Lewis out sprinting the opposition to touch down in the 47th minute. Brownfield missed the kick from the touchline against the wind; St Ives 29: Paignton 7.
St Ives pounded the visitors’ line many time in the last quarter and made their way over twice to extend the lead, but both attacks were pulled back by the referee, Simon Lord, for infringements that the spectators and the players failed to see.
The home side made some changes with Rob Elloway replacing Ben Taylor, Tom Chandler replacing Chris Quick, and John Lamsin replacing Matt Nichol in the second row.
More photos in the gallery >>>
At the end of the match it was established that the display in the conditions was workmanlike, with Ben Taylor performing well, but Ben Jenkins was awarded with the ‘man of the match’ performance.
Next week sees a second home match at Alexander Road with the visitors being Kingsbridge who travel from Devon to play The Hakes in what will be a big match for the Hakes as they consider promotion and a higher league status. It will provide a fantastic opportunity for them to see how well they have developed over the past 4 months having beaten Kingsbridge in Devon in October by a point in the last minute.
St Ives may be eleven points ahead, but the chasing pack have each have a game in hand. Saturday is against the side in equal fourth place - another cliff hanger not to be missed.
Squad (all used)
Ben Jenkins, Ben Taylor (Rob Elloway) Leigh Hocking (Ben Taylor)
Jamie Prisk, Matt Nichol (Jon Lamsin)
Martyn Lawrance, Harry Parton, Chris Quick (Tom Chandler)
Sam Carter, Grant Thirlby,
Lewis Thomas, Rhys Brownfield, Tom Nicholas, Liam Jolly, Jacob Ninnes