St Ives 52 v 24 Burnham
Last Saturday St Ives welcomed the team at the bottom of the Western Counties West league, Burnham on Sea to Alexandra Road. There were few changes in the home squad. Ben Taylor started with Rob Elloway on the bench. Simliarly, Sean Stevens swapped with Cameron Bone. Full back berth was taken by Lewis Thomas from Joe Parma. Noteably, The Hakes have used only 75% of the number of players used in the previous two seasons; 32 against 42.
Ben Taylor was celebrating his ten years with the club. Tobi Carver captured him niceley:
With St Ives flying high at the top of the table you could be forgiven for thinking that this match would be a one sided affair, but as the first half of the match proved, this was definitely not the case.
The visitors took an early lead from the boot of their fly half Tim Piper, who converted a penalty chance in only the 3rd minute of the match. It wasn’t until the 14th minute that St Ives scored their first points when Peter Mabbott went over for the try following a break from centre Tom Nicholas. The conversion was missed, but St Ives led by 5 points to 3.
In the 16th minute Tom Nicholas made a try scoring run through the defence around the half way line. A brilliant cover tackle dislodged the ball, but Paul Thirlby’s timely support finished things off, with Rhys Brownfield slotting the conversion from in front of the posts. The lead was now 12:3. Local support anticipated the start of a land slide. The visitors had a different agenda.
It was becoming evident that Burnham were going to give a good account of themselves and they made the St Ives defence look ordinary on occasions as they began to look for their first try of the match. Their persistence was rewarded in the 24th minute when Richard Muskett went over for a try. Piper kicked the conversion to make the score St Ives 12, Burnham 10.
St Ives then had a period where they pinned the visitors back in their own 22. This forced them into defensive indiscipline and a succession of penalties saw the Hakes turn the screw on the side from Somerset. In the 29th minute the referee decided that enough was enough and showed a yellow card to Burnham’s Ross McKecken. With Burnham down to 14 men St Ives pushed home their advantage with another unconverted try through Paul Thirlby His second of the match occurred from a move to the left after the forwards had laid down repeated pressure on the line. Thirlby saw the gap open up and strutted over. St Ives’ lead was 17 points to 10.
Plucky Burnham was not in the mood to make it easy for the Hakes and on the stroke of half time scored another try. Connor Howard scored and Piper again added the conversion to make the score at half time 17 points each. St Ives were taking it a little too easy.
The St Ives’ players suffered a strong talking to during the break as all of the crowd present were to witness, but when the second half began it was clear that the message from the coaches had got through.
The first 15 minutes of the new half saw the Hakes take a grip on the match that would see them secure the all-important bonus point win. Five tries in 15 minutes was a demonstration to all those watching of what the St Ives’ players are capable of. Number 8 Martyn Lawrance bagged the first two tries with second row Jamie Prisk making his mark for the third try of the half. Pete Mabbott grabbed his second of the match in the 55th minute to end the impressive spell from the Hakes. All 4 tries were converted by Brownfield to see the Hakes take control with a lead of 45 points to 17.
Burnham grabbed another try themselves in the 65th minute from a cleverly worked move at the front of the lineout. This time it was Adam Peters who grabbed the try with Piper again converting to make the score St Ives 45, Burnham 24.
A well-deserved try from St Ives centre Tom Nicholas ended the scoring in the final play of the match. Again Brownfield added the conversion to make the final score St Ives 52, Burnham 24.
This win sees the Hakes maintain a 15 point lead in the league table over second placed St Austell who have a game in hand over St Ives. However, St Ives now needs only eleven points from their remaining four league games to be crowned champions and gain automatic promotion.
The clubhouse enjoyed a pretty full house after the match as folks took their places for the France v England match. There was a splendid hog roast, plenty of Burnham presence and Ben Taylor’s ten years with the club to celebrate. Only the televised rugby was a disappointment. The rest was a very worthwhile evening. After the cold and thawing snow had caused burst pipes in the roof and then leaks into the clubhouse, a few gallant and hardworking people ensured that all went ahead as planned. Well done to those unsung heroes.
St Ives is back in action on Saturday the 24th March with a long away trip to Somerset side Chard. Kick off in Chard is scheduled for 2:30pm; any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives: Kye Beasley, Ben Taylor, Leigh Hocking, Harry Parton, Jamie Prisk, Sean Stevens, Chris Quick, Martyn Lawrance, Sam Carter, Paul Thirlby, Peter Mabbott, Rhys Brownfield, Tom Nicholas, Jacob Ninnes, Lewis Thomas
Replacements: Rob Elloway, Liam Jolly, Cameron Bone (All Used).
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