St Austell 24 v 25 St Ives
A large crowd gathered at Tregorrick Park for the second semi-final of the CRFU Tribute Cornwall Knock-Out Cup. St Austell faced St Ives for the third time this season; both sides had one victory each so it was always going to be a close run thing to see who would progress to meet Wadebridge in the final.
St Ives Joint Head Coaches Paul Thirlby and Rob Elloway named their strongest side possible for the encounter. Ben Taylor captained the side, with Rob Elloway at hooker and Paul Thirlby among the replacements.
The game began well for St Ives. In only the second minute of the match flanker Cameron Bone found his way through the home defence to score an early try which was converted by Rhys Brownfield to give the Hakes a precious early lead by 7 points to nil.
The first quarter of the match saw St Austell struggle to get a foothold in the match and this was underlined when, in the 19th minute, St Ives’ fly half, Grant Thirlby, danced through the St Austell defence to score under the posts. Brownfield again added the conversion to put the Hakes 14 points ahead with no reply.
The second quarter of the match saw the home side begin to get a grip. Aided by some errors from the St Ives defence they grabbed a try in the 23rd minute through Peter Rowe. No conversion though, so St Ives still lead by 14 points to 5.
The score seemed to give St Austell back some belief and they attacked the St Ives line with renewed vigour. In the 31st minute they grabbed another try through their Captain Miles Davey. Liam Freeman converted to put St Austell right back in the match at 12 points to 14.
St Ives kept their heads and kept playing their rugby and were soon gifted a penalty chance. The reliable boot of Brownfield once again converted the chance to extend the St Ives lead to 5 points at 12-17.
No further score before the break apart from St Ives losing second row Jamie Hoskin to a yellow card in the 37th minute.
St Ives began the second half a man down, and was punished in the first minute after the restart when George Knowles intercepted a wayward pass to run in and score an unconverted try to level the score at 17 points each.
With the tie now balanced on a knife edge it was important to score the next points of the match. In the 51st minute a St Austell player was yellow carded for an infringement at a breakdown and the resulting penalty was gratefully converted by Brownfield to put the Hakes 3 points ahead at 17-20.
Full set of images in the gallery courtesy of Bill Thomas >>>
With nothing in it both sides began to look for an opening that would secure them a place in the final. It was St Ives who took the initiative and pushed forward. In the 66th minute full back Joe Parma found his way through the defence to score the try. The conversion was missed, but St Ives was more than a score ahead at 17 points to 25.
With nothing to lose St Austell threw everything into attack and began to put some serious pressure on the St Ives defence. In the 75th minute St Austell’s Ben Chenoweth finished off a move well to score a priceless try for the home side. Freeman kicked the wide conversion to put St Austell within a point of St Ives at 24-25.
From the restart the ball was gifted back to St Austell when the kick-off sailed straight into touch. The resulting scrum in the centre of the pitch saw the home side retrieve the ball from the scrum and kick the ball deep into St Ives territory. A scrum on the St Ives 5 metre line saw St Austell increase the pressure and a St Ives kick which went nowhere, but up in the sky, saw the home side threaten to score the try they craved. Despite the St Ives defence creaking the last play of the match saw the St Austell players held up just short of the line leaving the referee to blow the final whistle to send St Ives into the cup final by the slimmest of margins at 24 points to 25.
St Ives now progress to the Cup final to face Wadebridge Camels which is to be held on Saturday the 28th April at Camborne RFC. KO in Camborne is scheduled to be at 2:30pm. Any travelling support for this important match will be very welcome.
The Hakes are back in league action this coming Saturday when they face Devon side Crediton at home. KO at Alexandra Road is scheduled for 3:00pm.
St Ives: Ben Taylor (Captain), Rob Elloway, Leigh Hocking, Jamie Prisk, Harry Parton, Cameron Bone, Sean Stevens, Liam Jolly, Grant Thirlby, Pete Mabbott, Rhys Brownfield, Tom Nicholas, Jacob Ninnes, Joe Parma.
Replacements: Paul Thirlby, Ben Jenkins, Sam Carter, Jamie Hoskin, John Lamsin, Lewis Thomas (All Used).