No Surprises for Devonport Trip
St Ives have only a couple of changes to recent selections and should travel to Devon with plenty of confidence in their last away fixture in the Western Counties West league for this season.
When one discusses the many and varied reasons for our success thus far, one to note is the number of players used across the campaign. In 2015-16 and 2016-17 the 1stXV called upon the services of 42 players. This year that number is cut to just 32. A consistent, relatively fit group of young men, all keen to keep themselves available, building on their experience of the last two years.
The front row of Taylor, Elloway and Hocking allows Jenkins to be rested. In the second row John Lamsin makes his first start since Sidmouth at home back in October. He needs to sharpen his game before the cup final against Wadebridge. This will afford that opportunity. Both Jamie Prisk and Matt Nichol will be eager to come off the bench. Jamie Hoskin occupies the other second row berth for his fourteenth appearance. Harry Parton is another who will not be travelling tomorrow.
The back row is a solid looking combination of the hard tackling Sean Stevens, ever improving Cameron Bone as each game passes. He has been heavily involved since his return in the beginning of February. Martyn Lawrance will be making his 24th appearance, the vast majority of which have been at No.8.
Joint head coach, Paul Thirlby has selected himself at flyhalf, partnering Sam Carter, who will delight in stepping up to the challenge against fellow servicemen. Although, these days, Devonport are not so reliant on the naval base for players as was once the case.
The centre combination of Tom Nicholas and Rhys Brownfield continues. The policy of making Tom available for more games this season has paid off. He is such a consistent, highly motivated performer. Eight tries and countless line breaks reflect this. Rhys will want to put in a couple of pleasing performances with the boot prior to the cup final. Like other gaol kickers in recent seasons, he has been a key man. Tomorrow is his 26th appearance.
The back three consists of Peter Mabbott, top try scorer, Grant Thirlby and Liam Jolly, who always seems to poach a try from the wing.
Chris Quick returns to fill the other place on the bench.
As for Devonport, they have faded badly since February, losing five out of their last six. However, St Austell, the other contenders for runners up, have also had a dip in form, most recently losing at home to Wadebridge Camels. This has made tomorrow much more interesting. A welcome return to form for Devonport would keep their hopes of possible promotion alive. They are currently only three points behind St Austell, who have a difficult away match at fourth placed Kingsbridge.
St Ives will be very keen to do better than the last time they met at The Rectory Field in the league. Then they contrived to lose by 29-23 in a match they could so easily have won. Tomorrow they get the chance of redemption. These are the lads who faced the hot autumn conditions: Jamie Hoskin, Sean Stevens, Sam Carter, Grant Thirlby, Peter Mabbott, Tom Nicholas and Jamie Prisk.