St Ives 43 v 29 Falmouth
Last Saturday at Alexandra Road St Ives welcomed local Cornish side Falmouth in what was last league game of the 2017/18 season for both sides. St Ives were already crowned champions, but the game was of vital importance to Falmouth, who were still in danger of relegation coming into the game.
The game started with St Ives conceding a penalty in the very 1st minute. Falmouth’s Justin Irons stepped up to give the visitors an early 3 point lead.
With the sun shining St Ives then treated the crowd to a passage of play that showed their league winning class. On 8 minutes Ben Taylor burst through the Falmouth defence, offloaded to Paul Thirlby, who in turn laid the ball off to second row Jamie Prisk who scored under the posts. Rhys Brownfield kicked the conversion to put the Hakes ahead by 7 points to 3. Only two minutes later it was number 8 Martyn Lawrance who split the visitors defence wide open. The off load to centre Tom Nicholas gave him a chance to use his pace and power over for St Ives second try. Again Brownfield kicked the extras to put the Hakes further ahead at 14 points to 3.
With St Ives in dominant form they won a scrum against the head on the Falmouth 5 metre line in the 13th minute giving Rhys Brownfield the chance to skip through the defence and score under the posts. He kicked the conversion to give St Ives a commanding lead at 21 points to 3.
St Ives secured the bonus point on 25 minutes when their top try scorer this season, Peter Mabbott (18), was released on the left wing to score St Ives’ 4th try of the match. The conversion was missed, but the Hakes were almost out of sight at 26 points to 3.
With Falmouth desperate to get something out of the game to make sure they avoided relegation. A bonus point would almost ensure a reprieve into next season. Starting the game on 48 points, Torquay were entertaining Crediton on 47 and 46 points respectively. They kept working and were rewarded in the 29th minute when Kieran Rodda intercepted a wayward St Ives pass and raced over to score. Justin Irons added the conversion to give Falmouth some hope at 26 points to 10.
It was St Ives who had the last word of the first half, however, when a maul rumbled over the Falmouth try line in the 39th minute allowing replacement prop Kye Beasley to score the try. Again the conversion was unsuccessful. The referee immediately brought the half to an end with the score St Ives 31, Falmouth 10.
The second half saw Falmouth fight tooth and nail to get back into the game. St Ives were to take their foot off the gas having secured the unbeaten home run. In the 47th minute Ollie Church scored an unconverted try and in the 56th minute Mike Austin crossed for Falmouth’s 3rd of the match with Irons converting to make the score 31-22. Victory for the Hakes was suddenly looking less secure.
With Falmouth within one try of the bonus point that should secure their Western Counties status they pushed on looking for the all-important 4th try. Despite their best efforts it was St Ives who scored next. Another maul powered its way over the Falmouth line, this time allowing Rob Elloway the chance to score. Brownfield kicked the conversion to make the score St Ives 38, Falmouth 22.
Still in determined mood and quick to feed off any St Ives mistakes, Falmouth had unfinished business. Indeed, St Ives squandered a number of chances with the final pass out wide going forwards or astray. For a while it looked quite unconvincing. Not entirely unexpectedly in the 76th minute Falmouth got the try they were so anxious for. The bonus point brought sheer delight amongst the visitors and who could blame them for such on field celebrations, when Dom Goodwin raced in to score? Irons converted to make the score 38-29.
St Ives had the last say in the match in the final play when Harry Parton crossed in the corner following a break up the right wing. Grant Thirlby’s conversion attempt hit the post to make the final score St Ives 43, Falmouth 29.
This result sees St Ives finish the season topping the table by 19 points over second placed side Devonport Services. Falmouth avoided relegation by a couple of points. Burnham-on-Sea were doomed some weeks ago, while Torquay lost at home to Crediton by an agonising three points, 19:22, and were condemned to the drop.
After the match St Ives were presented the Western Counties West league shield by CRFU Chairman Dennis Preece and Mr Mike Gee.
With the league season now over, St Ives turn their attention to their final game, the Cornwall Knockout Cup final this coming Saturday against north Cornwall side Wadebridge Camels. Kick off at Camborne RFC is scheduled for 2:30pm; any support for the club as they bid for a league and cup double would be very much appreciated.
St Ives: Ben Taylor, Rob Elloway, Leigh Hocking, Jamie Prisk, Harry Parton, Chris Quick, Sean Stevens, Martyn Lawrance, Liam Jolly, Paul Thirlby, Peter Mabbott, Rhys Brownfield, Tom Nicholas, Jacob Ninnes, Grant Thirlby.
Replacements: Kye Beasley, Cameron Bone, Sam Carter (All Used).