St Ives 50 v 43 Newent
Last Saturday at Alexandra Road St Ives welcomed Gloucestershire side Newent for their latest South West One West League fixture.
Head Coach Rob Elloway named a strong side for the clash including himself at hooker. Chris Quick returned to the flank after injury. Leigh Hocking started in the front row with Ben Jenkins on the bench.
The game started in bright sunshine and the match that followed was as good as the weather that the sizeable crowd were to enjoy. A very well behaved contingent of supporters travelled down and must have been very pleased by the end of the match.
The first points went to the Hakes when after 10 minutes play the referee awarded a penalty following a high tackle on prop Ben Taylor. From the following lineout the catch and drive rumbled its way over the line demonstrating the power of the St Ives pack and allowing Rob Elloway to score the try. No conversion meant the Hakes held a 5 points to nil lead.
It soon became clear that Newent knew their craft as they looked to reply to the St Ives score. As their attacks pressed home the St Ives defence became increasingly desperate eventually giving away a penalty for holding on to the ball which Newent’s fly half Tom Webb successfully converted to make the score 5-3.
Newent got in front in the 22nd minute when, following a succession of penalties, they eventually scored a try through Ethan Hains which was converted by Webb to make the score 5-10.
The remainder of the first half saw St Ives give a demonstration of the power of their front five. In the 25th minute the ball was carried forward by second row Jamie Prisk which released captain Tom Nicholas to break through and score the try. Dan Magee converted to put St Ives back in front by 12 points to 10.
Newent suffered a setback in the 32nd minute when their number 8 was shown yellow and sent to the bin following an offence at a ruck.
St Ives looked to push home the advantage of the extra man and in the 35th minute, following a series of dominant attacking scrums, Rob Elloway went over for his second try of the match which was again converted by Magee. (19-10). But the Hakes weren’t finished there. On 36 minutes another penalty was despatched to the corner and this time it was number 8 Martyn Lawrance who was at the back of the dominant St Ives maul to score the try. No conversion this time, but the bonus point was secured with the Hakes leading by 24 points to 10.
In the last play of the half another excellent St Ives attack was finished off by left wing Pete Mabbott who went over out wide on the left. Magee kicked the conversion to end the half with St Ives in charge of the match by 31 points to 10.
The second half began much as the first had ended with St Ives on the attack. In the 46th minute Mabbott grabbed his second try of the match (un-converted) and only 3 minutes later Nicholas grabbed his second score which was converted to put the Hakes seemingly out of reach at 43 points to 10.
With the match appearing to be won the St Ives coaches rang the changes and used their bench.
Newent made their first meaningful attack of the first half in the 55th minute. Will Mansfield cut a precise line through the St Ives defence to score the try with Webb converting to make the score 43-17. From the restart and the phases that followed the Newent fly half himself was shown a yellow card which reduced the visitors to 14 men once again.
The Hakes punished the visitors almost immediately by going on the attack. Martyn Lawrance grabbed his second try of the match and with the conversion by Magee the score moved to 50 points to 17 to put the Hakes out of reach of any unlikely comeback by the Gloucestershire side.
That is what was expected, but what happened in the last 20 minutes of the match was very different. Newent’s Will Mansfield grabbed his second try of the match in the 63rd minute and with the conversion added by Nathan Brookes deputising for the binned Webb the score became 50 points to 24.
Only 4 minutes later and the visitors gave themselves the belief that they could get back into the match when Jack Daynes went over for an unconverted try (50-29). With a new fire in their play the visitors pressed the Hakes back into their own half once again. Their normally resolute defence was beginning to struggle coping with the incessant Newent attacks. The St Ives defence was breached again when Newent mauled the ball over the line for a converted try to make the score 50-36 with 74 minutes gone.
With the Hakes down to 14 men following Lawrance being sent to the bin an unlikely comeback from the visitors was now well and truly on the cards. Newent pressed on with their tails up and once again the St Ives defence was breached with a try for the visitors, the conversion was added to make the score St Ives 50, Newent 43 with 2 minutes to play.
The final moments of the game saw St Ives defend for all they were worth, when they had the ball in hand they kicked for touch, but missed bringing Newent on them again as they looked for the try that would potentially level the score. Meanwhile Lawrance had returned, but Leigh Hocking had to leave the field (huge burst blister) and Magee also following a high tackle attempt. It was not to be for the visitors, however. Liam Jolly grabbed the ball from a ruck to boot the ball firmly into touch. The referee brought the game to a close with no further score much to the relief of the St Ives players and supporters.
Despite the spirited comeback from the visitors St Ives come away from this fixture with a bonus point win that moves them up to 6th in the South West One West league table. Poor game management, similar to that displayed against Launceston recently, was the key factor in St Ives demise in the last 20 minutes. Was this lack of fitness, a huge ‘switching off’ or were the opposition that good. They were certainly happy with the two points they got in the end.
The Hakes are back in action this coming Saturday with a trip to Somerset side North Petherton. Kick off in Somerset is scheduled for 3:00pm. Any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives : Ben Taylor, Rob Elloway, Leigh Hocking, Jamie Prisk, Jamie Hoskin, Chris Quick, Aiden Brassington, Martyn Lawrance, Liam Jolly, Rhys Brownfield, Peter Mabbott, Jack Kessell, Tom Nicholas (Captain), Joe Parma, Dan Magee.
Replacements: Ben Jenkins, Sam Bartle, Ben Watson (all used).