St Ives’ Fine Performance in Great Game
Launceston 10:13 St Ives
On a beautiful day at Polson Bridge St Ives took on the league leaders, the Cornish All Blacks.
The coaching staff selected a powerful, experienced squad to travel for the 17th league match of this campaign.
The sun was shining and the crowd gathered for what was to be a very entertaining match, which saw both sides take the lead at various stages throughout the encounter.
The large crowd welcomed the home team who opted to play up the slope facing the sun. Shortly after the start the physical exchanges took place with powerful defences on display from both sides.
Hard running from Martyn Lawrance and Pete Mabbott saw the Hakes make good inroads in the opposition half. Strong industrious performances from Chris Quick, Jamie Hosking and Ben Taylor in defence cause trouble for the home side.
Within ten minutes the Hakes were awarded a penalty and opted to kick to the corner. The pursuing line out was well defended and in a blink of an eye and two penalties later St Ives found themselves deep within their own half.
Launceston took the lead in the 20th minute with a penalty for the Hakes forwards going off their feet at the ruck. Up stepped the Launceston fly half and slotted the ball through the uprights.
The Hakes came back again and built a strong attack from within their half. Fantastic continuity from forwards and backs saw a well taken try by captain and outside centre Tom Nicolas, ably supported by the talents of Rhys Brownfield and Jack kessell. Dan Magee took the score to 7 points with a well struck conversion from far out.
St Ives had the chance to increase the lead just before half time and from just inside the opposition’s half Dan Magee fell inches short with his first penalty attempt of the day. Two minutes of extra time was then played and the half time scores stayed at 3:7 to the Hakes.
The second half saw the Hakes playing up the slope, with the low lying sun in the eyes of the back line. The Hakes took on the strong home pack and started to dominate the set piece.
Aden Brassington, who performed well at opens side flanker, was replaced by Ben ‘Bubba’ Watson. Leigh (Big Red) Hosking replaced Ben Jenkins in the front row.
On the 60th minute mark a good attack by the Cornish All Blacks saw them take the lead 10:7.
With 20 minutes to go St Ives picked up the tempo and got within a few metres from the line and thoughts of a second try were in the minds of the attacking forwards. Instead the referee blew for an infringement and Dan Magee stepped up to level the scored 10:10.
Shortly after the score Launceston were given an opportunity to increase the lead, but failed with a penalty attempt. Adam Hosking replaced Dan Magee as the pressure started to tell. Pete Mabbott blocked a pass and knocked it on and was sent to ‘the bin’ as a result. St Ives were down to 14 men.
The last 10 minutes saw the St Ives side control the match with a number of phased plays keeping the ball from the home side. With minutes to go St Ives were awarded a penalty on the 22 metre line near to the 15 meter line. With Dan Magee off the field, replacement kicker Sam carter coolly slotted the penalty to make is 10:13 to the Hakes.
St Ives managed the final 5 minutes well keeping the ball away from the frustrated Cornish All Blacks until the referee blew for full time. In complete celebratory fashion, Sam Carter took the ball from his captain and ran across the field and booted it into the stand and the home support.
This top of the table clash was everything it promised to be. A youthful home side against a strong and experienced group, with a heavy weight pack of forwards. The second half proved the difference. Credit must go to Rob Elloway who was my man of the match. He showed his experience leadership and control which ultimately won us the match.
Launceston have dropped to second place as a result of this match, but still look favourites for promotion. St Ives continues to produce performances in this higher league that doubters would not have expected. Next up are Lydney at home. Your support is welcomed.
St Ives squad:
Tom Nicholas (Capt.)