St Ives 20 v 26 North Petherton
Last Saturday at Alexandra Road St Ives welcomed Somerset side North Petherton in their latest South West One West league encounter.
St Ives were keen to avenge their defeat on the road to the Somerset side last October when they lost out by 22 points to 13. Head Coach Rob Elloway named a strong side including himself at hooker. Joe Parma started at fly half with new signing Lewis Vinnicombe named at outside centre. Ben Taylor returned at prop with Ben Jenkins named among the replacements.
St Ives started well creating an early spell of pressure. North Petherton defended ably and kept the Hakes from scoring any points in the first fifteen minutes. In the 14th minute an incident at a breakdown reduced the visitors to 14 men when the referee produced a red card from his pocket for North Petherton’s Arron Gibbs. A punch to the head made contact in the eye of referee, Kevin Williams, who had no alternative under the rule than to send the North Petherton captain from the field of play. Spectators were less sure of the incident.
With the visitors on the back foot with a man down St Ives pressed home the advantage and scored the first points of the match when second row Jamie Prisk went over from the back of a maul. The conversion was missed to leave the Hakes 5 points to nil up.
Despite going behind and being a man down the visitors began to push home attacks of their own and in the 21st minute scored a well-deserved try through Damian Griffin, which was converted by Jack Rees to put North Petherton ahead by 7 points to 5.
North Petherton continued to put pressure on St Ives who’s only chance of further points in the first half came when a penalty chance was missed in the 35th minute. In the last play of the first period the visitors extended their lead when Sam Williams scored their second try of the match which was again converted by Rees to make the score at the break St Ives 5, North Petherton 14.
The second half opened with St Ives on the attack and it wasn’t long before they crossed the whitewash. This time it was number 8 Martyn Lawrance who made the breakthrough with Dan Magee adding the extras to make the score St Ives 12, North Petherton 14. Any idea of a change in fortunes was soon pushed to one side. The visitors were in no mood to let the home side back into the match. They stretched their lead once more in the 50th minute when Aiden Cotton went over for a try converted again by Rees to make the score 12-21. Lost possession at the 10 metre line from the kick off put the home side under pressure and the stretched defence crumbled.
Another penalty chance for St Ives was converted by Magee on the hour mark (15-21), a fine kick from distance, which leaves one wondering why closer attempts are missed. However, it was the visitors who looked in more determined mood and scored another try in the 63rd minute through Mac Taylor that went unconverted to make the score 15-26.
St Ives never gave up the fight and kept pushing forwards. In the 68th minute debutant Lewis Vinnicombe found space to sprint over for his first try for the club. It went un-converted to leave the Hakes trailing by 6 points (20-26).
St Ives pressed well in the last 10 minutes of the match and worked themselves into a good position in front of the visitors’ posts through some good work from the pack. An opportunity for a try looked to be on the cards, but a wayward pass brought the attack to an end and the opportunity had passed. Moments later with both sides struggling to maintain possession, Magee’s penalty kick to the corner proved too ambitious. The ball went into the in goal area.
St Ives were left with the realisation that a converted try would have given a win and a bonus point. In truth, North Petherton arrived with a very positive mind set and the team spirit and physicality to win. They did this even with the loss of their captain. Ultimately, we have to say, “Well played North Petherton.”
The referee brought the game to a close a few moments later to condemn St Ives to their second defeat in as many games. A losing bonus point was the only consolation in a defeat that sees them slip to 6th in the South West One West league table.
No game for the St Ives this coming Saturday, but the Hakes are back in league action on Saturday 2nd March when they make the trip to Devon side Okehampton. Kick off in Devon is scheduled for 2:30pm; any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives: Ben Taylor, Rob Elloway, Leigh Hocking, Jamie Prisk, Ben Watson, Chris Fuca, Chris Quick, Martyn Lawrance, Sam Carter, Joe Parma, Peter Mabbott, Tom Nicholas, Lewis Vinnicombe, Liam Jolly, Dan Magee.
Replacements: Joji Volaisaya, Ben Jenkins, Adam Hosking (All used).