Okehampton 26 v 24 St Ives
Last Saturday St Ives travelled up the A30 to table topping Devon side Okehampton. Head Coach Rob Elloway named himself among a strong looking squad for the trip as St Ives looked to repeat the defeat inflicted on the league leaders at home earlier in the season.
The game began with St Ives playing down the slope with the wind at their backs. It wasn’t long before the Hakes got on the attack and a period of pressure started by a penalty despatched to the corner eventually saw winger Vinnicombe cut back inside to score the opening points of the match. The conversion was missed to see the Hakes take a 5 points to nil lead.
As Okehampton began to impose themselves on the game the Hakes had their hands full in defence. As the penalty count began to increase the referee lost patience and binned flanker Joji Volaisaya much to the confusion of the St Ives number 6 with 17 minutes gone.
St Ives defended well with a man short keeping the hosts at bay with only a missed penalty chance on 22 minutes their only possibility of points. When they returned to the full complement of players in the 28th minute the hosts continued to grind forwards and were eventually rewarded when prop Rob Dugard crashed over for Okehampton’s first try. The conversion was missed to tie the match up at 5 points each.
As the first half approached its climax the hosts began to take a grip and pressed home numerous attacks. On 37 minutes the home pack was pressing once again for the score and it was that man Dugard again who did the damage crashing over for the try which this time was converted by Richie Friend to give Okehampton a 12 points to 5 lead.
No further score before the final whistle despite a late assault on the Okehampton line by the Hakes which came to nothing, to leave the score unchanged.
As the second half began it was the St Ives players who again settled into their rhythm first. They retained possession of the ball well to frustrate the home defence and played their way up the slope in determined fashion. In the 46th minute it was the hosts turn to be penalised when the referee lost patience with their defensive efforts and sent try scorer Dugard to the bin. The following penalty was despatched to the corner and the catch and drive ramped up the pressure on the home defence. After several phases the ball was given to Joe Parma who crashed over for the Hakes second try in the 47th minute. No conversion again, but the Hakes were right back in the match at 12 points to 10.
From the restart St Ives kept up the pressure on the hosts and once again sent the ball to the corner from a penalty. Again the power of the Hakes pack was too much for the hosts defence and lock Jamie Prisk crashed over in the 55th minute to give the Hakes a precious lead away from home. This time Magee slotted the conversion to put St Ives ahead by 17 points to 12.
With the hosts now restored to full complement of players they began to look threatening once more. A brace of tries from Okehampton first from Ryan Lee in the 62nd minute which was converted by Friend and secondly from Pat Nash in the 74th minute again converted by Friend saw the hosts claim a 26 points to 17 lead as well as the bonus point.
The Hakes restarted and claimed the ball well. Determination saw them work their way up the pitch once again. A break into Okehampton territory from the St Ives back line gave Joe Parma the opportunity to score his second try of the afternoon and claim the bonus point for St Ives. Magee once again slotted the conversion to reduce the deficit to just two points with the score Okehampton 26, St Ives 24 with just three minutes left on the clock.
Any hopes the Hakes had of pushing for another score following the restart were dashed when the hosts belted the ball from the field to end the game with no further score to see Okehampton win by the slender margin of two points.
This was a full blooded game of rugby with both sides showing great commitment to their cause. Okehampton won the match and claimed the bonus point, but left the field in no doubt that St Ives had pushed them all the way in what was a very competitive match. St Ives themselves claimed 2 bonus points in a result that sees them maintain 6th place in the South West One West league table level on points with the team above them Devonport Services.
The Hakes are back in action this coming Saturday with a league game away to Bristol side Thornbury. Kick off in Bristol is scheduled for 2:30pm; any travelling support would be very welcome.
St Ives : Ben Taylor, Rob Elloway, Tony Stevens, Jamie Prisk, Ben Watson, Joji Volaisaya, Chris Quick, Martyn Lawrance, Liam Jolly, Adam Hosking, Dan Magee, Joe Parma, Tom Nicholas, Lewis Vinnicombe, Jack Kessell.
Replacements : Kye Beasley, Sam Carter (Both Used).