St Ives RFC 42 - 22 Keynsham RFC
The squad and a goodly number of supporters made the long trip to deepest Cornwall; the squad lacking 5 regular starters for various reasons, the spectators lacking any sense. There was a set-back before kick-off when fly-half Matt Fairless was forced to retire with a pulled hamstring, Adam Harrison moving to 10, Pearsey to 9 and Ollie Sayer taking over a wing spot. A great game of rugby followed, played on a good pitch but with an extremely strong cross-wind in force. There was a late turn-round in fortune which resembled in Lazarus style come-back.
The visitors started briskly and had a penalty opportunity within the first minutes, Matt Withey’s kick just wide of the mark. Lewis Bush, taking over Jack Weston’s no 8 shirt, made amends by crashing over the whitewash following a close-range lineout, Withey’s fine conversion from the touchline just swept outside the posts by the wind. It remained 0-5 until up to the 20th minute, by which stage the ‘Hakes’ had recovered their composure and helped by Keynsham’s ill-discipline had a foothold. Pete Mabbott kicked a penalty to narrow the gap and 5 minutes later they notched a forwards’ try preceded by a series of phases close to the line, Mabbott’s conversion made it 10-5. Rich Court injured his elbow in these exchanges and was replaced by Ben Angel, Ryan Harding shifting to the 2nd row. A penalty and a try by Rhys Brownfield plus conversion completed the home side’s scoring before half time, by which stage the visitors had emptied their reserves bench: Jack Cowan injured his shoulder and was replaced by erstwhile winger Kit Timmis who played as a flanker. 20-5 not looking good.
2 quick tries very early in the second half, both converted, saw St Ives secure their bonus point and it seemed as if the flood-gates were about to open and an embarrassing defeat loomed. But no, the lads’ spirit and commitment to each other, seen on quite a few occasions this season kicked in again. They knuckled down a began to dominate in the scrums and to switch the ball wide and fast This took momentum away from the home side and they were rewarded with a try by poacher Evans from a catch and drive, 34-10. On 35 minutes John Pearse scuttled over under the posts following a snipe from broken play, Withey added the extras for 34-17. An immediate penalty for St Ives stretched it to 37-17 and the re-start was a disaster leading to yet another try. 42-17 and that should have been that, especially after such a set-back. The Black and Ambers’ had other ideas though and finished off with a bonus point try, Evans again claiming the honour. Face saved at 42-22.
Wonderful job boys, the home side’s supporters appreciated your efforts, however please don’t rest on your laurels as there are more challenges ahead.