St Ives made the short trip up the A1 to take on Peterborough in the semi final of the Hunts and Peterborough cup. Conditions couldn't be worse as the temperature plummeted, the wind was strong and the rain was coming in sideways.
The bulls won the toss and elected to play with the breeze at their backs and looked to edge ahead in the first half. Looking at the size of the Peterborough side, it was apparent that it would be a physical encounter and first up tackles would be key, particularly in the early exchanges.
Peterborough kicked off and the first few minutes were fairly even. Handling proved extremely difficult, with plenty of scrums being awarded. Despite the size of the Peterborough pack, Ives looked comfortable in the scrummage with the front three in particular providing a great platform and making it difficult for the opposition to win their own ball.
Ives were soon rewarded for some good play through the boot of Max Dominy
, punishing the home team for indiscipline from distance. 0-3
Shortly after, a Peterborough player fell awkwardly during a tackle and stayed down with a suspected broken leg. Ives sought refuge in the grandstand, sheltering from the elements while the stretcher was brought on. Just before the stoppage, Ives were dominating and had spent a prolonged spell deep in Peterborough territory but failed to secure the try their efforts deserved. More points did follow through the boot of Max as Ives extended their lead from a penalty. 0-6
It was suggested at the half time oranges that Ives should continue doing as they had for the previous forty minutes. The line speed and pressure exerted on the home team whilst in possession was causing all manner of problems and they were regularly turning defence into attack and it wasn't long before Ives had a penalty within kicking distance and Max slotted. 0-9
Following good pressure down the left, the ball was passed down the backs and a hack through by Josh Meadows
was collected and he slid in under the posts for the first try which was converted by Max. 0-16
From the following restart, Josh Dear
collected the ball and went on a charge, bursting through the home teams defence before off-loading to Paul Ashbridge
who beat several tackles and went the rest of the distance to score. Max got the extras. 0-23
Rather than press on and extend their lead, Ives took their foot off the pedal and following several changes to the home team, including the introduction of their sizeable Pacific Island contingent, and the unit of a second rower crashed over the line but the conversion was a fair distance from the uprights. 5-23
Peterborough, buoyed by their score went straight onto the attack again pushing Ives deep into their half. Although the Bulls defence was organised, the sheer size of the some of the Peterborough players meant they crossed the gain line and made yards with each charge. It wasn't long before they scored their second try but the kick was missed. 10-23
The next period was fairly even with both sides looking fatigued and plenty of bodies on the floor each time the play was stopped. Young Tom Moffitt
took a blow to the head and was out cold, resulting in the stretcher being required for a second time. With only three minutes left on the clock, the referee called the captains over and it was agreed to call the game early and go thaw out in the showers.
That was a real battle today and technically the teams were quite evenly matched. We have had a couple of really close games recently which didn't quite go our way and the guys showed great character and a desire to retain the cup we won last year. The spirit within our squad is excellent and the guys worked really hard for each other.