Ives come unstuck at Mens Own
Poor defensive first half left too much of a mountain to climb
With a spring in their step following last weeks win at S&L and fuelled by bacon rolls, the first team headed across to Men's Own for a rearranged fixture that was postponed due to a water logged pitch a few weeks earlier. The pitch was in decent nick but there was a stiff breeze to be taken advantage of, and MO started with the advantage.
From the off, MO were hungrier, quicker and more determined, frequently asking questions of the Ives defence. Maybe there was a touch of complacency about the visitors as the home side scored a converted try within the first ten minutes. Men's Own were relentless in attack and the Ives defence which had proved tough to break down in recent weeks was breached a second time five minutes later.
Ives, shell-shocked, looked to get themselves in the game and went back to basics. Good close work by the pack built momentum and field position and provided the platform for Duncan Williams
to go over from close range. Converted by Ashbridge.
A soft try followed just two minutes later when a pick off the base of a scrum by the MO eight resulted in a big carry and an offload to a supporting runner saw the home team score under the sticks.
With just 30 minutes on the clock, MO scored yet again, securing a try scoring bonus point and Ives were once again gathered behind the try line scratching their heads wondering what was going on.
Men's Own managed to get one more before a push over scrum by the visitors got one back just before the break with Matt Wood
dotting down and Ashbridge securing the extras.
At 33-14, Ives had given themselves a mountain to climb and skipper Josh Dear
had some stern words at half time which appeared to rouse the troops as they set about closing the deficit.
The front five began to show some dominance with good carries from Tommy Newman
and Duncan Williams
punching holes, giving Ives a bit of momentum. Tom Margetts
was putting in a good display, covering ground like a back rower as Ives camped in the MO half. The pressure finally told as Matt Wood
grabbed his second score and the conversion by Ashbridge closed the gap to 12 points.
There was a little frustration shown by Ives as their pressure wasn't being turned into points and a few penalties were conceded. One was within kicking distance and despite the headwind, the MO kicker slotted well.
With fifteen minutes still on the clock, Ives won a line out deep in MO territory and the ball was spun well by Greg Dale and Paul Ashbridge
went on a jinxing run to score a fine solo effort and also got the conversion.
At 36-28 and time left, Ives went in pursuit of more points. Penalties in the MO twenty two were taken as scrums, ran or kicked to touch rather than a shot at goal as Ives went for the kill. Unfortunately, there was no way through the wall of white as the hosts held out for a well earned victory.