Bulls finish 3rd after excellent last game performance
Scintillating exhibition stuns Daventry
After a superb week’s preparation led by the side-lined Max Dominy, St. Ives blew Daventry away with their first win at their hosts’ ground.
The game started at a fast pace, and Daventry had the first opportunity to score in the early moments, but a loose pass gifted possession back to St. Ives. Quick Transference gave Paul Ashbridge
a scintilla of space and he sprinted through to score.
Soon after, a simple line out off the top gained Ives good ball. Ollie Raine
ran hard off Michael Drake’s shoulder and scythed through for the second try with only seven minutes on the clock.
Daventry responded with a penalty from in front when Ives were caught offside at a breakdown.
The home side was clearly rattled and a number of black shirted players chose to attempt unorthodox tactics to disrupt the Ives’ rhythm. The game briefly became a stop-start affair, but the visitors’ intensity could not be stemmed.
Following another good lineout, a series of phases through the forwards finally sucked the Daventry defence in. Good hands saw Albiee Tayedzerwa skip down the touchline to score in the corner.
Realising the game was escaping despite the attempted strong-arm tactics, Daventry resorted to playing rugby and made good ground. A series of penalties against the back-pedalling Bulls ended with a 5 metre lineout to the hosts. Ives switched back into gear and stole the opposition ball, trouble was averted.
Drake made a great break in midfield and after galloping into the opposition 22 fed the ever-supporting Ollie Bartlett
for the bonus point try.
Half time 3-26
The home side started with vigour in the second half, but could not break down the Ives defence. At times Ives were under pressure and an injudicious tackle when not retiring by the aggressive Duncan Williams
led to a yellow.
Despite the inferiority in numbers, Ives pack was dominating and marching their opponents back in the scrum.
The Bulls wrested possession once more and gained a lineout on Daventry’s 10-metre line. There then followed possibly the try of the season if judged on execution of a set plan. Quick line out ball was fed out the back to Ashbridge who released the straight running Will Nelson
. The full back speared through the defence untouched to score a fine try.
Daventry suffered a couple of injuries and became demoralised. With 30 minutes left of the season Ives were determined not to let up. There followed a feast of both running and power rugby.
A deft chip by Drake was gathered by the clued-in Ashbridge for the next try.
Daventry now started to haemorrhage penalties. Having tested the hosts’ lineout defence a couple of times, Josh Dear
opted to scrummage. As has been the case on many occasions this season the opposition pack was summarily marched back until Raine chose to pick up and score.
Defiance by a good handful of the Daventry side was rewarded with a try when, following a well worked lineout and good phases of retained ball, weak broken play tackling allowed them in for their solitary try.
Nonetheless, the Ives wanted the last word. Or three.
First, a break by veteran Jim Robinson
was supported by the marauding fellow-vet Williams. He made good ground and found a pass to Raine who bounded in for his hat trick.
Immediately from the kick off, Raine palmed the ball back to Bartlett who sprinted upfield. Good continuity ended with Raine dotting down for his 4th.
With the final whistle approaching, Ives once again ran from deep. A home attack was thwarted and Stuart Cornwell
found himself with the ball and 70 metres to dash to the try line. He made 50 before being caught, but Nelson was on hand to end the game with a flourish as he darted through a gap to score. Ashbridge completed proceedings with the conversion attempt having added 16 points with the boot.
The coaches were delighted with the fine team performance. Even when the game was done and dusted, the defensive intensity illustrated the desire in the ranks. This was illustrated by David Stone
, the indefatigable Bartlett and young George Peacock
, who were resolute in preventing any further home scores.
Skipper Josh Dear
was already looking forward to the next campaign. “We have finished superbly today. We need to be ready to work even harder during pre-season and put ourselves in a position to challenge for honours next season.”